Japan's Cyzo Magazine reports from the 2009 JAM (Japan Anime Collaboration Market), a symposium held on the 15th of this month.
Some fun facts about fluctuations in the anime space-time continuum, as reported at JAM:
-The direct-to-video OVA boom in 1985 resulted in a drop in the number of televised anime series, but a subsequent rise in late-night anime programming eventually bridged the gap.
-The success of Evangelion in 1995, and the one-two punch of Pocket Monsters and Mononoke Hime in 1997, marked the beginning of serious investment into the anime world.
-The success of late-night anime's ability to promote DVDs resulted in an increased number of productions beginning in 1998.
-The dawn of the 21st century marked a rapid decline in the number of anime created for children.
-Today, an overabundance of titles has resulted in a drop-off in profits per title, a trend that shows no sign of letting up. The sheer volume of series means there is no way for the average fan to purchase DVDs of all of the shows that they like. Anime sales peaked in 2006 and have been steadily declining ever since.
-Meanwhile, debate continues as to whether Japan's clinging to 2D animation techniques truly represents "tradition" or "backwardness" given that nearly every other country's animators have wholly embraced 3D technologies.
Other topics included a talk on "regional branding," spotlighting the success of far-flung municipalities using mascot characters like Hikonyan to attract tourists to events, and the use of specific towns and areas as backdrops for anime productions, which attracts domestic and foreign anime fans on "pilgrimages." Summer Wars was cited as a specific example.
Are furry mascots and Japan's countryside the future of Japanese anime...? In the short term, at any rate, the answer appears to be "yes."