It's an older article from June 12 of this year, I agree with all of this article.
The Fall of Manga and Anime.
Quote. "Chobot looks at the fractures in the industry, and how they're affecting her enthusiasm for its products.
by Jessica Chobot
June 12, 2008 - It's time to say the thing that Japanophiles and otaku aren't supposed to say: I am bored to tears with manga and anime here in the US of A.
After one of our contributors posted about the apparent decline of TokyoPop earlier this month, it got me thinking more and more about my increasingly dismissive attitude towards what was previously one of my more passionate hobbies.
For any anime/manga aficionado whose paying even a small amount of attention, it is obvious that TokyoPop isn't the only one struggling. Geneon has been essentially dissolved. ADV has been oddly silent of late which could be good or bad, but judging how some of their fellow competitors are faring, chances are it's the latter. In fact, the only two publishers seem to have found some stability and success: Viz, with their massively popular shojo/shonen titles, and Funimation, with the never-ending Dragon Ball Z and One Piece franchises alongside some quality live-action movies.
While it is all fair and good to try and piece together what's happening within the manga and anime trade by reading between the lines of press releases and rumor mongering, it still seems somewhat disconnected from what made manga and anime flourish here in the states in the first place: The fans.
As Ramsey stated in his article, the current state of the economy, the cost of books and DVDs, file-sharing, the "gray" legal area that fan-subs fall into, etc… all of these things have had an impact on sales. Yet the problem is a little bit more complex than unfortunate fans with empty pockets and questionable legality issues.
From a collector's standpoint (that collector being "moi"), there's a slight stink of "get rich quick" scheming that has sullied the US manga/anime market. The over-saturation of mediocre product for the sake of having full bookstore shelves is one of the more obvious problems. For every Death Note that is imported and translated for English audiences, there are ten other titles that, for lack of a better phrase, are complete and utter crap.
Various distribution companies, having caught on to the fact that girls were spending their hard-earned dollars on shojo titles, instantly bombarded stores with pile after pile of any and all romantically-inclined manga in the hopes of cashing in on the craze. Companies that should have never attempted to delve into the unfamiliar waters of shojo comics (Harlequin Romance's release, in conjunction with Dark Horse Comics, of the Harlequin Pink line) tried to get their greedy hands on a piece of the action.
This demonstration of blatant disregard for the taste and intelligence of their targeted readership is, at its best, foolish, and at its worse, insulting.
The problem doesn't just begin and end with "girl" manga/anime either. Many of the themes found in various manga, whether shojo, shonen, comedy or others, come off as stale and unimaginative. Fans have been inundated with the same plot lines, same dialogue, same character backgrounds and same art style. While the argument of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," can be made, the counter notion of, "too much, too soon," also holds a certain amount of relevance.
Another slightly questionable and very controversial practice from the hard-core fan POV has been TokyoPop's aggressive push of OEL (Original English Language) manga. While the argument over whether or not OEL manga is or is not "legitimate" manga can be argued back and forth forever as a personal taste issue, things get a little more sticky when one references the 2005 article by Publisher Weekly. In the article, Viz publicity director, Evelyn Dubocq is quoted as suggesting that companies are only pushing original authors because, "they are struggling to find licensed content. Manga are Japanese in origin." Her statement is backed up when, in the same article, James Killen (a graphic novels buyer for Barnes & Noble) states that the Japanese licensed titles outsell the OEL titles. While TokyoPop rallied back with some very strong points in favor of OELs, given TokyoPop's current press release and supposed state of affairs it looks as if Viz may have sunk 'Pop's battleship in this debate.
With the constant and ever increasing influx of manga and anime, a certain mystique has long been missing from "the hobby." No more are the days when anime and manga had to be special ordered from some independent Asian imports shop. No more trolling through the basements of various neighborhoods comic stores for that old VHS of Ranma ½. Similar to the current videogame market, the argument that in exchange for ease of acquirement and inclusion of both "hardcore" and "casual" fans, companies are shooting for the lowest common denominator: A "jack of all trades but master of none" attitude where everyone gets a little bit of something, but none of it is very good.
Before the Wachowski brothers pillaged Speed Racer. Before Adult Swim broadcast decently English-dubbed animes featuring short blonde boys who know alchemy. Even before Ghost in the Shell was released on the big screen to select art-house audiences. Hell, before I was even in college, you knew the manga you were reading or the anime you were buying was assured to be of high quality. The shows or books would be in-depth and pushing the boundaries of anything you had ever seen before because if the companies in Japan felt that the title was worthy enough to sub-title and release it in the States then there must be something there.
Now, with most Western publishing companies pushing every license they can get their hands on, companies that shouldn't be in the game are attempting to stick their foot in the door for no good reason whatsoever. Other companies are trying to fill a void or establish new "genres" of manga/anime in order to keep milking their cash-cow. Simply put, US buyers and fans have become overwhelmed with a watered-down product.
As terrible as this may sound, I'm a little glad to see some of these companies shrinking their numbers and cutting back on production. I'd like to see the manga/anime/otaku lifestyle come full circle and resemble its former golden glory days once more.
It's all about quality over quantity, people. Remember that." End quote