Questions Answered During The Anime Awards Pre-Show Press Conference
Last night the heads of Crunchyroll took part in an open, live Q&A session in advance of tomorrow’s Anime Awards. On the mike were Crunchyroll president Rahul Purini, Chief Marketing Officer Gita Rebbapragada, and Chief Content Officer Asa Suehira. Questions were taken from around the world and the three gave their thoughts on fans’ comments, suggestions and concerns.
Asa kicked things off by discussing their motive for moving this year’s Anime Awards ceremony to Japan. He said the anime industry doesn’t really have a homegrown awards show and that it was important to bring the spotlight to the creators, instead of from a distance.
Gita was asked if she expected any increase in the audience for this year’s Anime Awards, given the increased visibility of anime movies in American theaters (through not just Crunchyroll, but GKids and Fathom). She answered that this year’s ballot had generated 18 million votes, the highest yet, so no, she didn’t expect a diminished audience. “I think that’s just testament to anime’s growth in general, and the power of the stories and the IP that we have in the nominee list,” she said. “it’s important to recognize that the titles that we are celebrating at this award show are across eight different streaming services. They’re on Crunchyroll, but they’re also from other services. And it’s important to recognize the whole industry on this show.”
A fan from Colombia asked if Crunchyroll planned to add more Latin American judges for next year’s Anime Awards show to increase representation from those territories. Gita said yes: “It is important that our judges represent where our fans are, and also where the votes are coming from. And so yes, we will be looking to do that next year.” Someone from Puerto Rico mentioned that, since many people in that region are bilingual, they tend to watch anime in more than one language. Given this, Rahul was asked if it would be possible in the future to choose which language dub actor to vote for, instead of the one that appears by default depending on the language set in the voter’s Internet browser. Rahul said he would take that feedback into consideration.
Asa was asked if he’d considered letting members of the anime industry itself onto the judging panel. Asa said the Anime Awards judges would remain from the fanbase because “the awards are about connecting the fans to the creators.” The more obvious answer would be that it’d be impossible to guarantee impartiality.
There were several similar questions in a row about the execs’ opinions on the growing mainstream popularity of anime. Creed 3 was brought up because director Michael B. Jordan cited anime as an influence in the staging and the slow-motion shots. They pointed out there was actually a Crunchyroll correspondent at the premiere of that movie. Rahul added that anime movies themselves are doing major business with Dragon Ball Super: Broly and One Piece Red raking in millions domestically in the US.
Finally, Rahul was asked where he saw the global anime fan community and distribution of anime going in five years. He replied that he only expected things to grow larger from here. “I think the power of anime is the diversity and the variety of fans globally, that get attracted to this format of storytelling and get excited about it. And I think we will just continue to see that diversity grow and end up representing the population of the world.”
The 2023 Crunchyroll Anime Awards will be held in Tokyo Saturday, March 4, 2023. Anime fans everywhere can watch it on Crunchyroll’s YouTube channel or Twitch stream at 4:30am ET on March 4.
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