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The Death of Anime?

Weather it be One Piece, Naruto, Tokyo Ghoul or the classics such as Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell; we love our Anime in one form or another.

Well, what if I were to tell you that the anime industry was going to die?, or even more baffling, that we may be experiencing the death of it right now?

Back in 2015 Hideaki Anno, creator of the renowned Neon Genesis Evangelion, was interviewed by Russian journalists from RIA Novosti. He explained that “Japanese animation is in decline", and that “It has already peaked", going on to prophecise  that we will likely see a resurgence...a rebirth if you will (pun intended) however that it's "only a matter of time" before we witness the death of Anime.

Anno goes on to explain that we will likely see this death and rebirth throughout the Anime industry within the next 5 years, and that “Japan will no longer be the center of world animation”.

Anime has never been more popular throughout the western world as it is today.
When my generation grew up, we watched shows such as Astroboy, Macross and Dragonball. However we only identified them as 'cartoons' back then, with very little knowledge of the titles origins. 
Many children today however are growing up with the likes of One Piece, Bleach and Naruto just to name a few; but what's more is that they understand that it's an Anime...and that Anime comes from Japan. They can identify and differentiate Anime through it's varied styles and story from that of say; 'Ben 10'. Most youth can even surprise you with detailed knowledge of the directors and studios in which these titles were made. 
On average, the children of the 90's through to now, have a much more coherent understanding of what Anime is compared to the children of the 70's and 80's. 

That's large in part because the industry has been around for a long time and has carved out a name for itself and become more established.
It's a simple notion really, the longer something stay's relevant and popular, the easier it is to be identified by the general public.

But, does that rise in popularity mean Anime is capable of dying? I believe so.

Anime took the world by storm by expressing that 'cartoons' don't have to be just for children. We saw this in titles such as The Guyver, Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, Street Fighter The Animated movie, First of the North Star and so on. However once that message had been successfully relayed, what next? Well, the Anime industry began producing extremely original content, shows that were dark and gritty, light hearted, yet meaningful, comedic yet so very serious. These stories manifested themselves within titles such as Anno's Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, Wolf's Rain, Agento Soma, Samurai Champloo, Full Metal Alchemist etc. 

But do you ever wonder why there is inherently more shows now containing panty shots and half naked high-school girls with physic defying breasts bouncing around the place as there was in Anime 15 years ago? 

Unfortunately we just don't see that same level of originality, passion or thoughtfulness behind works coming out today,
Very few shows are being created with the love and passion they deserve because at the end of the day, regardless of where your heart lies it's still a business and needs to make money.

Being that episodes can just be downloaded off the Internet or streamed via online services, DVD and Bluray sales are at an all time low. Thus, many studio's feel it necessary to really push stories that can sell a lot of other merchandise in order to get a return on the money it cost to develop the show. (Model kits are basically the reason why we will never see the Gundam franchise go out of business any time soon)
This eventually pigeon holes and restrains the creative processes and reduces a studio's vision to that of just making money however they can.

This also usually takes the form of the 'sex sells' mentality, thus the overly saturated seasons of fan service Anime we get bombarded by.
I mean, sure, there has always been fan service and nudity in Anime, don't get me wrong.
But my point is that it wasn't always so ridiculous, nor was it everywhere like it is today.

Working conditions are also to blame, with extreme levels of stress being placed upon animators, unreasonably long working hours and financial instabilities.
One anonymous ex-employee of an Anime studio went on to share his experience with the world that "There are many who suffer from mental stress mainly caused by lack of money." and that "The income of an employee is small with the annual income of a first year earning a little over 2,000,000 yen." 
That's roughly $24,000 AUD or $18,000 USD per annum for working 12 - 14 hour days.

Given all of these factors and many more, it becomes very apparent that the Anime industry in it's current form is not sustainable, giving much more credibility (or rather educating us more so) to Anno's claims.

To surmise, I personally believe that the "best of Anime" is behind us...all the great titles that were made with love and passion have all been made, leaving those responsible exhausted, stressed and underwhelmed due to the toll the industry has had on them. 
That's not to say that 'all' Anime are shallow and failing. 
We still see a very high caliber of quality and love coming from studios like Ufotable, Production I.G, BONES and Madhouse, but unfortunately those titles are few and far between, with the shallow 'cash cowing' and 'sex sells' mentality fast becoming the norm within the industry. 

I can only hope that as I endeavour to take Millennium Exile to Japan for Anime adaptation, that Anno's prediction of a "rebirth" is accurate.
My wish is to break down the borders and boundaries set by conventional methods so that love, respect and hard work can allow for creations within the industries we love.

That being said however, it's not like we can all just keep the industry alive through sheer force of will, please...if you are passionate about Anime, then please support it by purchasing official merchandise, especially the DVD and Bluray releases.
I can understand that you may not all have much money, but it's not about the individual putting in hundreds of thousands of dollars each week, but more the individual giving what they can to support the industry they love.
While there is nothing legally wrong with have a steaming service subscription, please also consider giving back a bit more whenever you can and from official distributors. A little from each fan goes a long way, however piracy and bootleg's hurt the very backbone of the industry we claim to love so much.



Magazine Interview, Demo Reel Progress & more!

Howdy everyone! I hope this blog finds you once again in good health :)
Let's jump right into things shall we?

Magazine Interview:

Early last week I received an awesome message of support from an Australian Anime & Gaming company, Gametraders. They requested an interview in order to publish a piece on Millennium Exile in their next online publication of "Live" magazine.
This was an amazing offer as any form of love towards the project is appreciated, but also goes towards further exposure in order to bring it to the attention of more and more Anime fans. 

I have been sent the final draft of the interview and it's a fantastic read...not too mention they are running a competition to win a Millennium Exile mounted print! 
The issue with the interview has not yet gone live (pun completely intended), however I will provide a link in another blog post upon it's release.

Demo Reel Progress & Update:

As usual, the demo reel has been eating up a lot of time and resources which makes it tough on you guys because it's hard to share everything that's going on.

This is because the demo reel will not be released to the public or uploaded anywhere online. This is largely due to it being for studio pitch only and offers up quite a lot of extra information about the story. Not too mention that the demo has been professionally dubbed by Anime voice actors in the United States.
It sucks I know, but it's hard on me too that the best part of my project is a part that I can't show to you, so please be patients guys...I'll always share whatever I can in bits a pieces.

Hary - The main artist for the character introductory pieces has been brought on to the demo reel to help out as another artist has been unwell for some time and unable to draw. 
A couple more pieces to go and Hary will be back in his usual seat, belting out more of my character designs, I promise ;)

Marcos has also been brought into the project as the new colorist for the demo reel in order to help take some strain off other artists and to hopefully expedite the whole process.

Speaking of which, here is a work in progress of a still from the demo reel :)
This image depicts the ancient mages congregating and pooling their powers together, in order to create the great meister classes from the stories mythos.

The image still a work in progress so stay tuned to the Facebook page for regular updates also.

The image still a work in progress so stay tuned to the Facebook page for regular updates also.

Please find links below to Hary and Marcos' Deviantart pages for more of their work:

Donations & Shout Outs:

As many of you may (or may not) know, Millennium Exile is open to donations.
This is to allow for anyone wanting to show their support in the form of financial contribution towards paying for further artwork. Originally it wasn't even my idea, although it was only after popular demand that I opened up the project to would seem that many of you were keen to put a little something towards seeing Millennium Exile made into an Anime and I thank you all.

This week in particular, I would like to personally give a whole hearted thank you to Tristan Woodington and Mohammed Anbari for their donations in the last week.
Your contributions will be put 100% towards new artwork and you guys will be tagged and thanked again when the imagery you helped paid for is released online :)
(Should you wish to donate towards MillEx, just hit the "shop now" button on the Facebook page).

Another big shout out goes to the Username "Skullcandyywho shared out the Millennium Exile project of his or her own free will on forums around the Internet in order to bring more (positive) attention towards MillEx.
Your awesomeness is much appreciated and goes a long way to getting Millennium Exile noticed by the right people.

Thank you :)