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Can Anime Ever Compete with Piracy? -- THE VICE PIT

Luffy ain't the only pirate on anime studios' minds! Join Tom & Sam for a PSA - - * AHEM * - - for a discussion of piracy. Have THEY done it? Have YOU? Can argue you argue with "free" if it threatens your favorite hobby?

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  • Big thanks to swaggity for the most excellent Q!

    Be sure to submit questions and topics for a future Vice Pit session here. We will answer them!

    Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

    Sam Weller is a writer and actor who's scribed for shows like FIRST EDITION, GEEK THERAPY, and most recently BATGIRL: SPOILED. He also really likes anime. To know what is going to happen next, follow@cravesam

    sickVisionz moderator on Sept. 4, 2012 at 5:05 p.m.

    @Daniel_Newton:The overwhelming majority of anime BDs outsell the DVD version by a sizable amount that isn't anywhere near "pretty close". Some examples from the most recent week in numbers would be stuff like the #1 DVD sold 4,000 copies in a week while the #1 BD sold nearly 8,000 and the #30 (the lowest the sales chart goes) DVD selling 750 copies while the BD is nearly 2k. For specific series, you've got a BD volume of Nisemonogatari selling 50k+ units while the DVD volume is around 8k, High School DxD on BD selling nearly 7k on BD while the DVD sold a little more than 2k and neither of these are rare cases. DVD is only the base in the sense that it is the bottom. Anime fans in Japan have very much jumped on the BD bandwagon and as a whole it's what they chose over a DVD by a wide margin.

    @sotyfan16 said:


    I've always seen pirating as taking something you didn't pay for and having it for your own use (such as downloading a series). I haven't done that and only go to streaming sites.

    That fact that 100% of the content on an illegal streaming site is from pirated sources makes it undeniable piracy to me. It's a model that can't exist without piracy and all they are doing is offering a piracy like experience (no payment for product yet you get to access it as if you owned it) and saving people the time it takes to download a MKV.

    Daniel_Newton moderator on Sept. 4, 2012 at 5:28 p.m.

    @sickVisionz: Again, I wasn't talking about sales, I was just saying more series come out on DVD than Blu-ray, regardless of which format actually sells more. When I said "close" I meant in Japan nearly all anime that comes out on DVD also comes out on Blu-ray, but DVD is still the "base" or "standard" format.

    Like, say 10 different anime series come out in Japan, all 10 will be available on DVD, but maybe only 9 on Blu-ray. There are various reasons for this, whether it's simply down to DVD player install base vs. Blu-ray player install base (factoring in the fact that Blu-ray players are also backwards compatible), Blu-ray discs offering no real advantage over DVD for a certain anime series, or simply production cost, DVD still remains the standard. If you look back at my conversation with tristenkw5 you'll see that's what we were talking about.

    Sorry if I wasn't being very clear.

    Lurkeroon Sept. 4, 2012 at 6:08 p.m.

    Most of the good shows are offered by legal means for free. I have no problem with advertisements and commercials.

    I haven't felt it necessary to pirate a show in some years.

    Om1kronon Sept. 4, 2012 at 10:11 p.m.

    @sickVisionz said:

    @Om1kron said:

    Crunchyroll does have all of the new seasonal anime series on for a bit, but then the networks take them off and like someone else said they're never released in a purchasable format I can buy them in...

    Can you direct me to where I can buy a Macross Frontier or Usagi Drop dvd from thanks. I just thought I was delusional. Add Katekyo Hitman Reborn to that list as well. If you can show me where to get those series boxed up (granted khr is still available on cr) I'd appreciate it.

    sotyfan16on Sept. 5, 2012 at 4:19 a.m.


    There are numerous times on those sites where the videos I watch have the watermarks from FUNimation or NicoNico and others. I'm not saying it's right to do but at least some of the people are watching the licensed versions (though they are then putting them up on other sites without the commercials and using other players). But most times the videos are the Japanese versions (with TBS watermarks and the like), though only about half the time are there watermarks.

    But at least I pay for the boxsets and manga volumes. Plus, there is still the issue with unlicensed material. I don't look at imports due to cost and even if I did, manga would be an issue since I can't read Japanese or Korean (English subs on anime would be just fine of course).

    sickVisionz moderator on Sept. 5, 2012 at 6:18 a.m.

    @Om1kron: Usagi Drop was released on blu-ray and dvd by NISA earlier this year. Macross Frontier was never legally streaming on Crunchyroll and KHR was never removed from CR's catalog.

    As said, there is very little anime that gets removed from CR and never shows up for purchase or streaming anywhere else. It's quite the opposite actually. The #1 reason a title gets removed from CR is because a company like Funi or Sentai has licensed it for home video release and plans on making it available for purchase.

    @sotyfan16 said:

    There are numerous times on those sites where the videos I watch have the watermarks from FUNimation or NicoNico and others... though they are then putting them up on other sites without the commercials and using other players.

    So they rip them from other sites and take out the only method of giving back to the creators of licensors. Not seeing how that isn't piracy. I bet those sites had banner ads all over their webpage as well. Everyone but the people making the content deserves to make money from it is the motto I guess.

    It's good that you buy, but piracy is piracy. Getting a fansub would actually be much better than going to a site where you generate ad revenue for bootleggers. While still piracy, at least you wouldn't be actively putting money in a bootlegger's pocket.

    Count_Zeroon Sept. 5, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.

    As far as me and piracy goes, thanks to Crunchyroll, and Hulu, and NetFlix, and all these other legit streaming services (not to mention the public library), I really haven't felt a need to pirate. IN general, I only feel the need to download anime if it's something that is no longer licensed, and it's DVD are out of print and prohibitively expensive - stuff like VOTOMS, Sailor Moon, or (in the case of stuff that's never been licensed for US release), Legend of the Galactic Heroes & Space Runaway Ideon.

    It's almost reached the point where piracy is simply more trouble than it's worth for licensed stuff. Hell, even licensed manga is becoming more easily accessible, through services like what Viz is doing (both through their own site and stuff through the Nook store), as well as Dark Horse Comics own digital distribution service (and the Yen Press app and...)

    So, I don't see piracy killing anime any time soon. What I could see being a problem is stuff like what's happened with this obsession among Japanese publishers and studios over Reverse Importation - the concern that with the stronger Yen in comparison with the dollar, more people will import Blu-Rays from the US, instead of paying the exorbitant prices for physical media releases in Japan. However, that's a rant that I've done a few bajillion times already (on AV and elsewhere), and I don't feel like re-iterating at the moment.

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