Opinion|How Things Have Changed — Globalization of Asian Media

Opinion|How Things Have Changed — Globalization of Asian Media

Why hello my BAYOG lovelies~ Some of you may not know this, but I’m a part of a K-Drama Circle with my friends. It’s kinda like a book club…except it’s more like a group chat where we spazz about dramas, fangirling, and music. 2/3 of us are Asian American. We recently were talking about the growing exposure of K-Pop and Asian media in general. We were just talking about how crazy it is to see how much the interest in Asian media has grown. It’s crazy to see everything truly become international. I think it’s been about a year since I did an opinion-esque post for BAYOG. I figured this would be a good time.

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We’re old souls (90’s babies). So we were also reminiscing and talking about how much things have changed. While I started talking about K-Pop and K-Dramas, I’m saying that this includes ALL Asian media. From the dramas, tv shows, variety shows, music, music videos, movies, and anime; All of it.

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Back in the day, Asian media was kind of hard to find. The old school way to watch anything was go to an Asian video rental store. Sometimes it was just an Asian grocery store that would have a section with some video tapes. You’d just rent tapes, watch them, rewind them, and bring them back. It’s like Blockbuster. Except the videos usually weren’t official, meaning it was technically illegal… It was like a copy someone had recorded on a blank tape as it played on the TV.

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However, the internet was growing and gaining popularity. Things were starting to go digital too. People started sharing Asian dramas, movies, and animes online. Again, these things hadn’t really been on a global level yet. So yeah…you were basically being a..*ahem* pirate… Anyone else remember MegaUpload or having to download like 5-15 parts of one file? Ah…the memories of sailing the digital seas… I was lucky to be bilingual, and to be able to go back to the motherland pretty often. So I was also able to watch and buy anime dubbed in Thai whenever I went to Thailand. Some of my fondest childhood memories are spending my afternoons watching Sailor Moon, Gundam, Ultraman, Crayon Shin-Chan, etc.

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Alot of anime series, manga series, Asian movies, and Asian dramas were unknown outside of their respective countries. Well, more like unknown in the West. It was really the work of fans that helped plant and really grow the interest and popularity overseas. Fans would do the translations themselves. They’d also scan the manga, clean up the images, put the translations, and upload them for others to enjoy. Asian movies and dramas were pretty similar. Again, someone would record the episode or rip the DVD files. They would then translate each line, do the segmenting/timing, and the typesetting. Then they’d upload it online. Often times these fans even formed groups or communities to help with the work and share the results. Everything was done for free out of their own time and resources. It was shared for free too. Be it manga, dramas, or whatever it was about sharing the enjoyment and giving exposure to the media they loved.

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Honestly, I really appreciated these communities though. Most of them were via forums or blogs like LiveJournal. They provided a fun place to talk about what we liked, and to make new friends. There are still alot of communities like this for the lesser known titles. Anyways, it often took alot of time and work for one release. It’s something alot of people would often take for granted too. I myself translate, segment, and sub on Viki. It’s alot easier than what the old school groups had to do. Still, it’s alot of work. To all the translators, subbers, etc. I see you. I appreciate you. Y’all do an amazing job. Thank you for bringing exposure to all those titles, and really help foster the communities and growing popularity for Asian media.

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As the internet and digital world grew and became more common place, the exposure grew. The way things were done improved too. However, we were all still small niche communities. Still, the exposure grew because people were being able to access more information from far off places. Yet, if you went to the general public in the 90’s – early 2000’s, most people would say “What’s anime?”, “What’s J-Pop/C-Pop/K-Pop?”, “What’s a drama??”, etc. Sometimes we were still given weird looks, or made fun of too.

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It wasn’t until like around 2005-2010 ish that things really started to hit globalization. We can thank the birth and growing popularity of YouTube for that. Instead of having to download things, you were now able to just stream it off of a site. Again, it’s the instant access to something new at your fingertips. People were also starting to see the rising popularity and demand for these too. So official sites started popping up. These were sites like CrunchyRoll, Viki, and DramaFever started around this time.

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I don’t remember the early days of CrunchyRoll too well. However, Viki and DramaFever were definitely free. I remember DramaFever was completely free, except for the ads. Then I think it was like you could only watch 5 minute previews of some episodes. Viki has always been free with ads though. I’ve been with Viki for forever. Like…I even got the old school badge lulz.

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However, the rise in popularity and demand made a profitable market for these companies. Still, it’s made everything so much more accessible now. I can also tell you that these companies and more have grown so much over the years. Although…RIP DramaFever… The greatest tragedy in the Asian drama community…

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The main difference from then and now is that you’re now able to LEGALLY access all these shows. There’s alot more variety now too! Before, it was only a couple titles. Back in the old days, there were only a couple places you could go to find your anime or Asian drama/movie fix. However, now we got plenty of options. Even freakin’ Netflix and Hulu has them. Now, you’ve got hundreds and thousands of different titles. You have a variety in choosing all these different genres, and the country of origin too. Not only that, but the quality is so much better. We’re now able to watch everything in HD because it’s official/legal.

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Back in the day, it’d be really awful quality. Not only that, but one episode would often be broken into several parts/videos. Now I can just watch a super HD quality of an episode in one go.

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Another big difference is how fast everything is up online and translated. Like I said, back in the old days it could be from a few days to a week. However, now new episodes are up instantly after airing. We’ve got simulcast now! Hallelujah! Not only that, but the subtitles are out so much quicker now! It’s sometimes instantly up, or it just takes a couple hours for an episode to be fully translated. My friends and I are super grateful for it. People complain about subs taking so long, but let me tell you… A couple hours or a day isn’t that long. Back in my time, we’d have to wait about a week AFTER the video was up. That’s if we were lucky. If we were luckier, it could be a few days.

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It’s crazy how the small niche communities have grown. It’s crazy to see things we were once shunned for is started to be appreciated too. Yes, there are some people who say some bullshit things. Still, I think it’s wonderful how much everything has grown and become so much more accepted now. We’re living in an amazing time folks. Things have come a long way, and for the better! Enjoy it. Also remember to be kind and thankful to the people who do the translating, segmenting, and subs. It’s alot of work man. Be grateful! What was your experience regarding the changes in how you accessed anime, manga, dramas, movies, or music? What was your favorite old school title? Lastly, were you a pirate of the digital seas too?~ hehe

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On a side note: Hey BAYOG Fam! Minty here. By the time y’all see this, I’ll be off on vacation for about a month. I’m probably getting ready to get on the plane, or even somewhere in the air right now~ I’ll be off living my bestest fat life in the mother country! I may still have a couple posts schedule though! So you probably won’t even notice that I’m gone!~ If I have time, I might be able to blog a few times. If not, I’ll be sure to have some fun posts for you after I return!~ See y’all later~

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4 Replies to “Opinion|How Things Have Changed — Globalization of Asian Media”

  1. Man, this was such a nostalgic view on how things have really changed… thanks for doing such an excellant write up.

    1. Sorry for the late reply. I was on hiatus/vacation and didn’t have my laptop with me ^^” Thanks for taking the time to read it, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!~

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