2013 Year In Review: Big Things Come in Droves

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We are hopeful that 2014 will not only be a great, but also a banner year for anime events in the country (FreedomStrike Group photo)

2013 may be best remembered for being the most eventful and the most controversial year that I had experienced. Sure we had the Zamboanga Crisis, Napoles and the Pork Barrel Scam, Calamities, Natural (like the Bohol Earthquake and Supertyphoon Yolanda [Haiyan]) and Man-made (the Saga at the Senate featuring Senator Miriam Santiago and Johnny Enrile), Beauties (like Ara Arida. Megan Young and Bea Santiago) and Brainless (the return of Battle of the Brainless on Philippine TV).

We witnessed how Philippine Television has evolved for the past 60 years (and celebrate it with style), then the slew of happenings that happen during Election season (the campaign, the mudslinging, and the Election Coverage innovations and etc). Deaths, from Bella Flores and Pepe Pimentel, Eddie Romero and Danny Zialcita, to Paul Walker, Nelson Mandela and Cory Monteith.  The Affordable Health Care Act (or Obamacare) had a rough time sailing past bipartisan lines, A US government shutdown, A Movie that will enter the annals of film history as the biggest bomb this year (The Lone Ranger). All that happened this year.

On tech, Blackberry almost succumbed, while Apple revamped its OS to a design similar to its fierce rival Android. Windows Phone slowly gained momentum, as opposed to Nokia ending up from top of its game to its devices unit being a part of tech giant Microsoft. “Selfie”, “Regram”, “Foodporn” “OOTD” “QOTD” and other Instagram hashtags became social bywords. Al Jazeera America and Fusion debuted, while the BBC and TV5’s news operations moved to new sites. Brian Griffin was killed off, only to be resurrected after two weeks. Michael J. Fox and Robin Williams made stunning TV Comebacks, as Breaking Bad and Dexter said  goodbyes, alongside a slew of cancelled programs

All of it, made 2013 the most memorable year I have ever witnessed.

And the Philippine Anime Community also shone bright in 2013.

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Anime on Television: Boon or Bane?

To open up this blog post, I will extract two very beautiful dialogues and scenes from my current series addiction, The Newsroom, on its 7th episode, The first one is where Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) is having a heated debate with Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda), and I am going to link the post from the show’s official page.

 

“We don’t have the trust of the Public Anymore”. A strongly worded statement there, (if you don’t know what the hell Charlie is saying, watch it from the start of Season 1)

 

And this post from one of the lead characters, the ubiquitous Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer)

Now, why do I had to start with those quotes from them? Because Television is a public trust, we all know that. The public trusts television not just because of the news content. The people trusts television because it has been their constant companion ever since. When we were born (well, if you were born post-October 7, 1953), TV has become our ultimate companion. We have been bombarded with the latest news, information and entertainment in our midst. Take note that TV has become our babysitter, mentor (and tormentor), guide, informer, and, most of all, entertainer. Sure the concept of “trust” would only be allowed (and is definitely true) in news and information/factual programming. But do entertainment shows have that same “trust” factor that people behind the scenes also understand?

Personally, yes, There is still that “trust” when it comes to entertainment programming, and in what form does “trust” go in entertainment? Well, a very vague example is you trust ABS-CBN, GMA or TV5 to provide the best teleseryes that will air from morning till night. You trust these three networks to give to you the Korean drama you wanted to watch. And, in our topic. You trust these three networks for the best in Anime. 

Yes, you trust them for the best in Anime. You entrust the networks to at least understand you and air the best anime titles. Whether it was already aired before or even an ongoing series from Japan, you want to trust them to deliver what you really want in terms of anime programming.

But the networks betrayed you because they did not air what you wanted them to air. And you, the viewer, think that the networks has left you, and thus, you lost their trust to them.

It’s the same line I have been hearing and reading since I first became engulfed in the culture in 2004. The networks will never spend foolish company money just for an anime title which will only be watched by a few thousand people, and that is basically true. Anime audiences are a fickle as compared to the k-drama and the primetime and daytime soaps that can reach a mass-based audience. Anime audiences are just a simple niche, as compared to the general audiences that these networks want in effort to get ratings (and revenues) for them to support their business.

Yes, Television is a business, not a charity organization. But it seems that anime fans are taking anime programming more seriously to a level that is already on the “facepalm levels”.

Yes, I do believe that Free TV terrestrial stations must have a semblance of anime programming in their lineups. Ever since GMA introduced the very first anime series on TV, which was Voltes V, It has become a culture, and a part of our lives. (Well, you have to thank Freddie Garcia for that). And if not for an executive who wanted to dub anime in Filipino and some regional languages, the masses (yes, the very same teleserye-loving masses) will never understand what these characters are saying (again, credit that to FMG)

I also do believe that Anime on Free TV should also be the latest anime series from Japan, as evidenced by ABS-CBN’s pilfering of Kuroko’s Basketball which not only topped the Nationals, (the first ever anime series from ABS-CBN to top the national ratings since time immemorial, and even break into the daily Top 20 for a time), but has endeared many people because of its storyline, which connects the audiences well. Not only because of its bishie characters, but because of its story, A story that would make ABS-CBN’s Teleserye writers more like novices in comparison.

But because of the tight financial burden anime has become, No free television channel will ever risk investing a new title and place it on a slot where advertisers lust for it. No one will invest in anime on prime time because hey, it’s more wise to create a 50-million peso teleserye than a let’s say, 10-million peso, 25-episode anime title at 6:00PM. Advertisers are not going to invest on anime simply because Anime is for kids, and what products will they only put in these kinds of programs? Fastfood Toys, Sodas, plus the fact that anime is all to underestimated by a lot of network people!

That is where cable comes in, and as i’d like to say a sports jargon, “No harm, no foul.”

Cable is there to serve that niche. Yes, it is expensive (picture PHP 2000 peso installations and monthly fees ranging from 300 pesos to 2000 pesos/month, that’s why these “anime otakus” who watch on Free TV despise cable)  but it is more effective to program in cable because there is that niche. And cable has two sources of income. The revenue it generates from the operators who are willing to shell out carriage fees per month, and advertiser support. Nowadays, Advertisers are not only banking on Free TV to show their products, with the advent of Cable and Satellite, (to think, we have more cabled and satellite-installed homes today as compared to 10, or even 5 years ago), Advertisers are now more tightly-focused. They now peddle their products to the exact audiences that they want, and that’s how the power of Cable and Satellite can also influence network execs.

Now, let me give you this question: Is Anime on TV a boon or a bane?

My answer, Yes, it’s a boon, but it could also be a bane. It’s a boon for the networks and audiences. It’s a boon for the networks because it is a chance to show them a content which is quite different from the normal fare. It is also a boon for TV programmers to finally get that millennial audiences they are so hard to program with. Just think. Anime is a genre that could connect to a wide array of audiences, audiences that need escape from the regular fare that they always see.

But its a bane too, A bane on the part of networks because of fans being too demanding. A bane on advertisers because it is not a marketable format to put products on, and a bane on those who loved k-dramas and regular local fare because of anime being, “For Kids Only”

Now, would we trust the Networks again to air the best anime programs like “Free”, “Gin no Saji” and “Shingeki no Kyojin” because of these reasons?

And that’s they way it is, Headin’ Out!

 

#PinoyPride: WCS and Gilas Pilipinas Up Close

The past few weeks had been monumental for our country as a whole. Last August 1, the FIBA Asia Championships has started in our country, and yes, Team Gilas Pilipinas has been the byword for the past few days. While some people chose to flock the Mall of Asia Arena, wearing the colors ordered by the Gilas management (lately, the management ordered everyone going at the Arena to wear White).

As for me, I have been religiously following the games live on TV5 (let me digress first, TV5, by far, is doing a great job on its coverage, especially on the Digression shots a-la NBC Olympics. The Sports5 Center pregame and post-game highlights are also superb, so as the commentary, Kudos to the Sports5 Team for bringing to us the Thrills of Victory) and cheering on the team when they shoot threes and twos, and also cringe on the wrong plays and calls. I  am part of the millions who support the team in their quest to regain our supremacy in a game that is our equivalent of what soccer is in other countries.

Gilas Pilipinas should get the support that we all need, The country’s chance in the FIBA World Cup leans on our shoulders, we have to believe in what Coach Chot Reyes’ boys will do in front of the 20000 people watching at the Arena and the millions of people watching over at TV5.

Do your share in supporting the Gilas team, and I am referring to those people who choose not to watch the games and watch those crappy teleseryes . Please, Just until August 11, They need us, as much as we need their strength and agility to prove to the world Pinoy Basketball is different.

LABAN PILIPINAS, PUSO!

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Aside from the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships happening in the country. Last week, Our PH representatives to the World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya, Erika Garbin and Vincent Estapon, together with the WCS PH Team of Anime Alliance and Hero TV team headed by Ms. Marjorie Neri-Estacio, the concurrent channel head of Hero and Balls, went to Nagoya to be in the World Cosplay Summit weekend held there.

Basing on the pictures that the WCS PH team uploaded in real time (many thanks to the team headed by Mike Ramas, Tessa Villareal and Minori Nakamura), Looks like the team had a really good time representing our flag in the most prestigious tourney ever in cosplay.

They also had the chance to at least perform in front of the audience, though we were only on observer status only, We managed to show our prowess to the other nations and our co-observer status nations. Though I have to admit I did not see their performance on video. I say that as Filipinos, we have to support them whatever happens to their performance.

During the presser that Hero TV organized as a send-off for Garbin, We asked her if there will be any problems in their performance since they are located in two different areas in the country and thus, would affect their exhibition performance. Garbin said that although they talk via Facebook, they will just practice their skit in Nagoya a day before their performance, and for me, it raised a little concern on how will they pull it off.

 

Well, I don’t want to comment on their performance since I didn’t see it personally, and will never judge them on the merits of it. But There are some bloggers and “holier than thou” people again who yeah, watched their performance and judged them. Some even went overboard and said that there will be points on the performance of the PH team and would affect our standing if ever we want to get that elusive full status at WCS.

Well, time and again, don’t we ever think these bloggers know more than the organizers themselves?  They even make “analysis” without some good analytical bear and, yes, just full of BS.  (I’d like to call it, #TalangkaMentality, or Crab Mentality)

What i will say is this, Win or Lose, my heart will go with pride on our representatives for the WCS. And yes, it’s just a start. There will be obstacles, yes, and There will be problems along the way. But in the end. We need the full support of the WCS Phillippines team,. They deserve nothing but our support, as they are responsible for bringing to Japan our possible reps in the summit. Like Gilas Pilipinas. We have to support them as much as they need our support. and by the best way possible.

As a parting note, I’d like to share a part of the lyrics of the song of Rivermaya, which was used by the Newscast that has one of the words of the song’s titles as its main title. Here is a part of “Isang Bandila”

“Wag kang mabahala sa kahol ng mga aso
Ligtas ang pag-asang nakasakay sa ating mga palad at balikat
Wag mong patulan, wag mong sakyan ang mga talangka
Panis ang angas sa respetot pagpapakumbaba
Walang matayog na pangarap
Sa bayang may sipag at tyaga”

 

Again, I yell across the world. LABAN PILIPINAS, PUSO!

Headin’ Out!