A business article on the burst of the moe bubble explains the trials the industry faces, with an anime industry figure woefully admitting that he could sell anything he dumped on consumers at the boom’s height.
The article, translated from the pages of top Japanese business rag Weekly Toyo Keizai:
Even the representative of the Japanese content industry, the anime industry, is at its wits end over struggling DVD sales.
The management at an anime production company holds forth on the subject:
“In hard times people keep a tight reign on their purse strings. 2-3 years ago, if it was a moe or robot anime, we could sell absolutely anything, but now things have become selective.”
Over 50% of broadcast anime occupies late night slots, but the production costs for one episode alone are from 10-13 million yen ($100,000-130,000).
Publishers have to buy up slots from TV stations [at something like 500,000-3,000,000 each episode for late night broadcasts on typical stations], and most of their revenues come from DVD sales.
Illegal distribution online is an issue, as are business conditions.
With late night anime being a niche market, if revenues are assured even a potential hit won’t secure funding – just making each title is becoming more difficult.
One TV station’s management gloomily expresses their concern: “The number of projects we are seeing is close to half that of last year.”
Selling late night slots, which otherwise cost money to programme for, to anime publishers is a good earner for these stations. Reduced DVD sales thus also harm the stations. Some have reduced prices on their slots, but the effect remains unclear.
Amidst these shrinking DVD sales, some are pinning their hopes on Blu-ray.
But the anime producer interviewed is sceptical:
“The impact is nothing like the move from VHS to DVD. The market’s not going to grow with just the switch from DVD to BD.”
The audiovisual content industry still appears to be facing a harsh future indeed.
Many are now saying the industry is justly reaping what it has sown, with the market collapsing after being saturated with innumerable derivative works of questionable quality.
And the expected scathing 2ch response:
“And what’s left is just ero-moe anime.”
“Who the hell’d watch a bunch of ridiculously censored anime anyway.”
“They’re practically all the same pictures anyway, it’s like playing a visual novel.”
“Just stop making anime for God’s sake!”
“The DVDs aren’t selling because they’re overpriced. You can rent them at Geo for 100 so I’m even less likely to buy.”
“Most anime otaku are downloading rather than buying. They’d be better off just making children’s anime.”
“It’s hard to believe anyone even buys these BDs at 3000 per episode.”
“It’s the middle of a recession so what do they expect?”
“I think it’d be best if they decrease output even more. There’s too many irredeemable anime out there still.
I don’t mean to say ero-anime is no good, but it’d be best if they didn’t bother making drivel like Sora no Otoshimono into anime in the first place.”
“In the eighties it was the anime movie boom, in the nineties the OVA boom. They all end the same.”
“’The issue of illegal distribution on video sharing sites’
Isn’t this free publicity? Otaku in the regions or overseas can decide to buy the DVDs. If they want to expand their audience there’s nothing for it but to harness the Internet.”
“Illegal distribution doesn’t promote them.
Haruhi may have ended up like that overseas, but most of them are just freeloading scum happy at whatever they can get for free. People in the regions can just rent them cheaply, and foreigners hardly buy them at all.
If it promotes them why aren’t they all distributing online?”
“’freeloading scum happy at whatever they can get for free’
How does this differ to people watching for free on TV but not buying?”
“It’s all because most of their anime was trash.
It goes: 2-3 cute girls come on, show us their pantsu, and then give some half-baked loli dialogue.
How the hell can do they expect to expand their customer base with this stuff?”