Lawson on business of anime

April 7th, 2008 by Author

The comments section in an entry on “studiotolatry” at Animanachronism underscores the meteoritic rise of that blog: it looks like Who is Who of anglospheric animeblogging. Only SDB and Omo are MIA, busy with real life no doubt. Jeff Lawson is there too (emphisis is mine):

Honestly, I think a lot of anime fans don’t have the foggiest understanding (or concern) for the general business of anime, both the creative aspect and the commercial aspect. How often do you hear a fan criticize an animation studio for a business decision it had absolutely nothing to do with, as if the giant media conglomerates bankrolling and controlling the production in the background didn’t even exist? And how often do you hear anime fans whine about getting “ripped off” by greedy anime “companies” without any real knowledge of, 1) how much money it costs to produce anime, 2) how little television broadcast ad revenue amounts to, and 3) how little the people working in the trenches get paid?

I guess it’s easier to steal and crap on anime with a clear conscience if you pretend the person you’re stealing and crapping on is some fat cat sitting in an office in Tokyo, lighting cigars with 10,000 yen bills. Never mind the in-between animator hunched over his desk at work, slupring convenience store ramen at 4:17 AM, trying to meet tomorrow’s deadline. He better not not space the eyes a centimeter too far apart in that frame he’s working on, or there’ll be hell to pay on the message boards!

Not that I disagree or anything, but he is riding an atypically high horse above, especially for someone who wrote:

Pete, most of the R2s I own, I bought used. At reasonable prices.

Being a fan of something places me under no obligation to be ripped off, and I’m not going to support the Japanese price fixing cartel trying to muscle in on the North American market.

So, Jeff, do greedy companies rip us off, or do they not? Or both? Or it depends?

I have to confirm though, cup ramen from Lawson’s convenience store (no relation, I’m sure) is the same Maruchan, which Costco and Safeway sell in America. It’s nothing exclusive. I bought better from Sakura in Stockton. Poor animators!

UPDATE: Avatar adds his two cents:

Seriously, though, of course fans don’t know anything about the business aspects of anime. They’re totally opaque to the observer. There is no place from which a wise and learned seeker of truth can pick up on that information. Those who know will not talk to you. Not just “about that” – they probably won’t talk to you period. Hey, if you’ve been in the industry for a decade, you know better than to talk to damned anime fans… there’s nothing but abuse in it, and you can’t tell them anything good anyway, so why bother?

Well, some industry insiders are trying to reach out regardless, including Avatar himself, who must be a masochist…

UPDATE 2008/04/12: Omo:

I mean, companies don’t make anime, people do. Companies just make it possible.

Also:

I guess here’s a hat off to every single fansubber and commercial distributor who bothered to translate credits, because, believe it or not, it does make a difference.