Studio Manglobe, known for works such as Deadman Wonderland, Ergo Proxy, and Samurai Champloo, announced bankruptcy on Tuesday, September 9. Reports note that the financial issues were a result of long term decisions, not a result of expending too much money in the animation of Manglobe’s recent show, Gangsta.
Fans have expressed significant distress on Reddit and MyAnimeList. The collapse of Manglobe has made it evident that the animation industries that were once able to operate on minimal funding from 0.00000001% of fans who purchased DVDs or used legal streaming sources will no longer be sustainable.
“This is definitely the end of anime,” said Japanese director and animator Hayao Miyazaki in a television interview. “Young people all gamble away their funds on shows like Gangsta and you end up like Manglobe.”
Miyazaki’s resounding statement concerning the end of anime has also left many otaku grappling with their lives and lost in existentialist crises.
“There was once a time I thought anime would never succumb to finances,” posted an anonymous high school drop-out on Facebook. “But anime has had its soul ripped away. There is no meaning to life anymore.”
Other radical fans have begun to propose initiatives to preserve the surviving animation studios through mass purchases of Crunchyroll accounts and body pillows. Some have created Kickstarter campaigns to help bring Manglobe out of its debt. Their campaigns fell short by several million. However, most fans have not been been accepting of these proposals, claiming that Manglobe’s and soon-to-be anime’s demise are direct effects of poor decision making.
“They should’ve just stuck with harems and fan service,” stated Junko Kiyoshi, anime professor at Tokyo University. “Too many samurai shows. And The World God Only Knows didn’t have a sustained harem.”
Kiyoshi also mentioned that studios such as Ufotable, which has been suffering from consistent production issues, will soon follow in Manglobe’s path. On the other side of the spectrum, some fans express optimism, convinced that the failure of animation studios will not signal the death of anime. In addition to outsourcing the medium of anime to other countries, the downfall of anime as the world knows it today may trigger new blood, creativity, and passion in the art.
“Miyazaki can just make all of the anime. It’s what he lives and breathes (for maybe another 25 years). He’s the one guy who isn’t so money-centric in this shallow industry,” said Kiyoshi as he checked to see if the last episode of Gangsta was done downloading on his laptop.