Regarding Roland Kelts’ Nov. 12 feature, “Has anime lost its cachet in America?“: The main problems with anime in the United States are that Japan’s way of handling anime licenses prevents a lot of mainstream exposure, bad stereotypes from the early ’00s are still in the minds of people, and there isn’t enough anime content that appeals to a broad audience.
I think it says a lot that there have been only two simuldubs, and one of those is premiering in January (“Space Dandy”). Japan’s insistence on ridiculous dub-release delays and license fees that prevent licensers from getting high-quality voice actors/directors encourage piracy and the view that anime is a lower-tier product than U.S. animation.
That said, the hyperbolic criticism of anime from the ’00s (based on hentai anime with tentacles and lots of lolicon) means that it will be marginalized by the public unless there’s a sudden surge in “serious” anime (like “Ghost in the Shell”) and a dramatic decrease in sexualized content across the board. The former is unlikely because of the poor financial structure of the anime industry, which makes it hard to produce original works that may have little appeal to Japanese fans. The latter is unlikely because the anime industry survives in Japan by appealing to a niche of people.
This partially explains why there isn’t as much content with mainstream appeal, but the main issue is that there isn’t enough content aimed at adults. More than 75 percent of every anime season is some variation of high school students doing something in/around a high school, which doesn’t appeal to U.S. viewers who don’t have nostalgia for high school and expect action heroes to be adults.
There’s also a severe lack of sci-fi and fantasy action shows, which built a lot of the anime fanbase in the late ’90s and ’00s.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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