News From The Other Side Of The Pond #12!

Sae Featured on Radio Drama!

Aurora Squadron Prism Knights is a popular radio drama in Japan that revolves around magical girls. In an alternate reality, the Earth Queen’s successor must be found. The successor is a Crystal Master, and is protected by the Prism Knights, a squadron of magical girls of which each has a special talent. They return to the galaxy to find the new Queen and protect the galaxy from evil and keep the peace! By day, they work as housemaids. When we read this, we thought immediately, why is this not a manga or an anime? It sounds exciting enough to be one of those and we doubt that it’s getting the exposure it deserves as a radio drama – which are huge in Japan from what we hear, but still we think an anime or a manga would be a better choice! Sae, who is better known as the singer of the OP of PGSM Kirari*Sailor Dream!, sings the OP of this drama, titled Double Rainbow. Sae recently changed her name to Nanami Yumihara, and we nearly missed this sighting. The single was released in limited quantities on December 8th, and was muchly anticipated by the public. The drama also has another connection to Sailor Moon, Norio Wakamoto plays Mirage. Norio played Yuusuke Amade in episode six.

Italian Translates Japanese Manga!

We bring you yet another addition to our Special People tag. A journalist in Japan had heard that Japanese cartoons were very popular in Italy, but he wanted to know more. And then he met a translator – Stefania Da Pont. She lives in Japan now and translates manga into Italian. She has been a fan of Japanese cartoons since she was a small child of barely 3-years-old, remembering a Gundam Series, Heidi of the Alps, and Grendizer among her first anime she had ever seen. As a teenager she enjoyed watching Sailor Moon but disagreed with the edits and how different it was from the original comic book. We reported on some of these differences in an earlier article. She also said that the comics were very expensive and children would really have to save to be able to afford them. Being a translator wasn’t her dream job, but she was very interested in Japanese language and culture, and pursued it through high school and university, even going to a special high school that specialized in the instruction of foreign languages. Later she decided that she wanted to be a translator, and attended The Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She graduated in 2005 having studied Japanese Language and Culture. Now she lives in Japan and works to translate cartoons and comics in Italian. She moved there so that she could be near the culture she loved, as well as experience cutting-edge technology. She finds the sentence structures of both languages hard in some cases when she has to translate, but she loves doing what she does. She also keeps a blog in Italian about her adventures in Japan.

Mixed Feelings on the State of Anime

Lastly, we came across this article from Japan that reported on last weekend’s inaugural New York Anime Fest (NYAF). NYAF also played host to the ICv2 Conference on Anime and Manga, which brought together members from all over the industry to discuss anime and manga. We’re not going to summarize this article as it pretty much has the same details ANN has covered in their coverage of the event, so we’ll point you to their coverage which even has some video footage. And there’s this article that was just posted today from an exec who better emphasizes the problems with the industry. This opinion piece was written by CNET Japan’s Yuuzi Mori, his title roughly translates to “Japanese Content has dug its own grave. Cartoon Industry Talks in North America”. He presents some figures on the second page, the top being for manga and the bottom being for anime. We’re going to provide a quick translation of the table for you here so you can see what the figures are saying:

For Manga:

Profits (below) Year (>>) 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Market Share $60 Million $100 Million $135 Million $175 Million $200 Million
Compared With Previous Year 67% 35% 30% 40%
Number of Titles 1088 1288 1468*

For Anime:

Profits (below) Year (>>) 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Market Share $500 Million $550 Million $500 Million $450 Million $400 Million
Compared With Previous Year 10% 0% 10% 11%
Number of Titles 400 562 727 733 759 617*

*indicates estimates as of the beginning of December.

The writer of this opinion made mention that a lot of titles that get released don’t make as much profits as others who have a run on cable television in North America, and this is one of the biggest reasons for the downfall in anime-related profits this year. The second biggest reason being the distribution of fansubs online. The same trends are being seen in Europe, but they are on a much bigger scale given all of the different languages that pop up on fansub. In fact he thinks that the anime industry in North America could reach a standstill since the Japanese companies are likely to increase the licensing fee in the future if this trend continues. But then at the same time, if it wasn’t for this internet exposure, a lot of fans wouldn’t be aware of certain titles, and many titles are a lot popular even before a license is announced in North America. Bleach and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya are probably the biggest prime examples where this holds true of recent years. And of course, he makes mention of Geneon’s pullout, and he reveals that they were responsible for a sizeable 20% chunk of the North American Industry. We agree with the opinion of the editor that some internet exposure is needed for these series since the majority of them don’t air on television, but at the same time we think that there needs to be something done about fansubs after they are licensed.

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