Monday, June 23, 2008

In My View: On PiQ, ADV and sentimentalism

So I meant to write this when it was a bit more topical, but I got distracted by Final Fantasy V.

And to be honest, there's something really fun about 16-bit graphics and turned-based combat. Something that reminds me of a time before computer RPGs got complicated by having to make sure you hit the X-button when the circle crosses the other circle so that you can get the full effect of your hit. No. If you hit, you hit. And if you don't hit, then we all know what happens. The Skelesaur is going to beat the crap out of you because you didn't level enough before you went up Dragon Mountain.

But in all truth, I'm a sentimental type of guy. I like little knickknacks of my past or at least the happier times of my past.

Which is why I hope that ADV makes it.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't have any illusions that the capitalist system should be a pastel picture filled with fields of flowers while dewy eyed moe girls stare wistfully off into the horizon. There's no room in the capitalist system for nostalgia or sympathy. The capitalist world instead is made out of steel and concrete, where those doe-eyed moe girls weep softly in the alley after being gang raped by a bunch of men in business suits.

And make no mistake; ADV has taken a lot of hits in the last few months. The least of which being losing Gurren Lagann, the Anime Network's Linear Service closing down, having their production held hostage for almost a month and cutbacks in Europe. And now PiQ is shutting its doors. I mean if ADV isn't heading for that slow slide into that good night, then I'll be surprised. They are as one person put it, a company that rode the wave when it was high and now can't find their footing once the wave has collapsed. Or at least that's what it seems like to my untrained outsider point of view.

But still, I hope that they find a way to make it. Because like Central Park Media, Geneon and for most part Media Blasters, they're an icon from a better time. Now as someone who has at least been on the periphery of this hobby for the last 10 years. I've seen it go through all of the stages: from the initial "Wow they're releasing it on VHS?" days in the mid-1990s to the "Cool it's actually on Cartoon Network" in the latter part of that decade, to "Neat, it's in Sam Goody" in the early part of the decade to now when it's almost become commonplace. (And dare I say mainstream. Although that's another post for another time.)

And more than anything else, it's that initial excitement that I feel nostalgic about. That feeling that anime was something different and new and kind of edgy or kind of silly. That it was something that could pull a few dozen people into a darkened room on campus so we could watch a few hours of it on a big screen because someone had bought a disk.

Granted, it was this same initial excitement that ADV capitalized on. And it's silly for me to feel nostalgic about that, they are just a distributor. They don't make anything. They just repackage it with subtitles and a fairly decent dub and put it out on the market. They've made their mistakes. They've gotten smacked by the market for it. That's really the end of the story.

But I can't help thinking that when they go a little of the magic of those times is going to go with them. I can't help but remembering watching the last two disks of RahXephon on no sleep. Or popping in the disks from Gasaraki. Or any of the other memories, I have related to their releases.

And I can't help but hope that they manage to make it. Even if sentimentalism doesn't have any place in a capitalist world.

No comments: