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31 October 2007 @ 01:04 pm
Fansubs, piracy, etc.  
I guess I'm a little out of the loop, but I just found out about the whole Geneon thing. I'm really sad, because where am I going to get my Hellsing from now? >..< I read about it in Jan's LJ. She linked to a lot of relevant blogs, including clips of "Nabeshin" himself talking about how piracy effects the industry.
Since I just found out, there are probably some of you that don't know about it yet.
This about summs everything up with the letter posted here.

I'm just one person.. but goddamn if we haven't purchased a lot of Pioneer/Geneon titles over the years. I'm scrambling to try and get my copy of Hellsing Ultimate 3 now, because it doesn't sound like these are going to be widely available anymore. Come to think of it.. I haven't finished my Gungrave box yet either. I think all the other Geneon releases we've purchased have been whole series or stand alones, though. But Hellsing, Gungrave, Trigun, Fushigi Yuugi, Tenchi Muyo, X, Ah! My Goddess, etc.. They had a lot of really strong titles. Classic shit! And they continued to release new stuff... and now they're pulling out of the US. I was always really happy with their releases. They had really great pre-order/special edition bonuses and awesome packaging. ADV never really came close, IMO.

I don't think I realized exactly how much the US industry invests in the Japanese animation companies. From the stuff I've been reading, apparently the situation is so bad that if the American investors were to pull out from some of these animation studios, the industry in Japan would start to collapse in as little as 5 years. Considering how new the industry is in the US, I found that very hard to beleive. Even if it IS true, it's not going to help anything. It's such a sad situation. The people that are making it worse by purchasing fansubs off ebay (idiots to begin with), the people SELLING fansubs on ebay, the companies stealing fansubs to make bootleg DVDs, etc. I understand all of that contibutes to this. I used to have heated debates with some of the deadbeats I used to know in college. They'd buy the Chinese bootlegs because they were cheaper than the official release, saying they could have a whole series for 15 bucks instead of one DVD. Or those that would spend hundreds of dollars on better hard drives so they could download more, etc. There's no convincing those people to go out and buy a copy of somthing they really enjoy.

I admit I'm guilty too. I download Bleach every week. But you know what? I also buy the Bleach DVDs when they come out. It's not my fault they're on episode 150whatever in Japan, and they've only released through episode 25or so on DvD. I want to know what happens, and I'll continue to DL the fansubs, AND purchase the DvDs as they come out. But I also buy Bleach merchandise that strikes my fancy, and have purchased US volumes of the manga. I think it's pretty obvious I'm supporting the series. Honestly, I'm not actively following any other series right now. But if it wasn't for fansubs, I wouldn't have found a lot of the series I love, so it's a tough issue. There are impulse buys I totally regret, like picking up volumes of series I heard a lot of great stuff about but ultimately didnt' end up liking at all. (Wolf's Rain, Samurai Champloo, Maburaho) But because I'd seen fansubs before they were released in the US, I was all over other series like Jungle wo istuma Hare nochi Guu. That series is.. very strange XD <3

Unfortunately, I think the people like us must be few and far between if it's getting this bad. What can you do? Some of these local people I've talked to heatedly defend themselves when you confront them with this sort of thing. They can't afford the DVDs, they can't afford the real DvDs, it's easier to DL and delete from the HD every time you want to see it, etcetc. I beleive the medium that gave birth to the US industry is the same thing that is choking it to death right now. It would have been a lot harder to break into the market without fansubbers, but they can't be held responsible for the actions of the people that download the content. I don't think the problem would be solved at all if the fansubbers all just quit. There are torrenting sites like AnimeSuki that take down ANY licensed titles from their lists as they are picked up. But what about titles that arn't licensed yet? You have to admit that the industry as a whole has kind of turned a blind eye to the stuff they haven't aquired yet. The few times it's been address, the industry as a whole says "Naughty naughty! Downloading is illegal!" and that's it. While they persue legal action for titles they own to protect their interests, the stuff that isn't licensed is in limbo. People don't hassle you about it since no one's making money off it.

I think this attitude in general is contributing to the problem. Like I said earlier, I have downloaded before. What I've downloaded pales in comparison to the VHS fansubbs we used to get,though. Before the age of bittorrent (lawl) you could order VHS copies of fansubs from distro sites. Yeah, this is old news to most of you guys, but talk to any kid at an anime convention, and they'll look at you like you're trying to convince them peopel regularly bought records or cassette tapes when they wanted music. Anyway, you'd pay the distro site for shipping and the base cost of the tapes themselves, but you didnt' pay for the fansubs. These places all pretty much shut down when people started downloading stuff like crazy. We've even thrown away most of our old VHS fansubs and replaced the scary wall of anime with the scary wall of DvDs. Within the past 3 or so years, they've released stuff so fast on DvD, I'd be able to look at a wall of disks at a store and say "holy crap, this title is out already??" and actually buy stuff I heard was good as opposed to downloading episodes.

But if everyone has a lax attitude towards what hasn't been picked up, it's the same as saying "It's ok to eat this cookie on this plate, but not the one on the plate next to it."
(I guess if you think about it that way, you're eating the cookie that the distro companies have already licked. lol. Not really what I was going for, but the thought of eating a cookie ADV has licked makes me laugh in a "I want to puke" kind of way)

Anyway, it's a problem not easily solved. I'd stop downloading Bleach all together if I could purchase everything that's come out on DvD right here and now. It could cost hundreds of dollars I'm sure, because that series is too fucking long and I'd have to buy the filler season... but anyway. If they're running 4-5 episodes per disk and they released everything through the beginning of the season I'm watching, that would be awesome. But they're behind. If I stopped watching now, and waited for the releases to catch up to what I've seen, it'll be YEARS D: Then again, maybe the company will fold and I'll be screwed >..<
Being VIZ, though, I doubt it. Those guys have been around forever, and they have both Bleach and Naruto right now. I don't think they're going anywhere with two of the hottest series. Ultimately, though, it's tricky. I haven't seen the HBO TV series The Sopranos. I've heard it is good, but I haven't seen any of it. If I wanted to, I could go online and find a website that is streaming the whole series illegally. I'm sure I could find it in under 20 min. That's illegal. I'm sure if I wanted to, I could find someone I know who owns all of it, and borrow it or watch it at their place. Is that illegal? I could also go out and rent it all at a video store for a minimal fee. That's not illegal. But when you think about it, the video store purchased a copy of the series, and has made all that money back and more for letting people watch their copy of the DvDs. It's really hard to distinguish right and wrong when you break it down and think about it like that.

This leads me to beleive that the worst problem.. the one that's hurting everyone the most right now... is the illegal sale of bootlegged/pirated discs. That's not as prevalent as downloading fansubs, but it has to be a bigger problem than I may realize since so many fansubs I've seen have huge disclaimers saying "If you paid for this, you are a fucking moron"
I've also heard of bootleggers in other countries downloading US fansubs and burning them to disk, then turning around and selling them. And that's just horrible too XP It's the same problem that the movie and music industries in general are having. Maybe they can weather it better because they are much bigger than the anime companies. Maybe it's just easier to buy bootlegged anime. I don't know.

At any rate.. if more companies fold and pull out, people are going to download even more titles. If the industry is being held together by US money, then there won't be as many titles in the future, period. Maybe we can all wait for the anime fad to blow over in a few years and go back to being closet geeks? :P
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Icongnitonekoboy on November 1st, 2007 05:48 am (UTC)
Of all the companies I think Geneon did it to themselves. It really isn't the day of fansubs where people hoped something would be licensed so you could get non-shitty copies. On top of that you were happy to play 30 dollars+ for 60 minutes of anime. Sometimes less in ADV's case. But now people want value over flashy packaging. Viz releases 15+ episode packs of naruto and soon Bleach for about 30 bucks a piece. Thats value. Or the FMA box set for about 40, higher but still a value. One of the thin packs I saw from Geneon was still like 100+. That ISN"T value. When I can get an entire remastered season of DBZ, 60+ episodes, for 27 dollars... Paying over 100 for 26 is just not reasonable. I don't care how fancy the box is. Today people ARE poor... And If they are going to blow their hard earned bread on Anime they want the most out of it. Between all the companies, they really didn't even try. =P
HIDE your facekyonomiko on November 1st, 2007 07:31 am (UTC)
I don't remember some of the older series like Trigun being that unreasonably priced. Viz still releases individual Bleach and Naruto DvDs. While we don't buy the individual Naruto DvDs (We wait for the box sets and get them a box at a time on that one) they didn't offer any sort of incentive on Bleach. When Geneon was still pioneer, I remember the releases being very nice, but no more expensive than any of the other releases. Trigun came out a disk at a time with the option of buying the collector's box with the first DvD. All first prints for trigun came with a chroma panel in the front. Nothing too fancy, but it was still pretty cool. We actually picked up a lot of it later, and didn't get chroma panels for all the boxes. Gungrave had a nice box, came with a mousepad. The hellsing release was a fanboy's wet dream though. If you were on top of releases you got ltd. edition action figure variant repaints and all sorts of cool dstuff. For that one, we did get the box with the first disk, and every subsequent special edition that came with it. But you don't have to get the special edition. I honestly don't remember the prices of the DvDs off the top of my head as they came out, but you also have to remember series like Ranma and DBZ have earned so much money they could dump it all on a cheapass hard drive and sell them on the corner for 10 bucks, and they'd still be making a profit off it. Series like DBZ and Ranma have seen multiple VHS releases, initial "birth of DVD" releases, re-releases, box set releases, etc.
Couldn't comment on fullmental, because I got hooked on that series early and bought the ltd. edition metal tins for those. My point being I think the quality of geneon's releases was higher than most of the other disks released by other companies at the same time with comprable pricing. (The Azumanga disks were still 19 bucks a disk @Hastings WITH ltd edition lapel pins inside the case) Boxed sets like FMA, Naruto, Bleach, Ranma, DBZ, etc are often released as value packs after the single DVDs are released, sometimes years after a series debuts. All the ones I listed above are also multi-season series, and not one shots, which also effects release. Where FMA ran 52 episodes, X or Gungrave or Trigun only ran the typical 25ish Most of the stuff Geneon was releasing were newer series, OAVs, and movies. You don't really get but one shot on movie& OAV releases. Perhaps it was the library itself, or the cost to the company of the extras you got with the disks. Maybe it was just the way Geneon handled titles after they picked things up from Pioneer, or whatever weirdness happened when they changed names. Personally, I only really pick up on a new series once every other year or so. So it's not a huge financial strain to wait for somthing super awesome to come out, and then pick up the next thing later. The only thing we really picked up lately what we shelled out stupid ammounts of money for were the Hellsing OAV releases. It was one episode OAV per disk, but they came with amazing goodies, and Hellsing is flat out one of my favorite titles ever.
But yeah.. right now, we're buying Bleach and Naruto, and not really anything else.
Icongnitonekoboy on November 1st, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
To me, when Geneon was releasing Trigun and a couple of their earlier series it was still in that "OMG I CAN REPLACE MY FANSUBS!!" stage. I remember I had all of Trigun on S-VHS from a fansubber before they came out on DVD. X were rather expensive too. In about the last two years the market has changed drastically to be more value based. Funimation saw it, even at one point considered moving to ONLY releasing box sets. Just forgoing the whole individual DVD sale completely.
Generally for us we always figured that we would usually have to pay on average 5 dollars more for a Geneon/Pioneer release. Since they didn't give you the value of episodes that Funi did or the low price that ADV did thus making them more expensive. ALso... Good example of them not getting on the bandwagon... Card Captor Sakura. Why was there never a box set of that? Why did they never release a lower priced box set of FY? Instead they released the disks by themselves and charged the equivelent of buying the box set off like Amazon or another site... That was always my complaint with them. After a while, all the other companies got competitive where Geneon kind of sat back and kept doing business as usual... Oh well... I bet with Geneon folding Viz and Funi will be all over their properties like vultures.
HIDE your facekyonomiko on November 1st, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
I'm not so sure about that. ADV tried to aquire distribution rights, and they had some sort of contract in progress, but Geneon backed out saying they didn't like the way things were going. Last I read, they were thinking about maintaining their titles themselves, or maybe coming back at a later date. There was an address to the fanclub by the president saying they were thinking of other solutions. I'm not in the fanclub, btw :P Just read about it on ANN.
I remember when Fushigi Yuugi came out on DvD. I think the released seperate disks for it? I don't remember. We ended up buying the boxed sets. At the time, I remember those being competatively priced because we picked them up thinking "holy cow, we got a good deal!" and instead of releasing the OAVS seperately, the OAVs got released together as a set. Eikoden doesn't count, because it wasn't even out at that time. The only series I remember being markedly higher priced than the other DvDs I was getting at the time was Gankutsuou. That one was a series I couldn't find anywhere in town, and had to special order. Hastings was selling those for 24 a disk as opposed to the usual 19. I think those were 4 eps a disk. That one would have been nice to have as a box. They may have released it as one at a later date, but it's another I picked up as it came out.
Last time I tried to pick up Kenshin (to replace our old fansubs), most places wanted 75 dollars a season, and I thought that was highway robbery. That's mediaworks, though, and not Geneon. I may eventually pay it. I really love that company for their live action releases and how responsible& helpful they are at conventions. They ALWAYS card for their adult material,and don't let anyone sneak by, and they seem to always have someone from the company working the boot sometime during the weekend. When I talk to those guys, they're always on top of company shit, so I can talk about title aquisitions, etc, and I don't get the blank booth bunny stare. Still though.. with Kenshin running as long as it did XP
There's one booth that consistantly sells box sets 25-50% off, and I was going to pick it up there for 50somthing, but they gave it away to one of their booth bunnies as payment for her work for the weekend T..T
Icongnitonekoboy on November 1st, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
Honestly thats still less than the 100 bucks a season that FY costs now, and the 200 a season it used to be. Viz used to sell the ranma boxes for 179 a piece and were taking a bath on them so they re-released them in thin-packs for 40 a piece. I don't remember Geneon EVER doing the thin pack deal for any kind of a value. All the thinpacks I remember were always borderline the price of buying each disk, just buying them all at once instead of separate. Kenshin at 75 is still a deal compared to buying the disks separate. Up to 80 for a full season to me is a deal. Realize that most the retail prices on geneon dvd's were 24.99. 22.99 if you got them from some place like right stuff. And much like ADV before them, they would stretch everything to a 7-8 disk release. Thats almost 200. Adv and a few others going to a 14.99-19.99 separate and a 39.99-79.99 box set policy makes it so that people can actually afford it with that. Any kid working at a fast food joint could pay for that.
t3h m3rz0rzmerchan on November 1st, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
Right now, I'm waiting for series to come out in box sets. I used to buy stuff from Pioneer all the time. Trigun in single DVDs, Tenchi, Fushigi Yuugi... weird how they are doing that.

Also, did you see the thing about the Japanese gov't wanting people to stop fansubbing?
HIDE your facekyonomiko on November 1st, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have a hard time understanding the harm in downloading things that arn't licenced for US distribution. It's like wanting to go watch Russian soap operas or somthing. But I think with anime as popular as ever, there's a bigger problem with people buying bootlegs, and the bootleggers stealing fansubs to burn to DVDs and sell. If the fansubbers wern't doing their thing, it would be a lot more work for the pirates. I think a lot of the the car-trunk operations would just give up at that point, but you can't really discourage the outfits in China that do it. I mean look at how well Son May, etc does with bootleg CDs XD
Icongnitonekoboy on November 1st, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC)
Maybe if assholes like Toei would actually allow companies to show their shows intact and didn't litigate shows like Macross 7 to death, maybe there would be less fansubbing.
t3h m3rz0rzmerchan on November 2nd, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)
Exactly. There are plenty of shows that I don't wanna watch the "Americanized" version because it's been dumbed down.