Concept Studies & Changing Dynamics: Anime Expo 2011 – Feature

With the changing face of business in this sector as well as increased interest in this specific content, the imbalance of the actual anime/manga industry continues to be prevalent because even though the ubiquity (as shown more often than not by Funimation – especially with announcement of its simulcasts) spells “great” for enthusiasts, the monetary necessities for creating such high-end material as well as bringing them to the US market presents its own unique problems. Anime Expo expounds on both sides providing commentary on its historical relevance as well as a real time reflection of its wares.

Hatsune Miku Prologue One of the more far reaching anime outreach elements that have made it into the mainstream media revolves around this holographic star backed by a real band (not unlike Gorillaz at times). While a film of a performance in Japan gained traction at the NY Anime Festival, the first time she will actually perform Stateside will be during AE 2011 at the Nokia Theater. The key here during the tech-based introduction was interrelated by how this works which is not really under a character motif but more within the “vocaloid” structure and using user-created structures which allows to consumers to specific be involved in the idea and life of the star. As 3D CG footage shows, this integrates with a notion of “Blade Runner” functionality since this aspect of entertainment is becoming a more virtual form of entertainment accomplished almost completely in a computer world. What is interesting as interrelated above is the notion of an eco-system. The one thing that American society avoids is the direct perception of merchandising for what it is , not worrying about tricking the viewer into watching.

Viz Media The manga structure of the surviving ideal rests within the idea of digital images. The problem is which most people agree with is that it doesn’t quite look at it should on the Kindle but perhaps more on the Ipad. Viz’s app continues to structure with the release of Grand Guignol Orchestra [Kaori Yuki] as well as Solanin [Asano Inio] though the monetization still has yet to conflict a standard. In terms of recent anime release, “Nura:Rise Of The Yokai Clan – Demon Battle” continues the old terminology structure while “Gantz” [new within the lexicon] releases on BD

Fall releases reflects manga first with a 3-in-1 edition of “X” [CLAMP] as well as “Psyren” [Toshsaki Iwashiro] which balances both in sides of fantasy and would-be cyberpunk. “Naruto: Shippeden – Bonds” continues the movie structure with a new one with the character which will do a special screening in NY before going to BD in October 2011 while “Bleach: Fade To Black” follows a month later.

Project Blue Earth: S.O.S. Finding a balance between an almost “Independence Day” structure with “Richie Rich” offers some interesting ideas. The narrative, which involves “flying saucers” attacking a new Earth and scientists mounting a secret defense force against it has many plot holes but certainly provides an element of competition at its core. While on the surface its plays more like a “Thunderbirds” structure (even as far as the music), the modern perception of life as a martial construct with a belief of cubicle idealism plays in a little too heavily.

Funimation Continuing with the giant’s expansion, the instantaneous aspect of starting to provide simulcasts for new anime actually being produced currently is the new frontier which shows the streamlining of license structures between Japan and the US. “One Piece”, which currently is at more than 500 episodes and still going, moves on Funimation.com Saturdays at 9pm while “Toriko” which was described as a manly-man “Iron Chef” simulcasts at the same URL on Wednesdays. “C Control”, which was compared in structure to “Eden Of The East”, simulcasts Thursdays at 12:45pm while “Aria: The Scarlet Ammo” comes on a little earlier at 10am. The other announcement involving the internet space revolves in the idea that over 5000 episodes were made available free at the URL during the summer.

Riding from the summer into the fall, “Shin Chan”, perhaps best known in the States because of its spot-on and interrelated translation, brings its Season 3 Part 1 to DVD at the end of July while the intense vintage element of “Noir” (part of Funimation’s Anime Classics) releases on DVD in early August. In terms of BD, “Eden Of The East: Paradise Lost” and “Spice & Wolf: Season 2” follow in mid-fall with their respective outlays.

In terms of new acquisitions and business, “Last Exile: Fam – The Silver Wing” was picked up for simulcast in addition to BD for later debut (despite a premiere at AX before its actual premiere in Japan). Continuing into 2012, “C Control: The Money & Soul Of Possibility” was picked up for additional rights on BD while “Cat Planet Cuties” was brought in as a new acquisition.

Manga Studies: Otomo Perspective & Tokyo Pop Downfall The industry related educational outreach which is interrelated with different institutions applies dissertations to both business and conceptual ideas that are being brought to theory. The first extrapolation heard specifies Otomo’s “Domu” as compared to “Akira” in terms of its marketability and notion of self. While Akira’s idea is of a society that destroys and rebuilds itself, “Domu” is examined on a more specific intellectual level pertaining to the destruction of individuals. Here is a face-off between an old man and a young girl. She has the ability to kill with a thought but is lost in a sea of people betrayed by what life might hold for her. Ultimately it comes down to the stronger structure of the two but as a thesis dictates “Akira” has a cooler bike.

By comparison, Tokyo Pop’s demise is examined as mass market destruction. Because more people brought manga into the fold and championed it, Borders (especially) and the like started carrying it. There was speculation that translations were rushed but the reality is that the demand began to unbalance the supply. With this idea, publishing houses like Hachette and Del Rey got into the game without quite knowing what it was. The recurring notion that manga doesn’t look as good on the Kindle and perhaps the Ipad 2 caused problems as well as certain creators didn’t want to mangle their art in two ways. With the collapsing of book as well as video stores and the increasing competition of digital availability which is at odds with the business model it is presenting, Tokyo Pop’s demise might not be the last.

Production I.G. Like some of its Chinese counterparts, the hugely successful studio always makes itself known in terms of progressing each year. While a new anime (“Oblivion Island: Haruka & The Magic Mirror”) which follows younger characters on a seaside town skews a little younger, it continues to optimize the growing idea of 3D anime software. A specific scene, showing the heroine and her bears and sidekick dancing, looks eerily similar to Sebastian’s workshop at times in “Blade Runner”. While “Moribito” was discussed as an interesting continuation, “Muhashi” was singled out because of its recent success in Japan as resonating in terms of new possibilities with American audiences.

Manga Studies: Mother Roles Within Bushido & Modernity & Japanese Pre-War Animation This all female panel which continues to show a major relevance of anime within this specific gender pool shows a unique imbalance considering the optimum of the male vs. female roles in Japanese society and culture. The idea of the Yashaii vs. the Bushido in terms of roles always dates the paradox between the mother figure interrelated either with the femme fatale with enlarged breasts or the tomboy element which bring about more testosterone images with more chest coverage. The way certain older female characters influence a prodigy creates this diametric crossroads. While discussion had merit, confining it to within certain parameters without bring in more modern set notions of strucure requires more thought.

The other presentation made within the symposium revolved around the notion of modernity with the idea of Japanese pre-war animation. The study so far suggests that most of the records and basis of the studios before 1945 have been lost. The beginnings begin specifically with Toei as the first animation studio with their TV outlay. The earliest Japanese animations that were discovered with working image quality involves Kamiseya in 1917 which looked little more than background animations with colored paper.

Animation for the consumer was relegated to 2nd and 3rd tier theaters because when the Japanese requisitioned Hollywood for material (including live action), the animation deal stipulated that those movies (and animations) had to be played in only those top venues. What began happening because the Hollywood system only put out a certain number of these films is that Japanese animators would start using the characters like Felix The Cat, Popeye and Mickey Mouse in their own animations (disregarding any intellectual property rights – since communication was very limited).

As a matter of course, the panelist spoke that there were animations of Popeye swatting Japanese planes out of the sky with Britain’s flag pasted on his chest (her thought being that the enemy was considered the enemy) while Mickey showed up as almost (what we would consider today) an emoticon, not attached to any specific advertisement though Disney did eventually in the pre-war period take out an ad where Mickey (not Disney) wished the Japanese people a Happy New Year.

Naruto: Shippuden The insistent element of any Naruto show is that the title character needs to be consistently at odds with most of everyone around him. Playing in his young adult role though gives the narrative more momentum. The distinct difference beyond the norm of the series is the trek through the swamp in the episodes distinctifies much more foreshadowing with snakes consuming frogs. Ultimately, as is the norm for the series, the search for identity is beget by notions of trust. Even as a new jutsu builds a house, the battle plan remains uneasy.

Cowboy Ragtime Show While certain odes to “2001” and “Starship Troopers” avail, the feeling revolves more to “Gunslinger Girl” with the direct darkness and brutality showing on a constant basis while a distinct throughline makes the multiple layers all the more rampant. The lead here, Alexandria, on a special mission from the President, has her own quirks, most specifically the necessity to eat though she maintains a good figure. The episode viewed, revered in a desert planet, houses a prison as well as insect-like worms comparable to mechanical cross-sections between “Vexille” and “Dune”. The attack of the 12 sisters to find “Mr.” is a little bit overplayed but lively in its staging and manifestation.

Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad While this 17+ was the least impressive in terms of overall relevancy to youth, the idea of what it explores is specific in its interrelation to the music scene. The difference is that it reflects the Japanese perception of the music festivals here and not necessarily the reality. Beyond Bonnaroo and Coachella, Europe provides the most substantial vision. Here, on the day of their big play (which is undershadowed by a sense of dark behind the scenes dealing), a band breaks up but must come together to succeed again. The normal perception of groupies, muses and creative influences all play a part although the cross-section of art and music plays second fiddle to the inconsistent human drama.

Bandai Entertainment Like other ideals including “To” and “Vexille”, the company that helped bring “Resident Evil: Degeneration” re-emerges with “Tekken 3D” which is being dubbed for the States. The fluidity of the characters and the actions seem to heighten on what was available just two years ago with a special screening taking place nationwide on July 26th through Fathom Events before heading to BD.

In terms of upcoming BD releases, “The Disappearance Of Haruhi Suzumiya” reunites its English language cast for release in late September while “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” just recently made its debut on the format.

Continuing with DVD aspects, “5 Centimeters Per Second” (which looks like an anime poem with some fantastic animation) has a limited window currently and “Tales From The Abyss” from longtime Bandai collaborator Sunrise will release early Fall.

In anniversary of all things Gundam, Bandai is releasing “Mobile Suit Gundam: Anime Legend” with Part 1 of the release coming in mid-September followed by Part 2 in addition to “Turn ‘A’ Gundam” later in the Fall.

Moving onto Bandai’s manga outlays, “Tales Of The Abyss” actually includes within the limited edition a copy of “Asch The Bloody” while the continuing journey of the regular tales is also available. “Lucky Star” and “Code Geass” also continue their Bandai relationship in new volumes while the big announcement revolves in the acquisition of “Ms Gundam 001”, the sequel to “Gundam 00F” with art by Koichi Tokita.

Anime Expo continues to show the persistence of the impact that Asian culture (especially anime and manga) have on the West. Spotlighting a comparison of anime, dissertation based criticism of both recent business development and anime classics and normal release based questions, the industry continues both combatting itself in democratiziing the process but also maintaining a notion of profitability.

Posted on July 5, 2011, in Entertainment Industry Coverage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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