On a Google Plus thread, JD Cowan discusses what led to the decline of the anime industry in the US:
It was the perfect storm of bad management and the overseas industry going insular. There’s a reason there’s such a hard drop off of anime fans from that era more than any other. Ask any old fan when they stopped keeping up and the answer is always between 2006-08.
It hasn’t worked out well for anyone.
For example, these were Bandai’s top sellers before they shuttered their doors.
Cowboy Bebop (absolutely #1)
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
When they stopped making series like 4/5 above, the audience left. Even Haruhi isn’t a straight moe series.
While the Lucky Star manga did well for them, the anime did not. It’s volumes were the fastest ever to hit the clearance bin. And neither did K-On make a splash, which they overpaid for. Even when Sentai got it, it still made no impact. In Japan, moe barely ever cracks the top 30 monthly manga sales and it is never on the sales charts here.
These were the top 30 selling manga of the first half of 201 in Japan. No moe.
Moe is not strong enough to hold the industry up. I have no idea why saying this is controversial. It wasn’t what built it, the audience will never be replaced, and there is no wide appeal to attract new audiences. The slump post-2006 is because the licenses were not what the core audience wanted, so they walked away.
The industry messed up. Moe is not good enough to hook audiences. It should have remained a niche focus. Part of the mismanagement is due to this stupid decision.
Yet more evidence that large, mainstream industries cannot rely on niche marketing techniques.
By the way, you can visit JD Cowan’s site here.