Already there to some extent

Given some cartoonists were already talking about the future of manga being increasingly given to work for hire talent, it’s already there to some extent. Look no further than the various Pokemon, Street Fighter, Devil May Cry and Darkstalkers spin-off/tie-in comics. Or even the various comics directly based on existing manga franchises like Hunter x Hunter and Devilman and to a significant extent, Osamu Tezuka and Gundam.

Though work for hire stories aren’t unique to America, given Brazilian and European Disney comics have those too and actually so do Japanese comics to an extent, I think given the spin-offs not written by the original author that’s inevitable. Gundam especially has this is spades, especially since the 1990s beginning with G Gundam. Devilman’s got a lot of spin-off manga not written by Go Nagai.

The many spin-off Pokemon comics attest to it. Frankly these are the only examples* I know of but one that makes the most sense given where anime’s heading.

*.Hack/Sign, Evangelion, Madoka and Digimon have it too.

Digimon and Yokai Watch

Admittedly, I’m rather in the dark about Yokai Watch but having known Digimon (and watched it before along with Pokemon as well as witnessing merchandise even to this day as I remember), these are generally considered to be rivals to Pokemon. It’s not that they’re unsuccessful but that they can’t match Pokemon. It’s not that Pokemon’s unoriginal (itself inspired by the Capsule Monsters of Ultraseven) and isn’t influenced by Japanese lore (something like Froslass being Yuki Onna).

But when it comes to the latter, for most of the part, it’s not too heavily influenced by it the way Yo-Kai Watch is (a Reddit thread proved this). As to why Pokemon’s more successful than Digimon, another thread said that had the Pokemon games been mediocre Digimon could and should’ve the upper hand. But it didn’t in reality. It’s probably analogous to Street Fighter, King of Fighters and Tekken.

The other two aren’t unpopular and the former’s not without its own faults but that the former’s much bigger than the latter for some reason. Same for Pokemon, Digimon and Yo-Kai Watch when you think about it.

Anime at its last legs

Should another anime professional say that anime’s dying, let’s not forget that may others before him said similar things. It’s not that anime’s influence would completely dry out or something but that the Japanese ACG industry would undo itself due to problems like decadence. Maybe that’s not the right word for it but when it’s got a bad reputation, it makes it harder to be likable to everybody else. For every Naruto, there’s another moeblob anime.

Not to mention that American animation’s actually quickly catching up with it if the likes of Castlevania are any indication. I actually think stuff like Castlevania give a better idea of what the future lies. Keep in mind Japanese video games being adapted for American media isn’t new either if Captain N, the Mario cartoon, 1994’s Street Fighter and Resident Evil movies are any indication.

What would change is if/when Japanese video games being adapted for Western media have become the norm. Ninja Theory’s take on Devil May Cry along with a forthcoming second animated production (there’s another one before) are a good indication of what’ll come next. It’s not that anime’s influence is going away but the Japanese ACG industry’s going to decline and such franchises need to survive elsewhere.

This includes changing them to fit other countries’ sensibilities and even the next DMC video game would have Dante Sparda dressed up as Dante Alighieri (that could happen along with another anime professional becoming a big fan of this Dante). King of Fighters used to be owned by a Japanese company and is currently owned by a Chinese one. Not that Japan’s economy would decline entirely.

But that the new centre of ACG in the East lies in China and India (I get the feeling that a Chinese company might one day buy a substantial stake in DC Entertainment) and like I said, America’s catching up real quickly on this and may even supplant Japan should the latter’s own ACG industry die.

Salvageable Outfits

Like I said, there’s always a way to retain Cammy White’s outfit without upsetting censors is to change the cut/length/silhouette. She could easily pull of a unitard and still remain iconic. Sometimes there needn’t any big changes to her look/outfit when it could still be salvaged into either a unitard or romper. Most likely a unitard. She could even pull off this silhouette/outfit and still look iconic when you think about it.

I suspect if they ever swapped her thong leotard for a bodycon romper/unitard, it’ll mostly remain the same but give her an air of style in her athleticism. Not to mention it actually makes her look more legitimately militaristic whilst being skimpy. It’s a happy compromise when you think about it though keep in mind Cammy has canonically worn more modest outfits before like the cat outfit in one of the Street Fighter games so.

You can have both: Cammy White

There are at other times when characters’ modesty can still be preserved simultaneously with their original or default outfits. It’s like putting Cammy White in a spandex romper where it still preserves the look of her original/default outfit but also without offending certain groups and channels like ESPN (a gamer had to change her outfit because of that).¬†Again a happy compromise and one that also gives her much needed respect.

For some odd reason, she seemed to come off as an adult to me anyways though it’s her severe personality that makes her seem older. If you’ve been recovering from being brainwashed in your late teens fairly quickly, it also makes you more mature for your age. (That’s if Cammy had been introduced as 19 in Street Fighter II, thus making her legal age and if British legal age’s 16, she’s already an adult.)

Though by now she could probably be in her late twenties.

The weird thing about companies

The weird thing about companies is that even if they pander to their customers/fans every now and then, they sometimes do things differently from expectations. That’s understandable though keep in mind that for those who wanted one character to have another’s ‘skin’ might end up getting something else from the official company. I suspect that’s the case with Capcom where they did fulfill some fans’ expectations and sometimes defied them.

(Perhaps it sometimes seemed as such given they’re going by what they intended to do, not what the fans want.) Capcom’s still fallible but keep in mind that as disappointing or frustrating as it is (I’ve been through it about similar things too), companies and sometimes people still think differently than fans. I’ve been through it and I can understand how they feel but sometimes it works like that.

Darkstalkers and Street Fighters

Keep in mind that while Street Fighter’s not the first fighting game around, it’s one of the oldest surviving franchises and examples to date and successful enough to not only spawn sequels but also preempt other Capcom fighting games like Darkstalkers. I remember somebody saying that Darkstalkers’s like the Halloween version of Street Fighter which’s now predictably so this week.

Keep in mind that some of the characters received Darkstalker costumes before but it’s also appropriate that September’s coming to an end with Halloween coming around, the better to dress up as something or somebody else. Hence why there’s going to be a Darkstalkers bundle coming soon. One of the ones’s not only getting a Felicia ‘skin’ but also’s going to have really dark skin too.

Keep in mind that this may not always be the case (but that’s for another topic) but since Felicia’s going to be black, it’s parsimonious that the ‘Felicia’ skin might be the character as originally intended (in a way). Amusing when you think about it.

King of Fighters

Like I said, the differences between Pokemon and Digimon’s more analogous to the ones between Street Fighter and King of Fighters. One’s more prestigious and popular by having several more iconic characters to boot. The latter could be better and isn’t entirely forgotten but the former’s still more influential. One brand’s going to be more iconic or better known than the other even if the latter could’ve come first.

Mickey Mouse’s very much based on Felix the Cat but he’s better known than him. Ad infinitum. Not necessarily entirely forgotten, just not as far-reaching. As for fighting games, the earliest fighting games were Heavyweight Champ, Knights in Armour, Warrior, Boxing, Shanghai Kid and Karate Champ. These led to Yie Ar Kung Fu and especially Street Fighter paving the way for subsequent fighting games.

This pre-empted SNK’s own games, which begat King of Fighters. Not that it lacked any innovations that Street Fighter’ll eventually copy such as three vs three. For some reason, KOF remained popular in China and Latin America due to many factors like hardware that’s easier to pirate. It could be due to SNK’s own blunders that KOF never did well as it should. But it’s got a good enough following elsewhere to keep the brand alive.

Pokemon and Digimon

Two popular games involving owners making their monster pets fight each other. Both of them were popular but it’s Pokemon that managed to remain a big force to be reckoned with. While less popular, that doesn’t mean Digimon’s nonexistent or anything as it still churns out new monsters, though increasingly skeevy since Angewomon appeared.

Not that Pokemon’s any less sexualised as it certainly had moments (bikini episode and an official comic book illustrated by a pornographer) as well as sexual innuendo in some games. Just not as often and/or as blatant as Digimon’s at now. The differences might be analogous to the ones between Street Fighter and King of Fighters.

While King of Fighters certainly had characters that came around before however in entirely different games that were patched together whilst Street Fighter likely had at least a handful of its more iconic characters from the very beginning. Both of them can be problematic and KOF could be/is sometimes better than SF (and vice versa).

Both of them are still around however Street Fighter’s more popular and prestigious to boot. That’s by having some of the most iconic female video game characters to date (as Pokemon’s owned by Nintendo, it’s also behind Metroid’s Samus Aran who’s another iconic video game woman). Similar things can be said of Pokemon.

Digimon can be better than Pokemon but Pokemon’s more prestigious than Digimon.

Blank slates

There’s another kind of sexism that tends to treat women as interchangeable which I suspect that’s one of the biggest problems with how female characters are portrayed in superhero media and the like. Even if there are fans and writers who do know differences yet it’s not enough to counteract this. Let alone effectively give them an actual consensus the way there’s for Batman, Superman and Shazam.

There are only Catwoman and Wonder Woman whose core identities and personas remained constant and aren’t made interchangeable with other women that often to my knowledge. Perhaps the Street Fighter modding community provides a clue to this problem. Actually I’ve come to suspect that’s also the same with female nudity in art. To paraphrase Mr Tolstoy, all nude women are alike; every clothed woman’s different in her own way.

(Could be guilty of doing similar things before.)

Female characters could be literally stripped of their uniqueness. Now if that’s the case, a similar process has occurred with writing female characters where whatever traits they have’s interchangeable with others and can be changed at a whim. It wouldn’t be any better if Caitlin Snow finally got lycanthropy/shapeshifting powers.

Legally speaking, if that ever happens not only does Caitlin risk being made interchangeable with both her predecessors and Marvel’s Mystique and Wolfsbane but her going from ice-maker to werewolf shapeshifter risks both plagiarism and possibly turning this interchangeability on its head.

(This only fuels suspicion of Caitlin being made into an entirely different character.)

There are bad consequences to making women into blank slates to project onto as it involves lack of any definitive personality and voice.