The Coolest Thing Right Now
Shuzo John Shiota · From fps #2 · May 1, 2005 | Whenever I travel abroad and tell my chance acquaintance that I produce CG animation in Japan, I usually get a nod of respect. They may tell me, "Ah, my kids just love anime!" or "Isn't it the coolest thing now?" I have heard that the Museum of Modern Art in New York is planning to do a blockbuster exhibition on anime this summer. With all this exposure worldwide, no wonder most people think that our industry is doing quite well.

Well, a week before this writing, I had the opportunity to preside over a student animation contest along with Fumihiko Sori, producer of the widely acclaimed CG anime film Appleseed, and Toyokazu Hattori, producer at Toei Animation. We went into a long conversation lamenting the general state of our industry and its lack of foresight. In a way, our sentiments exemplify those shared by "enlightened" professionals. Contrary to what other people think, we really haven't realized the worldwide marketing potential of our properties, and so we usually don't look beyond Japan to promote our materials. Meanwhile, animation creators in countries like Korea, who have grown up embracing our manga and anime, are creating their own brand of anime, but targeted toward the rest of the world. The competition, coupled with a supportive government, is serious. Can Japan face the challenge? In my view, we are currently a stagnant industry lacking the dynamism to turn itself around.

Why is this happening?

Want to read the rest of this feature?

You'll find it and many other articles in the May 2005 issue of fps, available as a free download.
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