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ANIME EXPLOSION: It's... Profitmón!
Fortune Magazine ^ | Dec, 2005 | Daniel Roth

Posted on 12/01/2005 7:03:02 AM PST by JAWs

From Pokémon to Full Metal Panic, the anime industry is doing everything the rest of show biz isn't: embracing technology, coddling fans—and making a killing.

          It was 2 a.m. when John Ledford heard the banging at his door. Stumbling from bed on that night in the fall of 1999, he threw on a robe over his boxers and opened the door of his Houston apartment to a twentysomething guy with glasses and a face full of freckles. Ledford was about to tell him he had the wrong apartment when the stranger launched into a speech. At that moment, Ledford knew: This visit was no accident. This stranger was an otaku.

          Translated literally, the word is Japanese for "your household." But for obscure reasons, otaku morphed in modern Japan to connote a scarily hard-core fan, a nerd obsessed with a hobby to the point of unhealthiness. In the U.S. the otaku's infatuation is focused on anime—the Japanese style of animation that typically features saucer-eyed women and giant mechanical men. American otaku wear the label with pride.

          The specimen at Ledford's door was going on about an anime TV show called Neon Genesis Evangelion, a series about humans fighting an alien invasion. He had a problem with the ending. "I don't like the direction you went in and I want you to go back and fix it," he demanded. Ledford explained that he didn't make the show and closed the door. He was rattled by the nocturnal visit—later that morning, leaving for Japan, he called his assistant and told her to find him a new place to live. But he should have known: That's what happens when your customers are wild with desire.

          Ledford is CEO of AD Vision, the largest importer and distributor of anime in the country. ADV may not have made Evangelion, but it did get the show into the hands of American otaku. "The hard-core fan base is very rabid," says Ledford. "They will get behind you as a company. You don't have to spend a dollar in marketing; you just have to be friends with them." (With the understanding that any true friendship needs limits—and visiting hours.)

          There must be a few studio heads out there who would accept 2 a.m. chats with customers in exchange for a rosier state of business. The numbers in mainstream entertainment are bad: Hollywood box-office receipts are down 7% over last year's middling performance. Home video, which in the past couple of years accounted for about a quarter of the profits on average at the major studios, is losing its shine too. Goldman Sachs forecasts virtually no growth in DVD sales for the major studios in 2006 and an outright decline in sales the year after that. In TV land, prime viewers are fleeing prime time: The networks have seen a 7.4% drop in viewings by 18- to 49-year-olds so far this fall compared with last year. There are plenty of reasons for these declines—fickle tastes, videogames, piracy. But there's also the fact that, frankly, the entertainment industry tends not to show the fans much love. Any business that prices popcorn the way gas stations price gas, encodes software into its CDs that compromises computer security, or persists in building sitcoms around Jim Belushi needs work in staying close to customers.

          Yet with anime and its print cousin—the paperback-sized cartoon books called manga—the otaku keep showing up, cash in hand. This tidy little corner of the show-biz universe—a market worth more than $625 million last year at retail in North America, of which AD Vision captured $150 million—makes for a rare example of an entertainment niche that does more than not alienate its customers: It has found ways to keep them buying and buying.

          In the process, anime and manga firms have taken on forms very different from Hollywood studios or publishing houses. They more closely resemble the constantly updating startups of Silicon Valley. Their ethos is to get the product out to the right people—whether it's on a DVD or over a mobile phone or downloadable—and see what happens. If it succeeds, milk it; if not, try something different. And if the fans are into file sharing (which they are), keep the lawyers leashed and find a way to make piracy work for you. "Companies in this space live and die by their ability not only to produce quality product but to retain street cred with the audience," says Mike Kiley, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Tokyopop, which dominates manga in the U.S. "We're always adopting new technology, and we get in front of 250,000 to a half-million fans at trade shows every year all over the country. It's retail politics. It's working the crowd." In Baltimore last summer, some 22,000 anime fans—many dressed up as their favorite characters—paid up to $55 each to attend the Otakon anime convention. By the second day of the three-day event, Baltimore's convention center had sold out and the scalpers started offering up tickets. Another 33,000 showed up at the Anime Expo in Anaheim.

          True, it's a rather, shall we say, "elite" subset of fans who'll dress up in public as the miniskirted title character from Sailor Moon, but anime really has gone mainstream. The Cartoon Network's Adult Swim—a late-night block of adult-oriented cartoons that lean heavily on anime shows—has managed for the majority of the year to be the top cable draw for 18- to 24-year-olds. What draws them in? These cartoons all have a soap opera appeal: Plots build over the course of an unusually long season (typically 52 episodes, vs. 13 or so for traditional U.S. shows), as characters die, fall in love, do dumb things. Even Pokémon, the gateway anime of today's otaku, built from episode to episode, drawing in fans. On the manga side, sales have more than doubled since 2002, to $125 million in 2004, according to pop-culture market analysts ICv2; whole aisles of Borders and Barnes & Noble are now devoted to the graphic novels. Even women are starting to get into the once male-dominated action. Female fans now make up about half the attendees at the conferences. Responding to the interest, CosmoGirl last summer began running its own manga strip on the back page of every issue. "We started hearing girls say their favorite books and favorite things to read were manga," says Ann Shoket, the magazine's executive editor. "The girls have drawn their own manga for us. Not just one weird girl—a lot of girls."

          AD Vision is based in a rundown retail center in Houston. There is no sign, only a tinted-window door that opens up into a chaotic rat's maze of a workplace: Executive offices lead to cubicles for producers; twisting hallways shoot off into recording studios; shrink-wrapped DVDs seem to fill every corner. Salesman Chris Oarr points out where a hallway used to lead into the offices of Newtype magazine—ADV's anime and manga monthly that, at $13 an issue, outsells every other film and entertainment magazine at Waldenbooks—until one day a wall just showed up. (He's not sure who built it.)

          In fact, ADV's whole business model has a bolted-together, interchangeable vibe, a result of the company's willingness to take on what works and jettison what doesn't. The philosophy has been in place from its earliest days. Ledford, a college dropout, started Gametronix, the predecessor to ADV, in 1991, importing Japanese videogames and hawking them out of a small storefront in Houston. The following year he bought the rights to the movie version of the videogame hit Devil Hunter Yohko. The Japanese company that owned the show, Toho, which also manages the career of a veteran star named Godzilla, expressed surprise that any American would be interested in a show about a 16-year-old Japanese girl who fights an army of demons trying to kill her family and take her virginity (which would somehow stop her demon-slaying skills). Ledford spent around $55,000 licensing the work and producing it for the U.S., hiring a local anime fan named Matt Greenfield—who would become ADV's co-founder—to subtitle it. Ledford made his money back in 90 days and never looked back at videogames: "I said, 'Hey, that's pretty good, let's try it again.' " Since then, ADV has been a voracious buyer, releasing more than 700 anime series on DVD. Those hungering for giant robots can watch Robotech; fans of teen female assassins (and come on, who isn't?) can turn to Madlax. According to the DVD Release Report newsletter, ADV's output is more than the combined DVD distribution of the top two American TV show distributors, Warner Bros. and Paramount.

          Anyone can build up a huge library. It's what ADV does with it that's interesting. Ledford aims his shows at small groups, knowing that if he can keep costs down—licensing properties on the cheap, basing his operation in low-cost Houston, using non-union actors to do voice-overs in his own studio—he does not need boffo box office to make money. (His average per-title margin: 25%.) As long as the otaku are nice and frenzied, the formula works. So Ledford makes sure voice actors and execs in his companies make a big presence at the fan shows. He's also adept at creating useful controversies: When ADV thought a Scooby Doo-esque series called Ghost Stories would be a dud, it issued a version with an intentionally inaccurate translation of the script—redubbing the characters to be more American (the leader now has attitude, and the boring sidekick was made into a born-again Christian)—knowing that would stir powerful passions. Authenticity being the Way of the Otaku, fans obliged by erupting in a furor. Then they ran out to buy the DVDs to assess the damage. Some found they actually liked the show and turned Ghost Stories into a mini hit for ADV. That's just what Ledford's looking for. "Our company is built around base hits," he says.

          We're sitting in a conference room and Ledford, just back from Tokyo, where he spends half the year, is chugging lime Diet Cokes. His Japanese business partners have nicknamed him "Hamtaro," after the hamster star of a kids' anime series, presumably because he's pudgy and frenetic. He's 37, stands 6-foot-3, and on this occasion is letting his beefy hands pound the table to make points about his company's performance. ADV now gets about 90% of its $50 million in wholesale revenues from DVD sales, yet Ledford is determined to deliver content via whatever medium the fans want. "That's video-on-demand, that's mobile, that's going to our website and being able to buy an episode from us for four bucks. Instead of a DVD costing you 30 bucks, we'll sell you an episode. You can access our entire 500-terabyte library." The company's video- on-demand service, the Anime Network, is available in 28 million homes and ranks as one of Comcast's most popular on-demand channels, after music and premium stations like HBO On Demand. Internet and mobile services are the next step, though both are still in the planning stages. The day that Apple unveiled the video iPod, Oarr was on the phone with the company, trying to figure out how to get ADV's library onto the iTunes Music Store.

          Other entertainment companies, of course, are embracing the new platforms: Disney had a few ABC shows ready for sale on the video iPod at its launch. And in early November both CBS and NBC announced that they'll be offering a limited set of shows on-demand over cable and satellite.

          But as the majors take their first tentative steps, Ledford and his peers keep racing along. The most dramatic example of this attitude is their tolerance for folks who have the potential to put them out of business: pirates trading anime online. And not just trading, but competing to see who can create the best subtitled version of a particular show.

          This is open-source TV programming. "Fansubbers," as they're called, can spend more than a dozen hours collectively just to get a half-hour show ready for English speakers. The process is as orderly as an ant farm, with each fansubber having a specialized task. TV watchers in Japan start the process by recording an anime show and uploading it to the Net, typically a few hours after it airs. Bilingual fans around the world download the show and start writing out translations in text documents, which they post online or e-mail around. The first drafts have all kinds of mistakes—words are translated too literally or just wrong—and other translators make refinements. At this stage, self-appointed editors ask questions and make changes, then fan typesetters plug in the subtitles as well as the translations for words that pop up on signs or characters' T-shirts. Finally someone somewhere encodes the completed version—and here there's competition to see who can encode it with the fewest glitches and the best filters—and runs it through BitTorrent, a piece of software that allows large files to be downloaded quickly. Typically the fansubbers organize themselves in teams to make the process move more smoothly. All this is done for free.

          If this were being done in any other industry—imagine Chinese Pontiac fans getting together to strip and build their own versions of General Motors cars—the lawsuits would be piling up. Not here. Part of the reason is that the fansubbers police themselves with a zero-tolerance policy that would impress Eliot Spitzer. The first rule of fansub club: Don't trade fansubs once a U.S. company licenses a show. So when ADV announces a new acquisition, Gerard Krijgsman, the founder of AnimeSuki.com—the largest database of BitTorrent anime shows—immediately yanks the show from his site based in the Netherlands.

          The fansubbers themselves also scour the Net to make sure that despite all their hours spent translating, no copies of their work remain. "If you really like the show, you should go out to buy the DVD," says the fansubber who goes by the online handle Quarkboy. In real life, Quarkboy is Sam Pinansky, a 25-year-old physics Ph.D. student at University California at Santa Barbara who's researching string theory. Pinansky doesn't mind the ephemeral nature of what he does. All he cares about is making sure there's plenty of anime out there for him. "If you do buy the DVD, more shows like it will be licensed in the future. Our whole goal from the beginning was to get more people to like anime."

          Fansubbers also act as free focus groups for the U.S. anime distributors. The more people rally to translate a show on the Internet, the more likely it is to do well as a commercial product. In September, when Cartoon Network launched the widely fansubbed Naruto, about a tween ninja, it instantly rocketed to the top of the network's ratings. Executives tip their hats to the otaku: "With anime, almost more than any other medium except maybe music, the hard-core fans drive everyone else's interest," says Jason DeMarco, a creative director for Cartoon Network. "If the fans are putting out a bunch of Naruto fansubs and talking about the show, even the casual fans are going to say, 'What's this Naruto that all these crazy guys are talking about?' Eventually it's going to filter to us because they really are a quality indicator."

          The flip side is also true: The fans can help wreck a show if they don't like what they're seeing. With that in mind, Ledford makes a point of keeping his fans in the loop. Since 2003 he's been shopping the idea of making a live-action version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, the same show that spurred Ledford's stalker—it is to otaku what Star Trek is to Trekkies. Ledford signed on the Weta Companies, the New Zealand special-effects firm behind the Lord of the trilogy and the new King Kong, to come up with plans for what the Evangelion world might look like. But instead of micromanaging the project, Ledford had Weta answer to two Evangelion fanatics at his company.

          Richard Taylor, Weta's co-founder, says he's never experienced anything quite like it. Twice a week he'd have a conference call with the fans at ADV, sending them renderings of his designs for things like the 100-foot-tall robots and getting in return their encyclopedic take on the interpretations. "These are people who could be considered scholars on the world of Evangelion," says Taylor. "We had to appease them and find their approval." That wasn't the only odd thing: Once the Weta-ADV partnership hit the news, the company's in-box started overflowing. "We get a lot of e-mails, a lot of letters from people around the world about Lord of the Rings. But we get 25 e-mails about Evangelion to every one we get about Lord of the Rings," says Taylor. "And Evangelion has not even been made yet: It's just a whisper in the corridors of ADV, and it's a suggestion in the hallways of Weta."

          Last July, Taylor flew to San Diego to attend Comic-Con, the once dorky gathering of comic and sci-fi fans. The convention now pulls in more than 100,000 attendees. Taylor took a proposed producer of the Evangelion film out to lunch to see if he couldn't jump-start production, now that the project has raised about half of the $100 million to $120 million Ledford estimates he needs to make this movie right. Before they could sit down, a fan recognized Taylor and asked him not about anything he's actually done, but about Evangelion. Taylor turned to the producer and said, "This is why we have to do this movie."

          Some in Hollywood are starting to catch on—if not to the idea of embracing the latest technology (or piracy), then at least to paying attention to the fans. The wave of comic-book movies over the past few years is one indication; another is the increasing presence of producers at fan shows like Comic-Con. Hollywood vet Don Murphy, who produced Natural Born Killers and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, is a regular. He's producing a live-action movie based on the 1980s anime show Transformers, which featured warring robots, each of which could turn into, say, a truck or a jet (or, in the least intimidating transformation ever, an AM/FM cassette deck). There are big names behind the flick: Michael Bay is directing, and Steven Spielberg has signed on as executive producer. Yet Murphy is hitting the fan shows to drum up support and has even been soliciting ideas on his website from Transformers aficionados: "I'm trying really hard with my message boards, which get thousands of hits a day, to appeal to the Transformers fan base: 'Is there a consensus? Is there anything you people want?' " The movie doesn't come out until July 2007, but he wants the fans to be behind him from the start.

          None of this means that Western culture is going all-anime. Ledford acknowledges that interest seems to bubble up, then fall back a bit before growing again. Certainly the aging of the Pokémon generation—the first to have widespread exposure to anime at a young age—should help. Still, Ledford figures that if he can just keep up with the fans, the industry will take care of itself—and the fans will take care of ADV. "Everybody here in some capacity loves anime very passionately, or they love manga," says Ledford. "We've got businesspeople here who could care less—every company does—but you go to some of these big, mega-conglomerate media companies, and they go, 'Oh, anime is making lots of money.' But then they get into it and they don't do it right because they're not connected to the fans."

          As connected as he is, one word of advice to fans looking for some early-morning face time with Ledford: He now lives in a big house in a gated community. With an excellent alarm system. And a gun.


Feedback droth@fortunemail.com


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Japan
KEYWORDS: animation; anime; cartoons; entertainment; fanboy; fangirl; japan; japanese; otaku; technology
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          The phrase, 'coddling fans' is especially telling. The lamestream media entertainment industry goes out of its way to insult thier audience. They seek to destroy the file swappers, instead of co-opting them, which is what they should do.
          Of course ADV has a few advantages over the mainstrea: pre-existing word of mouth and they don't bear the costs of creation, nor the initial risks the animators overseas need worry about.
1 posted on 12/01/2005 7:03:05 AM PST by JAWs
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To: JAWs
I didn't read the article, but I wanted to respond to your comment about how they operate. Specifically, how they embrace file-sharers. This is the basic difference in philosophy between artists and entertainers. (I know the comparisons to capitalism / communism are tempting, but lets avoid that). Artists want to share first, and profit second. Entertainers want to package something that sells. Modern entertainment industry exploits intellectual property rights that go way beyond protecting artists, and instead, attempt to control access to increase profits.
2 posted on 12/01/2005 7:07:25 AM PST by z3n
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To: JAWs

Now, if they could just get Adult Swim to air 24/7...


3 posted on 12/01/2005 7:12:05 AM PST by TOWER
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To: JAWs
True, it's a rather, shall we say, "elite" subset of fans who'll dress up in public as the miniskirted title character from Sailor Moon,



4 posted on 12/01/2005 7:12:19 AM PST by atomicpossum (Replies should be as pedantic as possible. I love that so much.)
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To: TOWER
Now, if they could just get Adult Swim to air 24/7...

Now if we can just get Adult Swim to drop 'The Boondocks,' "Tom Goes to the Mayor' and '12 Oz. Mouse!'

5 posted on 12/01/2005 7:20:15 AM PST by JAWs
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To: JAWs; maikeru; Dr. Marten; Eric in the Ozarks; Al Gator; snowsislander; sushiman; ...
Japanese anime making inroads in America, already very popular for years in my house.

Japan * ping * (kono risuto ni hairitai ka detai wo shirasete kudasai let me know if you want on or off this list)

6 posted on 12/01/2005 7:20:17 AM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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To: DTogo

What is interesting is how things have changed since my childhood. My older brothers watched 'Speed Racer.' I loved ''Battle of the Planets' 'Force Five' and 'Starblazers,' all of which were edited, rewritten and retitled for American audiences, erasing all traces of their Japanese orgins. Now, with most shows, there is far less westernization. Especially with the names.


7 posted on 12/01/2005 7:25:17 AM PST by JAWs
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To: section9

Ping.
8 posted on 12/01/2005 7:28:37 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: JAWs

I'm already indoctrinating the next generation. My daughter can't get enough of Panda Go Panda and Totoro. My son loves God Mars, Robotech, and the old Gigantor. Everything on his Christmas list this year was a variation on the giant robot theme.

As for my husband and I, we got hooked on fansubbed downloads of Samurai 7, and are now in the process of going through the DVDs that are now being released since its licencing. We highly reccommend it:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009I7NFI/qid=1133450912/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-4035660-6059141?s=dvd&v=glance&n=130


9 posted on 12/01/2005 7:28:54 AM PST by Eepsy
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To: JAWs

Eva Unit 1 from Evangelion. While anime like this looks (and is) very appealing to boys from about 3rd grade on up (not to mention some grownups!), some of the subject matter is definitely not for kids.


10 posted on 12/01/2005 7:42:14 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: JAWs; Eepsy

I was pretty run-of-the-mill with standard Saturday morning fare of the '70s, but enjoyed Star Trek, UFO, and Space 1999 in the evening; nothing Japanese until the early '80s. Now popular shows in my house are Full Metal Alchemist, GIS: Stand Alone Complex, Samurai Champloo, S-CRYED, Pokemon, Miyazaki films, and Bo-bo-bo-bo Bo Bo-bo-bo (for laughs).


11 posted on 12/01/2005 7:45:49 AM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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To: Joe Brower
some of the subject matter is definitely not for kids.

The Japanese view manga/anime as just another medium to tell a story, not "kid-stuff".

So Hideaki could take 15 hours of Evangelion to work out his "issues", creating a involved (OK confusing) story. (But Shingi is still an annoying wuss)

Yet back in the day when Miyazaki was still a Marxist Greenie, he manage to create the hardest working little Princess Ever

12 posted on 12/01/2005 8:07:24 AM PST by Oztrich Boy (Paging Nehemiah Scudder:the Crazy Years are peaking. America is ready for you.)
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To: Oztrich Boy

Shinji is not annoying. ASUKA is annoying!


13 posted on 12/01/2005 8:08:34 AM PST by JAWs
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To: JAWs

Shinji is the most annoying character ever created. If it hadn't been for Shinji NGE might have been a great show.


14 posted on 12/01/2005 8:10:20 AM PST by JenB
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To: JAWs

See above. I LIKE redheads with brass ovaries.


15 posted on 12/01/2005 8:11:55 AM PST by Oztrich Boy (Paging Nehemiah Scudder:the Crazy Years are peaking. America is ready for you.)
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To: JAWs
Now if we can just get Adult Swim to drop 'The Boondocks,' "Tom Goes to the Mayor' and '12 Oz. Mouse!'

I have incredible mixed emotions over two of these. I can live the rest of my life without 12 oz mouse.

Boondocks - Hate Gruder and his politics, love the style and detail of the animation. Actually enjoy the show when he stays away from politics. Grandpa fighting the blind man was classic.

Tom goes to the Mayor - sometimes mind-numbingly bad, other times it's LOL funny. The vets restaurant and "Rats off to you" both really worked for me.

My first DVR arrives on Tuesday, so I'll now have the chance to sample a lot more of Adult Swim, without losing sleep.

My current favs are ATHF, Robot Chicken, luke warm on Birdman and Stroker and Hoop, though both have their moments.

16 posted on 12/01/2005 8:32:26 AM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution © 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: JAWs; Oztrich Boy; JenB
"Shinji is not annoying. ASUKA is annoying!"

I thought the whole bunch of them were annoying to varying degrees, and for various reasons, Rei least of all. And she turned out to be a clone! Shinji's compensation mechanism was simply to scream hysterically loud and often.

Let's face it, though, if you were a fifteen year-old kid charged with saving humanity by driving a hundred-foot-tall biomechanical, half-alien-derived, anthropomorphic war-machine in one life-and-death battle after another, you'd have issues too! $;-)

I thought the series overall was rather thought-provoking, though. The whole Roman-Catholic bit that was heavily overlaid on the entire story lent it a unique mystique, right down the quotes from John Milton's "Paradise Lost". I read somewhere that even the name "Evangelion" is taken from the old word "evangel", meaning "Gospel"; literally "creatures of the Gospel", or somesuch. Interesting what happens to Christianity when the Japanese get ahold of it!

It was a confusing story, though. Still is!

17 posted on 12/01/2005 8:32:52 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: Oztrich Boy
Nausicaa was great. My seven year-old boy had no problem absorbing it, with my occasional explanation of some bits.

We have watched several other examples of Miyazaki's work, including "Spirited Away", "Castles in the Sky", Princess Mononoke", and "Kiki's Delivery Service" (which is hysterical and very heart-warming). They're all examples of what anime can achieve when done right (all Disney-dubbed releases, to boot).

18 posted on 12/01/2005 8:38:13 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: Joe Brower
I've been a fan for waaaaay longer than the average "Fan Boy"...and I recommend

...to anyone interested in trying it out for the first time...NOTE: NOT FOR KIDS!!!

19 posted on 12/01/2005 8:41:01 AM PST by Itzlzha ("The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote")
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To: JAWs
I love Initial D - I wish they'd release them all in U.S. versions...
20 posted on 12/01/2005 8:45:37 AM PST by LouD
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To: Itzlzha
I have seen this new Vampire Hunter D movie; I remember the first one from the late 80s, too. Both are keepers, and still rather unique within the genre. Uniqueness is hard to come by in anime as in so many other media forms.

I've also got on DVD the original and new versions of Appleseed, one of Shirow Masamune's first works. I also have the manga when it first hit the US shores in the late 80s, as well as Akira, Grey, and many others. Never thought anime/manga would have become as big as it has.

I fondly remember dragging some buddies to see Akira in 1987 when it hit the theatres in San Diego -- blew 'em away! $:-)

21 posted on 12/01/2005 8:51:58 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: Itzlzha

How does it compare to Hellsing, a fav of mine.


22 posted on 12/01/2005 9:22:44 AM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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To: Joe Brower
Uniqueness is hard to come by in anime as in so many other media forms.

Add 6 giant robots, 3 androgynous males, 3 overly endowed females, and one pre-teen girl with eyes the size of dinner plates. Combine. Bake at 350 for two hours.

But yeah, there's some great stuff. Cowboy Bebop. The Last Exile. Just to name two of many.

23 posted on 12/01/2005 9:28:46 AM PST by RogueIsland
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To: DTogo
Hellsing is very good, but "D" is one awesome movie!

The Anime was groundbreaking then, and still ranks today as one of the finest examples!

Bloodlust is an excellent sequel, but I love the original better.

See Vampire Hunter D first, then it's sequel Bloodlust.

24 posted on 12/01/2005 9:29:43 AM PST by Itzlzha ("The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote")
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To: JAWs

bttt


25 posted on 12/01/2005 9:30:17 AM PST by shield (The Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God!!!! by Dr. H. Ross, Astrophysicist)
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To: Oztrich Boy

I love Miyazaki. Howl's Moving Castle is one of my favorites.


26 posted on 12/01/2005 9:31:22 AM PST by Tenny
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To: DTogo
Bo-bo-bo-bo Bo Bo-bo-bo (for laughs).

I caught an episode of that a few weeks ago and couldn't stop laughing. I haven't laughed that hard at a cartoon since The Tick.

27 posted on 12/01/2005 9:32:51 AM PST by RogueIsland
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To: Itzlzha
You've sold me, I'll give them both a go, in sequence. How is the theme music? I find many Anime to have very likeable theme songs, like "World without Logos" from Hellsing, and have made several CD compilations.
28 posted on 12/01/2005 9:34:37 AM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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To: RogueIsland

The J-native in the house was embarassed at the homeland for such a production, while laughing with the rest of us. :)


29 posted on 12/01/2005 9:35:47 AM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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To: Itzlzha
In the definitely-not-for-kids realm there something 'Nyu' and mind-blowing...
30 posted on 12/01/2005 9:36:26 AM PST by Dr.Deth
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To: DTogo
The music works with the movies, and is a combo of calssical and Japan Rock. I like it, but I don't know if I'd make a compilation of it, but...
31 posted on 12/01/2005 9:37:53 AM PST by Itzlzha ("The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote")
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To: RogueIsland
Add 6 giant robots, 3 androgynous males, 3 overly endowed females, and one pre-teen girl with eyes the size of dinner plates. Combine. Bake at 350 for two hours.

There ARE different types of shows but sadly that's largely what is imported. Not all animation styles are the same either.

It took many years for Lupin III to get to US shores (outside a couple of the many films/specials).

There are a lot of soap operas on American television daytime and night (whether it is the legal dramas, medical shows, or Fox teens in expensive houses) but they are hardly the only live action programs shown on tv in America.

32 posted on 12/01/2005 9:40:57 AM PST by weegee (Christmas - the holiday that dare not speak its name.)
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To: Dr.Deth

Thanks...looks cool...I'll check it out!


33 posted on 12/01/2005 9:42:07 AM PST by Itzlzha ("The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote")
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To: atomicpossum
True, it's a rather, shall we say, "elite" subset of fans who'll dress up in public as the miniskirted title character from Sailor Moon,

ROTFL!! Oh yeah, you can see some STRANGE looking folks at an Anime convention. They're nice folks, though. We stayed at the Sheraton in Boston last year, and the hotel folks said that the AnimeBoston attendes were very well behaved.

Our daughter has been going for years; we just get a room for the weekend. Last year she created two Anime music videos to enter into the competition. Both her videos made the final 30 out of 89 entries, so she was thrilled!

34 posted on 12/01/2005 9:42:40 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: Joe Brower
Couple links for you Eva nuts. These are special, you won't regret it:

1. Evangelion Commercial (not what you'd expect!)

2. "Evangelian Rhapsody" video

35 posted on 12/01/2005 9:56:44 AM PST by Dr.Deth
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To: RogueIsland
Speaking of uniqueness, other folks here mention "Hellsing". That's a notable series, although not for the squeamish.

Another favorite of mine is Trigun, again, because it stands alone in both premise and execution.


36 posted on 12/01/2005 9:57:36 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: Dr.Deth; Itzlzha
I just finished watching volume 4 of "Elfen Lied" last night. A good end to a very gripping series.

The theme song, "Lilium", is one of the most haunting and evocative pieces of music I have heard in quite a while, and quite apropos.

37 posted on 12/01/2005 10:00:15 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: Dr.Deth
Hey, those are great! Do you know where that "Evangelian Rhapsody" video can be downloaded as a file rather than streaming video?
38 posted on 12/01/2005 10:03:09 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: JAWs

What is the one with the squids? Have to stay away from that tool.


39 posted on 12/01/2005 10:04:12 AM PST by ican'tbelieveit
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To: SuziQ

I feel so much better to see someone with a daughter who loves anime. My kiddo drives me nuts with it.


40 posted on 12/01/2005 10:06:24 AM PST by ican'tbelieveit
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To: weegee
There ARE different types of shows but sadly that's largely what is imported.

Oh, I know. I was just teasing. I even enjoyed the remake of Bubblegum Crisis which I thought was quit well done. But the giant robot fixation in anime borders on the psychologically interesting sometimes.

41 posted on 12/01/2005 10:08:24 AM PST by RogueIsland
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To: Joe Brower

Unfortunately, I don't know where to get "Evangelian Rhapsody" as a stand alone complex.

Has anyone been following the series Monster? Holy smokes! No magical girls, mecha, samurai, angels, spaceships, harems, or martial arts masters anywhere to be found. Just all plot, all suspense, all the time.


42 posted on 12/01/2005 10:13:29 AM PST by Dr.Deth
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To: weegee

"It took many years for Lupin III to get to US shores (outside a couple of the many films/specials)."

Don't forget the laserdisk game "Cliff Hanger"...


43 posted on 12/01/2005 10:13:45 AM PST by No.6 (www.fourthfightergroup.com)
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To: JAWs

One of the best anime fight scenes of all time
44 posted on 12/01/2005 10:19:04 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sancte Joseph, terror daemonum, ora pro nobis!)
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To: JAWs
ASUKA is annoying!

Yeah, but I still like her for some reason. Although Rei was my favorite; I love her one-syllable responses to Shinji and Asuka's rants.

45 posted on 12/01/2005 10:23:31 AM PST by ThinkDifferent (I am a leaf on the wind)
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To: No.6

What I would like to know is why Mamo was dubbed three different times (you can hear part of the original English Mamo film in Cliff Hanger).

The later 2 dubbings had weak voice work and included some lame off script jokes. Oat Bran? Reagan? It was made in the Carter years.

And I understand that different companies want to "own" a unique translation, etc. but if you have not improved on the original, you are only cheating the consumer.

The Australian Akira DVD has both English dubbings as soundtracks.


46 posted on 12/01/2005 10:32:08 AM PST by weegee (Christmas - the holiday that dare not speak its name.)
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To: Joe Brower

There is one frustrating thing with the Elfen Lied release here in North America. There's another episode of Elfen Lied that fits right between DVD 3 and DVD 4 that wasn't picked up. It explains a few things, like how Lucy was first caught. The only way to get it is online though. If you have Torrent, you can go to animesuki.com and search for Elfen Lied OVA.


47 posted on 12/01/2005 10:35:30 AM PST by Dr.Deth
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To: Joe Brower

My favorites: Trigun, Kenshin/Samurai X, Berserk, Noir, Hellsing, X, Escaflowne, 12 Kingdoms.

Best soundtracks: hack//Sign, Kenshin, Noir, X, Escaflowne.


48 posted on 12/01/2005 10:38:17 AM PST by Sir Gawain
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To: Dr.Deth
I was wondering about that. I saw some info that this one episode was going to be released on it's own DVD, which is rather whacked. Oh well. The Torrent info is interesting!

One thing that bugged me throughout the series: human bodies simply do not spray the enormous amounts of blood depicted in this show, even when vivisected. That whole bit could have easily been toned down and still made the point clear.

49 posted on 12/01/2005 10:49:52 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: Sir Gawain
My overall fave soundtrack is Yoko Kanno's work for Cowboy Bebop. An incredibly eclectic mix that is all done well with an extremely tight group of musicians. Some of it defies categorization.
50 posted on 12/01/2005 10:51:01 AM PST by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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