Well it’s that time of year again. 2007 is drawing to a close… and what a year it has been. Following on from Martins post last week, I figured I would toss my opinion into the ring. In the last 5 years I have personally never seen anything quite like this year. We’ve had the ups, the downs and there are quite a few laughs to be had along the way.
If I had one word to describe this year it would be turbulent. Let’s take a little look at some of the major events of the last 12 months.
January was quite a quiet month for the UK and the Industry as a whole. A few releases were announced but other than that there was nothing big to report. So this takes us into February and its Channel 4 that steps into the lime light. Over the course of a week the terrestrial channel screened 4 Studio Ghibli films (Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Cat Returns, My Neighbour Totoro and Laputa : Castle in the Sky) Much to the delight of fans around the country this was repeated again in the Christmas season. Could this be a sign of anime getting more recognition on the UK market? Who knows?
But Anime on UKTV was about to take a somewhat considerable blow. In March digital channel Rapture TV cancelled its plans to run magazine-style show Anime Nation. And it looked like watching these shows on television was slowly slipping away.
May seen the return of anime music legend Yoko Kanno returning to play her first live gig to adoring fans in over 5 years. Sci-Fi London also hosted their annual Anime All-Nighter which keeps growing every year. Bandai Visual also released their sales figures for their most popular series. Coming in at around about 23 million volumes is very impressive, considering it’s only for the Japanese market.
To be fair the first six months was nothing out of the blue. A few anime screenings here and there but nothing that will make you giggle with joy and go “Wow!”
But fear not my fellow fans. This is only half the story. It’s from July onwards where things get interesting.
One of my favourite news pieces in July was from The British Museum and their new anime seasons aimed at all the family and those fellow otakus. This brings the total of anime screenings around the U.K to around 7(not including the local ones) and this is a really great sign for two reasons. 1. people are organising these events and 2. people are actually paying to go see them. Fantastic.
In August Amecon rolled around and every fans prayers were answered. It was announced by the industry that a brand spanking new channel was to be born. It’s focus. Anime, nothing but sweet, sweet anime. Anime Central (sky channel 199) starting from September 10th fans all over the UK with a sky subscription will be able to tune into great shows such as Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, Gundam. The list goes on. Anime Network also announced they will be extending from their two slots at the weekend to a full 7 days. Fans were literally spoiled with choice.
After many years of speculation DBZ fans finally got what they wanted. 20th Century Fox announced the production of a live-action Dragon Ball Z film coming in at a nice round $100million. Over the next few months cast details have been released and work is well under way.
And it was all going so well, well for a few months anyway. Everybody already knows what’ coming, the demise of Geneon USA. After talks broke down between Geneon and ADV they company just couldn’t function and on the 28th of September they officially exited the USA market and in turn the UK. This has to be the most tragic news story of 2007. Geneon/Pioneer were one of the building blocks of the home video market and had some of the best shows on their books. They will be sorely missed.
As recently as the 23rd of December there are lingering rumours of the fate of Anime Network on Propeller TV. As of writing they are not listed on their viewing schedule and it looks as of the 31st of December, Anime Network is no more.
But with all the doom and gloom surrounding Geneon there was some good news. A new distributor opened up shop in the USA. Their name New Galaxy Anime, and while they only have one title in their catalogue one can only wish them well.
Continuing with the good news I was delighted to read that Japanese Foreign Minister Tarō Asō announced the creation of an “International Manga Award” for manga artists and creators from outside Japan. Now there’s something for all those aspiring UK manga-ka to look up to.
Where are all the shows released in Japan I hear you say? Well at the moment they don’t really affect the UK market and I’m positive there’s going to be a new show roundup at another time. Let’s stick to our rainy shores shall we. Here are some of my favourite titles released in 2007;
- - Ergo Proxy
- - Beck
- - Mushishi
- - Afro Samurai
- - Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Ohki!
- - Tenchi Muyo Movie Set
- - Suzuka
- - Love Hina Box Set
- - Berserk
- - Paprika
- - Tekkon Kinkreet
These are all quality shows that have finally become available here. Go buy them all, now!
One of the funniest stories of the year originates in Japan. In October the Japanese Agriculture ministry reprimanded 6 employees after they spent a godly amount of hours making over 400 entries to the Gundam Wikipedia page. One determined chap managed 260 entries! This news was part of a trend of ministerial bodies using Wikipedia during office hours with the CIA, BBC and the office of the Australian Prime Minister being nabbed.
2007 has really made being an anime fan exciting again, who knows what surprises we will come across in 2008. I am hoping and praying that this trend continues. What we need is more anime on TV, more in the cinemas and more awareness for this lovely art form. Personally I think we are back to the stage of the late 90’s early 00’s. Anime is growing again and I just want the industry to get things right. They really have a good launch pad to do something with the market.
As the old saying goes, the ball is now in their court. So now I shall bid farewell to 2007 and look forward to next year. I hope everyone has enjoyed the last year as much as I have and hope you all have a great new year.