Overseas Distribution And Piracy News

Overseas Distribution And Piracy is a anime/manga concept
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Objection!
Objection!

 
So, a while back I did a blog post in response to Bang Zoom's complaints that anime was going to die. Well, Japanator has done their own take on the issue, one that sides with Bang Zoom. I'm not going to respond to the whole thing, because they really don't bring up any new points in my opinion. Except for the last section - in which they bring up the cost of anime on DVD. To summarize their claims, if you cannot afford anime on your budget, you are unable to live within your means and need to work harder, and learn to budget.
 
No. That's not how it works.
 
The examples they cite for series fit their lower price range are series that have been out for awhile and have essentially earned their money back. They aren't new series. Newer series cost considerably more than $25-$30 for a season. They can cost up to $50-70 or even more for a season, depending on how much the studio had to pay for the license. If you're not watching these shows fansubbed, and you're coming in completely cold. That's a lot of money to plonk down on a series, without knowing whether it's good or if it's absolute crap. Under these circumstances, I cannot in good fiscal conscience spend $500 on a series I didn't see, to own it. That said, I'm certainly willing to rent it first, but I'm not going to buy it outright only to discover that I bought a show that's absolute crap. Even if the prices for a complete season are getting closer to the prices of, say, a complete season of a western live action TV series, like House or Law & Order, that still is not comparable to an release of a season of an anime series on DVD. We can watch on TV as it's airing, for free and legally. You don't need to pay for high-speed internet to download the episode. Hell, you don't even need to pay for Cable or Satellite. For anime on the other hand, unless somebody gets a license to stream the show online before the DVD comes out, there's no way to find out if you'll really like the show (as opposed to thinking the trailer looks good), before you buy it.
 
Additionally, their argument is essentially an ad-hominem attack against those people who are anime fans who aren't part of the upper-middle class background that I've noticed most anime sites tend to assume their audience is. This is practically an variant of the dog-whistle "lazy poor" phrase used by some on the Right to indicate they're making racist remarks against lower income minorities - notably African-Americans and Hispanics. I am willing to allow that the writer of the article was unaware that the phrase was a dog-whistle, but this still doesn't make the argument any less of an ad hominem against lower-income people.
 
The article also brings up Nippon Ichi's release of ToraDora & Persona Trinity Soul as being potential bell-weathers for how the anime industry will fare, and if they fail then we're all a bunch of leeches with entitlement problems. I have several complaints with that - aside from the ad hominem. Nippon Ichi is only selling the series through their web store, Rosenqueen, and their DVD releases are, essentially, all what I would call the "with kitch" releases on Bureau42 - coming with a nice art-box and with an art-book, maybe a soundtrack CD, that sort of thing. I have nothing against those releases - nothing at all. However, and other people with lower incomes, need an alternative. They need a stripped-down release, with just the disks in a case with some nice art, and possibly at a price point that was $10-15 bucks lower, if stripping all the extra packaging off could lower the price point by that much.
 
Also, as I've mentioned, you can only get these releases directly from Nippon Ichi. You can't go to Best Buy, or any other store that sells DVDs. You can't even go to Amazon to get it, which means people like me on sites on Bureau42 won't be putting it on their Weekly Digital Disk picks - and they can't put affiliate links up. This lowers the visibility of the release to the niche of the niche - Anime fans who are online, who already know about the shows. Libraries can't get it, because their distributors won't be stocking it. Netflix won't get it, for the same reason. Retailers who sell at conventions won't sell it, because their wholesalers won't be stocking it, because Nippon Ichi's only selling it through their web site. Unless Nippon Ichi busts out a spectacular advertising blitz through Project Wonderful and Google Ads, this release would be in imminent danger of slipping under the radar. The only reason it isn't slipping under the radar now, is that the bubble burst, an any announcement of a new company announcing a license is a big deal.
 
Thus, Nippon Ichi's releases of ToraDora and Persona: Trinity Soul are in positions where they likely won't do well, even before we even consider accounting for any damage downloading could cause. It would be immensely foolish to judge the health of the anime industry by the success or failure of these releases.
 
Now, I'm not defending torrenting anime series that have already been licensed. That's taking money out of someone's pocket, and that's not cool.
 
In conclusion, Japanator's take on Bang Zoom's complaints is inaccurate. They should not be treated with any credibility.
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 I'll be frank. I haven't bought as many anime DVDs as I feel like I should. However, most of the anime I've watched has been anime I've rented from Netflix or checked out from the library. This is more by necessity than anything else - I'm low on cash right now (having spent $650 on a suit, dress shoes, a tie & other accouterments[1]), and I cannot justify a big anime purchase right now - I wish I could (the Pani Poni Dash DVDs that were on sale at RightStuf were really calling out to me), but I just don't have the money right now. I'd already made my big "for me" purchase of the month, and that was getting Planet Earth when Amazon had it on sale for $30.
 
I can't be alone in this. With the economy still in a bad way in many places, there are a lot of people who just don't have the money to spend our expensive hobby. Indeed, it is expensive - most DVD releases of newer series are more expensive than compilation re-releases, because the studio already made their money back. Additionally, if you didn't download the fansubs of a series before it was licensed (or watch it on Crunchyroll or Funimation's web page), then you are going in cold. In what other part of geek culture do you ask people to lay down $50-$100 for something they could hate, sight unseen, in advance, aside from anime and maybe video games?
 
While I understand and recognize the concerns of Bang Zoom Entertainment that they need us, as fans, to buy DVDs (with dubs on them) for them to make money to keep them in business, I feel the need to state that no matter how much we wish it was so, the recession isn't over yet. A lot of people, including anime fans, are still trying to scrape buy, and can't afford to buy the latest hit series right now - so they have to resort to Hulu, or Netflix, or Crunchyroll [2] to watch the latest stuff legally or even (depending on their financial situation) watch fansubs of unlicenced series to keep in the game and (hopefully) when they get on their feet some of those shows will be licenced, and they can pick them up then. I've been in that situation so I know.
 
All, I ask, Mr. Sherman, if you are reading this, not everyone who isn't buying is a pirate. Not everyone who isn't buying is a person who will never buy. Some of us - quite possibly most of us - would happily buy anime, and lots of it, given unlimited financial resources. We don't have those resources right now, because we've either lost our jobs, or been forced to take lower paying jobs because unemployment benefits are running out. I understand that your financial situation is dire. So is ours. We'll help you get back on your feet, just as soon as we get back on ours.
 
 
 
Sincerely,
         Alexander Case
         Staff Writer: Bureau42.com

 
 
[1] I'm getting an Job Interview suit that will also hopefully work for something I can wear to a wedding when I'm just a guest - because one of my best friends is getting married next week.

 [2] While broadband Internet is also expensive, considering the modern economy, it is also a necessity if you're looking for work, along with cell phone service.
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 Publishers - VS - Scanlators
 Publishers - VS - Scanlators

The topic of scalations (fan translated scans of original Japanese manga publications) has been a rather hot topic recently on Anime Vice. It played a rather large role in the article Required Reading: Plagiarism, Fanart, and Scanlations. I was a little confused. How was it that 'scanlations' were getting dragged into the topic of Nick Simmon's "alleged" plagiarism of Bleach? The question that was posed is if users can justify scanlations.

Localization or Accuracy?


 That's right. Conan is actually JAPANESE!
 That's right. Conan is actually JAPANESE!
I do justify scanlations. It's not something I prefer to do, but there are some cases when it's the only way to read the story properly. Such as in my case with the murder mystery manga, Detective Conan. I face the VIZ Media publisher that refuses to publish the series in the country without dramatic edits that alter story and events. Every reoccurring character in the manga had their Japanese names replaced with European style names. All the while they leave other series virtually alone. This wouldn't be the first time that VIZ has faced trouble over their alteration of mangas. They had to republish the entire Dragon Ball series because they had altered and censored much of the art work. As reported by ICv2 back in a 2001 article. It always struck me as odd. What is the point in bringing a series to the US if all you are going to do is change it? Alterations hurt series. The best example is what 4Kids did to One Piece.

It's not about the change of title to Case Closed. Annoying as it is. That doesn't effect the story. The name changes do. Bleach and Naruto. These series all get to keep their original names. Do you honestly think these series would sell half as well in the US if they had changed the characters names? I seriously doubt it. They sell well, because they are closer to the Japanese product. The online audience, that follows scanlations, buys it. (Though, it always struck me as odd that in Naruto the manga they call the teachers "Master", but the anime it used "Sensei". Both are produced by VIZ.)

 Meitantei Conan Vol. 1
 Meitantei Conan Vol. 1
The Detective Conan series is my favorite manga series of them all. I have been following it for many years online. It's not just a series that you read. It's something you can experience. Your average case in the series ranges in three chapters, sometimes longer. The fun of the series is that they give you the chance to actually try and solve the case yourself before the solution chapter is produced. As I showed in this BLOG ENTRY of how I solved a mysterious code from the manga. There is just such a thrill to read the series and see that your deduction is right. It's like reading a modern day Sherlock Holmes story every week.
 
When VIZ made those changes they were basically telling me and the entire online audience that they didn't want us as readers. We are not the target audience that they wanted to publish for. Yet, we want to read and enjoy that story. It would be different if VIZ offered some kind of alternative. For example, the ability to purchase unedited versions off their website. The way they started offering Dragon Ball either edited or unedited. Scanlation is the only way I can get the real story in English.

If VIZ wont change things back, or offer some alternative. I see no reason to have to pay for a flawed product that is filled with inaccuracies, contradictions, and incorrect translations while I wait for them to realize their mistake. People tell me that you need to support the series and maybe they will change things later. (VIZ is currently 30 volumes into what is nearing a 70 volume series.) Even if I was buying them and they did republish with the proper names eventually. That would mean I would have to buy the same volume twice. It's ridiculous for something they should be doing in the first place.

FUNimation I think has the correct idea going right now, and should be applauded. They wanted people to stop pirating One Piece and other animes. Their solution was to give them the ability to watch those episodes on their website an hour after they air in Japan with subtitles and older episodes with the dub work. If you don't like the dub work. There are the Japanese versions to watch too. If only they would do the same thing for the Detective Conan anime.

 Negima! by Del Rey
 Negima! by Del Rey
I read scanations of many other series such as Negima! and Fairy Tail just to stay current, but I also buy every volume when they are published in the US. Their publisher, Del Rey, is dedicated to bringing the reader as close to the original story as possible. That's the kind of action that needs to be supported over a company that feels the need to alter content. Before my boycott on all VIZ products due to their butchering of the Detective Conan story. I was collecting Bleach, Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, Evangelion, and One Piece. Not anymore. I haven't purchased a single volume of those series in several years. Until they give me some option to have the real Detective Conan story. VIZ wont get a dime from me, and I do my best to try and convince others to avoid their products altogether.
 
If you are like me, and your local publisher wont produce a series in your country without drastic edits to the story. I say go where you have to in order to get the real story. In the mean time. Be sure to support publishers that strive to be as accurate as possible. Scanlations and Pirating shouldn't be our first choice, but in some rare cases it's the only one we are given.


-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.-
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