February 1, 2005 4:00 AM PST

Anxious times in the cartoon underground

(continued from previous page)

Network, and even has its own Anime Network on cable TV.

But even with this new interest, sales of DVDs--which amount to about 5.7 million copies a year, according to internal industry estimates--are holding steady or dropping. Companies worry that the easy prerelease availability of fansub versions means that the otaku class has already seen their products, and no longer need to buy anything but the must-haves.

The result has been growing anxiety in the industry, although little in the way of direct action. Anime distributors don't have the financial resources for protracted copyright lawsuits, and for the most part, the fan communities are diligent about pulling down titles once they are licensed for distribution, leaving American companies diminished ground for legal action.

"I think there are some Japanese companies that really appreciate fansubbing."
--Nikolai Nolan, student, University of Michigan

"We certainly haven't prosecuted anybody doing the file sharing," said Chad Kime, director of marketing for Geneon Entertainment, another prominent distributor. "Officially, we don't condone the activity. We do admire their enthusiasm and love for our products, and we're grateful when 90 percent of the fansubbers, once they know titles are licensed, do pull them from the Internet."

That leaves the ball in the original Japanese studios' court, and except for Media Factory, it's not obvious what they think of their English-speaking online fans. Nolan said the directors are well aware that their titles are being translated and distributed here, however.

He pointed to the recent final episode of a series called "Battle Programmer Shirase," in which the director included an apology for having to end the series, addressed to "those who enjoy the show on TV, and to those outside the broadcast area who took special measures to watch the show on their PC monitors, and to everyone who watched it subtitled overseas without permission."

"Nobody expected Media Factory to send the letter to everybody, but I think things will go on pretty normally," Nolan said. "I think there are some Japanese companies that really appreciate fansubbing."

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Fansubbers do it better.
I see fansubbing not merely as a way for anime shows to get 'known' outside of Japan (Who likes buying anime on DVD blindly?). But also as healthy competition.

When I say competition I mean that companies releasing anime on DVD need to offer something more than mere a translation or dub. If you look at a lot of anime on DVD the translation itself can sometimes be poor or poorly timed and usualy has a horrid large yellow subtitle font positioned too far up the screen (Usually this is done to overcompensate for the amount of overscan on some TV sets).

Now look at fansubbers efforts. A nice font usually. Details like translations on signs, shopfronts, explanatory notes at the beginning and during the show. But my biggest favorite. KARAOKE during the opening and ending credits!

Karaoke is great. You get a colorful animated scrolling font not only in Japanese but also in English so you can sing along if you want.

I have never seen anime DVD offer this. Occasionally the DVD companies will off other addons like a box for storing the DVD's in or a T-Shirt. These are nice but I still would love to see some more time spent on the anime translations themselves.

BTW most anime fans don't like dubs anyhow and would much prefer well translated subtitles.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fnasub is high quality
As Dick said, I don't think fan sub is at the same level than downloading MP3 or other materials. A fan sub takes a lot more than that. Encoders and subbers take lots of time, and resources trying to produce the best product possible.
@ Chrsi Hall. I truly belive that before you make a comment that strong, you actually see what is all about for yourself. I respect copyrights, and I honor anime makers, for it takes a lot to produce an Anime show. I have watched many shows from DVD and from fan sub, and fan sub is far superior. The dubbing on some anime are like the hell's work, with weird voices, of just plain dry. An anime fan also wants to know a lot more than just what it is spoken, like Dick pointed out you need notes on folk or on signs. I have the luck of living in Japan and I can understand a lot of things better, but the average viewer will need a lot more.
I also agree with Tex. DVDs aren't that compiling. I am a Robotech fan. It is a lot of DVDs to buy, but it is a series I watched in my youth. If I wanted to watch a new series, I would either rent it, or wait for the TV. If it is in none, I would probably not even risk of buying it. It is not like a movie, where you buy 1 DVD. You have to buy a whole bunch just to see the show completely.
That aside, if the fansub didn't exist, I doubt pretty much Anime would have the audience it has today. I am not from US, and I was very dissapointed when I first came in here, because there was barely Anime anywhere to watch. In less than a 2 months I watched all that blockbuster had to offer. (And I wasted money in a lot of bad DVDs too). Fansub can fill that gap, and I don't completely belive chasing after fansubbers will help increase of sales, but better marketting will. Making the product more compiling to purchase. I think in the last 2 years thanks to AdultSwim in Cartoon Network Anime has seen a boom in USA.
Now imagine a world without fansubbing. O, you have Adult Swim, TechTV, and the Anime channel (can't remember the name now), but the later 2 are not in your average cable pack. Leaving Cartoon Network. most anime are more teen or adult oriented, and cartoon network has a kids face (AS being the exception) but most kids don't know of AS (Adult Swim). lots of market not reached. Do sales increase? Probably just a tad bit, because market will stay with the "Otaku" Now the atention turns to Anime because its boom, but lets not forget that fansub had a big role on promoting Anime in the States, and that in general they follow rules, not sharing products licenced in USA. I also own Last Exile, and honestely probably I would not done so if it wasn't for fansubbing.
This is not a grey area, it is illegal, but it helps the anime comunity to promote material. I see this as a special case, where US distributors should work in a different way. Tex suggestion was great. Enforcing the stop of sharing for shows licenced is good too. Stopping sharing completely..I think that then, there will be a lot of shows that will decrease in people that has seen it or even heard of it. Do you buy every single TV series that comes out on TV? no, just the ones you like, and know are worth it. Difference, they are TV shows that you can see easily on TV, so you had a chance to see what is it about, or just want the DVD to re-watch it whenever you like. If Anime was more accesible I would say fansub is wrong. As long as Anime only shows a portion here, I think fansub helps promote it.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
Yes, most hard core fans prefer the subs, but there are a few rather good dubs... namely Original bublegum Crisis and AD POLICE, You're Under Arrest, Captain Tyler. Actually, the Japanese voice director of YUA admitted that he preffered the English dub and played the tape to his voice actors to give them inspiration.

I've seen a few fantastic commercially available sub/dubs.... Captain Tyler has great notes on the background of the series and the dub is perfect plus the DVD menu is very well designed both graphically and funtionally. I watched CityHunter Fansubs before ADV commercially released the entire series... it appears that ADV used the notes and translation verbatim from Fansubbers... the entire series probably wouldn't have been released if the Fansubbers hadn't done most of the hard work, and the City Hunter ADV releases do have the Karaoke in both English and Japanese for the opening and closing credits.
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
How far do we have to go?
When will people realize that piracy has *real* and adverse effects on those who produce the works that they download? Piracy is not a victimless crime and sooner or later, we're going to learn the hard way.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Piracy and price gouging
I agree that piracy will, in the long run, hurt Anime in America more than help it. I think anime has reached critical mass in the US that fansubs will eventually start cannibalizing sales for the DVDs.

It is laughable for that Michigan student to say that Japanese companies appreciate the fansubs. Yes, they like the attention given to their work, but they have to eat too, you know! Anime production is a thankless job, with long hours and low pay - something people will have to start realizing if they want the genre to survive.

Anime Dubbing has gone a very long way since the 1980s - when they were just intolerable. I have seen dubbing that can go toe-to-toe with the originals, and sometimes better - it all depends on the studio.

Anime "purists" will disagree when I say this, but Dubbing helps open up the world of Anime to more people - which in turn helps them broaden their cultural horizons. Fortunately, for DVD owners, you can easily switch between the two.

On the opposite side of the coin, piracy exists when the cost of something is usually high - and this is unfortunately the case for Anime. Some companies charge $30 retail for three episodes (75 minutes runtime)! Given that the average show runs between 12 to 24 episodes, that's a lot of cash for a series! Even live-action season releases are far cheaper than that!

Another problem with Anime is that it is sometimes difficult to know what would be a good show for a person, versus what isn't. Some series take time to "develop" - and hence, what may start out as an "average" show will later end up being a great one - and vice verse.

Spending over $60 for two DVDs, just to see if you like a series is unrealistic - which forces people who do buy Anime to go for the "sure thing" masterpieces and ignore the average ones.

The distributers have to do a better job of keeping prices reasonable. $10 for a 25 minute episode is price goughing - plain and simple.

If distributers want to "hook" people in, they should offer the first two DVDs of a long series at a lower price to try and draw the casual viewer in.

They could also have a short introduction run of the first few volumes on TechTV or CartoonNetwork to entice the viewers. I know that is how I got to purchase the entire Last Exile series.

Distributers need to understand that creative thinking is the answer to fansubs (not MPAA/RIAA style lawsuits) - otherwise, fans have no other option but to resort to fansubs to determine the quality of a series they may be interested in.
Posted by Tex Murphy PI (165 comments )
Link Flag
Japanese companies' lack of action...
...is also somewhat culturally related. Let's look at their manga industry (for the uninitiated, manga basically means comics). It has a huge subculture of 'doujinshi', or fan-created comics. These doujinshi liberally loan characters and storylines from manga, perhaps mixing several in the process; whatever the auhor might fancy. A good deal of these are erotic as well, simply having the protagonists 'getting it on'.

Now, if this happened in the USA, Marvel or DC or whichever would be screaming red bloody murder and shooting out lawsuits like a machinegun. In Japan, manga authors either condone such activity, or simply turn a blind eye to it. It is viewed as a sign of popularity, free marketing for the original, and generally acceptable despite being in clear violation of copyright. Some doujin-artists themself have matured into full-fledged manga artist over the time.

Naturally, digital copies of broadcast (or pay-per-view) TV shows is a different beast entirely, but the local culture and conventions may help explaining the apparent apathy on Japan's side...

Finally, some assume the real reason for Media Factory's letter was the fansubs finding their way back to Japan, opening the possibility of them competing with local DVD sales and/or cutting into pay-per-view sales. Thus, MFI acted to protect their local market. This is just one of the conspiracy theories floating around, though.
Posted by (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Finally, some assume the real reason for Media Factory's letter was the fansubs finding their way back to Japan, opening the possibility of them competing with local DVD sales and/or cutting into pay-per-view sales. Thus, MFI acted to protect their local market. This is just one of the conspiracy theories floating around, though."

Except for the fact that how could english subs compete with japanese originals in a country that speaks primarily japanese?

What would be the point of buying it in english? To laugh at the bad translations on the poor quality dubs?
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
Link Flag
A very biased article.
When nikolai speaks he talks as a member from one of the hypocrit groups who dosent subtitle licensed anime but they themself download from other groups who dosent care about licensing. And ceases once the dvd's are released of the series/movie/ova.

If your making an article and take up a company like Media Factory atleast make sure the story is true.

Not that im saying its not true.
We are Fansubbers wich means Fans who make subtitles of animes they love. Dosent matter if its available in the united states cause as we all know alot of the people who also download Fansubs are located in Europe.

And its not like its more moraly correct doing non licensed as licensed.

As the Japanese comapnies already own the rights.
Everyone who dose this stuff knows its ilegal or they are just kidding themselfs.

Im not quiting fansubbing untill the day the cops bust down my door. Wich will be never since theres no way our law system will change in sweden the next 20 years or so ^_~

Take Care
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Start your own business!
Fansubbers! This is the PERFECT time to go legit and be a source for subtitling Anime (legitimately!).

There is a demand (anime translated) and supply (the studios). Just start a biz, work with the studios and even distribute! It's a win win situation!

But taking someone else's work (art) and modifying it because you deem it proper is not only illegal, but impatient and selfserving.

I hope someone sees this opportunity and profits.
Posted by Below Meigh (249 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Never happen...
Fansubbers will never go legit, because they will be forced to use legal means to get their content. Which will cost time and money, and god forbid they see how hard it actually is to get anime licensed here in the states. It's so much easier to just take other people's content w/o permission and do with it what they want to.
Posted by DustoMan (77 comments )
Link Flag
Here we go. Piracy? Publicity?
Okay. The article points out some truths. YEs, most fansubbers pull the anime that's been oficially licensed here in America.

What it fails to mention is that ADV actually had its own fansub division years ago, who would sub anime that ADV hadn't licensed.

But just as well, look at the horrible job done on Ghost In The Shell 2. One of the most beautiful anime ever, was ruined when the company, GoFish Pictures (a division of Dreamworks) added captions to the subbed version, such as (Dog Barking), (Computer Beeping Noise), and my favorite, (CRASH!). You can't watch it without the captions either, unless you watch it in straight Japanese. And, there is no dubbed version. So, all in all, they didn't keep the wya they released it in the theaters (just subbed, no captioning). They ruined the movie.

Never have I seen a fansub distro put captioning in an anime. I can hear the damn dog barking! I can hear the computer beeping noises! If you're so concerned about the hearing impaired, then yes, include a version with captions! But don't ruin the movie for the rest of us.

I burned my GITS2 DVD in front of my apartment and left it in the street for cars to run over and dogs to urinate on.

IF we are to expect that kidn of treatment of the shows that we love, then yes, by all means fansubbers, SUB AWAY!
Posted by (461 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree... unlike fansubs, when a show is licensed, you get the one version that is available and there are no alternatives... and sometimes the one version just plain sucks. Domestic anime cry over sales, but some of their releases are seriously worse than fansubs...
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
I think for me, the main problem with officially licensed DVDs are they are often released very slowly. Another problem I have is when U.S. companies take the liberty to alter things like the opening/ending sequences and add in some random rock music. Manga is one of these companies that seem to do this consistently... which I never buy anything from.

I do watch fansubs but if I like the show, I will buy the official R1 releases... but I only buy the shows I like. I very rarely buy random titles, and when I have, most of the time I've been disappointed. So as far as middle category shows being forgotten and not selling well... well maybe they really weren't very good to begin with and people watched the fansubs and decided they simply weren't worth buying. Maybe domestic companies should be a little more selective about the shows they bring over, even the crappiest shows these days are being licenesed.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I hate to burst their bubble
While I do spend a lot of money on anime DVD purchases as a result of getting the chance to watch an episode or two via fansubs before purchase, the money is not going to the US based firms. I'd say roughly 95% of my purchases are for the original Japanese import DVDs from places like CDJapan. Quite often anymore, alot of these releases come pre-subtitled (I'd assume due to the increase in sales abroad) and play without issues, assuming you have a region-free player. With the imports, you don't have to worry about what ADV or others have done to the original storyline/context to "Americanize" it and rarely have to worry about a poorly mastered DVD (remember the US release of Bubblegum Crisis - I think they got it right after what, 3 tries). Not to mention, they include much cooler extras with boxed sets and pre-orders.

I think I'd whole heartily agree that quite often you'll find better quality in a digital fansub than you do from a US DVD release. It's understandable though, the fansubbers quality stems from their passion for the genre; the US release is driven strictly by profit and greed - the need to churn out as many crummy copies of Dragon Ball Z or any other gargabe titles the 13 year olds eat up like candy. After all, when you walk into Best Buy, Suncoast, or any other store that carries anime DVD titles, about the only two genres you'll find are those geared towards adolescents (DBZ, etc.) or those geared towards outrageously big breasted women performing various "acts" (i.e. hentai). It's no wonder anime seems to get a bad rap among those who've never gotten to view some of the finer offerings (anything Miyazaki).

I personally miss the early days we had with VHS anime, we had great companies like Pioneer that used great voice talents (imho) and took the time to put some decent translation into the mix. Now we've got companies like ADV who buys the rights to titles like they were hotcakes and pushes them immediately back out; the quality, or lack thereof, really shows.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Well Pioneer still dose dvds and vhs but under the name Geneon Enetertainment.
This is one of the best anime licensing companies imho and you get the feeling that they spent more time on their releases then other companies in the anime sector dose.

ADV on the other hand is not fast or has any quality to speak of.

Take Care
Posted by (5 comments )
Link Flag
ADV quality
Maybe a bit inconsistent, but they have been getting better and better with each successive release.

Look at any online poll and you will see that ADV, Geneor and Bandai lead the pack in terms of quality of releases.

The other gripe I have with ADV is the unrealistic intervals they have for releasing titles. Two months?!

As for the polls, look at:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/poll.php?id=44" target="_newWindow">http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/poll.php?id=44</a>
Posted by Tex Murphy PI (165 comments )
Link Flag
Sales won't increase until prices drop
The reason that their sales are staying flat despite
increased exposure is that they haven't changed their
pricing strategy. The prices they were charging several
years ago reflected the then current reality that they were
only likely to sell to a small group of hardcore fans which
would be willing to pay a premium for anime. These days
they still price things the same way despite the fact that
they're trying to appeal to a larger audience.

26 episodes of a half-hour animated US TV series range
from about $30-60 depending on the series.
26 episodes of a half-hour animated Japanese TV series
generally range from $100-200 (sometimes more).

A simple price comparison of anime like Trigun, Cowboy
Bebop, or Inuyasha (all of which have aired on Cartoon
Network) to shows like Transformers, GI Joe, or Samurai
Jack, shows a big difference in price per episode. Even
when you look at shows like Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor
Sakura which were primarily only popular with young
children in the US, they still priced them as if they were
selling to niche anime fans with a lot of disposable income.
Generally, you can expect to pay about 2 to 4 times as
much for something if it's from Japan.

FLCL (Fooly Cooly), although an excellent piece of anime, is
only two and a half hours long when you total up all six
episodes, and yet retailed for $90.

The studios have no one to blame for their problems but
themselves. I watched Trigun on Adult Swim and loved it,
but I didn't love it enough to pay $200 for it. I loved FLCL
and immediately went on-line to see if there were DVDs
which I could buy, but when I saw the price, there was no
way I could bring myself to pay it. I'm not an otaku. I'm an
ordinary guy who enjoys good animation whether that
animation is from the US, Japan, or anywhere else. If they
want my business, they have to compete with US shows on

Right now, the studios want it both ways. They want niche
market prices and mass market sales. Sorry. You can't
have that. It just doesn't work like that. If you want mass
market sales, you need to go to mass market prices. That's
how it is. In the end, they'll make much more money that
way, if they'll let themselves.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
a minority
I live in Hong Kong and as an english literate only chinese guy, I am left with not many choices in my selection of anime or manga.
Fansubs created another view to anime, instead of just being something just for kids, fansubs showed be that it is nothing like that.
There isn't any official type of anime licensing companies in Hong Kong. Anime on TV is sponsored by other companies and is shown free on local TV channels, along with alot of content cutting and making it more childish.
It is not that I do not want to buy any english subtitled anime dvds, but it is out of reach. They cost round about 1000HKD per DVD when i last checked. Where am I supose to find that kind of money to buythem? I could afford 1 but never buy another, but then there is no point. As a student, my funds are limited as I rely on my parents.
However it may be, Hong Kong's Gundam Seed DVD costs only 400HKD, whole set, all eps, how about American Anime DVDs? I'd say 1000 * 6 atleast! I can get 2 sets for the price of 1 R1 DVD.
I can always buy the bootlegs from Taiwan, but I dont think that it will support anything as they are truly worthless.
I am able to buy the R2 DVDs, however what reason do I have to buy them when I do not understand japanese? just to support them? There are better ways to support industries overseas.
One example is anime merchandise, I buy tons of those, they are WORTH my money. I buy figures, trading cards, magazines, books, and all that stuff trying to support the industry in a more rational way. Merchandise is on the other hand how anime makes money in hong kong.
I even buy chinese translated manga even though I do not understand them. For what? the pictures and to lend to my friends who have no taste in manga. However at the same time I also order english manga from America. It may cost more but it is more rationally priced compared to DVDs. I even order japanese books even though I don't understand them, because they are actually more useful than R2 DVDs.
I would be returning back to Canada for my University Education, maybe then I would be able to buy some R1 DVDs, but until then I refuse to pay the current prices.

Final note, I fansubbed for 3~ years so my views may be biased but I strongly believe in them. Also learning chinese is cheaper than buying english manga so don't start giving me insulting comments.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In case you didn't know...
Hong Kong DVD's are the asme as Taiawnese DVD's...WORTHLESS. I see it in America all the time. These DVD sets that have 3 DVD's for a whole 26 episode season. The problem? Translation sucks, video quality sucks, audio quality sucks. It's all just horrible.

I refuse to buy anything from Hong Kong, China, or Taiwan as they're all bootlegged copies with poor quality EVERYTHING.
Posted by (461 comments )
Link Flag
90 TB != 22,000,000 MP3
I hate the crapy logic that people (including John Ashcroft) are quoted in comparing data sizes of mp3's. 90 Terabyte does not equal 22,000,000 mp3s. Lets do the math here people. If you average mp3 is about 5MB, but lets not be frugle we'll call it 6.5MB to give them the margin of error and not make them look like they didn't pass Jr. High School math.

90,000,000MB / 6.5 = 13,846,153.84
90,000,000MB / 5.0 = 18,000,000

Where are the other 4,000,000 mp3s?

90,000,000MB / 22,000,000 = 4.09
4 Minute Song = 4,090,000 bits
4 Minutes = 240 Seconds

So if you were to download that many mp3's at that size to make this equation true what would the bit rates be?
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
All depends on your bitrate
Very few of my digital music files, be they MP3 or WMA, are UNDER 30 MB each. Then again, I do all my own ripping and I don't share.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Anime dvd low sales.
It is all fine and good to place some Blame on the fan subbers but Dont Look past the fact that you Have to pay about $50 for one anime dvd in canada. Most fans are Kids or young adults. the Prices are just to Bloody High for the market to be selling as well as it should. If the dvds were actually priced logically the market would make up in Value for what they lose by lowering one units cost.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Comparing Fansubs to Commercial Product: Facts
I'm sure that fansubbers would appreciate your compliments on the font choice and karaoke - they do spend a good amount of time to make these look nice. However, I have all too often heard of the subtitle appearence and karaoke usage argument used in comparing fansubs to commercial products. Specifically, fans see fansubs using special fonts and moving karaoke, and then complain that the companies simply don't care enough to do this as well.

This is not true. To the best of my understanding, the companies are limited by current commercial subtitles technologies. That is, the DVD technology itself has a specialized format for subtitles, and this limits companies to using two or three fonts (arial, times new roman, and something else if I remember correctly) as well as two or three colors, among them the notorious yellow and white. As you might imagine, the technology does not support the moving karaoke. Companies COULD, in theory, do all of the things that fansubbers do, but they'd need to hard-code the subtitles to the video. As a technology, DVDs offered a huge break over VHS because we could choose between audio tracks, and we could toggle subtitles on and off. Expecting companies to provide hard-coded subtitles on a show is not a realistic expectation; unless, of course, you'd like to return to the VHS days of choosing between subtitles or no subtitles.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How about?
"Expecting companies to provide hard-coded subtitles on a show is not a realistic expectation; unless, of course, you'd like to return to the VHS days of choosing between subtitles or no subtitles."

How about just including both versions on the same disk?

Sure it would take twice as many disks but the production costs are minimal.

Its the licensing thats expensive and whether the material spans over 50 disks or 1 it still costs the same to license.
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
Link Flag
Comparing Sansubs to Commercial Product: Facts
Are you saying the commercial companies, that make money from their product, are incapable of duplicating fansub technology? I'll bet it's not quite as complicated as you described, otherwise the typical fansub must be fantasically wealthy as well as being generous enough to give away their work with little monetary reward.
Posted by DBDave (1 comment )
Link Flag
RE: Comparing Fansubs to Commercial Product: Facts
Well if I wanted to I could make a DVD from my house out of a FanSub and also have a nonsubbed version, its a DVD...theres like 5gigs on the CD you can fit two versions of the Movie or Episode on teh Dvd and there are also different ways of doing it like having a seperate file for the subtitles like a few fansubs that were released last year.
Posted by abarnes13 (1 comment )
Link Flag
A question of morals...
First i'll say im part of the "fansub community" - and agree with it totally.

It says in the article that companies are worried because of these "middle class" anime's not getting enough attention upon their license in the US. Why is it wrong to watch something, and even test it out before spending money you (or in some cases your parents) earned, and then getting something that is total garbage. Basically by the comment in that above article, it's saying that they want anime fans to waste their money on shows that most likely won't appeal to them.

I would say about 60% of series I watch on the internet, I don't continue after the first few episodes, so why would I wait to watch these shows, then just waste my money on them?

Also, maybe people don't want to wait months, or even years (for huge shows like Dragonball Z) to watch it, but it's not only that, but to watch a inferior version of it. Usually the licenser will release a DVD version that has the unedited japanese translation, but as I stated above, this takes awhile, and also maybe people won't like the companies translation.

Getting out of personal preference, let's just look what happened with the music industry. To be blunt, they're greedy, they sell 15-20 songs on a CD for $20. People began thinking, "why would I pay $20 dollars for a CD when there is 1 song I like on it?" - now this is a generalization since some people are just cheap - and they began to download the songs. (I am not saying this is necessarily right.)

Now the same thing is happening with the anime companies. They sell 4 episode DVD's for usually around 30-40 dollars (I am in Canada, don't know about US). Now, if fansubbers can make a copy of this anime thats as good or better then the companies, for free, and then spend $30-50 for a spindle of 50 DVD-R's that can fit atleast 4 episodes on each CD, thats 200 episodes for the same price of 4 from the company. Now sure the companies have employees that get paid, so let's say they sell 200 DVD's, of 4 episodes for $20 (which in my opinion is a reasonable price) that's $4000, you need about 8 people to make an episode (Translator, Editor, Typesetter, karaoker, Encoder, Timer, and 2 Quality Checkers) - note this is also a low estimate of sales - each person on that crew makes $500. That is pretty good pay for a job that is not that hard - Translator has it the hardest - So the question remains; Why wouldn't an anime fan watch a show when it airs, when it's for free, and is usually done with better effort, as oppose to waiting for the DVD's for months or years (first they have to wait for it to be licensed and then to be done), paying money for them, when it could be inferior, and not even like the anime. Now this is discluding doing the show while licensed. (I am saying this in the situation where they can watch the fansubs, or wait for a licenser to license and then sell.)

Now sure their may be morals, or ethics brought up, but really do we wanna get into that? Instead of always pointing the finger at the fansubbers, who do this on their free time, usually pay some money for web hosting, distro etc. instead of getting paid, and actually put effort into it. let's look at the one's who want you to wait months or years till the licensing and pay a ridiculous amount of money for something you may not even like. Or for all these employee's that are supposedly going hungry, if it's such a low paying career, then go into something else, you have tech experience. They don't cause it doesn't happen, companies are cheap and only care about getting richer faster.

To the companies, if you care so much, make an alternative, or quit complaining. Also a suggestion, since you seem to be doing a worse job then the true fans, who arn't greedy whiners, try hiring the fansubbers, it would probabaly actually make you more money, since they would most likely work for less then these so called "professionals" working for your company, and would put in true effort. That is if they want to work for the corrupt entertainment industry.

I could elaborate on these points much more, but choose not to, if you wish to discuss anything with me, or I accidently didn't make sense. feel free to email me.

Posted by (2 comments )
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In Addition
I would also like to state my opinion now, which is most likely a bit biased, or if it wasn't would be considered that way.

The companies care so much, because sure, there is a bunch of speedsubbers (fansub groups who sub anime quick and crappy), but there is still some groups, some big, some small that have very good quality. The companies feel threatened because most "Otakus" prefer subs compared to dubs, and in short, the companies can't offer a better version of a subbed anime then the fansubbers can. So it's not that these anime's are "forgotten", it's simple that the companies will have to step up, and offer something fansubbers can't.

If anyone disagrees, since I seen a post above, that all these groups are "crap", email me and i'll give you a list of groups that release quality subs.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
It's a flawed business model
The problem is the business model that companies are using to sell anime DVD's.

The average DVD for a series costs about $25 on the high end. The average DVD also only contains 4 episodes. For a 26 episode series, that means you will spend $650 for all the DVD's. Considering that the majority of anime viewers are 20 somethings without a lot of money, they simply cannot afford go out and drop half a grand on a series they only kind of like. It only gets worse with series that have hundreds of episodes.

Special features are rarely an incentive to buy a DVD, except to hardcore fans who would buy the DVD's anyways. No matter how many special features you add, it won't make the product more valuble to the viewer then what the fansubbers offer.

The fansubs and encodings are good enough that fans would rather support the fansub groups, who only ask people to give what they can, even if it means more work to obtain them. There are people behind it, not some faceless company.

Make the DVD's cheaper, and the fans will buy more. Fans want to buy stuff, they want to be able to watch it anywhere, but they just cannot afford it. The money lost from cheaper DVD's will be made up by the fact that fans will buy more.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sour grapes from ADV
The way I see it, there are two things that are killing the licensed
DVD distro industry now:

* The pirates and the fanboys do an equal or better job than the
licensed studios. Take, for instance the distros "Paranoia Agent"
and compare them with their R1 counterparts. The fact that the
fanboys are at the cutting edge and studios like ADV (who
almost got their license for EVA pulled over incompetence) are
not should tell you something.

Face it. The fanboys are at University with INFERIOR equipment
and they do a better titling job than the 'commercial' studio /
distributors. What does that tell the common consumer? That
the commercial stuff is CRUD.

Case in point, ADV blew their fan AND Gainax's cred over their
sloppy treatment of the EVA franchise, and now this is the only
option open to them. This has little to do with the J studios -- it
has more to do with ADV adopting RIAA tactics to secure what
'intellectual property' they own and to kill off 'the competition.'
This, of course, won't stop the Chinese or Taiwanese outfits who
do the same quality at a MUCH lower price.

Then there's....

* NetFlix - They have EVERY R1 release out there. It used to be
the case that fanboys would pool, buy and borrow from each
other. Now NetFlix allows you to check out entire series of anime
with one click, three at a time for $18/mo. Why would the
fanboys even BUY anime any more if they can 'rent' pretty much
on demand? NF has VOTOMs. ALL 15 DVD vols of them. They
also have Paranoia Agent, Ruroni Kenshin, EVA (TV and Movies),
Ranxephon, yada yada yada.

It's much more cost effective for the fanboys to traverse the
anime crudSpace via NetFlix than to buy from one of the
mediocre studios that are just cranking out whatever new
Shonen series in batch.
Posted by leoofborg (12 comments )
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