divi wordpress theme

Editor’s Note: I have a general “no politics or heavy subjects” rule for this site, but since it’s my site, I’m choosing to break it for just this one article, bear with me.
Earlier this week Bandai essentially shut down it’s North American distribution arm. No longer producing new DVDs, BDs and manga, but will still distribute it’s current catalog until their licenses expire. In this interview with Ken Iyadomi at ANN it eludes to the fact that Bandai Entertainment has been repurposed from a physical distribution company to more of a sub licensing company for TV and internet. Three out of five employees have been laid off as well as all of their contractors and that’s not surprising. The decision was made back in October of 2011 by Bandai’s parent company Namco Bandai Holdings Strategic Business Unit to get out of the American DVD market. This is just another sign of things changing as more and more content goes digital.

Now, to get to what really grinds my gears. Charlie Maib of Studio Happy Chicken Pink who doesn’t even produce anime, but claims to have been an otaku two decades ago, writes this nonsense. I was pretty understanding of the situation until he invoked SOPA. If you’ve been under a digital rock lately, SOPA is the horrible legislation currently waiting to get voted on that will shut down all independent media sources on the internet. I know that sounds kind of dramatic, but since this site makes it’s proverbial bread and butter with reviews of other people’s content, a single court order could shut us down if SOPA passes. It’s one thing to demonize piracy, and that’s all well and good. Piracy is a serious issue for the entertainment business, EVERYONE has pirated something. You ever make a copy of a friend’s CD they let you borrow? You’re a pirate. Ever taped an NFL game and then lent it to a friend? Pirate. Ever installed a game on your PC from a friend’s install disc? Pirate. The issue is that if someone’s going to pirate something, they probably had no intention of buying the actual product. So it’s lose/lose. You didn’t lose a customer, you NEVER had one.

Whatchu know about playing with dolls?


This brings us back around to anime and fan subbing and digital distribution. Years ago I was pretty heavily into anime, I was watching shows like InuYasha, Angelic Layer and Bleach before they were even licensed for American distribution. Thanks to the internet and a thriving community of dedicated otaku, I could watch shows at the same time as the Japanese fans and was able to talk about what was happening in the series and not be seasons behind. So here’s the thing, if you’re a fan and wait for the “official” dvd releases, you’re going to be completely out of the loop when you talk to serious fans. You’re going to get the eyebrows together, looking down at you over their glasses look from all of the other otaku in your little anime fan club. Sorry but it’s true. With the fan subs releases that I got the resolution was not nearly as good as a dvd, some of them were in weird codecs I could only watch on my computer and who knew if the translations were 100% correct? But it’s all we had until the companies decided, if ever, to bother with licensing and all of the nonsense that goes with it, and then to sell me the DVD for a ridiculous $28 a disc. I don’t even like thinking about how much money I spent on anime DVDs back then. I would have to wait until Suncoast had clearance sales to get box sets because buying them one at a time was just outrageous. The thing is, I STILL bought them. Yes, I have a complete Neon Genesis collection, yes I have a complete Stand Alone Complex 1st Gig box set(that I did actually buy piece by piece), I’m only missing one disc for Samurai Champloo and guess what? I had fan subs of them all. So don’t say that fans aren’t going to buy the official releases. Maybe I’m not the norm though.

The issue isn’t with piracy, it’s about distribution rights and management. If you make it available for us when it’s available for you, then we won’t have this problem. I can’t speak for everyone, but to say that piracy is the reason why Bandai shut down it’s American operation is nonsense. Hopefully Namco Bandai is getting smart and will start digitally distributing subbed releases worldwide day and date with the Japanese release. You can already buy Japanese DVDs online with subtitles and sometimes English dubbed if you have a region free DVD player. Here’s my solution: hire some in-house translators, you probably already have them, get them started on the series from day one. When the show airs in Japan, beat the pirates to the punch and have it available. Pull a Hulu and insert a million ads, or offer a subscription fee to get rid of the ads and bam. There you go you have now opened up a worldwide fan base that is yours. I’m not an economist or anything, so I don’t know how viable that is, but it’s something that I would get behind and praise to the heavens if it happened.

So there, anime production companies, ball is in your court.

%d bloggers like this: