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Friday, January 22, 2010

Delicious Walfas Waffles: a Story of Incredible Courage

One name that everyone seems to know in the western touhou fandom besides ZUN is Walfas AKA KirbyM. His simplistic and unique art style is easy to recognize and with his release of create.swf, his art style is seen all over the place. So it shouldn't be of much of surprise that his drawings of touhou characters is quickly developing a fan-base in Japan where touhou fandom is enormous.

No ma'am.

Walfas' is currently a college student who makes shiny animations and blogs about mostly touhou in his spare time. Recently, he teamed up with an ActionScript programmer, Thefre, to make the latest create.swf which is widely used by the fandom to create quirky fun touhou videos or pictures. Over time, many of the fan works even made it over to niconico douga which is the Japanese version of youtube (and used primarily by Japanese).

He also made these neat file folders which were also sold in Japan.

Eventually, Walfas finds himself collaborating with a Japanese doujin circle, ddiction, in creating a textbook for learning English called New Hori-ZUN: A pun on the New Horizon English learning textbooks. And that, by itself, is an amazing accomplishment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Japan's DVD Economy and Why Media Blaster's Still Selling Singles

In recent years, we experienced quite a meltdown of the anime market in the United States. The Japanese market took quite a blow from the meltdown and suddenly was unable to afford to produce as many shows at it did before the meltdown. It didn't help that Japan never recovered from the 20 year old recession and therefore all the anime companies in Japan have been having a difficult time in making profits and even staying in business. So there was no surprise to me when I read a blog post about reverse importation of anime to Japan. The post goes into detail about the history of the dvd format, Japanese economics, and the effect of reverse importation of Japanese anime.

X9 = ~$800
Versus:X2 = ~$90
A fine example of why reverse importation exists.

My view on reverse importation is that it should definitely be allowed. Japan is still selling all anime in singles for $40-$60 for a large variety of reasons. One main reason for the high price for so little is that the anime is released a week to month after it has aired. Also most importantly, there will always be a number of geeks who will buy these shows no matter what. So why lower the price? This reason is also responsible for Media Blasters decision to continue releasing anime in singles despite a recent trend in the industry to move to 13 episode sets. Inflexible Japanese retail system be damned. But, now is not the right time for reverse importation to transpire. We need to let the Japanese anime market recover first before giving it further blows to their profits.