Why this might not be a bad thing.
This one kinda got buried last week, but after hearing about Anime News Network getting hacked into the ground, it reminded me I should give this a go.
A few weeks ago in a move that really surprised the Anime fandom, it was announced that Sony had bought out a huge part of Funimation, one of the biggest companies that bring Japanese animation to the English speaking United States. Funimation is known for dubbing such titles as the Dragonball meta series, Fairy Tail, Attack on Titan, and a bazillion other shows.
Not only did this news surprise the hell out of a lot of people, but Otaku being as they are (and not that I don’t blame anyone for it), It brought out a bit of the doom and gloom out of the anime fandom. It isn’t exactly without merit either. Big Movie studios don’t exactly have the best reputation for delivering a good quality product, far more content making money cranking out substandard products, being out of touch with their audiences, and counting all the money all the way to the bank. Sony itself is no exception. Now, to make this clearer, We are talking Sony Pictures, the subdivision of Sony. These are the people who make the movies. Sony, of course, is known as an electronics company and also the producers of the Sony Playstations over the years. But for this article, Sony Pictures was the one who inked the deal.
But with something like this, you just never know. Anime Distribution and dubbing companies here in the U.S. are typically smaller independent companies that aren’t owned by large conglomerates like this. Some companies have done very well and made lots of money, even with the rise of digital bootlegging, while others couldn’t handle it and unfortunately are out of business. Having someone as big as Sony swoop in and snatch up a dubbing company like this is something that a lot of the Otaku have never seen, and there is the fear of the unknown. But I can think of a few positive aspects that this sale may bring about in the future,
The Financial Security. Not like Funimation was in danger of going out of business tomorrow. They’ve done pretty well for themselves. But with someone like Sony behind them, they won’t have to worry about running out of money for the time being. Sony didn’t get into this thinking of half-assing it, or that it wouldn’t work out. So Sony will be getting behind Funimation and making sure you still get your favorite anime.
The Resources. Sony is a BIG company, so Funimation now had access to resources it never had before. Everything from electronics to talented people, to everything under the sun. IF there were any limitations at Funimation to do things, I believe they won’t be having them now. Simply put it comes down to money, Funimation can bring in more people and a higher price, and take care of the people they have now. I hope for the latter, especially as not only should you take care of your own, but with a big player like Sony in the mix, it could make the anime dubbing and production business more profitable and raise the business to new levels.
The Visibility. Not like Anime was back in the old days of having to scrounge around the “Other” section of the local video store to get anything, but Sony isn’t going to keep their new toy hidden in the shadows. Sure, you can get streaming services on the Funimation site, but that could be just the beginning. With Sony Pictures behind them, you may just see more anime on the big screen, and not just awful live action American remakes either. Why bother remaking something when you already own a majority of the rights holder who is already dubbing it anyway? If the right title comes along at the right time, and Sony handles it with care, they could start a new wave of big screen anime in the United States. Disney already proved it can work, so why not give it a go? Unless you think Dragonball: Evolution is the best that can be done?
So yeah, a big corporate takeover can be a scary thing for our little niche. There is a lot that can happen. But having Sony in the mix might not be the worst thing that can happen. There is an opportunity to make things better for Japanese animation in this country and those that help produce it, so give it a little time and see what happens.
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