On Gonzo’s Report, Doujinshi Discourses, New Media x Manga Publishing

So the other day I read some translated financial report from Ko who was seemingly doing it for practice. I was like, hey, cool, stuff about production committees and their puppet companies that manage rights. It is basically this document, or a report from GDH to the public/investors. Unsurprisingly, most of that information is stuff you probably already know if you follow this stuff, in which different stakes holders create these committees and pitch them like investment portfolios. What’s probably more telling is the amount of money these things are, most of them in the 7-digit-USD range. This is notable because we’re talking about total outlay and not just production costs. It includes the money that goes around to pay for TV spots, marketing, and all that good stuff.

Well, that’s Gonzo for you: their hybrid horizontal/vertical integration method aims to change the funding structure for animation production houses. Its success is arguable, but it may be both an example of how it could be done, and what not to do. Curious minds should poke you-know-who for a copy, but since it’s mostly a document for general investors, you probably won’t learn too much besides some potential vectors where things can bottom out, and almost all of them are basically things that are almost boilerplate in terms of insightfulness (ie., hurr we may not be able to execute this strategy if the core fan base do not welcome our products derp). Of course, like any system this complicated, there were a series of good and bad things GDH did over time that contributed to its demise (and subsequent restructuring). The fun part is piecing it together with the help of hindsight.

Reading it also makes me want to dig up some financial docs in terms of how big of a dividend they were issuing in ’05… Yahoo finance probably has it.

The stuff you do stuck on a 4-hour train ride…

I also had an opportunity to read a draft of an academic paper about the doujinshi scene from Alex L. and Andrea. It’s a fairly standard academic paper about social trends and talking about forums of political discourse (parapolitical ones?). I think this paper is being published in some law journal somewhere, so maybe you can even ILL a copy when it goes to print if it isn’t online somewhere eventually. There are a bunch of online law journals now…

The paper itself outlines a straightforward analysis of the role of that protest doujinshi by Takeshi Nogami (that Strike Witches dude), and some vocaloid/NND stuff done in protest or in satire of the now-law Bill 156 out of Tokyo Prefectural government. With the ACE and TIAF rendered irrelevant no thanks to the Tohoku earthquake, we could never really tell what would have happened. It’s like, stating the things you know very well, and then seeing if it fits certain modes of descriptions as per other people’s descriptive framework.

To critique, I would just say that it is a precarious thing to characterize the doujinshi scene in some way that is meaningful. It is like saying, “blogs are political”; but what is the meaning behind it, what frameworks does that open it up to further analysis, what’s the purpose in the statement? I get it’s about fan discourse but I’m not so sure there’s anything really special in that. To that sense, the Vocaloid thing is much more special because there’s actual hijacking going on, rather than Nogami’s straight-forward political satire using original characters and real-life mockery thereof. I mean the only thing different in that case is the context and the forum Nogami’s doujinshi is operating within. In terms of content how can I distinguish that from, say, some guy passing out fliers (ok so it has to have cute anime characters on it?) at C80 about B156?

That just reminded me, I still need to get a copy of it. Maybe it’s not too late to add it to my Anisama 2010 order.

Lastly, Ko’s been translating more stuff. This time it’s about the manga industry as two guys chat about it during some marathon session over drinks and what have you. And unlike the previous two articles I vaguely talked about, you can read this one publicly. So do give it a read. It is a 5-part report/transcript and it is still being updated as of this writing.

I haven’t had much of an impression between the dialog between Ken Akamatsu and Kentaro Takekuma but let’s just say that I’m on the pessimistic side of things. There are reasons why Japan is a country known to resist changes in its business practices, a country that has draconian copyright protection laws, a country that has problems fostering start-ups (good luck Akamatsu-sensei!), a country with a growing generational inequality in the workplace, and a country that has not truly recovered from its economic bust since the 1990s. These things are not coincidences. The silver lining is simply that, there’s always an opportunity in situations like this.

Anyway, I look forward to the subsequent parts of that round-table-thingy. I’m fairly unschooled when it comes to manga, so anything like that is educational enough to worth my time.


3 responses to “On Gonzo’s Report, Doujinshi Discourses, New Media x Manga Publishing

  • kransom

    hey, your comment on GDH’s dividend payments got me looking, and it looks like I made a mistake in translation–the line regarding dividends basically says that they aren’t paying dividends now, and that they will in the future based on their investigations. which is to say, I guess “not now, no set date in the future, but we might.” sorry about the confusion!

  • omo

    Cool, no problems.
    Hmm, my anisama order shipped… oh well.

  • Darkfireblade25

    I understood none of this… probs because I don’t go on 2chan or 4chan ._. is this a bad thing?

    and what exactly is this thing about anime/manga companies? plz provide a tl;dr? ;_;

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