Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Anime, illegal downloads, and the bottom line

Everything is melting.  The temperatures are climbing to unseasonably warm degrees.  All of the accumulated fallout from Snowpocalypse is gradually turning into a muddied pool, rendered gray by the mixing of white snow with black street soot.  Sort of looks like the "gray goo" scenario that many warn of with nanotechnology.   Through it all the limousines rolled last night, carrying Valentines to overpriced dinners.  I don't like warm weather.
So I distract myself.  I plug myself in deeper online, reading articles like this one that claims Internet piracy actually boosts the sales of anime.  Apparently, an economic think-tank that was sanctioned by the Japanese government concluded that pirated films and episodes actually have an opposite affect on the bottom line of anime production houses.
While I don't want to make any claims about the veracity or accuracy of the study, I did sit and ponder upon it for a bit.  Could this be symbolic of the Internet as a nigh unstoppable democratic force?  The restrictions and clamping-downs that occur, the more market forces seem to find a way around them.  Or in Star Wars parlance, "the more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers?"  
I also wonder, and hope, that this might free up certain series of anime that appear "lost," or at least not quite as accessible as those of the past ten years.  As much as I like to harp about the future, there are those things to which I prefer the older, original versions.  Anime is one of them.  
Post World War II, we seem to have been in a sort of cultural symbiosis with Japan.  We've shared rock n roll and cheeseburgers with them.  They've given us anime, manga, and Hello Kitty.  My fascination with Japanese pop culture began the first time I watched Godzilla flatten Tokyo.  From there my interests grew to the series Ultraman.  Then came my first exposure to anime via Speed Racer, Battle of the Planets (or Gatchaman), Robotech, and...my favorite...Starblazers.  In time, I graduated to Akira (I hear that the geniuses of Hollywood have been planning a live action version of this classic.  I'm certain they'll get Justin Beiber to play Kanada.)  While I have several episodes of those particular anime shows, I still wouldn't mind seeing more.  Perhaps if this study does bear out to be valid, more of those old, classic animes will resurface.

So it's back into the tepid murk I go.  Perhaps I'll sift through my DVDs tonight because you know what they say: in spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to anime.

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