RE: Anime WAS: The beginning of the end?

Mike Tribby (mike.tribby@quality-books.com)
Tue, 25 Jun 2002 06:24:03 -0700 (PDT)

> Chicago has a reputation of being a bit of a backwater for
>anime fandom.

I knew there was a reason I preferred Chicago to San Francisco, now I have a
name for it.

But seriously, Madison, WI, as opposed to the city of big shoulders, has had
an avid local following for, and wide availability of anime since at least
the late '80s, including imported stuff that appeared before the name anime
had really become current. I remember when they first hit the comicbook
stores and were described as "animated manga." What hasn't hit real big
here is the changeover in home equipment from VCRs to DVD players. Perhaps
people are somewhat reluctant to join our West Coastal breddren in
worshipping at the feet of a commercial development that promises to sweep
the nation but never bring down the retail prices of new releases--like
music CDs. When CDs first started to supplant LPs, the commercial chant was
that the price would come down as the demand for and production of CDs
increased. By and large that didn't happen and it won't happen with DVDs.
As others have pointed out, the price to mass produce a DVD is much less
than for a VHS tape. But guess which one generally costs more on
release--and will damn well continue to if and when the great unwashed
masses finally chuck their VCRs.

Y'know another thing besides an incredible lack of hipness that may be
holding back the tidal wave of anime demand in the hinterlands might be the
repetitious nature of much anime. First the screen is filled with cute
little 'toons flying around being all martial-artsy, now the girl 'toons are
showing their lingerie, now all the little 'toons are blasting the whey out
of various and sundry, now they're all making Sailor-Moonish googly eyes and
being cute. I'm not saying no anime is interesting, nor that all of it is
the same--hey, I even review (often favorably) new anime releases--just that
it may never really attain mainstream dominance or even currency. Just like
Alex found out with the ultra-Vs (A Clockwork Orange--no doubt a mere
footnote to film history now that we've entered the Age of Anime), too much
is sometimes just too much. Ultimately many consumers find a form of art
that constantly repeats themes and images to be boring and unrewarding, not
like my favorite form of cultural expression, reggae. Oops... wait a
minute.

Mike Tribby
Senior Cataloger
Quality Books Inc.
The Best of America's Independent Presses

mailto:mike.tribby@quality-books.com

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