Anime Petitions: Are they worth the effort?
A Commentary By Mia Ortega
What exactly is a petition? Well, a petition is basically any sort of proof, legally-binding or otherwise, that a lot of people want something that someone else is not quite willing to let them have. That's pretty much all there is to it. It's a pressure tactic thing.
I'm sure most of the otaku population has come across the infamous "Anime Channel" petition. This one is my favorite as it will probably some day end up on the Guiness Book of World Records for lasting so long. To refresh your memory, it starts out with a cute little anecdote with someone getting a bright idea for an anime channel out of the blue. Now many different versions exist, my favorite is the guy who says an apple fell on his head and he solved a physics problem AND came up with the idea.
Though I'm sure we would all be more than happy to be able to have access to our favorite anime at the touch of a button, the cable companies do not exactly share the same opinion. These days, even our cable companies have gone political. There are many people out there that do not get channels that we have grown accustomed to in our everyday lives. And it is because their cable companies are in disagreements over companies like Turner. It's really upsetting, to be a victim of a dispute that should not have anything to do with you in the first place.
And with that in mind, imagine how competitive some companies who sub/dub anime would be for air time on just one channel. There isn't really a huge variety of anime to show 24 hours a day to begin with. And if companies start having disagreements that would limit our favorite shows even more. And don't even get me started on commercials.
But not all anime-related petitions are that out of reach. Recently, otaku presented Miramax with a stack of signed petitions at AX2000 which signified that there is an audience that is willing to buy Mononoke Hime, or Princess Mononoke, with its original Japanese audio track. And amazingly, Miramax got its parent company, Buena Vista, to listen and the release date for the Trilingual DVD is now set for a December 19, 2000 release date. Great job, guys!
Another big petition was for the continuation of the Sailormoon series. A long, long time ago, DiC dubbed the first season and half of the second season. The series, of course, was not as big a hit as DiC thought it would have been, so they stopped dubbing, and the series and Sailor Moon was left on the shelves to collect dust.
Nearly overnight, a well-organized fan movement known as the Sailor Moon Save Our Sailors Campaign (SOS for short) went to work. And in late 1997, the SOS brought Sailor Moon back to the air on USA Network and then convinced DiC to dub the remaining 17 episodes for Canada's YTV. It wasn't until 1998, with so many devoted fans still determined to bring the rest of the series to the United States, that the Cartoon Network added Sailor Moon to it's line-up and showed us "The Lost Episodes" a.k.a. the rest of Sailormoon R.
The resurrection was such a big hit that the year after, we were slammed with Pioneer releasing the three movies, and Cloverway, Inc. bringing the Sailormoon S and Sailormoon SuperS seasons to English speaking audiences. Not to mention more toys from Irwin and the RPGs from Guardians of Order.
And it doesn't stop there. There are many anime petitions out there right now that may succeed. There is a petition to bring Captain Tylor to DVD, which The Right Stuf International is supportive of and looks to succeed, and a Slam Dunk petition that is gaining a lot of support and hopes to turn heads at Bandai. At the way things are going, these might just happen!
Yet, there is a big reason as to why "Mononoke Hime" and "Sailormoon" petitions have succeeded. It's the "petition recipe". This recipe explains why the above mention have worked and such petitions as "Bring (insert anime here) to the US."
First you must preheat the oven. That is, Make sure that your idea is something that is useful and makes sense. To do this, ask around! Take a survey. Do some research. You just want to make sure that this is something worth putting all the effort in to.
Next, mix ingredients. Brainstorm some specifics about your idea. Make sure that you do not leave out anything important! You want others to see and understand why this is so special.
Then, pour mixture in to pan and place in the oven. Show your completed results to as many people as possible, and get them as "fired up" and excited about the petition as you are. A good way to do this is to set up a web page, post to a message board, or send a message to a mailing list. You want to get as many people involved as you can.
Bake till done, and serve. Now you are ready to take your finished product and send it to the proper companies. Make sure they see all the research you've done, the people involved, and finally, WHY.
The last step is to watch them eat it. Keep up to date on the progress, and cross your fingers.
It looks as though Otaku are finally making progress. We have been beckoning for years, and now the big executives seem to be opening their ears. I remember back in my middle school years I would wake up even before the sunrise just to see old favorites such as Sailor Moon and Ronan Warriors. Nowadays anime is everywhere I turn. From what I have seen, big hits such as Dragonball Z and Pokemon have soared so high in popularity that they are gaining fans other than the usual otaku, and making anime mainstream in our entertainment. Major companies are seeing this and are taking advantage of the possibilities. More anime = more dvd = more merchandise = $$$...
And one day, maybe I'll be able get that Ronin Warrior set on DVD. Or maybe I can go to the local toy store to get a Rurouni Kenshin action figure. Or maybe, just maybe, I can turn on the television and watch Fushigi Yuugi on channel 60.
Sailor Moon SOS
Anime on DVD
Slam Dunk Petition
Irresponsible Captain Tylor: TV DVD