China making anime push as Japan hits slump
By TOMOKO A. HOSAKA (AP) – 21 hours ago
TOKYO — Yoko Komazawa had been at the Tokyo International Anime Fair for nearly six hours when she fell in love with a brown-and-white stuffed panda — a character in one of the fair's featured cartoons.
"It's so adorable and interesting," she said, staring into its gleaming pink eyes. "I want it."
Unfortunately, the panda wasn't for sale and Komazawa had to settle for a photo. But she walked away from the small booth impressed by the panda's creators — from China.
"Japan is certainly an amazing anime country," said the 30-something anime fan and collector of all things cute and cuddly. "China has some intriguing characters though. They're different, and that definitely catches my attention."
Komazawa's enthusiasm for something new is a small victory for China's fledgling animation industry, and could well represent a widening crack in Japan's global anime dominance. Japan may be the birthplace of anime, but China is gunning for its future as it mounts an aggressive effort to expand the country's creative prowess and reputation.
In November, the government's cultural arm established the China Animation Comic Group Co. to foster a "great leap forward" in animation production, technology and marketing. Part of the plan includes building a "China Animation Game City" in Beijing that would be a national hub...
China's growing ambitions coincide with an ominous industrywide slump in Japan.
After peaking in 2006, the number of anime minutes made for television fell 20 percent to 108,342 in 2009, according to the Association of Japanese Animations. A survey of the group's members shows that overseas anime revenue fell 21 percent between 2006 and 2009.