The AnimeChicago team has found their way out from under the heaps of delicious food, piles of wrapping paper, and stacks of discarded “2018” plastic glasses to look towards the new year, for both the entire anime industry and for fans right here in Chicago. (As usual, names have been removed to protect the innocent.)
What is one prediction you have for the anime industry in 2018?
“The gulf between high- and low-quality anime will double. There’s a mass consolidation between streaming services, larger media conglomerates, and production studios as anime viewership steadily grows. These partnerships will fund new anime so the number of titles released each season will spike. And they won’t all be winners. Another side effect of consolidation: streaming services who are not collaborating with production studios may struggle to stay relevant this year.”
“The continual shift towards streaming only over broadcast networks. A lot of foreign money is being pumped into producing exclusive anime, and it seems likely that trend will keep ramping up. This can be a good and a bad thing, good because it means that production quality should go up but bad because I worry that with the increasing foreign influence, shows will try to pander to audiences they didn’t need to before. Kinda like what happened with blockbuster movies in America that try hard to cater to the international audiences where they might make simpler stories so that they translate better across the globe. I like anime because of the way it tells its stories, and I hope that doesn’t change.”
“I wouldn’t bet on them being good, but I think the quality of American live action anime adaptations will improve in 2018. This will be driven by the increased global interest and investment in anime and modern media’s growing appetite for recycled material. The well that is the 80s has to run dry eventually and content producers will be looking for “new” works to reinvent.”
“More active use of social media as plot points; LINE-tan, etc.”
What is one thing you’d like to see from the anime industry in 2018?
“Substantial pay increases for animators and other production artists. With viewership increasing, titles increasing, and new production studios forming to meet demand, there’s more money circulating within the industry than ever before. Yet artists salaries are depressingly meager, despite enduring round-the-clock crunch and abysmal working conditions to produce anime on a weekly schedule. I believe studios and distributors have an obligation to their creatives to change the sad norms regarding pay and benefits.”
“I’d like to see these foreign investors like Netflix understand that they should offer little guidance, if any. Let the artists do the bulk of the work. Let directors make passion projects, let writers go off on tangents, let the best animators wild, don’t try to reign in that creative spirit to match an algorithm saying “our viewers would like a show about. . .” All of my favorite anime series have come from creative individuals, not a board of directors.”
“I’d like to see anime more frequently reflect the interests and experiences of post-high school Japan. I don’t expect anime to be particularly educational, but I would like to view larger segments of Japanese culture through modern storytelling.”
“Kaiji Season 3 when?!” [Editor’s note: Never]
What is one goal that you have for AnimeChicago in 2018?
“Expose Chicagoans to beautiful, emotionally impactful anime! We’ve seen many new titles subvert standard tropes and embrace everything animation as a medium is primed to do. Titles like March Comes in Like a Lion, Ancient Magus’ Bride, and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu give me ALL THE FEELS. These works and many others in recent years are inspiring a new wave of anime fandom and I must share it with the world!”
“AnimeChicago members are very thoughtful, passionate and unique, but the one thing I think we can all improve on is our creativity. We are great at consuming anime, that’s for sure, but my goal this year is to get everyone I can to express their love for the medium in myriad ways. Be it through art, writing, music, cosplay, or any other hobby, I want to encourage others to be more active in the fandom.”
“I think anime fans will become more fragmented as more content becomes available. No one can watch all the anime that comes out in a season anymore, so I hope AnimeChicago will help fans connect even when they aren’t watching the same shows.”
“Kicking off a “Variety Hour” for people to talk about things they like!”
From streaming, to promoting creativity and stoking passion, it’s clear that AnimeChicago is ready to take on whatever this new year of anime can bring!