Few points taken from this conference which took place in Paris, early July ’10, where specialized labels (Wild Side, Kazé) & journalists (Midnight Eye, Ecrans d’Asie) talked about Japan’s video market.
Japan trying to control its cultural products
Last year, the biggest japanese publishing company brought Kazé (european anime distributor). It’s quite surprising, because usually they never act like that. The main reason: they’ve realized there are trustful people doing a better job than them when it comes to export cultural japanese products. That’s a revolution. It’s also new to see a japanese company trusting foreigners, usually they hate partnerships, because they like to feel like home. The way to deal with japanese content overseas is changing. (Cédric Littardi from Kazé)
There was a european wave of releases, but now, with the dying japanese video market, the wave is slowly dying. Japanese companies are moving to something else. Releasing forgotten j-masters was just a fad led by european distributors. They found out some names sold better than others while Japanese tried to sell more and more masters’ works. But then, they understood it didn’t sell as good as they hoped. They were aiming the international market, not really trying to promote their classics. (Bastian Meiresonne from Ecrans d’Asie)
Animation & video
The video sales market is dominated by J-Pop, blockbusters, anime, leaving no room for independants. For example, in 2008, animation accounted for 80% of BD sales in Japan – first half of 2010 = 61,3%. It’s really big. It took 20 years for animation to be recognized in Japan, the first anime series aired on January ’63 (Astro Boy), the first successful theatrical releases of animated films were released in ’84 (Nausicaa & Macross). It took the same amount of time in France (Grendizer on TV in ’78, Ghibli films in cinema in ’00). (Cédric Littardi from Kazé)