The Speakeasy #030: Preferred Lies, The Codependent Relationship of Fans and the Industry


Drink #030: Preferred Lies,
The Codependent Relationship of Fans
and the Industry

For a long time now, a seemingly unusual relationship has existed between the anime and manga fans and the industry that brings anime and manga to us. Fans just as often foster a healthy relationship with these companies as they go out of their way to maliciously hurt them. The anime and manga industry have the same beautiful but painful courtship with their fanbase. In this episode, we muse on how both sides treat each other. Phillip from the Eeeper’s Choice Podcast came on the help us talk about this complicated issue. Can the industry and fans be friends? Should they be?

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And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Preferred Lies

*2 oz. Earl Grey-infused bourbon (see below)
*1/2 oz. apple cider vinegar
*1/4 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
*1/4 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
*1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
*Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: Old Fashioned
Garnish: brandied cherry

Combine all ingredients with ice and shake. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass and garnish.

For the Earl Grey-infused bourbon, combine 2 ounces of loose Earl Grey tea leaves in 750 ml. of bourbon. Let steep for 24 hours and strain into a clean glass bottle.

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3 thoughts on “The Speakeasy #030: Preferred Lies, The Codependent Relationship of Fans and the Industry

  1. Ed Sizemore says:

    The Japanese anime companies aren’t good capitalists, so what? No one said you had to be a capitalist to own and operate a company. Is it frustrating? Sure, but that price we pay for being fans of entertainment from a different culture.

    I see the aninme industry as being the same as Hollywood. Japanese fans have access to directors, writers, and actors as part of the PR machine. Just as Johnny Depp is out pressing the flesh and making nice with the fans to get you to see his latest movie. So too Oshii. You have to remember there is always some PR angle to any public appearance of an anime professional. Belief they are there because they like you is just being delusional.

    As far as guests coming to America. I can understand them being very guarded. They are in a foriegn country at the expense of a foriegn company. They are meeting fans and potential fans for the first time. They don’t want to screw it up and make a bad impression. Think about Moto Hagio being at San Diego Comic Con. She could show up and piss everyone off if she wanted to. It wouldn’t do any damage to her. Her travel and board have been paid for. Fantagraphics has already paid the licencse fee for the book. But she would be a horrible human being if she wasn’t concerned about how her presence here in the America could impact Fantagraphics. So she’s going to be oon her best behavior because Fantagraphics has put a lot of money on the line for her.

    Finally, (for now) I’ve never seen anime or manga companies as my friends. They are people I do business with. I don’t assume any more than a business relationship and the appropriate level of politeness that entails. In the back of my head I always remember their motive is to relieve me of my cash. When I stop being a customer, they will stop paying attention to me. I’ve had wonderful experiences with the company reps I’ve talked to, but I would never think of any of them as my friend or even an associate. Sure we can act all chummy, but that’s all it is acting. I play nice to get them to license shows and books I want and they play nice to get my money and to get me to say nice things about them.

    The irony here is that Phillip sounds cyncial but is really very optimist there can be some level of friendship and open communication with these companies. If he wasn’t such an optimist, he wouldn’t feel so betrayed. Phillip they are all three card monte con-men. There is no friendship on the table, they palmed it. ;-)

  2. Ed Sizemore says:

    Just a couple more thoughts. The Japanese companies don’t have any obligations to us. We’re party crashers. In fact, I prefer for the Japanese creators to pretend I don’t exist. My favorite shows/books (Princess Mononoke, Wandering Son, Pluto, Perfect Blue, etc.) would have never been created if they were worried about appealing to the world in general. So remember we’re barraging in to a party held by a Japanese company for Japanese fans. We should be thankful they haven’t called security on us.

    I find it very frustrating that Japanese companies don’t put English subtitles on their BD and DVDS. However, I do think they might have some valid arguments for not doing so. Take a show like Wandering Son. It got streamed with English subtitles. I think we can all agree the subtitles on Crunchyroll are less than perfect. As a company, I certainly wouldn’t want to put them on my BD/DVD as official translations. So that means paying for and quality checking translations. Also, getting everyone to sign off on them. Will Wandering Son see enough discs overseas to justfy the added expense? As much as I hate to say it, probably not.

    Make no mistake, the Japanese companies don’t value us as fans. We are a nice bit of extra cash. They aren’t bluffing when they threaten to take their ball and go home. So we have no power over them as comsumers. They are perfectly happy to live off domestic sales alone.

    I’ll spare us all a long discussion of how the anime companies have trained their consumers. The Japanese otaku are a great example of Pavlovian conditioning. The Japan would love for us to follow their example.

    I liked the podcast. I would say to Phillip. You need to create some emotional distance between yourself and the anime industry. Your blood pressure will thank you.

  3. matty says:

    The reason PR reps. don’t ever disclose their status on titles when asked is a very cautious business move, and while fans get frustrated, the companies stay out of any trouble if they would have said otherwise.

    This happens in the game scene sometimes, where a company rep. is honest and say more than what’s listed in a press release, then eight months later nothing comes out of it ’cause the business deal didn’t fall through.
    Remember Mega Man Legends 3? Look that up, and you know to never announce anything that isn’t 100% confirmed.
    Reps. just can’t be open like that. Just look at the hubbub MangaUK had over Twitter…

    What puts the manga/anime industry in a unique spot is that fans can go straight to the source and cut the middle man (ie publishers) out completely and grab the scans and fansubs. I would think that would scare the hell out of companies, but fans do want to support their hobby.

    This is why I would love to see something like JManga find a successful model ’cause I’m amazed how long this has been going on.

    Phil makes a valid point that fans do not contact Japanese companies regarding titles. I’m sure it’s because it will amount to even less than communicating to licensors- and they will not budge at all.
    I know for visual novels, namely MangaGamer (localization company), tries to gather any Japanese company into their crazy idea to license out their games to the English audience. Sometimes it meets some success, sometimes it’s a gas, but they keep building with companies who can be convinced to go along with their project.

    The Denno Coil story is also interesting. I can rationalize that if the JPN prez knew the Aussie prez well enough then he probably thinks he can trust that the series will be a good hands, as opposed to getting a blank check from a U.S. company… Wait, no. I still can’t completely comprehend this process.
    But, it at least shows fans that 1.) money doesn’t always get what you want and 2.) politics in anime is alive and well!

    You guys made good points at the end, but I just see that all be interwoven with the trolls (?), too, like the ones who ab-so-lute-ly refuse to purchase anything anime releases unless they have an English dub and even start boycott campaigns. Or it could just be growing pains.

    While some aspects of the anime industry that have been there for years is crumbling away, there are new and more avenues for it to take, so I’ll say it’s in a good spot. I think companies need to be open to ideas that fans have to evolve their business.

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