Just recently the president of Bang Zoom! Entertainment, Eric P. Sherman, wrote a post on the AnimeTV blog warning of the impending doom of “the death of anime” if people don’t stop illegal downloading. Anime Vice today also posted a link to an Australian news site that has a story on the problems the anime industry in Japan is having right now. The story on the Australian news site SBS brings up some interesting points from the Japanese side of things and it’s quite interesting. In the SBS story the owner of the A-Line anime studio, Kazumori Hashimoto was interviewed. He says he is worried about the current trend of having to make anime for the obsessive fans rather then the general populace. This is often a point brought up by those that complain that there is to much “moe” anime and it’s “destroying the industry”.
The problem I have with Kazumori Hashimoto’s statements are that his studio A-Line seems to be doing mostly grunt work looking at what they have worked on from ANN’s encyclopedia page for the studio. I’m not expert on how the industry works in Japan but of course a studio that does nothing but grunt work would be complaining that they are hurting right now. It’s no shocking revelation that anime is hurting on both sides of the pond but what industry isn’t hurting in these tough economic times right now. The SBS story also mentions competition from China’s animation industry which I keep hearing a lot about but I don’t think it’s a threat as everyone keeps saying. Most of the stuff from China looks like it’s badly done CG and kids stuff which is vastly different from the anime everyone knows and loves so as of now it’s not correct to even call it a huge threat to the anime industry in Japan. When China makes the next Bleach, Naruto, or Dragon Ball then I think you should be worried otherwise China isn’t a threat at all at this point.
I think everyone should stop being chicken little and screaming “THE SKY IS FALLING!” when what the industry needs to be doing is trying to find new exciting ways to use this shift in entertainment media to their advantage. I think it’s an exciting time for anime and entertainment media in general as I do think there are a lot of new and exciting possibility’s that are opening up with a lot of new technology. It’s just up to the industry to stop continuing to stubbornly keep hanging on to the old models of distribution and start to think of new and exciting creative models of distribution.