When of course, in reality, those shows will continue to exist. They will cohabitate with their "mainstream" brethren, drinking from the same river and frolicking in the same field, but they will appeal to vastly different audiences. The Kanon's and Air's of the world will keep coming out and gleefully servicing their ardently devoted (but very, very small) fanbase, while the "mainstream" shows will blast out of the ground, guns a-blazin', entertaining all who dare to watch. For some reason anime fans don't seem to understand the concept that fanservicey shows and moe things and yaoi and EVERYTHING can coexist with mainstream ones. I mean, every year at Sundance, there are a dozen or so movies that get made, play in front of a crowd of coked-out film critics and filmmakers, and then wind up on DVD for the viewing pleasure of a dozen or so film snobs at trendy art schools. And then of course there are movies like Avatar that make a million-billion dollars that everybody sees. But those indie movies still get made, they still make a profit, and they still have their fans and their viewers.
3. Atrophy is the only condition for anime in America until visibility is improved overall. The ANN website promotes heavily new releases of DVDs, but that is a niche market reaching out to customers already coming in the door. There is very little advertising, in comparison, targeted towards the general population. 12 midnight to 4AM on a single network is not promotion of material. There are three networks that cater to animation viewing with little anime content. There are several networks that cater to niche markets: G4, Spike, MTV, VH1, Syfy with little to no anime content. Yet you only have to look at the market reaction to Afro Samurai to understand that the problem lies in anime not being out there for the general public to see as the strongest factor in resession of Anime video sales. Everyone I know that is into anime, downloaded Afro Samurai. They also bought both the series and movie dvds. The dvds were also bought by people that don't travel in normal anime circles.
Now I am sure most people are asking what can we do to help. Well I have a couple of solutions. First of all, buy anime on DVD. It will help in the long run. It will keep the remaining dubbing studios open and it could possibly create a new one. Also where ever anime merchandise is sold it will keep them open too. If any of you live near an anime only store go there and don't just buy a plushie, buy a DVD. If not a series then how about a movie? If you do that the store will stay open and you don't have to drive 100 miles to the nearest anime only store. Next is to stop the dubbing/fan sub war. I do download anime. I am guilty of that but I also have a decent anime collection. I have Inuyasha Final Act but when it does come to the US I will delete my downloaded content and buy it. I think the fan sub fans need to see the english versions of their downloaded anime if it has come to the US. A couple of episodes won't hurt. Don't plow through, actually listen and watch it. If you don't like it, fine. At least you gave it a try and opened up to the dubbed world.
I would, however, have anime be seen by those people as a medium with many different ideas, rather than narrowing the entire medium down to one genre. Saying, for example, that "all anime is like DBZ" would be like saying that Hollywood movies are all like James Bond. Both mediums, (anime and Hollywood films) have works that are funny and full of references (Lucky Star and Austin Powers), ones that are noir (Tim Burton's Batman and The Big O), ones about war (Platoon and Mobile Suit Gundam). The list goes on, and on. Anime is a fun, contemporary concept. Most American cartoons are alike, either being about superhero fanchises or being slapstick. It's not a bad thing, however, but the low range of American cartoons may lead some people to assume other animated things are easy to categorize. Anime cannot be simply categorized as one genre, and that's why we like it; for it's sheer amount of diversity in concepts, designs, and many other things.
I have been disappointed by the poor quality of Sentai's products vis-a-vis the fansubs of series such as Samurai Harem and Special A, both of which I bought. The same applies to Bandai's release of Kannagi, and I am holding off on buying the flawed release of Toradora!. In those cases, I consider the fansubs to be far superior. However, Funimation really outdid itself with its release of FMAB Bluray Part 1. Not only were the subtitles sub-par (compared, for example, to Eclipse's fansubs), but the subtitles were not even selectable. There was a choice between English audio with NO subtitles and Japanese audio with FULL subtitles. No English audio with full subtitles for the hearing-impaired (such as myself). No Japanese audio with no subtitles for those who are comfortable enough with the language. And no songs and signs subtitles for either audio track. I didn't download or buy the dvds for comparison, but dvds for years have had selectable subtitle capability. Why would ANYONE release a crippled bluray without that flexibility?
I believe that the progression in the anime industry isn't necessarily a natural forward point to the industry itself, but moreso to the industry as a business in a tough economical time. Sure, the progress of the industry and how it's moving to digital releases and the such might play a contributing factor, but by and large it's that companies, and additionally the consumers, don't want to spend any more money than necessary. Unless you have a blockbuster hit (which imo there hasn't been anything substantially amazing in popularity since the first FMA) there's no way a company is going to commit to paying to run a 26+ episode series right off the bat. They're going to do a season at a time and ensure that they'll only continue it if it's paying well enough. The same is true for OVAs over full movies, the company just doesn't have the resources to pay for a project like that in the off chance it doesn't do well enough to support the budget used to make it. I think it'll be a better telling point if the industry is still like this, say, after we get the next big show, or after the global economy starts to get back to where it was five to ten years ago. 2b1af7f3a8