How 2014 can be a better anime year than 2013

newyear1The previous year was an interesting case in anime. It was the year of many few minute anime and the massive usage of CGI. What should producers do to make this year better and stronger?

Trends come and go, some stay and others leave. The movie industry went wild with 3D-technology, remakes and monster movies. Many anime adaptations used light novels as source material in recent times and studios started to experiment with other formats such a series with only few minute episodes each week.

The reasons I could think of in producing short series is to create and promote new franchises, on the other hand to cash in on relatively cheaper to produce series. Using CGI is more worrying than it seemingly looks like. Producing anime is a costly and risky activity. If the anime doesn’t result in a breakeven point or generates revenue, it remains risky.

Ways to cut costs are therefore always present. CGI is easier and quicker to make, therefore a justifiable alternative for producers in comparison to traditional methods. Some studios are better in masking it and others such as Tokyo Ravens and Unbreakable Machine-Doll are examples in which the CGI doesn’t fit the animation. But which trends do I want to see or which do I want to return?

What I missed in 2013 were series that had soundtracks that made me go wild. Attack on Titan used tension to build up epic moments. Angel Beats! and Guilty Crown used fantastic soundtracks to stimulate atmosphere. I would love to see a series that can create those same epic moments with not only its storytelling, but also with the soundtrack.

Another thing I would love to see, or rather not see, is less CGI. If I would like to see CGI, I would go watch Tangled or Frozen. Disney is a benchmark at introducing, creating and mastering animation techniques. They even develop or improve software to create certain effects that couldn’t be done with ‘traditional’ CGI software. Anime should stay more true to its roots and minimize usage of CGI.

As I stated earlier, anime remains a tricky business and studios are heavily reliant on sales. They should brainstorm about new business models such as digital distribution on a larger scale. Although as I’ve said many times before, existing copyright won’t allow this. Studios could use product placement to generate money and become less reliant on those sales.

To some it all up I would like to see: less CGI, more engaging soundtracks and studios exploring new business models. You can share your thoughts in the comment section. Maybe you have something you would want to see this year, making 2014 an even better year.


3 thoughts on “How 2014 can be a better anime year than 2013

  1. aurajanuary says:

    I completely agree on the CGI front. I am not necessarily averse to the use of CGI in anime if it can be done well, but rarely is it so. Much like 3-D animation in the American industry, there is going to be an inevitable shift in the Japanese. Like you said, it cuts costs. But something has to change in the way in which these CGI techniques are designed and implemented. I believe that in 5 more years, we’ll see a serious shift as the advanced tech used in Tangled and Frozen becomes available to the masses. And it will be a welcome shift.

    Now, I am writing this from the perspective of a female, but I would really like to see a moe ban in anime. I’m sick of having to tell my friends (both male and female) to wait 4 episodes for the plot to start, because they needed to spend that time hooking the shallow male audience. Psych-Pass supposedly implemented a moe ban and was extremely well received by reviewers internationally. While we don’t necessarily need a return to the psychological trend of the early 2000s, I want to see more anime production companies go back to taking themselves seriously as storytellers, and not as cogs in the marketing machine.

    • ninetybeats says:

      I don’t know if the technology of Tangled and Frozen will quickly become available to the masses. The technology is really expensive and they are working with technology that can replicate a more drawn feeling. Perhaps the next big step is to recreate hand drawn animation through CGI.

      I still believe the Japanese market is searching for ways to make entertainment sell again. Disney reinvented itself after princess and the frog after a time of low selling and mixed reviewed products. The Japanese market is, yet different, still traditional in ways of media distribution and is struggling to remain profitable.

      I don’t mind moe that much, cute characters don’t really bother me:p Anime is going through periodes of trends like every other media. And still reviews don’t say much. Its the wallet that speaks and not the grades. If a products sells well, that’s the indicator for producers to move on with it.

      Marketing is a vital part of a products success, if the marketing fails, a product fails. A product won’t sell itself like it used to do when the markets weren’t saturated with almost everything you can think of.

      • aurajanuary says:

        I don’t so much mind moe itself, but when it detracts from the story… anyway!

        I acknowledge that marketing is an issue and shows about girls being adorable sell. Series that are more dramatic are more expensive and can be a gamble, but when they succeed it can be on an international scale (e.g. Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist). I suppose those just come to mind so strongly that I forget that successes of that nature are exceedingly rare and rarely worth the investment of a high budget and huge production staff.

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