Since I have been so busy with work related and swamped with anime coverage, I plan to do these posts whenever I feel like it in the future. With that, it’s time to share some thoughts on some interesting topics from the past few months.
Also, Merry Christmas for those who celebrate. I couldn’t get the 12 Days of Anime post up on time since I was busy, but it will be out before the year ends.
State of the Anime Industry
Anime News Network put up an interesting article about the state of the anime industry. As expected, given how much impact the Covid-19 pandemic, a contraction is obviously going to happen. With the lack of vaccines, things live entertainment obviously received a huge blow. Not to mention, the delays of many anime titles had a huge impact on the domestic market.
Despite this, it’s not too surprising to see the global market grow. After all, if you are stuck at home with work from home and lockdowns, it’s not too surprising. However, it reminds unknown if this trend continues as people return to the new normal as more get vaccinated.
As for the worker shortage, it’s not too surprising as the pandemic has caused an upheaval of the labor market around the world. People aren’t willing to work for low pay, especially one potentially getting exposed to Covid-19. We are seeing this trend with low wage jobs in retail and restaurants as people become reluctant to take these low paying jobs.
From this, it creates a worker shortage and eventually the employer needs to raise wages, add benefits, and/or improve working conditions. Given how low paid animators are, I can see why animation studios having difficulty finding talent. Of course, paying higher wages and improving working conditions can affect the budget of these productions. Not only that, small studios usually can’t afford higher wages.
As for the trend of anime catering for the west, I don’t think it will end well. Just look no further with Crunchyroll Originals, which are mostly a failure (e.g. Ex-Arm) or a mixed bag, except for a few titles. Some of the anime done by western studios aren’t even anime at all, but more like western animation. I don’t consider things like Onyx Equinox and High Guardian Spice as anime. I think the appeal of Anime is mostly because its roots in Japanese culture. When you westernize it, well, everything that makes Japanese animation unique is pretty much gone.
Pitfalls of Digital Manga
I found out recently that the CDJapan eBook Store service will end early next year. Sure, there is a transfer process to Book Walker, which will happen in a few months, but I am skeptical. This is after reading the notice that some contents cannot transfer over.
Of course, this put into question if buying digital manga is a good idea if you are going to lose everything when the service shuts down. Makes you wonder if I should just go back to buying physical copies and then scan them into the computer, so I won’t lose access. Either way, we’ll find out if I lose anything or not in a few months. Aside from that, I will probably start reading manga once I start having to go back into the office.
Other Interesting News
- 22/7 in Turmoil – It looks like the idol group 22/7, which had an anime is facing a lot of turnovers. Besides management letting go Takatsuji Urara for excessive absences, three other members left for their own reasons, which makes me wonder what is going on. Mismanagement perhaps? Will this affect the reputation of the existing members? Time can tell. Still, I don’t think we should worry about Amaki Sally, she has some roles in anime recently.
- Gakkou Kurashi Live Action now available in the west – I was waiting for this after finishing the anime series in October. I suppose if “another story” short series made a release on Hidive, the movie will bound to release here too. I also recently reviewed it.
- Kishida Mel on Fanservice – Not so sure how to feel about this for the fact that I haven’t been watching many fanservice/ecchi shows lately in recent years. Still, I don’t think creators in Japan should tone down the fanservice if they want it in their works just because the western audience and Sony doesn’t want it. Let them vote with their wallet instead of forced censorship. But nowadays, I am not as against it compared to when I was in my early twenties.
- Manga Creator Ito Izumo goes on Hiatus due to illness – Hopefully she will make a speedy recovery.
- Magia Record Third Season Delayed until Spring 2022 – Yes, its unfortunate news, but not too surprising. We didn’t hear much about when the third/final season will air. Then again, it’s Shaft being Shaft and it’s probably for the best. Hopefully the last four episodes better look good after all that time.
- Actress, Singer Sayaka Kanda Passes Away at 35 – While they are still investigating the causes, although it’s most likely suicide, it’s sad that she passed away at a young age, especially when she had a promising career. Not to mention, what makes it sadder is that she also the voice of Mana in Idoly Pride. Either way, I hope she rests in peace and of course, if you have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or respective organization available in your country.
On My Mind
Besides visiting my parents over Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day since it was a federal holiday, Apple finally release the new Apple Silicon MacBook Pros. It has been September 2018 since I got a new MacBook Pro.
Believe it or not, the old one is starting to show its age with some battery issues. Also, typing a post using the butterfly keyboard is not a present experience when I am away from home. Not to mention, it’s basically a ticking time bomb with only about a year left in the keyboard repair program. Surprisingly, the keyboard didn’t develop issues yet thanks to barely using it and having a cover on it. Also lugging an external keyboard is not that convenient. Lastly, it runs hot and loud as well since it’s using Intel.
After using the Apple M1 Mac mini for a whole year now, the experience on my 2018 MacBook Pro has become noticeably slow in Photoshop or rather, most apps in general. Thankfully, Apple announced their M1 Pro and M1 Max Macbook Pros in late October.
As expected, I took the plunge as I saved up money for a new laptop. Overall, it’s a better experience. While the notch is stupid, I found a way to bring it back to what the previous MacBook behave. Yes, by using a program called SwitchResX, which allows you to change screen resolutions.
While I didn’t go crazy, I opted for 32 GB of memory, which of course made the new laptop cost close to $3000, the most I spent on a computer so far. I also opted for an external 2TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD over the internal upgrade. It runs a lot quieter, and I don’t need an external GPU to run two monitors. Of course, I put a Dbrand skin on it as well since I plan to use this laptop for at least four years. Afterwards, it will become a backup to whatever new model they release afterwards.
As expected, being able to use Yomiwa on my Mac is a plus since it will make looking up words less painful. Maybe now I can start to make a dent on my video game backlog. Yes, just in time for Idolmaster Starlit Season for the PlayStation 4, since the PC version is region locked.
At last, I am finally upgrading my home storage. For a while, it has been a big mess since my file share server lacks redundancy. Only the important files such as photos, anime collection, and backups are on the Thunderbolt RAID array. I built it back in 2015 when I started working and it only has 4x 3TB WD Red drives and now most of the storage is used up.
To fix this, I plan to build another NAS, or finish the build. I already built this server back in August after upgrading one of my servers that hosts my virtual gaming pc to Ryzen 9 5900X. My old build went into another case for a NAS. However, I was waiting for bare large capacity hard drives. I ultimately settled for a Seagate Exos 16 TB enterprise drive.
While I had bad experiences with Seagate drives failing, those are with the cheaper consumer line. The Ironwolf series built better but cost more than the enterprise drives for some reason. I plan to create an iSCSI disk and have the Mac mini use it. Then I can use personal cloud backup, so it won’t become insanely expensive to have offsite backups. The thunderbolt array will only store backups once I move everything else from that array.
In the end, I should have 32 TB of usable storage out of 64 TB with a RAIDz2. Yes, I moved the data, but the array became degraded from CRC errors. I don’t know if it’s the drives or the RAM. With that, I ended up returning three drives for replacement and replace the two bad sticks of memory with a warranty replacement. Thankfully, there is no data loss and I now have everything on the Mac mini server backed up on Backblaze. Recently, I messed up the disk image for the iSCSI target, which had all the data. Thankfully, it’s already backed up, so there is minimal to no data loss. It’s probably the best time to test the backups, although it will take a while to be fully restored.
I also added a 10G Ethernet Nic for the Mac mini via Thunderbolt 2 and one on the server for direct connect. Eventually, the home network is going 10G Ethernet. I changed the NAS software to Unraid since I couldn’t get the 10G NIC to work in TrueNAS Core. It should be plenty of space for years to come. I will have 4 open drive slots to expand the storage in the future and create another pool or expand the existing. I just recently moved most of the files from external drives to the new array. Now, the external drives will be used for video archive.
Aside from that, things are still busy with the amount of shows I am covering with a few business trips up to the data center. Not to mention, I went back to the office to pack my cubicle since the office space is getting renovated. Also, I went back two times a few weeks back to help sort out a storage room filled with old computers and old relics such as the Jaz drives. Remember those?
Thankfully, I took my booster the first week of November and received two ours of leave for it. As expected, it’s no different from the last two shots, except a small pain on the arm that went away after a day. I went back to see my parents on Thanksgiving and give my sister her birthday presents.
Also, I had the chance to watch the 2021 TrySail 6th Live, “Double the Cape.” It was enjoyable and nice to see a regular live performance from them. I still have Ueda Reina’s first live and two lives from Ogura Yui to watch, hopefully over the break.
Lastly, I finally started WaniKani just last week and already paid for a lifetime subscription that was on sale. Sure, I got down all the grammar and can understand anything with a dictionary, but I still struggle with Kanji. Flashcard that I made in Anki just aren’t effective and I am spending too much time looking up words.
While I bought Kanji textbooks, I end up not using them. With that, I decided to give WaniKani a try and from a glance, it’s starting to work. I guess we’ll know for sure after a few months, but I will share my experiences with it eventually. Currently, I’m on level 3 and progressing at a good pace.
With that, I wish everyone a happy holiday. I do plan to give answers to the suggestions for Kireina Yuri soon on that blog. I will start recruiting writers for this new Yuri community blog soon.
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2 Comments… read them or add your own.
In terms of the global anime market 2020 is just about the first year when the global market exceeded the Japanese domestic market. It only beat the revenue by a tiny smidge so at this point I don’t think they will totally pander to the west, it will be more a case that the most esoteric cultural specific content will be reduced so it can be digested by a wider audience.
If the global market gave more than 60% of total sales then I could see them adopting more, how shall I say it, constrained fanservice elements. I don’t think the anime industry would go full Sony unless the share was over 70%. Issue I do see is that the demographics of Japan are working against it as the primary consumers of anime (I think) are in the under 25 bracket. If that is the case over time more and more sales will come from abroad. Plus it is not just the west that should get you worried, if the Japanese are keen to break into the growing Chinese market then they need to release “less corruptible” series for the Chinese youth if you get my drift.
At the moment though things are good but I do think too many anime series are being produced. Studios are stretched thin and the work schedule for animators is more than brutal. If the Japanese companies don’t treat them better or pay them better then there could be a dearth of talent in the next 10-15 years especially if they keep going down the outsourcing path.
Given that there was a pandemic in 2020 and the west mismanaged it, I can see why the western market got a boost mostly from streaming services. I think 2021 might be different as they started having anime events again and that not many shows got delayed. Not to mention, Japan seems to managed the pandemic better than say the United States and other western countries. I have doubts that this trend will continue and I think pandering to the west isn’t a great idea. Most of the western anime that were Crunchyroll originals were failures, especially the infamous Ex-Arm. Still, I do think censorship will become an issue if Japanese anime industry look to the Chinese market thanks to the amount of censorship there.
I think more reform is needed in the Japanese anime industry to improve the situation, or it can be a problem as you mentioned.