The Anime Bias: On Anime and TV

Indonesian edit of SAO OP PV.
Indonesian edit of SAO OP PV.

For those around my age (around 21), perhaps you remember “Anime Sundays” which was popular around a decade ago or something. It was the only reason I got up early on Sundays and stay in front of the TV until my mom told me to take a shower. My favorite anime back then was of course, Doraemon, and my personal fav, Rockman.EXE. Today, Anime Sundays is something we, the older generation of anime lovers, can only reminisce about. Try as hard as you can, you just can’t enjoy the current Anime Sundays mainly because the quantity (Yes, quantity. Not quality.) of anime has dropped significantly.

Indonesian TV used to be cool, though only on Sundays. Now, what the fuck happened? Or are we just biased towards anime and have this innate prejudice towards Indonesian soaps (sinetron)? In this post, I address the “Anime Apologist” movement, which, though having emerged circa 2008, has gained considerable momentum coinciding with the emergence of more absurd and mind-numbing soaps (Ganteng-Ganteng Serigala. Google it. It’s an Indonesian Twilight ripoff.)

Okay, so what exactly is the Anime Apologist movement? Well, if you’re a member (or have a friend who is) of the more cringe-worthy otaku communities in Indonesia, you might be familiar with posts that basically carry the message “Sinetron suck; anime master race” or “Weebs demand TV to show more anime”; something like that. FYI, the most laughable post I’ve ever seen was:

If you were President, what would be your first policy?

Get rid of sinetron and replace all of them with anime.

The movement unofficially started around 2008, but died out quickly after Indonesians gained access to faster internet, allowing torrents, downloads, and Indonesian fansubbed anime. But, as of late, the Indonesian TV landscape has been littered with these cheap soap operas which have been accused of being “everything that is wrong with our generation today”. Thus, the movement started gaining momentum again.

But first of all, let me say that I’m not a supporter of sinetron. I find them as annoying and obnoxious as today’s moeshit crappy anime. All I’m arguing here is that whining for the government to air more anime on TV is pointless as fuck. Simply put, the anime apologists are simple-minded, spoiled, whiny, egotistical fucks.

#1: [sarcasm] Anime shows good values, put it on TV! [/sarcasm]

Well, I’ve been watching anime for quite some while now, from the old classics where anime characters have larger eyes than their eye sockets can handle and the newer bullshit that panders to the otaku community. And let me be honest with you, if you’re looking for good values, go read a fucking philosophy book. I recommend La Rochefoucauld or Plato. You won’t get significant good values from anime or sinetron or anything on a screen except from a PDF of Aristotle’s Ethics or a PowerPoint presentation delivered by a Yale philosophy professor.

I do, however, believe that a select few anime provides good values. Let’s take the classic Doraemon or the recent Shirobako. These two anime teaches people that hard-work and determination, added with a little humor on the side, is what you need to get through the bitch called life. I could provide more, but I feel these two speak out the loudest. Of course, people would resort to examples like Fairy Tail promoting teamwork and friendship, and Sword Art Online promoting courage. They’re not wrong; that’s up to the person, but that’s obviously a lot of cherry-picking. If you’re looking for good values in Sword Art Online, all you’re going to get is: cheaters win the bitches. All I learned from Highschool DxD (yes, I watched only the first three episodes of Season 1; deleted it afterwards and vowed never to re-watch again) was ASS and TITTIES. Also, what values do To Love Ru promote? Objectification of women. But sadly, that’s what these apologists want shown on TV. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example:

Sauce: Wuih Ada Om Otaku FB fanpage
Typical apologist bullshit. Sauce: Wuih Ada Om Otaku FB fanpage

Of course, my opinion would be different if they wanted actually good anime on TV like Jojo or the Gundam series, not the moeshit of today.

It’s as if they don’t realize that TV is a public-access good; anyone can be exposed. But unlike the internet, TV is government-regulated. Considering that we live in a very conservative society, the government would require to go a great length to make anime “safe” for public consumption. Even if they manage to show To Love Ru or Highschool DxD on TV, according to the broadcasting guidelines issued by the KPI, it would be subjected to A FUCK LOT of censors. And there comes the whining apologists saying “Y u censor? Fucking government don’t understand animu”. The government would then be under attack for allowing promiscuous content on TV, especially at times when kids are watching. It’s a lose-lose situation: apologists lose, government gets attacked. Why then, for fuck’s sake, would you want it on TV, knowing that it would be regulated in such a way? 

Also, what’s the difference between anime and sinetron? One is animated, the other not. Simple as that. Obviously, Sword Art Online has the same educational values as a typical Indonesian sinetron. Overpowered protagonist, check. Damsel in distress, check. Bitches clamoring to that one hot guy that’s not actually hot, check. A hard-handed antagonist bent on cuckolding the protagonist’s girlfriend, check. The same goes for Highschool DxD. If you’re looking for high school drama, I’d say Sora no Method  and Sakurasou are just anime equivalents of every high school-based soap in Indonesia.

#2: Airing anime on TV is stupid

Let me be blunt here and say that airing anime on TV is stupid. Let me then explain why.

Unlike we ungrateful internet pirates, TV networks can’t download fansubbed anime and show it on air. It doesn’t work like that. If they get caught, they can be litigated. No, they have to purchase a license before being allowed to air an anime on TV. Licenses don’t come cheap, mind you. Then, they would need to hire Indonesian voice actors to dub the anime.  Furthermore, they would need to seek a broadcasting permit from the LSF and KPI. That adds to the cost. The anime boom a decade ago happened because these TV networks were treading water and got a good initial response, so they continued. But as internet got faster and more available to the masses, people started downloading anime. It was easier, faster, and more convenient than waiting for it on TV. Anime on TV died out, replaced with the cheaper sinetron which people enjoyed more, generating more profit. From an informal discussion with KAORI, I was told that the only reason Aikatsu is airing is because the TV network got a cross-subsidy from the licensing company. From a business standpoint, airing anime is a highly risky investment, so why do it at all?

Also, people should remember that not everyone enjoys anime. How much of the Indonesian population are actually fans of anime? I’d go with a conservative guess of less than 1%. Out of 250 million people in the Republic, I guesstimate that only 1% are actually interested in anime. “Oh wow, look at those numbers! Surely we’re going to profit from showing anime on our network!” said no TV station executive ever. More people enjoy cheap soaps because they’re easier to digest. Also, the social consensus is still: anime is childish and unfit for adult consumption.

Another point which I would like to bring up is: why would you want anime on TV if it’s going to be censored, trimmed to allow more ads, aired only on certain times without reruns and horribly dubbed? Also, you already have the anime on your laptop. You’ve probably already watched it. Why then, would you want to see it on TV again? I seriously question the rationale behind this. I mean, when Bleach was aired by a TV network, I cringed at the horrible dubbing and unnecessary trimming and censors.

Endnote

So in the end ,why should anyone bother putting anime on TV? The anime requested has the same watchable values as any typical Indonesian shitty TV soap and it’s highly irrational for the TV networks to lose money just to cater to Indonesian anime apologists. In fact, the logic used by these anime apologists is also ridiculous.

Airing anime on TV takes a lot more work than just emailing the licensing companies. It is a risky venture, and in the business world, it’s better to play safe, especially when millions of bucks are involved. Furthermore, making anime comply with Indonesian broadcast standards and meet audience expectations at the same is easier said than done.

Anime Sundays may never be as it used to be. At least it had a good run.

Let me close with this. Of course, I do agree that sinetron is shit. I wouldn’t want my children watching it too. But, if the anime showing on TV has the same quality as Indonesian soaps, I’d rather let my kid watch Criminal Minds so he’ll grow up to be a psychopath. At least he won’t grow up to be a swaggy teen who makes dank memes and says YOLO all the time or an unhealthy obsessed nijikkon.

 

 

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5 thoughts on “The Anime Bias: On Anime and TV

  1. >Horrible dubs and censoring
    I watched Air Gear when it’s airing on TV and oh god.

    It’s better watching with subtitles, really. Because usually some trivial (like pun or gags) will be lost in translation.

    Or if they decide to remove/censor a scene. AFAIK in earlier Gundam SEED airing, one crucial scene (Athrun and Cagalli’s development scene) is entirely removed.

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  2. Awesome thoughts, you’re right. Some animes do have good values and some don’t. That’s why our Censorship only chose some animes that they think good for kids(because most of the audience are kids). some of anime lovers (remember, it’s some of them not all of them) that demands R-18 (like on the photo you just posted) animes and posted it on Facebook made the Censorship thinks that “oh animes are not good for kids it contains adult content!”. That’s why animes in indonesia now are fewer than before. Good post

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  3. The logic reason that i care why indonesian people, especially kids. They need to watch some anime, it is like “what could they watch more?” Not everyone as luck as you and me who have no worries about high internet cost or pc/gadget stuff. At least try to put it on slot hour of slot hour, with nice story and still has education. i recommend like Hyouka, Non Non Biyori, or dramatic romantic anime like Anohana that ndonesian girl maybe will love it. Dub is different thing. I’ve seen many talented Indonesia people who has talent re-voicing anime on events. Probably it’s best to using japanese voice itself. Of course no ecchi or weeb stuff. If you said that they don’t like anime either, then let they be it. KIDS, i’m worrying about. I’ worrying about us too. You know, many people still have mind that anime things are weird thing, right? At least, give it try. Just like me. I just need a person who introduce anime to me, and i’m thankfully to that person for rest of my life.

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    1. If that is the most logical reason why TV stations should air anime, then it’s really a weak reason. Most of your argument is based on personal anecdote, with disregard for other things that actually matter.

      First of all, the majority of TV viewers don’t watch anime; they watch the news. In 2013, almost 17% of viewers watch TV for news, as cited in “Mapping Digital Media” (https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/mapping-digital-media-indonesia-20140326.pdf).

      The trends also show that TV viewership is slowly shifting towards the Internet, as the Indonesian middle-class enjoys cheaper and faster Internet access (http://redwing-asia.com/market-data/market-data-media/).

      Think like a business exec, not a wishful weeb. Consider that only a SMALL percentage of the population likes anime, and an even smaller portion are die-hard fans. Anime is a niche; it’s not mainstream. Face the reality. So, if there’s a small potential viewership, why would I even consider investing billions of rupiah in licensing fees, just to air a short anime of 13 episodes that nobody will watch? I might as well be stoned by the board of directors for being such a stupid fuck. That’s why most of the anime aired on TV are popular ones, like reruns of Doraemon; not “new” anime that only a few people know about.

      Also, you make a point of saying: “kids NEED to watch anime”. I’m sorry, but no, that is not true. Kids don’t NEED to watch anime. They need to fucking go to school and not cheat on exams. Anime is not a primary need for kids; educational TV is. Besides, we don’t need anime to educate kids. I’d rather choose documentaries. Licensing fees are cheaper than anime, because the Japs are a bunch of Jews. Or books. Get the kids off TV and get them to read fucking books. That’s a better policy to consider.

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