they forgot one thing; they forgot about mikuru in HD

In capitalist America, superior fanservice… err… products win.

Not enough memory for Vista…

One of the pillars of capitalism is that with consumer choice, the best products float to the top and the worst fall to the bottom. We vote with our dollars in a way that might be more democratic than how we vote for our president. Recently, I have been shopping for a new notebook after my “trusty” (that’s being very generous) Dell bit the dust. I don’t have an issue with Windows XP, as I think it’s a pretty damn solid operating system. Clunky, not sexy, but familiar. Of course, I couldn’t find a good notebook that had XP. I was staring at rows and rows of Vista notebook. Microsoft’s business model got me. Since I’ve been using Windows all this time, and that’s what I’m familiar with, that’s what all my files are stored on, that’s what I have to buy. Microsoft knows this and tries to impose its will on us.

There is a choice; this is my first post written using Mac OS X.

Pillar of capitalism. Microsoft. What does this have to do with anime (or Mikuru for that matter)? Like how Microsoft thought that they could just shove uninspired upgrade over uninspired upgrade upon us and pay the Windows tax, the anime industry, both Japanese and American, thought they could do the same with DVDs. No different than Microsoft trying to protect their operating space or the RIAA trying to protect CDs, the anime industry is desperately trying to save DVDs. I’m sorry to tell you. It can’t be saved. The people have spoken. It’s not what we want anymore.

A banana is fine too… ?

I was reading a fairly entertaining interview on Active Anime where the president of Gonzo International just blasts fansubbers (though he does tone it down from time to time to blast the eBay sellers and such). My first couple of thoughts were:

1. Fansubs are the sole reason why there is any anime industry in America. If it weren’t for fansubbers who originally brought over Macross, Love Hina, and others, there would be no anime industry, even close to scope that is today. The anime industry should be trying to develop ties with the fansub community instead of ready to go RIAA against them.

2. He harps on “30%” a lot. Maybe it’s because the big guns (i.e. Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!) have stalled, and that a few years ago anime was growing much faster and in a boom period. Guess what. Like tech stocks, subprime mortgages, anime can drop as well. Or maybe we should blame the subprime mess on fansubbers as well?

3. Fansubbers, at least most of them, do have a sense of ethics. They love anime just as much as you and me and definitely more than corporate bigwigs. Most, not all, of them will stop subbing a series if it has been licensed.

4. The industry is in a slump right now for many reasons, and it’s hard to blame fansubbing as one of them. Fansubbing has been around for many years, and I don’t think they were complaining when they were enjoying record profits a few years ago. One, the US economy is tanking. It is not healthy, and when it is not healthy and energy costs are soaring, people just don’t have the money for DVDs.

But I think the biggest issue isn’t fansubbing at all. It’s the decline of anime and manga in Japan proper. There was an interesting article in Wired last month (Lucky Star-heavy) about the rise of manga in the United States, but it also touched on the decline of manga in Japan. Most notably, manga is declining because are opting to pass their free time during transit on their mobile phones rather than thumbing through manga. Their savior is foreign markets, where the increased international demand makes up for a shrinking domestic market. Anime is no different.

The shift, recently, is that DVDs are obsolete. Ironically, they were obsoleted by the media conglomerates themselves in a race to high definition. A year and a half ago, I wrote about DVDs vs. fansubs and came to the conclusion that DVDs were still unmatched by the fansub quality. What happened in the past 18 months? The wide spread adoption of high definition anime. From a short lists of series to almost every series airing today, anime is HD. The availability of HD source material coupled with the rise advanced video codecs like h264, the DVD is no longer king. I watch my Haruhi Suzumiya DVDs on my HDTV with an upconverter, and it just doesn’t compare to an HD fansub. While the fansub still has a few rough edges, it’s at an even more attractive comparison point against the DVD: the fansub is now faster, cheaper, and better looking than the DVD. If you want an eyeful of Mikuru fanservice, you’d go watch the HD fansub on a nice plasma.


Would you rather watch Ms. Wang and Sumeragi now in HD or wait two years for less resolution?

A recent editorial on ANN tried to tackle this issue and came up with the same conclusion that I’ve been preaching for years: it takes too fucking long for an anime series to make it to the United States. But this only addresses one of the issues confronting the anime business: they’re still losing to the price and image quality fronts. The days of mailing VHS tapes are over. We want our anime and we want it now. It’s the broadband internet age. Let’s say you live in Japan or anywhere else in the world and are a big Heroes or Battlestar Galactica fan. You can hop onto iTunes or Amazon Unbox or XBOX Live and download the latest episode no more than a week after airing. Hell, you can even pop over to Hulu or YouTube or and watch it streamed, free, legally. Can you do this with anime? No, because the anime produces are desperately trying to protect a revenue system (DVDs) that no longer make sense.

I hate giving suggestions to an industry that just won’t listen, but, hey, why not. Maybe it’ll at least keep my readers occupied and off of the streets (or Dateline for that matter). The first is the address the cost. Like how Microsoft sucks on Windows or how the RIAA sucks on CDs, the anime content producers can’t ween themselves from DVDs. Surely, there are other revenue models. No one wants to pay $30 for a DVD anymore than anyone wants to pay $18 for a CD. People want to download full, DRM-free albums for less than $10. Anime has to be half as cheap as it is today. I don’t give a damn about what it costs in Japan, because when people say, “Well, a DVD is $50+ for 2 episodes so you’re getting a great deal in the US!” all I can say is that I’ve been to Tokyo. It’s a higher cost of living. They pay more for everything. I’m also going to say THIS IS SPARTA! SAN JOSE!, and any DVD is going to sit on a self at Fry’s next to Heroes. It’s going to be hard trying to sell four DVDs of Haruhi Suzumiya (14 x 30 minutes) for $30 a piece when you’re going up against 1,000 minutes of Heroes for $40.99 (or more for the HD set), if one is just going by value. Good luck finding a HD set for Haruhi.

(“But wait! Heroes has commercials and is shown on TV!” One thing American media has done right is push out cheap TV boxsets. Pretty much everyone I know buys them now, just because they are dirt cheap. They also don’t watch the network broadcasts anymore. Getting the price down always sparks sales. At least in capitalist America.)


The second is to address the speed. For the life of me, I cannot understand why we cannot get simultaneous releases of shows in English and Japanese. By the time Haruhi has finished its DVD run in the US, it’s no longer relevant. Our attention has shifted from Haruhi to Kanon to Lucky Star to Clannad; our eyes have shifted from Mikuru to Nayuki to Yoko to Sumeragi; our meme has gone from haruhigasm to OH GEASS NO to who the fuck do you think I am to Lion-chan. The only reason why the companies wouldn’t allow faster international distribution is to protect the DVD model: they do not want the Japanese to import R1 DVDs that are significantly cheaper than the R2 product. To me, it’s a gamble. They can jumpstart the international sales by speeding up the international DVDs, knowing that they will take a domestic hit. But with the stready contraction of the domestic market as surmised previously, I’m not sure if it’s a bad gamble. The industry needs the international market to thrive, irregardless now.

(That’s one lesson the movie industry learned. Notice how almost all movies are now released in not just the US on opening day anymore.)

As for quality, well, to address everything together, the solution is obviously digital delivery. Digital delivery bypasses the craptastic HD-DVD/Blu-Ray mess. If an anime company were bold enough to place an English subtitled series on iTunes or Hulu or whatever the same week that it airs in Japan, it would be the beginning of the end for fansubs. It would be a domino. It’s not that people will start choosing to pay $1.99 or whatever for an episode (because some people will always, always go the cheap route), it’s that the fansub groups won’t have their incentive to continue fansubbing. Remember, fansubbers are like you and me, except they have even more free time. They give up their weekends and nights and days to the work, with only an occasional thanks in return. If cheap, legit, timely releases were done by the industry, why would most fansubbers continue? If the believe in their “drop a series when it’s licensed” mantra, there’s even less reason to believe that they will continue.

The industry needs to present a solution where they at least can offer a “bonus” over fansubs. Right now, I’m just not seeing it. Slow? Expensive? Lower visual quality? (DVDs do retain a translation edge, but I think it’s more of English fansub editors lacking than translators lacking.) I think that’s the only real happy ending to anime. If the anime content producers continue to insist on DVD sales, it’ll get ugly. Microsoft Vista ugly. It’s never pretty when one tries to impose a product on the public that the public does not want. If one needs a clue as to what we do want, well, speedy Mikuru in HD is a good start.

37 Responses to “they forgot one thing; they forgot about mikuru in HD”

  1. Some people just buy the vista laptop and put XP on it themselves…

    I completely agree with what you’re saying, and it’s true at the time i know about a series I may think to myself, damn i’m definitely going to buy this when it comes out on DVD and then by the time it does ship over I just forget about it. I’m sure if an english company licensed and subbed some animes and released a subbed version for a cheap price of say $1.00 quicker than a fansub group could do it, it might just make more money than releasing the DVD’s, people may be inclined to fork over a dollar to get it quicker.

    I enjoy these insightful posts on AOMM err.. that new name..

  2. “There is a choice; this is my first post written using Mac OS X.”

    Congrats. Hope you didn’t buy a 20″ or 24″ iMac

    Speaking as a PC technician with some Mac experience, Mac’s a very good platform, honestly, but don’t believe all the hype. Mac fans are rabid, especially out where you are on the Left Coast, so keep a level head. Macs do break, they do get viruses (which is especially bad considering there are no good AV programs for Mac), and they do get a number of non-activeX spyware. Are they better than Microsoft? Well, actually, yes, but if I had a computer company, like Apple, where I made all the hardware, wrote all the code and most of the drivers for its only legit OS, and had carte frakking blanche to bundle as much first-party software with it as I wanted (without pulling aggro from the fair trade practive lawyers constantly circling Microsoft), my product sure as hell better be better than a company that makes just the OS, a little software, and a few keyboards and mice, and has every hacker, pretty much every company involved in computer manufacturing or software design on the planet, and the European fricking Union, out to personally or legally destroy them.

    In Vista’s defense, it’s at the core a more stable and capable OS than xp, but it’s been hamstrung by apathetic software and hardware designers who are upset with them for “springing” Vista on them after only 6 years of anticipation, 2 years of beta, and the largest single release of an OS release candidate of all time and with few exceptions greeted its debut with half-ass software updates and drivers, if they released working software at all. (nVidia, I am looking at you…) Believe me, in a year or two’s time, we’ll all be laughing at “the idiots still using xp.”

    Also note that Leopard pretty much stole every new idea they added to it from Vista (or even xp), not counting of course the ones Vista stole from Tiger. Not to say that they didn’t improve on some of those ideas (unlike Windows System Restore, Time Machine apparently works), but, as noted above, they better, and more importantly, when Apple has to bite Windows for ideas, there’s issues.

    Let us know how it works out for you. It’ll probably be a great transfer, and hopefully fairly seamless. But make sure you download Opera or FireFox, unless you love pop-ups, pop-unders, and various other internet uglies. Safari’s protection bites worse than IE7’s, even after factoring in that most of the free world (and all of the rest) is out to exploit the latter…

  3. There is a choice; this is my first post written using Mac OS X.

    Congrats. Not a Mac user myself, but I give you props for being willing to take the plunge rather than accept mediocrity.

    Maybe it’ll at least keep my readers occupied and off of the streets (or Dateline for that matter).

    Not likely, but good try. ;)

    DVDs do retain a translation edge, but I think it’s more of English fansub editors lacking than translators lacking.

    I agree that the fault generally lies more on the editing side.

    I disagree, however, that official DVD translations have an “edge”. American distributors have a penchant for Americanizing the story in a way that I consider distasteful. It’s an obviously Japanese story, why go out of your way to eliminate the things that makes it feel unique and foreign? Mediocre scriptwriters killing off all the cultural references and dumbing down the dialogue results in a product that feels entirely too much like everything else on TV here.

    Do they really think so little of their viewers? Seriously, who the fuck do you think I am?!

  4. Wow, you and Jeff Lawson (Hop Step Jump!) are really hitting the nail on the head with how the anime industry refuses to shift and adapt to the new economic realities and opportunities in front of them.

    I don’t know if I agree with you on DVDs having the translation edge. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that they’re more professionally done, however, I hate seeing the English dialogue subtitles placed right over the Japanese audio tracks with no editing for mouth movements or in the worst case, not even in the proper situation.

  5. Any localized anime is generally badly done.

    Whether it be the dub itself or the translation. (Haruhi comes to mind.)

    Fansubs done by amateurs tend to be better than any translation by “professionals”, I’ve noticed, which puts me in doubt as to the IQ of the people they hire.

  6. I completely agree with what you’re saying, and it’s true at the time i know about a series I may think to myself, damn i’m definitely going to buy this when it comes out on DVD and then by the time it does ship over I just forget about it.

    Yup, I can completely relate to it. I have several DVDs sitting on the shelf still wrapped. And sometimes I’ll even forget the DVDs are released- I just made a huge order on DeepDiscount because of their winter sale, and I forgot to order A!MG S2 and the first Kanon DVD.

  7. Well, if you want to know how far the Japanese Companies are willing to go to protect their DVD model, you can just take a look at Singapore’s case. It was kinda hard for me to believe that the Japanese Companies have actually released official press releases stating that they would support Odex legal efforts in obtaining the personal information of people who download fansubs so that they can serve letters ala RIAA.

    The funny/sad part is that they (Odex which is a Singapore Company) even sent some email letters to people from Japan, the United States and even France by mistake! Refer to the links below for more information.,4139,148399,00.html?

    To add to the problems some Japanese commentators have even said that this was a step in the correct direciton.

    While Odex is currently bogged down in Singapore Courts since they are unable to obtain an injunction to get personal information from one of Singapore’s ISPs, the Japanese companies have declared they will take up action if Odex fails. This is a truly troubling statement and I seriously wonder if they are intending to take it that far.

  8. The way I see it, there’s only one way for anime to be released worldwide at the same time, and that is if the cost of anime were the same everywhere.

    Just the way movies are, they cost about the same a DVD wherever you go.

  9. I agree that DVDs still have the translation edge, even with a flawed release like R1 Shana. The DVD, for example, translates terms (Midnight Lost Child, Palace of Heaven’s Road) that the fansub (Reiji Maigo, Tendo-kyu) leaves in their “meaningless to those who don’t understand Japanese” forms. Certain translations (DVD “Chanter of Elegies” vs. fansub “Interpreter of Condolence”; DVD “Thousand Ordinances” vs. fansub “Thousand Martial Leader”) are just better English on the DVD. And although there were some typos in the OP in the first volume, they were cleared up in later volumes. I still have issues with their choice to use “Wirhelmina” but because the official series guidebook used it, it’s forgivable. Last but not least, R1 Shana came with a good English dub, even if it’s understandably inferior to the original Japanese.

    And the translations of R1 Hare+Guu and Bottle Fairy, from the OP alone, are more accurate than the fansubs I originally saw them on. Bonus points to Hare+Guu for including great translation notes in the extras menu where they wouldn’t get in the way. Bad official translations still happen, but I’m guessing they just draw more attention, while the more common bad fansub translations are easy to overlook.

    That said, I agree that DVDs are obsolete. Fansubs are just cheaper and faster. I still buy DVDs out of charity and fanboy love, but charity – essentially buying a product you already have – cannot save an industry because, not surprisingly, people like me aren’t charitable enough. The series that I consider worthy of my charity are but a small subset of the fansubs I watch. In fact, I’m wondering whether I should just stop buying anime DVDs altogether, just to do my part to make the industry realize that nobody wants DVDs anymore.

    What is going to save the industry is what Jason and others have pointed out: “cheap, legit, and timely” digitally delivered releases. If a resurrected Geneon USA were to show up with professionally subbed “ef” for $2 an episode one day after the episode aired in Japan, I would buy that, even if against all odds the fansubbers didn’t stop as Jason predicted.

  10. I think the biggest risk of actually having a simultaneous release is that companies aren’t willing to risk money to license an anime early, only to realize they’ve bombed by licensing an anime that they didn’t know generally sucked. Sure, they’ll license it anyways for surefire franchises like Gundam or more Inuyasha (like that’ll ever happen), but what about our more “off the wall” franchises like Oharuhi-sama or Dokuro-chan (with less appeal, since it’ll probably be rated mature)? Almost the entire English speaking branch of the Church of Haruhi is built upon a.f.k’s fansubs. Let’s see some guy at Bandai actually propose to license it early if fansubs were never around. Same for Lucky Star (Kanon doesn’t really count, since there’s an underground movement for its original ero-game)

    Or maybe they would like to license early, but they to cut swarms of red tape to get to their license. I’m not too informed on “How to license anime for companies 101”

  11. I think the biggest risk of actually having a simultaneous release is that companies aren’t willing to risk money to license an anime early

    Wow that’s a good point. Fansubbers don’t pay licensing fees and don’t lose anything if they pick up a Shana II that falls off a cliff. I hadn’t considered that legit releases were a lot more expensive from the cost of the license alone. That licensing cost is going to have to come down if the quick digital delivery is to succeed. Regional licensing and global distribution don’t go together.

  12. I just want to make a small correction – if you live in Japan, or anywhere else in the world outside the US, you really can’t watch Heroes or other American TV shows legally online. You can’t even pay for them.
    Legal streaming services such as Hulu or the network websites block by IP address. All I get, as someone who is not in America, is a message saying content is not available outside the US. iTunes and other online stores enforce this by requiring you pay with a credit card with a US billing address (there is a well-known workaround where you use iTunes gift cards purchased in the US, but Apple is doing everything they can to stop people offering these to international customers online).

    No, the only real way to get content out of the US is by purchasing DVDs. For TV shows this means waiting until the season is over. Luckily, rising internet piracy means local TV stations buy and air US shows much faster than they used to. This month, we got the second season of Heroes (a mere month and a half after it first aired in the US). Other shows arrive even quicker, with just a couple of weeks delay. Of course, living in a country that subtitles foreign TV shows rather than dubbing them may be helpful here.

  13. To me, licensing series to other countries is the problem not the solution. Fans want their anime now, not after it goes through the licensing machine blender.

    The solution (at least for me)…

    Japanese production companies need to offer the shows rapidly through digital download methods (iTunes, their homepages, where-ever). They should also build a relationship with some of the more popular fan-sub groups and hire them to sub their series. The fansubbers do it because the love the medium, and most legit groups drop titles that are licensed. I’m sure most would love to do this on a professional basis if they could, gaining credibility and income at the same time.

    Why not bypass the middle-man, the crappy subs and dubs offered by US companies, and get the people that fans really want to sub their product to do it.

    You could offer a raw in 24-48 hours and a sub within a week. You could do it even faster if you provided the raws or scripts to the subbers earlier. In the long-run, you’ll make your money back from providing the content world-wide, rather than only in select countries. If the US companies want to license the product and dub it, let them. I for one could care less if my anime is dubbed, and I’ll do without the subs if I can legitimately purchase it from the source (and without a delay).

    (And the Japanese otaku will still buy the DVDs because it’s about the collecting, not about the viewing).

  14. The current model of anime companies has just about lived out its convenience and usefulness. Getting shows on DVDs two years after the fact no longer cuts it in the more and more interconnected world.

    Would I pay for a HD, digitally distributed episode of a series I’d like to follow, maybe a week after its original airing, competently subbed and legally distributed, straight off Japanese anime companies, for maybe 2€ an episode? Hell yes! That would be the end of fansubbing too, because they would no longer have a need to serve. I’m convinced digital distribution models are the future, no matter how much RIAA/MPAA et al might hate it. Not soon I think, but one day. They are probably right about BluRei/HD DVD being the last physcial formats ever.

  15. I think the biggest risk of actually having a simultaneous release is that companies aren’t willing to risk money to license an anime early, only to realize they’ve bombed by licensing an anime that they didn’t know generally sucked.

    I agree with this statement. As for being a viewer, if I paid for each download I would certainly be pickier on what I watched. For example if I had to pay $2 for each episode of Lucky Star, I probably would have not gotten past episode 3. I didn’t really get into that show till much later. I would also probably not have found some hidden gems, like Kaiji or Hidamari, if I had to pay for episodes. I would probably limit myself to just 5 or 6 series, since that would be about $10-12/week ($40/month, and about $480/year). I certainly could not afford to keep up with 20+ series, like I have done in the past.

  16. I agree with most everything you stated here, because it’s what I’ve been saying, too.

    Half the problem is, of course, the Japanese license holders restraining progress and their enormous license fees. BOST is trying, bless ’em, but not there yet. ADV tried… and failed miserably (though they apparently don’t know that yet.

    I do disagree that DVD translations tend to be better… I tend to find them better edited, but the translations done with less love. In general, of course.

    Also… I find it hilarious that your HD Mikuru shots were from really crappy broadcast upscales of SD content. If your DVD upscales don’t look tremendously better than that, you need a better scaler!

  17. Has anyone here bought the digital download version of Death Note? Anyone? But how many of you dowloaded the fansub?

    You say you want digital distribution of shows concurrent with the Japanese airing, at a price cheaper than DVDs. Well, here it is. But no one seems to be interested. And if no one is going to buy it, then the content producers are going to stop selling it.

  18. Is Death Note in High-Definition? What about new media formats once the players come down to an affordable price?

  19. People are forgetting Licensing is a financial investment. Companies aren’t going to license something unless they are sure they can make a proper return on it.

    Now, we all know SHnY and Gurren Lagann are some of the greatest to grace our digital screens in recent years. However, let’s be honest. Who here would have made a financial investment in them before even the first episode aired? One was a series that no one knew anything about. The other, a production that has had “LOL GAINAX END” taped on it for years. It’s very easy to say things like “We want cheap, legit, and timely digital rereleases” if you’re not hurt by a series that simply bombs. You, in the scenario that Jason brings up, would merely be losing maybe 10 dollars worth of enjoyment. We probably lost far more by going to see Beowulf in theaters. But for the company that actually licensed it, its a major risk that most would not be willing to make, and for good reasons.

  20. Companies aren’t going to license something unless they are sure they can make a proper return on it.

    Very true, and I admit I wasn’t considering this until Tidal’s comment. You’re right that we don’t have concurrent releases because to license a series before it runs is a huge gamble.

    If the license didn’t cost so much, it wouldn’t be such a huge risk to import an obscure but potentially awesome (and profitable) series early. Didn’t Jason say that the Nintendo DS was win because it was region-free? It might be better for an anime producer to cut down on the licensing fees and regional restrictions, and think about global distribution from the very beginning. With Bit Torrent and fansubbers, anime productions are going to reach a global audience whether the producers like it or not.

  21. I was just thinking… Part of the resistance toward moving to an all digital distribution model (sub-only) may be in how much easier it would be for competition to enter the market than it is in the current model. No office space, no studios or studio rental, no VA’s, no printing, no discs, no cases, no publishers, no shipping or distribution. Without all the extra logistics involved with a dubbed DVD, a well organized fansubbing outfit with some investment capital and business/web know-how could start looking at buying a license or two and go professional.

  22. Dude, when are you going to talk about ef? Needless to say, bricks was shat.

  23. Spam_vt: Actually, I’d had no idea that Viz was selling the Death Note anime online. If I were interested in the anime, I’d be very interested… except for the Windows Media DRM. Oops.

    They’re getting close!

    $1.99 is still too high, even if it’s the going rate, but oh well.

  24. One thing I never understood about American licenses (or any where else) is the need to include dubbing. Why not do away dubbing altogether and instead put subs instead? It would speed up in bringing content over to the fans and reduce costs since you don’t have to hire voice actors to poorly mimick their noticeably Japanese characters on screen.

  25. There’s nothing here that I haven’t said elsewhere, AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. I’m sick and tired of hearing the ‘debate’ around this – with the anime producers blaming fansubs, the R1 licensors blaming fansubs for the failure of their sales (they’ve overlicensed to boot), and the viewers blaming R1 distributors for not being fast enough. Everyone’s holding onto a corner of the solution… and yet, everyone’s blaming everyone else.

    The MAIN problem with the current electronic distribution channels is that they’re not very fast (read: they’re releasing like they’re still publishing DVD’s) compared to the not-legal alternatives, and they try to lock your content down in ways that completely defeat the purpose of electronic distribution – ease of use. Funimation’s iTunes versions of their shows can be viewed on iPods – great, if you’ve got an iTouch. Not so good if you’ve got a Windows Mobile PDA or a Sony PSP for video viewing… or if you’re using Linux, or you’re away from your own computer, etc. Windows Mobile DRM, ditto – you’re away from your PC, or it dies? Good luck with the licenses. Or ask the people who bought music through Virgin Entertainment, who suddenly found their files useless when the store went belly-up.

    Media Blasters has a good idea in the ‘sub-only’ DVD’s – fast, cheap, and they don’t cost Media Blasters too much to produce. Now if only I could BUY them in a way that’s convenient for me and quick to get, that’d be another story. Other companies, while having DVD’s available everywhere.. well, Geneon was great about getting licenses (recently) quickly to market – Black Lagoon showed up maybe a year after it initially aired, and the translation AND dubbing was well done (for a change). Bandai was fairly fast on the draw for Haruhi, at least for a R1 company, and they included extras (Kyon-airing order DVD’s) that made the limited edition a good value, and had something OTHER the OST (which I may have already bought) to sweeten the deal.

    But of course, they’re all (fansubbers and viewers, R1 licensing companies, Japanese animators) going to ignore the solutions in favor of bandage-style stopgaps (suing fansubbers, ripping R1 DVD’s and redoing the subs before releasing them on the Internet, produce 50 sequels to Gundam 00) rather than embrace solutions which may work… but which require a change of attitude.

  26. The only good dub was for Cromartie High School.
    Just YouTube a couple of the clips and Im sure youll agree.

  27. Am I the only person not having trouble with/hating Vista? I’ve had it for 3+ months (came with laptop) and I find it easier to us than XP for just about everything. Am I just a freak case here?


    Look, people. I don’t know if you noticed. But there are people animating your favorite anime. People are putting onto TV, cable, satellite, DVD, and in binary form your favorite eye-heroin you’re getting for free.

    The same people can’t even afford to live in a country that’s basic textbook “high cost of living.” Those 24-hour anime-based maid cafes were (are they still?) doubling as shelters for people who actually have jobs.

    Also; the Japanese anime industry outsources their jobs. “Having something done at a lower cost is just so much better.” Never you mind that there was a crapstorm about Chinese products killing kids with their lead paint and lack of “quality control.”

    I, as someone who has a job and lives by the honor code of buy 1-3 anime DVD titles per month; plan on tracking down your phone number so I can, in live-time, call BULL$#!7 like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman towards Private Pyle.

    Yes, the industry needs to step their game up. Yes, the cowards at the top need to MAN UP.

    However; Gonzo (despite everyone’s hatred towards this company) is actually a good company compared to GENEON. And maybe it wasn’t a good idea for the Japanese anime industry to refuse assimilation and “not cater to the mainstream American/international audience.”

    2007 has been a bad year for the physical collective of the media industry. The combination of being at war and having large ego does that to people.

    (You’re all gonna read this and pretty much continue to assume that I’m a retard. However; I’m not as dumb as to assume that you can get away with robbing hard-working people for too long. Oh well. Happy 2008.)

  29. Mac, eh? You sure you aren’t some kind of separated-at-birth twin of mine?

  30. Lord Kamina: Petite Princess Yucie had a nice dub. Princess Tutu had an awesome dub. Azumanga Daioh had a really good dub. When I have trouble deciding whether to re-watch a series in Japanese or English, that’s something right there. But that’s just me. Also, while I prefer Japanese originals, my understanding of Japanese is only so-so, so it’s nice to have the option to watch anime rather than read it (English dub rather than subtitles). Again, that’s just me.

    Personally, I don’t see why Japanese companies can’t sell episodes online, then fansub groups release text files with subtitles meant to be played with the purchased files. In fact, I’ve recently e-mailed a handful of fansub groups requesting just such files. And in the past month, I’ve…er, well, okay, I never got a single reply. Not even an acknowledgement. Nothing to show that my e-mail was even received and viewed.

    But, really, if Japanese companies sold episodes online (and I mean sold to own, such as buying music from iTunes), then having fansubs available from fansub sites (text-subtitle files, not subtitles embedded on video) would only stand to increase sales. Then ADV could still release dubbed and subbed anime. They’d have their dub sells, and if the fansubs look like they’ll be a problem, ADV would simply have to release better subtitling work than said fansubs.

    My mind is such a perfect world, though.

  31. AthenAltena: I’ve been using vista ultimate since launch. Upgraded my tablet pc. Things run slightly slower, but performance is still acceptable. Handwriting recognition, and most of the tablet related functions actually improved quite a bit.

    Chumara: If you purchased a notebook with a Vista business license, you’re eligible for a downgrade to XP pro. No luck with the home variants I’m afraid.

    FatCatLim: Dubs drive sales. It’s that simple. While one could probably have gotten most of the hardcore otaku market with sub-only releases, you’ll lose your casual buyers, and mass-market customers with a japanese only release. For niche segments like yuri and yaoi, that’s not a great loss, since you wouldn’t get them to begin with. (Thus, we get sub-only Simoun and Kashimashi) But for a title where you need more than the otaku market, it’s DEATH. Mind you, with the DVD market dying quickly, this equation may well have changed.

    Personally, I don’t see them giving up DVD sales, production, or even dubbing. I certainly hope they don’t! But they’re definitely going to have to get something out there to compete with fansubs. Along the line of week-by-week release, within reasonable distance of the Japanese airings. Perhaps a streaming or download business model IN ADDITION to the DVD model.

    For my part, despite speaking more than enough japanese to get through raw anime for anything but the most technical of sci-fi or military shows, I still prefer english dubs. And I like DVDs, with extras, packins, box-art and the like. I like 5.1 DD, I like 6.1 more, and I like my choice of audio tracks. Given the choice between physical media, and inferior streamed copies, I’ll take the physical media every time. And I usually do, to the tune of 7-10 discs a month. I don’t have a real choice in bandwidth providers so streams don’t work too well here. I can torrent, (And I do!) but strictly speaking it’s not legal.

    Right now, the industry is meeting my needs just fine.
    But let’s face it. I’m not everybody. I’m probably pretty damn close to the hardcore otaku with too much money profile than most. They need to expand and capture both my market, as much of the download market as they can, and expand into other markets as quickly as possible.

  32. If this happens (digital distributing)… I’ll probably become an iTunes whore. Should we start a pool as to which studio will jump trains first?

    There are a couple good things about technology at this time. Some have argued that fansubs have too many romanji words, okay so why do mkv, mpeg2, etc have multiple sub stream capabilities? I would think there should be various translation levels, levels like:

    Daniel Boone-type – all-American, entirely. Disney did the translation, and it was approved by Uncle Sam himself. Masks to the dub exactly.
    Keanu-type – Canadian, but in a lot of US films. Culturally accepting of Japanese, but still, “please, no taiyaki”
    Moby-type – probably doesn’t know about fansubs, but probably could tolerate honorifics.
    American-Otaku – Yesh, please leave all taiyakis and melonpans where they are
    English student of Japanese – no different than Japanese closed-caption schemes

    Just having a choice between Americanized subs or none at all isn’t a plus to DVD’s. Depending on the subbing group, various levels of culture are left in-tact; it is kinda cool, but not 100% commercially viable.

    Also, I take a perspective side Tyrenol. It is sad there is no direct method to support the actual people who are creating this stuff. I posted about it the other day, but it seems more money goes into “protecting” the material than anything; via corporate bigwigs and a bunch of lawyers running around saying I’m gonna sue you Jerry Lawler, cause I’m from Hollywood! …

    I wouldn’t have a problem digitally paying for a series, but it still wouldn’t truly, 100%, be thanking the people who made it. I’m beginning to feel that is an entirely separate problem.

  33. About the high-definition battles going on; I don’t know. I had to wait a long while before I was able to pull money out of my rear to pay for HDTV.

    So? Large TVs are lighter in weight; they give out better sound and visual.

    And why have two types of high-def DVDs? Blue-Ray and HD? Why is it now like the blank plus / minus DVDs that are basically the same except for the names and the minute differences?

    I know the reason: Everyone’s using cellphones and the airwaves are being jammed. That’s why the laws are passed to have everyone switch to high-definition. Yet I’m too lazy to utilize all of HDTV’s gimmicks.

    “Miss Wang in HD.” Nothing against that. However, as I’ve been saying; a lot of anime out now are poorly plotted crap. And anything on HD means that you’ll have poorly plotted crap on HD.

  34. Are light novels on the rise? I’m halfway through the NHK lite novel and hope to see more in the U.S. Got it for $5.99 after the 4 for 3 promos at (Shameless plug)
    Years ago I watched the first few episodes of Princess Tutu at my old anime club and when the complete box came to amazon for 35.99 I placed it in the box. but apparently thats only the first week and it rose $7 before I ordered. That pissed me off enough to take it out.
    Although It defeats my point when I say I didn’t buy it , but it was very much due to fansubbers that I almost bought it. When you see princess tutu on a bestbuy shelf do you think “the guy who did hellsing did this series about a duck ballerina”? (I hope this info is true someone told it to me way back when). The anime club AND fansubbing are the only reason I would’ve watched princess tutu, and I liked it. I’ve got the Cowboy Bebop box set thanks to Cartoon Network when before I saw it was like “what the hell is that?”
    But Jason is very right. Just as the economy is doing poor, I don’t want to let go of $7. It’s why I’ve switched to manga pretty much solely.
    And further, I know somedays gonna come when Im gonna pop my ten year old saber marionette J DVD’s in for nostalgia and be very upset if/when they don’t work.

  35. RyanA: Funimation is already on the iTunes store. And both ADV and CPM (or what’s left of them) have downloads available. Heck, CPM’s stuff is available for legal torrenting from Vuze.

  36. the main problem with vista is it doesnt offer enough new things that you’d really want. the only reason you’d buy it possibly is for dx10 and the benchmarks on it so far are shocking

  37. Actually, I’m not exactly sure how someone really considers $2 an episode extraordinarily expensive. Compared to the price of a DVD, 20/3 eps for haruhi as an example, it is roughly 3.3 times cheaper. Now, considering that a majority(I hope) of the fanbase already buy DVDs for their current price. $2 an episode would most likely help.

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