Anime & Manga News

Anime In Decline

by dtshyk
Jan 28, 2009 9:34 PM | 52 Comments
ITmedia reported an interview with Itwata Keisuke, the managing director of AT-X TV channel. He said Japanese Animation is declining after it reached the peak in 2006 and there is little hope for the growth of the anime market. Here is the chart of the sales of the anime industry from 2003 to 2007.

The reasons for the decline in the market of each region are as follows:
1. Japan
The number of the viewers of TV steeply decreased. 40% of the TV companies went into the red in September 2008. The online streaming is still too unreliable to replace the airing on TV.
2. US
The ratings of the TV anime programs went down. US TV companies are now reluctant to air Japanese animation due to its unpopularity and violent contents. Iwata described that the DVD sales in US are "miserably bad". The business model based on the TV airing collapsed because of the prevalence of fansubs.
3. Europe
The situation is relatively better than that in US but the opportunities to air anime are scarce because most of the European countries put emphasis on developing their own culture and business.
4. East & Middle East Asia
The anime market in Asian countries was expected to expand but the economic recession ruined it. Most of the anime-related projects announced by the investment authorities in the middle east suffered setbacks now.

To survive the crisis, TV Tokyo started to collaborate with Crunchyroll and provides subbed NARUTO and Gintama one hour after the airing in Japan. The $7/month pay channel collected ten thousand users in one month. TV Tokyo said they intended to discourage the fansubbers, who are competing to upload the subs first.

Source: ITmedia

20 of 52 Comments Recent Comments

Icess said:
We already know that Magical girls shows, harem shows (whether perverted or otherwise), and shows that will try to bank off the popularity of Naruto, Bleach and One Piece will happen, but they need to show us that these aren't the only shows they have under their belts.


I don't think you've paid much attention to the shows that have come out in the last couple of years, have you?

Feb 2, 2009 2:49 PM by YoungVagabond

I wonder whats going to change in the future.

Feb 2, 2009 2:45 PM by -Kazu

Icess said:
Should we read subtitles for every little thing now? Maybe we should just go back to the days of silent movies, with no TV's so that everything we might possibly watch has to be subtitled. I'm sorry, but this is the stupidest thing I have heard from a person who is "Subtitles only!" To call all dub watchers retard noise pickers (which is basically what you did) is uncalled for.


Haha, what? You call me stupid and then dare to suggest I actually mean we return to an age of silent films, or treat everything as such? Don't put words in my mouth -- I'm obviously talking about things that are originally made with a Japanese voice cast (regarding anime; just like I would watch a German film or a French film in its native language). If something is originally made in English or whatever, then I will watch it that way.

Come on, don't be so dense. Sheesh.

Feb 2, 2009 8:45 AM by META_BODY

antitype said:
Also: sorry, English-speaking voice actors, but we don't need you. Dubs are for fools. They are a waste of time and money, and if viewers can't be arsed to read subtitles then maybe they should go pick their noses and stare at something shiny for a while instead.
Should we read subtitles for every little thing now? Maybe we should just go back to the days of silent movies, with no TV's so that everything we might possibly watch has to be subtitled. I'm sorry, but this is the stupidest thing I have heard from a person who is "Subtitles only!" To call all dub watchers retard noise pickers (which is basically what you did) is uncalled for.

Now that's said, the anime industry can't stop feeding the mass of otaku that already support them, but while they are feeding those masses, they need to bring to the forefront of each new season something that will draw in people who may not actively watch the titles that otaku will. We already know that Magical girls shows, harem shows (whether perverted or otherwise), and shows that will try to bank off the popularity of Naruto, Bleach and One Piece will happen, but they need to continue to show us that these aren't the only shows they have under their belts.

Feb 2, 2009 7:58 AM by Jelise

I don't see any decline in the Asian market, or from what I saw on my trip to Taipei >.>
Anime stores were CROWDED on weekends.

Feb 2, 2009 5:31 AM by BasakaNZ

well if the reason is ppl can't aford to buy anime the problem is that they put out to much anime they brought out 5 titles i like on dvds and i could only aford maybe 150 bucks worth and 5 titles are worth maybe 200 bucks depends how much its sold for. there are animes that i buy but can only get a few at a time its sad that i have to miss out on few anime where i am 20 behind D:

Feb 1, 2009 6:35 PM by Risami

I only bought 1 set of DVDs and that was back in 2006. They are simply too expensive!

o.O

Feb 1, 2009 1:30 PM by BenjoKun

antitype said:
DVDs: simply too expensive.


So very true. Though I like some dubs, they just aren't worth $20 for 60 minutes. Which is why I buy my anime DVDs from secondhand stores. I can always get a decent deal, and haven't paid over $9 for 60 minutes of anime in 3 years.

Not to say that outside-Japan sales have been in a serious decline, beyond what one would expect from the overall economic decline (entertainment goods=highly elastic demand). Fansubs are but a bogeyman in the grand scheme of these things.

Feb 1, 2009 12:02 PM by Torisunanohokori

If the stuff is good, people will buy. If the stuff is decent, putting a large price tag kills it. If the stuff is shit, no matter what price tag you put on it, nobody will buy it.

They need to seriously stop thinking about money hogging.

Jan 31, 2009 2:05 PM by panda_general

Agreed on the DVD prices. Most of the american imports which are available here are have ridiculously high prices (well now them being an import and all obviously makes them a bit more expensive, but even considering that, the prices are still too high).

European publishers seem to be on the right road though, most 4-5 episode DVDs just cost around 7-8 euros which is still a bit expensive, but definately acceptable. The real problem is that there's a very limited selection of region 2 coded subbed series(and in my cases sometimes swedish subs, which I don't really like). So people download the series instead....regioncoding the streams doesn't help either >_<

Jan 30, 2009 8:09 AM by yakisobapan

antitype said:
DVDs: simply too expensive. Too many to buy, and too much merchandising filler garbage (like "starter set" boxes) inflating prices.

Xam'd for rental via Sony's PSN at a total of $104. Way, way, way too expensive, even for a purchase, let alone a downloadable rental. (Great as it is.)

The anime industry needs to get a clue. Maybe this will be a catalyst.

Sounds like TV Tokyo has the right idea, at least.

If anything, Japanese animation will go on as an artform, and we can hope that this will ultimately kill off a lot of the garbage that plagues it. When artists struggle, they tend to do better work, you know? Show us what you're made of, and think about how you're packaging and selling it. I'm an adult -- I don't need a bunch of gaudy boxes and figures and crap on my shelves.

Just speculation here, but the lolicon/moé garbage has been seriously on the rise for the last several years. Anyone else think maybe normal people with respectable tastes get disgusted with trash like this and lose interest?

Also: sorry, English-speaking voice actors, but we don't need you. Dubs are for fools. They are a waste of time and money, and if viewers can't be arsed to read subtitles then maybe they should go pick their noses and stare at something shiny for a while instead. Anyway, what she said:

LolitaDecay said:
US TV companies are now reluctant to air Japanese animation due to its unpopularity

They mean their dubs are unpopular? Amiright?


Time to evolve.


One of the few sensible posts in this topic.

As mentioned before, anime sales hit an all-time high in 2006, so why is a drop-off in the next few years a big surprise, especially considering the economic recession? Plus, in 2006, I would imagine that a great deal of sales included older shows that new fans were discovering for the very first time, whether it be Cowboy Bebop, Bersker, FMA, whatever.

That's no longer the case.

Personally, I've only bought one anime DVD, but I wouldn't be opposed to buying more if they were packaged correctly, and had a reasonable price tag. For example, if they released the 13 episode DMC DVD for $20, I would purchase it.

Not counting the OP and ED, each episode is about 12 minutes long, or 2 hours and 36 minutes in total. So it's essentially a slightly longer movie DVD. Twenty dollars would be reasonable.

Offering an OVA or movie for anywhere from $10-$20 is a reasonable deal to the consumer. But an extremely long series priced at about $5 per episode is pure idiocy, and anyone over the age of 12 will laugh and watch the free version on his or her computer instead.

Jan 30, 2009 6:57 AM by YoungVagabond

DVDs: simply too expensive. Too many to buy, and too much merchandising filler garbage (like "starter set" boxes) inflating prices.

Xam'd for rental via Sony's PSN at a total of $104. Way, way, way too expensive, even for a purchase, let alone a downloadable rental. (Great as it is.)

The anime industry needs to get a clue. Maybe this will be a catalyst.

Sounds like TV Tokyo has the right idea, at least.

If anything, Japanese animation will go on as an artform, and we can hope that this will ultimately kill off a lot of the garbage that plagues it. When artists struggle, they tend to do better work, you know? Show us what you're made of, and think about how you're packaging and selling it. I'm an adult -- I don't need a bunch of gaudy boxes and figures and crap on my shelves.

Just speculation here, but the lolicon/moé garbage has been seriously on the rise for the last several years. Anyone else think maybe normal people with respectable tastes get disgusted with trash like this and lose interest?

Also: sorry, English-speaking voice actors, but we don't need you. Dubs are for fools. They are a waste of time and money, and if viewers can't be arsed to read subtitles then maybe they should go pick their noses and stare at something shiny for a while instead. Anyway, what she said:

LolitaDecay said:
US TV companies are now reluctant to air Japanese animation due to its unpopularity

They mean their dubs are unpopular? Amiright?


Time to evolve.

Jan 30, 2009 5:21 AM by META_BODY

fail

Jan 29, 2009 5:48 PM by iTom

Aw c'mon...

I buy all those DVDs but since no else is helping the anime companies feel like they aren't selling. That's not good. :(

Jan 29, 2009 3:17 PM by Gin-iro

quicksilver111 said:
The-Last-Blaze said:
They make this sound so freaking bad, im not worried, anime is not gonna stop or anything.

and as a side note, the only reason why anime sale's in the us are so bad is because the dub's fucking suck! people are sticking to their subbed anime is all...

/disscusion

You do realize that the DVDs include a subtitled Japanese track. The reason sales are bad is people who watch fansubs never actually buy the DVDs to support the shows.
Most people who don't buy anything should not really be considered as a 'lost sale' since they don't affect the sales anyway, if they couldn't get it for free they just wouldn't get it.
I'm watching around 10 weekly shows at the moment, if fansubs didn't exist I wouldn't be watching them since no other options exist. Will I buy any of them on DVD? I have no idea, it will be based on rewatch value, price and availability. If I could pay non-obscene prices for the priviledge of downloading them I would pay for most of them.
Then again, I'm part of the 'Outside Japan' group, the Japanese producers most likely don't give a shit about us or our money since our sales amount to less than 10% of the total sales, the decline in the domestic market was larger than that.

tl;dr: This does not concern the people from 'Outside Japan'.

Jan 29, 2009 3:14 PM by kuroshiroi

quicksilver111 said:
The-Last-Blaze said:
They make this sound so freaking bad, im not worried, anime is not gonna stop or anything.

and as a side note, the only reason why anime sale's in the us are so bad is because the dub's fucking suck! people are sticking to their subbed anime is all...

/disscusion

You do realize that the DVDs include a subtitled Japanese track. The reason sales are bad is people who watch fansubs never actually buy the DVDs to support the shows.


People don't have a lot of money to buy much of anything anymore. That's why you're seeing a lot more half-series sets and streaming options becoming available.

Jan 29, 2009 2:51 PM by Splitter

The-Last-Blaze said:
They make this sound so freaking bad, im not worried, anime is not gonna stop or anything.

and as a side note, the only reason why anime sale's in the us are so bad is because the dub's fucking suck! people are sticking to their subbed anime is all...

/disscusion

You do realize that the DVDs include a subtitled Japanese track. The reason sales are bad is people who watch fansubs never actually buy the DVDs to support the shows.

Jan 29, 2009 2:46 PM by quicksilver111

dtshyk said:
ITmedia reported an interview with Itwata Keisuke, the managing director of AT-X TV channel. He said Japanese Animation is declining after it reached the peak in 2006 and there is little hope for the growth of the anime market. Here is the chart of the sales of the anime industry from 2003 to 2007.

The reasons for the decline in the market of each region are as follows:
1. Japan
The number of the viewers of TV steeply decreased. 40% of the TV companies went into the red in September 2008. The online streaming is still too unreliable to replace the airing on TV.
2. US
The ratings of the TV anime programs went down. US TV companies are now reluctant to air Japanese animation due to its unpopularity and violent contents. Iwata described that the DVD sales in US are "miserably bad". The business model based on the TV airing collapsed because of the prevalence of fansubs.
3. Europe
The situation is relatively better than that in US but the opportunities to air anime are scarce because most of the European countries put emphasis on developing their own culture and business.
4. East & Middle East Asia
The anime market in Asian countries was expected to expand but the economic recession ruined it. Most of the anime-related projects announced by the investment authorities in the middle east suffered setbacks now.

To survive the crisis, TV Tokyo started to collaborate with Crunchyroll and provides subbed NARUTO and Gintama one hour after the airing in Japan. The $7/month pay channel collected ten thousand users in one month. TV Tokyo said they intended to discourage the fansubbers, who are competing to upload the subs first.

Source: ITmedia


First off, from the chart, it looks like they're nitpicking on the foreign market. Much of the drop and sales, and subsequent blame, comes straight from the heartland, and should be focused on as such.

A lot of the regional problems seem to stem from television broadcasting to be unsuccessful all across the board, which really begs the question, why keep it on TV anymore? The move of anime fans to the internet has been in ascension for years now and is getting ever closer to a point of saturation. Simulcast is definitely a step in the right direction, but it means nothing if you can't establish an internet status as well (HINT HINT BANDAI AND KUROKAMI).

You look at the chart and it's like, okay, they took a dip in 2007 but they're still doing better than they were in 2003. With technology in an extended state of liminality as we speak, it's safe to assume adjustments must be, and will be made to the consumer environment.

Jan 29, 2009 2:33 PM by Splitter

They make this sound so freaking bad, im not worried, anime is not gonna stop or anything.

and as a side note, the only reason why anime sale's in the us are so bad is because the dub's fucking suck! people are sticking to their subbed anime is all...

/disscusion

Jan 29, 2009 2:08 PM by Grimsabr

I don't care too much, I've got mahjong to pass the time.

Jan 29, 2009 1:36 PM by Scud