November 28th, 2007
…for preventing the localizers of anime in America from being a burden to their country and for making them beneficial to the public.
It is a melancholy object to those who travel online, when they see the blogs, the sites, and the editorials, crowded with criers declaring the imminent end of their culture, all in rags and importuning every passerby for hits. I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious amount of wailing is in its present deplorable state of the Union a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of quieting these opinions and making useful members out of the industry would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the state.
But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the sake of declining distributors and shrill naysayers; it is of a much greater extent and shall take in the whole number of shows who are born of licensing little able to adaquetely do justice to them. Anime as a saleable commodity is expanding at an alarming pace. Sellers clamor through the streets trying to hawk figurines, games, novels, comics, and even the clothing off their back. Products from the Orient are reaching an unforseen level of demand in the educated Western world except for the DVDs themself, being improperly made and oft remitted months or years late; in stark contrast to the Eastern world where they are reaching unprecedented levels of sale.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.
I have been assured by a very knowing scholar of my acquaintance in Tokyo that a young healthy DVD released no more than a year after its initial inception is a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
I have already computed the charge of distributing a fresh series (in which list I reckon all producers, translators, and four-fifths of the voice actors) to be about two shillings per annum, packing included; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat DVD, which, as I have said, will make two dishes of excellent nutritive chips and crackers, when he hath only some particular friend or his own family to dine with him. Thus the otaku will learn to be a good customer, and grow popular among his friends; the distributor will have eight shillings net profit, and be fit for work till it produces another DVD.
For first, by expanding the use of the commodity, the market, use and consumption grows as well. It would greatly lessen the number of doomcryers, with whom we are yearly overrun, being the principle antagonists of the nation as well as our most dangerous enemies; and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the industry to the Pretender.
Secondly, the poorer distributors will have something valuable of their own, after spending their fortunes on vulgar works of questionable value. No more will profane items such as Cosprayers, Kodomo no Jikan, or Koi Koi 7 be totally without merit for they may be purchased and consumed nobly by even the most forthright protestant.
Thirdly, whereas the cost of localization cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a-piece per episode, the saleable commodities will be thereby increased fifty thousand pounds per annum, beside the profit of a new dish introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the Union who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture.
Fourthly, the constant releasers, beside the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their shows, will gain the profit of the charge of repeated sales as customers consume their wares and purchase them anew.
Fifthly, this food would likewise bring great custom to taverns; where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection, and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating: and a skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.
Sixthly, this would be a great inducement to understanding, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards or enforced by laws and penalties. It would increase the care and tenderness of distributors toward their releases, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor shows. We should see an honest emulation among the learned licensors, which of them could bring the fullest DVD to the market. Producers would become as fond of their distrubtors during the time of their nascency as they are now of their shows in inception, their songs in recording, their figures in sculpting; nor offer to drop or abandon them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a failure.
I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points.
First, as things now stand, how they will be able to find demand and customers for a hundred thousand worthless shows meant to be sold as blind consumption on faith alone. And secondly, there being a round thousand of creatures in human figure throughout this Union, whose whole subsistence is the localization of the Orient’s media. Should their work wane, they will find themselves penniless and destitute for a time as the coarse shows become ignored and the rich ones rightly receive their due dilligence. At which point, profits will increase and the cycle of depression and growth continues inexorably forever. The market will forever remain, but the merchants will forever continually chafe against this continuous revolution.
I desire those figureheads who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold as to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the creators of these shows, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been sold for food, at a year old in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes as they have since gone through by the hamhanded localization of companies, the impossibility of becoming seen without a universal market to display them, the want of common value, with neither fans nor purchasers to shield them from the inclemencies of the critics, and the most inevitable prospect of entailing the like or greater miseries upon their breed for ever.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my subculture, by advancing our discourse, providing for the customers, relieving the ailing distributors, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I can not place any number on the value of this commodity myself for it is truly an object without price.