Adapt or Die

An Open Letter to the Anime Industry

No, it’s not written by me, but it describes the dilemma being faced by not just anime and manga industry, but by most other content creation industries as well (namely film, television and music). For many, why pay when you can download? You can not only get it faster, but you could also get it for free and subbed in the language of your choice (I see Italian, German and Spanish subs now available, so the audience is growing). Paying for content is still in its early days, and regards of the current forecasted trend that people are beginning to create their own content, most still rely on the big names to give it to them.

I got the above link from Victor on LJ, and then we had a rather interesting discussion about the problem facing the anime industry. Le specific post be here.

I didn’t even know Malaysia was into content creation.

Is it the same as the one on the CF forums? Then I’ve read it. The problem isn’t just with the anime industry though, it’s with the whole content creation industry. They need to figure out a better method of distribution.

The best way mayhaps is to engage the fansubbers. Perhaps even before it’s begun airing, they could engage a few fansubbers to translate. Once these are up, then they might begin something like a pay for download service. Bittorrent is popular, as are direct downloads. Support themselves with advertising and special premiums for fans. Tie up with YesAsia and the rest.

I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I?

Well it is…I must pass you a copy of my magazine for October (From Geminianeyes: Business Today, go grab it! 😛) . Hehe! MDeC really wants to get at it.

As for your idea…while all good, it won’t do if the license holders themselves pay so much to begin with. I think they’d also rather not engage fansubbers, who have no qualification to begin with, and pay them the same amount they pay professionals. At times even more as they can do a better job with the experience and passion they have.

There’s also the tricky situation of licensing and, in Japan’s case, breaking from the dependency of one market and being afraid to branch out. Tough situation there ne?

Can~ Please pass! 🙂

Worried about paying subbers? Revenue share. Give the fansubbers a stake in it.

And well, it’s a case of you get what you paid for. If they’re worried about the quality of the translation vs professionals, it would not be too hard for them to give a short snippet/one episode to both groups and ask them to translate within let’s say, one week. The one who does a better job within the stipulated timeframe gets the contract per anime/season/series.

Licensing can be done perhaps via Creative Commons, which can be upheld internationally. But yes, I can see the trickiness there. Perhaps again, revenue sharing. When the anime/series reaches critical mass among fans and they are willing to pay, then offer it via the usual retailers and channels. Subbers get a small royalty, fans get their fix in hard copy (via DVD, books, etc) distributor gets paid, and the creator gets credit and money.

In Japan’s case, breaking from the dependency of one market and being afraid to branch out…

I would say that this is the most difficult part. Overcoming their fear and prejudice is perhaps the biggest challenge they will have to face. Once they’re willing to take the step, all that is left will be the corporate will and creativity.


Thoughts, ideas, suggestions? What do you have to say about this? Agree, disagree, don’t care?

2 thoughts on “Adapt or Die”

  1. Take it this way, those “original” Anime dvd’s are risky to buy.

    First the sub are terrible, very terrible. So much for using ‘professional’ work.

    Second there were times where the series itself is cut halfway even though the box labeled “End” where in fact there were large portion of episodes missing.

    Third, some of the Anime resolution was modified to fit the normal TV size but during the process it looked streched in height thus reducing the quality.

    I am talking about the so called “original” Anime dvd/vcd in Malaysia. Reason not to buy original here is due to the risk listed above.

    Yes I am just ranting 😛

    Geminianeyes: Those are all good points, and one of the reason why I don’t really buy things from Japan here. I’d rather buy online.

  2. Professional work my foot.The fansubs pawn because one,the English is coherent.COHERENT as in a single sentence can be understood.Next,they go to great lengths to release better quality of their subs,unlike this “original” crap we see in the markets.

    ODEX is a good example.Now,their website got hacked.Low quality indeed.Web programming also fail,how to do good subs?XD

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