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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Welcome to the NHK, Newcastle United, and Neverwinter Disappointment

NEW YORK, December 26 — Staying cool...  

The weather has been erratic in New York City.  Messed up...

ANIME: Welcome to the NHK

This is the real face of the otaku (esp. NEET and hikikomori).  Ronery, sad, anti-social, paranoid, perverted, and addiction ridden adult children.  Wikipedia's description of the plot: "The story follows Tatsuhiro Sato, a university dropout entering his fourth year of unemployment. He leads a reclusive life as a hikikomori, feeling that this happened due to some sort of conspiracy."

I was afraid that Studio Gonzo was going to do a terrible adaption.  However, they created a good show.  This is a story of developing characters.  Gonzo does a good job at defining the main characters: Sato, Misaki, and Yamazaki.

They have made several changes in order to make it acceptable for television.  The biggest change is the removal of the drug use.  I don't judge Studio Gonzo too harshly on these changes because they successfully juggle comedy and uncomfortability.  Those are the two most important elements of the Welcome to the NHK story.

The only problem with Welcome to the NHK story is the grounding.  It assumes that the viewers have some knowledge of otaku, Neets, Hikikomori, anime, manga, date sims, mo-e, MMORPGs, internet suicide groups, lolicon, and other related subjects.

You can watch Welcome to the NHK through fansubs.  They are available on YouTube and Bittorrent.  

Newcastle Return to Form

Newcastle is roaring back with the current win streak.  They were second to last in mid November 2006.  Now, they're in the middle of the pack.  Damn, I hope they can maintain this winning tempo. 

Neverwinter Week

I finished Neverwinter Nights 2 in only a week.  The single player campaign was pretty lame.  It was a weak version of Baldur's Gate 2 with D&D 3.5 Rule Set.  The gameplay was weak.  The camera angles are annoying, and the games is a resource hog.  It was a disappointment.  Furthermore, the high system requirements might hinder the growth of the mod community and multiplayer persistent worlds.  I already uninstalled it.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Entertainment, Mass Media, Anime, and You

I think all of entertainment is being divided into very fine slices of the greater entertainment sector.  More people are specializing their finite entertainment time into more specific and concentrated forms.  Media companies are responding to this shift in consumer habits.

In previous decades, the entertainment medium had very few channels to reach consumers.  There were only 3 major networks and a couple of local broadcast networks.  The radio had a limited number of licenses and channels.  The hard print newspaper was the only portable medium.  The pre-packaged entertainment life styles of early decades were a necessity for broadcasters.  They needed to reach the widest audience with the fewest avenues of approach.  Almost everyone watched the same hit shows, listen to the same radio stations, and read the same papers.

Technology has changed this limited nature of media and entertainment.  Cable and satellite TV systems provide 200 to 300 channels of programming.  They also include digital record/playback and on-demand.  Radio is adopting new forms such as podcasts, satellite radio, and local independent broadcaster.  The internet is user-friendly (WWW), and anyone can use it for marketing and promotion (myspace and youtube).  The explosion of the personal devices industry is another major development.  People are carrying cell phones, blackberries, laptops, pda, mp3 players, handheld video games, Bluetooth devices, and multi-purpose devices.

This rapid expansion and integration of new media devices and media outlets has changed the very nature of media and entertainment.  If you believe that mass media shapes society, then these new technological developments also directly affects society.

These new developments have shattered mass media entertainment into a thousand little pieces.  This new system of decentralized media has trained people to be extremely selective in their media choices.  Consumers are not only movie fans, music fans, or television fans.  They have become emo-rock fans, indie movie fans, foreign movie fans, indie rock fans, blues-rock fans, WoW role-playing, FR role-playing, WWE wrestling, fight clubs, j-drama, Hong Kong movie fans, Bollywood fans, shonen fighting fans, magical girl fans, harem fans, shonen-ai, yuri, yaoi, and many others.

Although, there are still large mass media vehicles like Hollywood , Oprah , New York Times, and the Tonight Show.  They have stagnant or steady growth in viewer-ship.  In other words, they have very established and stable viewer base.  The real growth is in the fragmented pieces.  Media companies have started to cater to these splinter groups and their interests. 

In the anime/manga industry, the major players dominate over the established mainstream market (such as Aniplex, Studio Ghibli, and Toei).  All of the new companies and studios are forced to cater to the fragmented pieces in order to survive.

The pie is not shrinking, but it's changing shape.  The larger pie is being sliced into smaller pieces.  There are still industry giants, but the real growth and opportunity lies in the growing number of niche markets.  The growing niche markets are slowly establishing a significant presence in the entertainment sector.  Entertainment and media companies can't afford to ignore these growing number of niche consumers.