Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

Posts Tagged ‘ economy ’

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the state of the economy and how it’s affecting our little niche. In July, the price of crude oil couldn’t stop rising and breaking records. Now it seems like it can’t stop falling. It’s down more than $100 from its crazy peak in July. Before, people were terrified because the high price was slaughtering the auto industry (okay, well, the auto industry is still kind of screwed), and now the low prices are just another sign of economic weakness. Where’s the happy middle? Job losses in November are yet another record low, and meanwhile, the stock markets are as volatile and unpredictable as ever.

So I found it a little interesting that some people are still optimistic, at least about the manga industry. Yen Press is doing well, but it did also just come out of a merger. Viz still has it’s super shounen bestsellers, but while Naruto is a more popular search term than Angelina Jolie, its place on that booklist is still as unpredictable as the price of oil. I suppose for the times, these companies are doing reasonably well. It doesn’t look like any more of them are on the verge of collapse, anyway, and even ADV had some good news to share a few months ago. I think the dwindling economy is forcing a lot of companies to reconsider just which titles they bring over whereas before, it seemed like they were grabbing just about everything that was halfway popular in Japan.

That seems to have led them to somehow skip out on series like Dennou Coil, which deserves much more recognition and attention than its gotten, despite winning significant awards. But considering that Viz has licensed DOGS of all things, I have hope that companies are looking further and harder for titles with underground appeal or popularity. Here’s to hoping we’ll be getting more of a mixed bag and that this will somehow stimulate readers and viewers? I’m not as worried about the anime side of things anymore since the digital distribution thing seems to have exploded to the point that prominent fansubbers are hanging up their hats, but manga online is a harder proposal to sell.

I’m optimistic in that the manga scene won’t be dropping further for the moment, but it remains to be seen whether things will actually pick up. There’s all this talk about that $500 billion stimulus package. I’m not sure how much water the idea of using taxpayer money to pay taxpayers holds, but the immediate affect would (hopefully) be more people spending money, which is good news for businesses, which in turn is good news for workers, which in turn is good news for the economy, including our little otaku industry. I dunno. This holiday season is already kind of scary. I lot of people scoff that the luxury goods industry, but things must be pretty damn bad if rich people can’t afford to be rich anymore.

Then again, poor people go out to see more movies in hard times, so who knows?

Hurricane and the Economy

September 11, 2008 News Comments Off on Hurricane and the Economy

I’m currently in Houston and frantically hoping that my flight out of here tomorrow won’t be affected by Hurricane Ike. All flights are canceled starting from tomorrow at noon and well into Saturday. My flight’s at 10:10am. Sigh… Either way, I’ll be extremely busy for the next week and a half and likely won’t be posting much here.

Some interesting bits of stuff today though.

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Stuff. And Review: Seed Supernova

August 8, 2008 Review Comments Off on Stuff. And Review: Seed Supernova

I haven’t written a review in what seems like ages. I guess this is what I get for writing like four reviews a day for the first week or two. I went through almost all of the anime I think I remember well enough to give a proper opinion. So I scribbled out a super short review for a super short series of shorts. It’s kind of a useless thing, I guess. I seem to have paused in my watching of Spice and Wolf and Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, along with Yami no Matsuei, which I started for no reason that I can identify. I just haven’t had as much time as I’d like to chill and watch cartoons lately. Very sad. Doesn’t help that some of my time is eaten up by rewatching Code Geass and Gurren Lagann dubbed (gotta keep those TV ratings up, yo). I don’t want to review Code Geass R2 until the series is finished. Same with Soul Eater. I will most likely revise both my CG and Gurren Lagann reviews when I’m finished with their respective dubs and purge some of the fantarding currently present though.

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More Econ Woes & FUNi’s Domination

July 11, 2008 Editorial, News Comments Off on More Econ Woes & FUNi’s Domination

The office did some seating rearrangements this week, and as a result, I now sit in front of one of the wall TVs that has CNBC on all day. So for eight hours a day, I have a perfect view of the constant live coverage on Wall Street. As if the last few weeks haven’t been bad enough, this last week seems to be one new record after another. Today, both the DOW and the S&P 500 have hit a two-year low? Crude oil hit another record high ($147.27/barrel), though it did drop back down to $145 before I left. I don’t really know what the hell Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are (okay, okay, so they’re country’s two biggest mortgage buyers). but opening at an almost 50% drop in share prices can’t be good for anything, right? Lehmen Brothers is also down 20% today or something like 80% from several months ago. The stock ticker seems to be a perpetual stream of red arrows. Don’t forget the dollar is still steadily dropping against other major currencies. There are so many headline-worthy stories of woe that the news anchors seem ever flustered at picking topics. Interviewees called in don’t really know what the hell they’re supposed to talk about first because there’s so much to address.

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Wall Street and Batman

June 27, 2008 News Comments Off on Wall Street and Batman

Yesterday was another horrible day for the economy. Everyone’s just about ready to sound the bells announcing the apocalypse, also known as a recession. I suppose that part of the reason I’m so tuned in on this madness is because I work at a company that provides financial software to all the big name banks and investment firms that are flailing around right now, but I do hope you can see why our horrible economy at the moment directly affects consumer spending habits, which obviously include our beloved media from Japan. I can’t decide how scared I should be though. After all, the lines are still long at the Starbuckses, where all of the customers are trading a gallon of gas for a cup of coffee.

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Riding Out the Apocalypse

June 25, 2008 Editorial Comments Off on Riding Out the Apocalypse

All the buzz around TOKYOPOP recently really saddens me. I’ve always been a fan of the company and would tend to agree with its claim that it was indeed “leading the manga revolution.” More than anything else, I think all of the apocalyptic news lately can be blamed on our floundering economy. Yes, DVD sales are down across the board — both in Japan and Stateside. Yes, Bandai Visual is gone. Geneon USA is gone. Yes, manga sales are also down and an over saturated market wasn’t helping it. Yes, tons of companies are downsizing and their employees facing waves of layoffs. But if you think that none of this is happening to hundreds of other companies across corporate America, then you need to pull your ignorant weeaboo head out of the hole for a while and watch the news.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t factors contributing to these issues from within the anime and manga industries, but with gas averaging more than $4/gal, there are people desperate enough to border hop to Mexico, despite prevailant gang violence, so they can save a few hundred dollars — it shouldn’t be surprising that sales of these entertainment items are falling. Parents are paying double what they used to every month for gas; most likely, their kids’ allowances are shrinking as a result. College students are also struggling with higher gas prices, and that part-time job is getting harder and harder to find. Even though our general age group might like to think we’re still a little isolated from the “real world,” this just isn’t the case anymore.

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