Sunday, May 18, 2014

The economics of anime and manga plus bonus movie links

Avril Lavigne - Hello Kitty

For tonight's entertainment-themed entry, I'm going to recycle and combine two entries I originally posted to fandom_lounge on JournalFen.  First, the perils of cultural globalization from All of Sailor Moon licensed for U.S. market plus bonus Avril Lavinge.

I begin with The economics behind Avril Lavigne's creepy "Hello Kitty" video from Ezra Klein's about the unintended consequences of the past decade's boom in cultural exports.
Japanese cultural appropriation is a bonafide thing.

For this, you can blame Japan's economy. Or at least sort of: Japan's economic rise and stagnation contributed to a massive corporate effort to export Japanese culture, which made it much more available to non-Japanese like Avril. For both good or, in this case, ill.

Broadly speaking, Americans have become much more aware of Japanese cultural touchstones - ramen, Pokemon, J-pop - in recent years. Between 1992 and 2002, Japanese cultural exports tripled in value.  Take a look at this chart of the size of the US manga (roughly, Japanese comics) market over time:

I was there for that expansion in the number of manga titles in the U.S. and the resulting boom in sales, along with booms in anime, video games, Japanese snack food, and collectibles, and I thought it was glorious.  I'd been a fan of Japanese animation since I was a kid in Los Angeles in the 1960s and watched the first Astro Lad broadcast in the U.S., along with Kimba the White Lion, The 8-Man, Speed Racer, and the Amazing Three.  Now, the grandchildren of all those shows had arrived and I could enjoy them all with my younger daughter, who was also a fan.  Speaking of her, follow over the jump for news about the show that got her hooked on anime.

Sailor Moon Official Announcement Trailer

Viz Licenses Original Sailor Moon Anime Franchise
All 200 TV episodes, 3 films, & specials unedited with subtitles & new dub
Viz is offering the franchise without edits in its original uncropped 4:3 aspect ratio, with the original Japanese names, story elements, and relationships. It is also producing an uncut English dub with a new voice cast.

Viz aims to release the franchise digitally with English subtitles starting this summer, followed by the English dub starting in late 2014. It also plans DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo releases in half-season sets starting this fall.
Next, some bonus news about movies from the Miami Film Examiner in Casting and production news of YA dystopias and Marvel Universe films.  Prepare for linkspam!

YA Dystopias

'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' President Coin first look
The stills...give fans of the series a first look at President Coin played by Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore.

Octavia Spencer joins 'Insurgent' cast
Spencer will play Amity leader Johanna who is described as pretty with a distinctive scar that runs across her face. Being one of the five factions in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, the faction of Amity believes in peace and trust.

Marvel Universe

Channing Tatum to Gambit in 'X-Men' spin-off

Disney releases two new 'Guardians of the Galaxy' stills
Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, played by Parks and Recreation's Chris Pratt.

'Fantastic Four' reboot casts Reg E. Cathey
The Wire's Reg E. Cathey has been added to The Fantastic Four reboot cast which already includes Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now), Kate Mara (House of Cards), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), and Jamie Bell (Nymphomaniac)...Cathey will play Dr. Storm, Johnny (Jordan) and Sue Storm's (Mara) father.

That's it for tonight's entertainment-themed story.  Next week, I might write about Godzilla, speaking of Japanese cultural imports.


  1. I spent many a rainy Saturday, listening to Sailor Moon while my daughters watched it on VCR. Oh how they regretted selling them at a yard sale one year. This will make up for it.

    1. Here's to you and your daughters enjoying Sailor Moon again. Now I'm wondering if my younger daughter, who is 23, would be interested in the new release, too.

  2. Given how thoroughly Japan has absorbed American culture I'd say it is utterly impossible for us to 'expropriate' theirs anymore. Besides, they originally stole their culture from the Chinese, what belongs to whom at this point?

    1. I don't know if expropriation is really the issue. Insensitive cultural stereotypes are. BTW, no one over at JournalFen, which specializes in such things, is even bothering to talk about it. They're much too interested in Sailor Moon.