The Unabomber doesn’t pay for anime!

And therefore neither should you.If you are reading this, then you should be paying for anime because you are not a neo-luddite.

Maybe I’m a super advanced neo-luddite who uses technology to take down the very technology I hate. And reads Japanese cartoon blogs.

Maybe I built my computer from pinball machine parts!

But seriously the way some radical pro-fansub people talk on the Internet you would think that pirating anime was like striking a blow against the fascist Coalition States. In their opinion anime should be free and anyone who pays for anime is a sucker and a collaborator with the vilest forces of evil. They would have you believe that every American anime company is run by a bunch of filthy rich fat cats that overcharge you for heavily edited poorly translated tripe. Because as we all know the Japanese get anime for free so why should we valiant Americans be forced to pay for it.

I guess people don’t realize that market is just about the same everywhere, unless you live in a communist state. Yeah, anime is on TV in Japan, but that doesn’t mean it’s free. You sit through the commercials. There you have it ladies and gentlemen, I know we don’t have commercials in America but I’m sure you know what they are. If someone wanted to argue that they only watch anime on TV in the U.S. and it’s free and they therefore won’t buy any DVDs…I guess that is fine. But that entitles them to a very small portion of anime. And that is hypothetical because we know the people championing it aren’t doing that. Yeah, really sticking it to the man guys…by the way what CORPORATION are you paying for your Internet service?

There are more anime fans than ever before. Why should DVD sales be down? Conventions keep getting bigger and bigger yet the profits seem to be at a standstill or going down the drain. More than 20,000 people attended Otakon for the past three years. How many of them do you think have watched Full Metal Alchemist? Probably a good portion. Yet, FMA and most other anime sell somewhere between 1000 and 3000 DVDs of the first disc and sales go down from the second disc on.

And those numbers are only true for popular series. I’m sure Master Keaton and Galaxy Angelnever sold anywhere near 1,000 copies. If I had magical insider info I would like to see the sales numbers on the last disk of some really popular shows. I’m really curious to see how quickly the number of DVDs falls and how low does it go as a series drags on. But anime companies give out sales numbers like //most// people give out naked pictures of themselves.

Most people being those not on 4chan.

I think it’s harder to find someone at an anime con who has not at least heard of Full Metal Alchemist than it is to find someone who has no idea who the Yankeesare at a baseball game. Now a lot of people will say that, “Oh well I watched it on Cartoon Network so that’s why I did not buy the dvds.” Now if you watched it on TV that’s fine but I still saw a huge number of people running around talking about FMA before episode 1 played on TV. I am pretty sure most of them did not buy the Japanese tankubon and just happen to be Japanese literate.

Plus, there was a line wrapping around half the convention to meet the voice actors. There were more people in that line than bought the DVDs! You are such a huge fan that you can’t shell out 20 bucks for the DVDs? I just don’t get it.

I’m curious if you could make every person, who has seen Fullmetal Alchemist, at Otakon answer why they did not purchase the DVDs. I’m curious to hear their excuses. I assume your going to get, “I’m poor so I can’t afford the DVDs” or “I did not like it enough to buy it.” (Double points if they say either and they are cosplaying a FMA character.) I also assume there will be a bunch of people who have some minor quibble with the release that stops them from buying the DVDs (Did not like how they translated this minor term, did not like some part of the packaging, minor audio glitch). I also assume there will be a few people who don’t want the man to get their cash because they ruin everything and it would be wrong for them to have to pay.

Being a fan for many, many years now this boggles my mind! I used to buy anime blind, without knowing anything about it. It was hit and miss but it was also exciting to sit down with my friends and gobble it up good or bad. The days like that are gone because heaven forbid you buying something at all let alone something that doesn’t have a religious following! However, I understand the need for reviews and previews because the market is so big now, there are more titles out than I could have imagined ten years ago.

I tend to research all my purchases of anything I buy because I’m oddly anal retentive about that. I will still experiment with anime but I tend to like to have some idea of what I’m getting into. If it’s anything I also research what I download on Bittorent just as much. Goodness forbid I download the new Peach Pit series by mistake. I think part of it has to do more with the fact that it’s so easy to do a huge amount of research with almost no effort thanks to the Internet. You get get 20 reviews in a matter of seconds on almost anything. The only problem is you get the Internet’s opinion. Take that as you will.

Well, you also buy more anime than anyone I know. I wouldn’t say don’t research to people, like I mentioned there is so much more out there. But I feel like people use reviews as an excuse not to buy things. Because some show wasn’t A+ or top 10 material it isn’t worth spending money on.

There does seem to be a distinct trend towards people just buying A-list titles and everything else being ignored in anime and manga in general. Almost every anime company and a few manga companies blame this on the Internet. They basically claim that big titles are big enough that downloading does not hurt them too much because they have a more mainstream appeal but niche titles flounder because they lose too many buyers to the free bootleg alternative. How true this is I can’t say. All I can say is no matter what the truth is you should try and support smaller titles. Naruto will do fine if you skip buying a few DVDs for a while to support Honey and Clover and Mushishi. (Buy Honey and Clover when it comes out or you will never find true love.)

I would never say don’t use bittorrent. I use it all the time, it is running right now. But I don’t watch too many series compared to what is available online right now. I usually watch somewhere from one to five titles at a time and they are never licensed. I like to know what’s going on in Japan, too! But I also buy the titles that I watch on bittorrent, even if I completely watch it before it comes to the states. If/when D.Gray Man gets licensed, I’m so there! If/when Claymore makes it to the U.S., I will cheer! If/when Lovely Complexgets picked up, I’m pre-ordering and I’m already on episode 19. You get the point.

Well, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. I’m pretty sure that fansubs are here to stay no matter what anyone does. Even if bittorrent were to be banned from the Internet tomorrow then IRC, other peer to peer programs, and good old bootleg DVDs would pick up the slack almost instantly. The only thing we can hope to do is encourage people to act like good fans despite the fact that they can get fansubs for free.

Ahhh, I remember my old DC++ days. Fond memories.

That being said I also watch fansubs but try to live by the Otaku code. The Otaku code being that as long as I moderately enjoyed the show I watched fansubed I will go out and buy the legitimate release. That means you don’t go and whine just because the show you like got licensed. You should be happy when the show you like gets a US release. Unless the show is being licensed by 4kids you should be happy to spend money on the shows you like. You can’t go running around saying that fansubs are fine because they show the American companies which titles to license and then not go out and buy those titles.

I also love bittorrent for all the titles that will probably never get licensed. Because no matter how big the market and no matter the sales, there are just some things that seem unlikely to see an official English release. This stems from people only wanting the best of the bestest popular anime of the year. It is really undermining small, niche series and older titles. And so we use Internet to get a fix. But all those shows, I am always championing at cons begging companies to consider them. I’d buy them in a heartbeat!

Is bittorent really hurting older or very obscure anime? The problem is only niche number of people currently interested in these older/more obscure anime. In general modern anime fans seem rather uninterested in older anime and a lot of the more niche titles. They don’t want to download the episodes of older anime for free let alone buy it in the stores. Look at the number of downloads of the newest episodes of Bleach compared to the newest fansubbed episodes of Future Cop Urashiman. The is often a factor of 100 difference in the number of downloaders.

That being said I do like the fact that you can see things like the Rose of Versailles or Future Cop Urashiman despite the fact the is a slim chance of them ever being licensed. Until I learn Japanese it will be the easiest way for me to see certain shows. Plus I too would go out and purchase legitimate releases of said anime if they ever came out in America.

I have to admit, I feel like all of this not buying is purely selfish. I think people should think about the community of fans more and consider other people. Maybe I’m being a little simplistic and naive but I always saw anime fans as a united group of people until a few years ago. Perhaps a splintering like this was caused by it’s rapid growth, but that is another conversation. All I’m saying is that, people aren’t buying anime because they don’t feel like it. Period. And I have to wonder if there is a way to make them feel like it.

I think it’s more a fact that anime has gone mainstream. In the very old days before there was even an American anime industry you had to be a hardcore SOB with a real passion to get anything in America. You had to go and make friends with people who were in Japan and trade with them to get copies of raws. Anything you got was hard won. Fans back then could only wish for American releases. Anything that was releases in the US was heavily modified to being almost different shows.

Can we say Streamline? But you took what you could get!

Also when you started to see anime companies in America, you could easily buy EVERYTHING that was released in the US and not break a sweat. So, most fans had to hunt down what came out and bought it. Anything else you watched was either, traded tapes or very typically horrible bootlegs. Tape trading was also very hit or miss. You dealt with all type of people with all levels of quality of tapes. You could get a nice guy who was a pleasure to deal with and who had beautifully transferred tapes. Other times you dealt with batshit crazy arsefaces with 30th generation tapes with subs done by someone whose native language is neither English or Japanese. You bought what you could legitimately because you were guaranteed some level of quality. Any thing else was a crap shoot.

Modern fandom has it easy. Most everything popular gets licensed eventually and the US companies are anything but perfect but they are better than they have been it the past. The problem is now bootlegs and fansubs are on par with the legitimate releases. Even most bootleggers use the fansubs on their bootlegs (not always though). There are only two guaranteed reasons left that to buy legitimate releases. The first is sometimes extras and packaging materials are better on legitimate releases. Legitimate releases will have trinkets or interviews that a fansub won’t have. The second is the simple love of anime. The problem is casual fans just don’t have the same love and therefore the same commitment to anime.

Oh my the bitterness is starting to show. I guess it can put a different perspective on things when you lived through some different times. I wasn’t around for tape trading mind you, but I certainly know the hard won battles of getting legitimate releases. Waiting years and years for a series to finish. I’m pointing at you Slayers. I was so excited to be able to buy things domestically that I couldn’t imagine not doing it!

Anime fandom was united because the only way for anyone to get what they wanted was to work together. Today you don’t have to deal with anyone to get most anything you want. You don’t have to work for a release and most modern fans never had to work for a release. I’m sure if the kiddies of today would buy a little more if they had to go through what the venerable old men of fandom had to go through. (or perhaps they would have just moved on to whatever was easy to be a fan of.) I’m hardly saying that I would ever want to go back to the bad old days but there was a certain honor such hardship instilled in anime fans.

That goes along with what I have been hearing from younger fans. I asked this kid what college he went to and when he told me, I knew they had an anime club. I asked him what they were showing and how it was run and he said him and his friends didn’t attend. When I questioned why not, he said they had their own little group and didn’t really care about a club. I was disappointed. But you really don’t need anyone else nowadays to be a fan.

As to how to stop the rampant bootlegging of today, I have no idea. People whose livelihood is effected by downloads can’t figure out how to stop it so I don’t think I could think up anything better. As for converting people, I’m not sure if there is any easy way to do so. People have to want to change, otherwise it’s near impossible to get them to change their minds. If there was some simple argument or method of converting people to the idea that spending money on anime is worth it, I would be using it long ago.

I would also be using a modified version of it to get dates.

Narutaki Currently!
Watching E’s Otherwise
Reading Blade of the Immortal
Listening to Ai Otsuka

Brainwasher Detective (Hisui) Currently:
Watching Fate/Stay Night

Reading Otaku USA

Listening to Days – Flow

4 thoughts on “The Unabomber doesn’t pay for anime!

  1. Lothos says:

    Ah…how I wish I could say I was still a responsible anime fan and still bought the offical releases of shows I enjoyed. I don’t think I’ve purchased any anime on DVD since the FLCL DVDs came out. Then again, I don’t really get the time to watch nearly as much anime as I used to, and I still support the manga series I love even when I’ve read/am reading scanlations of chapters that haven’t come out yet in the US (Death Note, Berserk, Bleach, etc). Now, for me, an anime series has to be something pretty special for me to go buy it, and then I’ll usually wait for the box set because I’ve had enough experiences of waiting months for the next volume to become available or have been burned by a company suddenly stopping the release of a series in the middle of it. I’ll still go buy an anime movie, simply because it’s an easy purchase and things like that I prefer to watch alone, in the dark, in my room, on my loud ass speakers.

    Several years ago my anime collection used to be fairly respectable, then I had to go and sell all my old VHS tapes and a lot of my older DVDs ::sob:: had to pay the rent somehow. BUT, back then my manga collection was almost non-existent save for some stuff Dark Horse released (Blade of the Immortal, Gunsmith Cats, Masamune Shirow books), now my manga collection has grown to rival my previous collection of anime. I think it’s a pretty accurate representation of where my anime/manga fandom currently lies.

    Though I do miss the good ol’ days of going to Media Play (god I miss Media Play) and just buying some series or OAV I’ve never heard of and know nothing about on VHS and popping it in when I got home. Wicked City…Ninja Scroll…Robot Carnival…Genocyber…Metal Fighter Miku… all lovely gems in their own right for me. I also miss the days of going to the Soyokaze Fansubs website and picking 4 random tapes of anime to watch for like $15.

    To be quite honest, college is what ruined my anime purchasing habits. Going to the anime club to watch shows in the theater for free, and having an OC3 connection in my dorm room during the early days of online releases of fansubs (in RM format with embedded subs ::shudder:: ) spoiled me. After that I had to have broadband at home, and the quality of fansubs as well as the availability of them continued to improve. I do feel guilty about it. But during my more jaded moods I tell myself “I paid my thousands of dollars on early releases to get companies like US Manga Corps, ADV, Pioneer, Manga Ent. started with their release of anime domestically. Now the new kids can float the bill!” I’m only 25 and I’m already turning into a crotchety old man…but I’ve always kinda looked forward to that ;)

  2. reversethieves says:

    >> Ah…how I wish I could say I was still a responsible anime fan and still bought the offical releases of shows I enjoyed. I don’t think I’ve purchased any anime on DVD since the FLCL DVDs came out. Then again, I don’t really get the time to watch nearly as much anime as I used to, and I still support the manga series I love even when I’ve read/am reading scanlations of chapters that haven’t come out yet in the US (Death Note, Berserk, Bleach, etc). Now, for me, an anime series has to be something pretty special for me to go buy it, and then I’ll usually wait for the box set because I’ve had enough experiences of waiting months for the next volume to become available or have been burned by a company suddenly stopping the release of a series in the middle of it. I’ll still go buy an anime movie, simply because it’s an easy purchase and things like that I prefer to watch alone, in the dark, in my room, on my loud ass speakers. <> Several years ago my anime collection used to be fairly respectable, then I had to go and sell all my old VHS tapes and a lot of my older DVDs ::sob:: had to pay the rent somehow. BUT, back then my manga collection was almost non-existent save for some stuff Dark Horse released (Blade of the Immortal, Gunsmith Cats, Masamune Shirow books), now my manga collection has grown to rival my previous collection of anime. I think it’s a pretty accurate representation of where my anime/manga fandom currently lies. <> Though I do miss the good ol’ days of going to Media Play (god I miss Media Play) and just buying some series or OAV I’ve never heard of and know nothing about on VHS and popping it in when I got home. Wicked City…Ninja Scroll…Robot Carnival…Genocyber…Metal Fighter Miku… all lovely gems in their own right for me. I also miss the days of going to the Soyokaze Fansubs website and picking 4 random tapes of anime to watch for like $15. <> To be quite honest, college is what ruined my anime purchasing habits. Going to the anime club to watch shows in the theater for free, and having an OC3 connection in my dorm room during the early days of online releases of fansubs (in RM format with embedded subs ::shudder:: ) spoiled me. After that I had to have broadband at home, and the quality of fansubs as well as the availability of them continued to improve. I do feel guilty about it. But during my more jaded moods I tell myself “I paid my thousands of dollars on early releases to get companies like US Manga Corps, ADV, Pioneer, Manga Ent. started with their release of anime domestically. Now the new kids can float the bill!” I’m only 25 and I’m already turning into a crotchety old man…but I’ve always kinda looked forward to that <<

    College has ruined many a man in any number of ways. ;)

    The problem is the kids today have no desire to buy anime themselves unless it’s hyper popular like Nate the Ninja. I’m not saying you have to go out and buy everything but you should at least support the smaller/less popular releases that you like. They are the titles that need the most support of they will be the one that die out. If you don’t buy Bleach then Viz is a little less rich. You don’t buy Honey and Clover and everyone decidies not to try to pick up another Josei title for another 5 years.

  3. phatbhuda says:

    My last two purchases of series were pretty blind. I bought Gantz blind, though through a crazy sale at an online retailer. And I purchased GoDannar. GoDannar was on a recommendation from the pink haired one.

    I’m happy with both!

  4. reversethieves says:

    >> My last two purchases of series were pretty blind. I bought Gantz blind, though through a crazy sale at an online retailer. And I purchased GoDannar. GoDannar was on a recommendation from the pink haired one.

    I’m happy with both! <<

    You're also the guy who bought software, computer games, and movies while in college. I am merely preaching to the choir with you. : )

    Godannar is just really fun. It’s a hysterical parody of the giant robot anime genre played with a perfectly straight face while still letting you realize there is supposed to be a joke going on.

    Gantz is hyper violence and soft-core porn and sometimes you just need a show like that. Have you watched all of Gantz? I heard the second part is weak sauce when they stray from the manga plot.

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