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Anime, Piracy, Entitlement, and Ridiculousness
Posted Jan 5, 2012 - 9:30:54

Angry KittySo, as it's now been widely reported, this week Bandai Entertainment (one of the largest Anime distributors in the US) has announced that it will be discontinuing its North American operations in 2012. This is a major blow to the American Anime market, and the reasons for this collapse are myriad -- but one of the possible scape goats proffered for the collapse of the American portion of Bandai's Anime wing has been piracy.

Did piracy play a major part in this situation? I honestly don't know. Frankly, I don't think it was the largest contributing factor, but I can see how someone could come to that conclusion.

But whether piracy is responsible or not, I thought the one thing we could all agree on was the basic premise that it was, y'know, a bad thing. Even those friends I know who occasionally pirate stuff feel at least a little bad about it.

So, what amazed me was when people write articles placing some of the blame on pirates, there are now a bunch of responses not just defending piracy - but saying how it's beneficial.

Guys, I have something to tell you -- it's not 1995 anymore.

Fansubs used to be a positive force in the American Anime community. If you weren't into the genre fifteen years ago, you might not know exactly how hard it was to get ahold of new content. We used to wait years before a series would wander its way to American shores, and it was only a trickle compared to what was being produced.

But that was then.

These days, legal streams of Anime are available online in massive quantities. Almost every major series makes it to the states, and prices are so much cheaper for commercial copies than they used to be (I remember when I paid $30 for two dubbed episodes of a series on VHS and thought "Man, this has gotten inexpensive!"). You may only have to wait six months for a series to get a release in the United States now.

When Fansubs were important, six months was a fast turnaround time for the pirated copy.

The modern pirate does not do so because it's hard to get Anime. The modern pirate does not do so to promote the art form, watching their fansubs with a dorm TV lounge full of friends. The modern pirate isn't helping the community.

What the modern pirate is doing is being a selfish jackass.

There are many flaws with the modern copyright system, but regardless - copyright overall is a good thing. It costs real money to produce an animated series. It costs real money to license it. It costs real money to (under)pay voice talent. You don't have to buy Anime, but if you want to watch it you should at least pick a route that supports the system.

Free, legal streaming provided by people like Funimation or Hulu has ads which support the industry. Paid subscription streaming like Netflix pays money back into the industry. Watching it on friggin' Cartoon Network pays back into the industry.

Watching an episode you downloaded off of a Chinese streaming website? Not so much. You are not entitled to free entertainment guys. You just aren't. We, as a community, do not deserve stuff just because we want it - and to say so makes a person sound like an ungrateful, petulant child.

And I have no patience for that.
- Traegorn

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So I was reading the same kind of articles as you Trae and yeah, I got really pissed. I spent a lot of my younger years in comic book shops, so I got into anime fandom at the end of the VHS days. I still have a ton of old VHS tapes, some legal, and one Macross Plus fansub that I'm pretty sure was in at least a dozen other VCRs. I remember having to special order my tapes from cause no one at the local Sam Goody knew or cared what Escaflowne was and I remember learning to appreciate the english version because when you're 12 you can't afford a $27 tape.

I miss when nerds took pride in the money and devotion it took to make our collections. Not just downloading everything in site and acting like they should be praised for it.

Long story short, thank you Trae. You hit the nail on the head. I don't know all the key factors as to why Bandai is closing its entertainment wing, but I feel its a safe assumptions the Pirates' hands are exactly clean on this one. Thanks for summing this up well and still being honest.
Brian has had a couple of anime nights since we moved to our new place. This has taught me what an absurdly gigantic amount of anime there is on Netflix. You are right, with the amount of cheap to free legal sources of entertainment, there really isn't any reason to pirate things.
That is until you have seen almost every series that is allowed legally and are selfish like me and want more. I don't have picky tastes. As long as there is a good plot and good animation, I will give it a chance. I am iffy about mech series, though. I started sophomore year in high school on Love Hina that a friend lent me and then my parents bought me the boxed set. (I later found out it was a bootleg Dx). As a kid, it spurred me into getting into more anime. I have spent my several thousands of dollars personally on merch, dvds, vhs, watch some on netflix(when offered subbed), and yet I am selfish because I watch series as they are airing in Japan. I have to date 2 Love Hina sets that are bootleg and my boyfriend bought me a bootleg Angel Beats(the subs are off lol...I didn't let him know I was disappointed in the bootleg due to the thought he put into it)....all of which were gifts. I support the industry, yet I feel fansubs aren't all that is killing the industry. I believe an overall issue with the economy is also killing it.
A lot of the reason that I will not watch dubs is due to the quality that is put into it. Many references are changed in series to make it more Americanized. This isn't as bad as it was in the early 90s with what they did to series such as Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Utena, but it still exists. Also, in Japan, voice acting is a viable career(although temporary). Here in the US, we have people trying to live off of it, and those few names clogging up the industry. Take Vic for example: He did awesome in FMA's dub. After that, he milked that role for all it is worth due to fangirls buying into anything he does because he did one good role and has a pretty face. He is 50/50 at cons of whether he is a dick or not. Tiffany Grant just SHOWS UP to cons and expects special treatment at those she is not invited as a guest to. I have had personal chats with her and she is also not the nicest of people. People like this are recycled in series after series and they make little to no effort to change the voice for characters. I know I have heard Tai from Digimon in about half a dozen different roles including a random guard that dies in the first scene of Elfen Lied. With a constant recycling of actors and their voices, it causes an aversion to watching series. The dub of Ouran was horrendous and was cast based on people with big names in the industry. 
tl;dr I think that part of it can be piracy, but we also need to factor in economy and those voice actors that just can't move on and milk their old roles for new ones that could be better cast which could improve quality of dubs, thus providing motivation for people to watch them over subs. We complain that voice actors are underpaid, yet they work they do is....well....underperformed in many cases(note I said many and not all). There are a lot of reasons why the industry is dying and we can't blame it all on piracy like people are prone to scapegoat to.
I also note that Bandai hasn't released much in the way of good anime for the past several years...aka almost the entire time I have been collecting anime on my own income. They release a few here and there, but mainly recycled old series in a new boxed set...over...and over...and over... ADV, Geneon, and FUNimation were the only ones consistently releasing new material
You lost me the moment you bad mouthed Tiffany Grant. I've had many encounters with her over the last decade, and she is about the sweetest person on the planet. She goes above and beyond for fans, and is an absolute delight.

You don't like dubs? Fine. Those discs have subtitles too. But just because someone buys product A, it doesn't mean they are entitled to product B.
(And my point was, regardless of the reasons behind the decline in the industry, piracy is still bad. Period.)
As Trae pointed out already, the "I don't like dubs" argument hasn't been valid since DVDs. Hell, most of the shows you referenced for not liking the dub have been available uncut and subtitled for years. I'm holding a Cardcaptor Sakura subtitled VHS right now. These things exist, you shouldn't blame the companies because you aren't informed.

And fyi: attacking individual actors to justify your piracy is beyond low.
Those were just examples of actors. In any case where one speaks of a topic, examples are required. It isn't picking on them specifically but noting a general trend. 
I also never at any point justified piracy. I did specify that I did and that I have also spent a large amount of money on anime stuff as well. I never said at any point that watching fansubs was justified by my buying things. That was your interpretation :P
I also am as informed as the rest of you, being an avid congoer and running my own anime club for a few years. I have also seen just over 300 series to completion and stay informed through the ANN, etc. I have 2 72 inch bookshelves that are packed solid with anime and manga to the point of needing a third one of these days. 
I never justified it. YOU said I justified it :P and making assumptions like that and labeling me a villian is, in your words, "just low".
An added note: although I watch fansubs, I do also buy series that I truly enjoyed that I have watched subbed long before their US release. I bought Nanoha for example as well as Rozen Maiden, Red Garden, am waiting on a release of Shiki in March, etc. I am one of the exceptions that still buys a large amount of merch while watching fansubs while most people watch little to nothing.

Another added note: Since you bought the CCS tapes...the industry is getting NOTHING from you due to them already being purchased. It is not supporting or declining the industry in any manner, so you can't use those as a reasoning for how you support the industry. Buying used does not benefit the original makers, only new xP

Also, I do watch subbed on my dvds. :P
Dominic, You said: although I watch fansubs, I do also buy series that I truly enjoyed that I have watched subbed long before their US release.

As I said: ...just because someone buys product A, it doesn't mean they are entitled to product B.

You only buy SOME of them. So, the rest you have absolutely no justification for -- and that's why you're part of the problem.
I'm fairly certain Nick probably bought that tape new too :P
@Trae:
You bet, I still have the postcard it originally came with too.
@Fellow I don't know:
I have some tapes that I bought years later and have fallen into my possession, but even in my middle school years I was putting money aside for my VHS tapes. I used to have the policy of watching fansubs and promising to buy the official release, but I'm a poor student, so I don't watch fansubs anymore, cause I don't know that I can afford the release when it comes out.
Now you say you only buy  the stuff you feel is worth your money? C'mon guy, movie theaters don't  let you watch a movie and then you pay for it only if you liked it. Whether you like it or not you aren't entitled to entertainment.

Another example, this also relates to Bandai's recent collapse. I hate Gundam SEED Destiny. I think it was terrible. That being said, I watched it fansubed and I reviewed it on my YouTube page. I also own the series on DVD. I said I would buy it when I was watching and at the beginning I was enjoying it, then it got bad and I kept watching. You gotta pay to play. I payed.

Now there's one last issue I take with your weird argument, that's the idea that you've seen every series available. I'm sorry. That's silly at best. Do you even enjoy what you are watching? I find it odd that you have a count for how many shows you've seen. I don't know how many anime I've seen, I don't know how many movies or TV shows I've see either, and I'm an amateur critic. Why does the number of shows you've seen even matter? If you ask me it sounds like you just want to see more and more new animation. But that's just my assumption.

Anime is expensive to produce on both sides of our little pond. I know lots of people who pirate, but I take issue with the ones who try to tell me that the piracy is somehow not wrong. Try re-watching stuff you enjoy maybe. More importantly ask yourself why you want more. Do you enjoy what you do, or do you watch because you want something to watch?

P.S. You seem to be getting Trae and me mixed up. Let me help you. He is significantly taller, bearded and owns this site and the awesome it contains. I'm Nick Izumi, I run a YouTube channel and am significantly shorter, blonder and less bearded.
lol. I didn't even notice the anonymous thing really. I saw on twitter that you blocked it xP

Nick: I know who both of you are. Trae is one of the founders of NoBrand, which I attend loyally every year and has recently moved out of WI to a state not mentioned, since this is the internet and giving other people's personal information is just rude.  You are the original cosplay chair of Daisho. I haven't kept up with staffing changes for this next year though, if they have even happened yet, so I don't know your next year role, if it would be the same or not. I have also attended all but this recent year of that con(this year was a money issue as I lost my job a couple weeks beforehand). You are also dating a girl with the initials CL :P 

2 things: One, I never said I was entitled to anything. I never mentioned that it is alright, that I am justified, or that I am entitled.
Two: I watch series for something new. I find enjoyment out of some, and others I saw through and was "meh" about. Series that I truly enjoyed like RahXephon, Love Hina, Negima(They need to release a new manga volume already...I am also reading this online due to impatience, but am sworn that no matter if I am in massive debt that I will buy every volume since I am at 32 volumes so far plus all of Negima Neo), Nana, Crest of the Stars, Red Garden(which I actually started on DVD and after the incident with the last volume's release and not being able to track one down for a year watching the rest online and still buying it, might I note), Tsubasa(I have the collector's sets with individual volumes), and a few more, I watch repeatedly, noting little things that I hadn't before, etc. I do enjoy anime, but I also don't do much else in life lol. Also in reference to knowing how much I watched, there is a site called Anime-Planet. I got bored in class one day and went through the database. It is basically a list of series, listed in each name it is known as(since occasionally names change when dubbed because a fully Japanese name would make little sense over here)(if you choose one version of the name, it fills in the other, such as the case for Case Closed and Detective Conan, to name a popular one). That is how I know how much I have watched. I also did not say I have seen everything, but almost everything. There are several series I am just not interested in, as any anime fan or person in general has series that fit that description.


Also, yes, I am crazy, but that has nothing to do with this conversation. Tiffany was less than pleasant to me...twice...thus I am allowed to say my opinion on her character. She may have been great to you, but then again you were a con head for a con she is trying to impress and I am just a congoer. There is a difference in our stations thus behavior was different.
You seem to have me at a disadvantage then, as you apparently know me, but I don't know who you are.

And if you really think VAs feel the need to impress con staffs... Well... It tells me you've likely never stepped behind the veil. Tiffany Grant does favors for people she's barely met, will help cons no one has ever heard of, and is a genuinely good person. I honestly can't imagine what occured to give you a negative impression of her, but even the most patient people have their limits.

And there are people in this world who don't know when not to push.
I'll just add that little pond that Nick speaks of (18 hrs of fly time there), and being in the holy land that is Japan in the anime geekdom.   Anime isn't cheap there, I looked at DVD's...we get cheap anime here..we really do.  So if you really want, since you don't like dubbed, learn Japanese. So you can support anime truly.  Americans at this point are becoming lazy and think we deserve everything cheap to just about free.  Japanese otaku drop a lot of money for their fandom, we need to support ours or we just flat out don't deserve it. 

I'm into a certain j-rock artist, and I will drop a ton of $$ for their CDs and DVDs, fans that just sit there and download their whole discography and want rips of the DVDs I rightfully paid for irritate me.  True fans spend the $ and support the art form they love.  Fans that don't support the art form are wolves in sheep's clothing. 

So when these anime companies continue to drop like flies...I hope people will wake up soon from their delusions, before its too late.

After reading much to the argument. I fully understand this as FUNimation is having some issues with anime titles that are huge. One Piece is a big one. Yes as a fan I have been streaming it on their official website including their simulcast subs. In fact when they announced Season 4 for dubbing rights, the fans applauded but told them to buy the DVDs or else One Piece would face a fate much like Cased Closed which became a similar fate.

The overall point is that yes piracy is bad and I have been doing my part. Even at Diasho I have been telling con goers to buy those DVDs because that's the only guarantee that the companies will renew licenses and bring in more dubbed episodes.

So to see news like this is indeed a blow as I am watching anime on netflix now including Baka and Test which I originally watched Hulu subbed and now I see it dubbed and enjoy it even more.

So yes Internet Pirates suck however seafarring Pirates are still awesome.
I need to rephrase the first part of my argument. There are Anime series that FUNimation owns rights for and the fans want more but the companies is struggling a bit financially to meet the demand and that is why piracy is indeed bad because not everyone is savy with a computer to download tons of episodes onto an external harddrive.
What in the world is this garbage?

"Tiffany Grant just SHOWS UP to cons and expects special treatment at those she is not invited as a guest to. I have had personal chats with her and she is also not the nicest of people."

First and foremost, comparing Tiffany Grant and Vic in the same sentence is like comparing an orange to the goddamn moon. I sat here for 10 minutes re-reading that sentence to make sure I saw it right. 

Second, I'm not sure what you did, but I can almost guarantee with 100% accuracy that you did something to really, really tick her off. If she acted like this to you, this tells me that you're not telling the whole story, and you did something to Tiffany to make her mad. Which, I regret to inform you, that while Tiffany is practically a damn saint (She is, considering I've had the pleasure of interacting with her at 7 years of the con I help run), you make her mad or do something to wrong her on a serious level, she's going to be short with you.

Third, I'm going to guess if you claim you 'did nothing' to deserve the treatment that you got, that you are over exaggerating the behavior you perceived in Tiffany. I repeat: TIFFANY GRANT IS A SAINT. The women is one of if not THE nicest person I've had the pleasure of interacting with. She can also be honest to a fault, so maybe that's your problem. 


TL;DR stop blaming Tiffany's perceived attitude towards you and check yourself. If you haven't realized yet, you're acting like a massive jerk. 
Amen to what the kind sir from Nebraska said. :P




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