Animation: Our favorite medium to pander mindless crap to kids!
Let's go back to 1995 for a second. Our favorite person, named Gen F------- (to protect the innocent. . .or guilty in this case), goes down to NBC Studios to try and sell his show:
NBC: Doragon Balu Zeto. Great story, right? Good characters, fun show, emotional
scenes, am I correct? Great music, voice acting, and all the components of a
great show. Is this not correct, Mr. F------?
Gen: It's all true, and, it's animated!
NBC: What??? Well, does it serve a political purpose? Like this new "Ghost in the
Shell" project in development?
Gen: No, but it was the highest rated. . .
NBC: Next, Please.
So, being unsuccessful everywhere he goes, Gen tries Saban ...
Saban: Well, since it has no message ...
Gen: But it's a great show about teamwork, love, hate, and ...
Saban: ... we can market it to kids if you "clean it up."
Gen: Do you pay cash?
Saban: Of course.
Gen: (Taps fingers like Monty Burns) Excellent.
Now what Gen did was a very naughty thing. As about 10 terabytes of text have said before, he's the reason DBZ's dub stinks. But the fact that he sold out isn't the worst part. Lets go to 1997, when GAINAX was shopping around for someone to put Eva on TV.
NBC: WOH, man. I've watched this sanz-pot AND stoned, and it still doesn't make
sense. If you cut back on the intellectual elements, I know some guys at
Saban who can make you some cash. Oh, one last tip: in America, the
cross and angels are holy symbols.
GAINAX: Stupid American! Once people discover our show on tape, they will beg for
it on TV! Though, without any funding, we'll have to charge $15 an episode
... anyway, see you in hell! PBS, in some markets, will show our art! It's
called creative integrity, which we keep! PBS respects this!
NBC: Did you know that they only pay $10,000 per episode?
GAINAX: Kuso! Damn viewers like us!
Do you guys get a sense of what is happening? Animation is not a respected medium in the US because:
1) Shows that have no message per se, and that have corruptible owners (of the US rights, that is *cough*FUNi*cough*), are immediately marketed to kids.
2) Animé with a message is rejected by networks (Eva and Lain, for example), and only gets a mainstream audience if the owner has tons and tons of money (Princess Mononoke for example; would it have ever gotten a mainstream release without those popular actors? And even with them, it only reached about 1 screen for every 500,000 people)
3) Bottom Line: Animé is, and my never be, a respectable medium for American entrainment.
Wow. . .that sucks. But why does this injustice perpetuate? Because people like Disney and WB WANT animation to FOREVER be their medium for pandering useless crap to kids. Nobody in the US who controls the airwaves wants animé unless it comes with a cereal, a video game, and a crappy theme-song. They don't want Animé that has a clear message, like Lain's message of the influence of the Internet of our lives. Half-assed messages (like those found in DBZ ... sorry guys, but that whole teamwork/love/whatever you learned in kindergarten thing as DBZ's "very influential, life changing" message is a crock. DBZ is just a great show) are OK. Shows with big robots that fight are OK (GUNDAM WING!!!). Why? Take Gundam W for example. Even though you have deep, cool, dramatic characters (Treize, easily my favorite character), a subtle message that the elimination of weapons would end wars (I bet the NRA would love to know that), and a complicated story, Gundam W is OK because the Gundams look cool enough to be toys, and since it has fights. When you were a kid, watching TMNT, you watched it to see the 4 artistic amphibians kick Shredder's tail, and for them to talk like surfers (Cowabunga!). Then you bought the action figures. Wait a tic ... that sounds like my little brother and US DBZ! Evidence right there, folks. The Americans want animation to be for kids.
And, of course, there is a plethora of other reasons to keep American Animation in the hands of the kids, being:
Teleparenting: Mommy comes home with Ninja Scroll, since it's animated. Johnny pops in tape. Girl gets raped. Webmaster ranted at (ok, that's another story) ...
Toys: Besides Todd McFarlane's awesome stuff (AKIRA AND TRIGUN FIGURES!!), action figures from animated shows are for kiddies. How can we make an animation market with no toys.
STUPID AMERICANS!!: Yes, most Americans just wouldn't be interested in Eva. It's the anit-animation-attitude (Triple A) installed in them by Disney.
So how do we fix this? We can't. Until there is a breakthrough animated show (something as popular as "The Simpsons" or "South Park", but from Japan) on network TV, we're gonna have to keep on paying $6-10 dollars for every 25 minutes of Animé on DVD. Which, in my opinion, is not a good deal, since Animé DVDs are VERY stingy on extras 99.9% of the time. Animé IS making a dent (Ghost in the Shell made #48 on EW's Top 50 DVD's list), but it hasn't broken out of the kids market. Eva need to run on Sci-Fi channel, along with Kenshin. An anime needs to be on Must See TV. Then anime will no longer be for kids and Gen's "niche market".
But what do we care if animé becomes big in the States? Personally, I wish animé would go back to import LD's and cheap fansubs. I wish the Internet wasn't even created yet, but I digress. If animé becomes popular in the states, you will see:
a- more shows on DVD and TV
b- animé DVD's with price tags under $20
But, for now, animation will have to remain Disney's bitch. Please help change this .. tell your networks you want anime! Buy DVDs (Except for FUNi's).
"Wait a second," you ask, "why all the FUNi bashing on a totally unrelated subject?"
Why? Because FUNimation sold out your show. They care more about money than artistic integrity. Quit watching the dub, because it isn't getting better and it won't get better. Those sites who say the dub is getting better, don't care about you, the fan, they just care about you watching the dub and keeping DBZ alive in the states. Please, I beg you, think for yourselves. That's what my next, hugest, biggest editorial is gonna be about.