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Importing Aniplex Titles.


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Leland Lee



Joined: 25 Jul 2014
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:10 am Reply with quote
I initially made a post about this in a Talkback thread, but I figured it would do a little bit of good to expand on it.

90% of the time a company stateside licenses an anime for distribution and begins localization procedures, they will sub-license it to any smaller European company - such as Manga or Madman. As a result, the European releases are practically the exact same ones we get stateside - dub, extra features, and all.

The key difference here is, these European companies don't give two pisses about the pricing strategy or market projections here. They have their own rules. Their own market, which for crazy reasons, doesn't quantify niche products as premiums over your average TV box set. In short, when you buy anime in Europe, you pay European prices. That usually costs you more, but when a company stateside decides to fiddle with the market and project Japanese price figures, you naturally end up paying less.

Let's say you want to buy Madoka Magica, but you don't care much for collector's editions. You just want to own the series and support the industry. Buying the series from AoA, would cost around $120 ($40 per set). If you were to import from a European retailer, you'd be paying £21.65. That's about $36. (This does not include S&H which is up to each individual retailer, but let's just round it down to $10-15).

But there's a catch: region coding.

Europe
DVD = Region 2
BD = Region B

North America
DVD = Region 1
BD = Region A

Japan
DVD = Region 2
BD = Region A

As a result, this may cause playback issues on your DVD/BD player or PS3/4 (as opposed to games, which are an entirely different matter, though). And to enable playback, you'll have to put forth a tiny bit of creativity and investment towards it.

1) You can purchase a Region 2/B player. This will allow you to exclusively play R2/B DVDs (including PAL format) or BDs. They're not horribly expensive, and with the advent of HDMI you don't even need to worry about crap like RCA video output and might, at most, need an outlet converter. Here's one such BD player:
Quote:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/​LG-​BP240-​Compact-​Blu-​ray-​Player/​dp/​B00JC0KF6S/​ref=​sr_1_1?​ie=​UTF8&​qid=​1407562555&​sr=​8-​1&​keywords=​blu+​ray+​player


2) You can go with a completely region-free player. These range widely in price and quality, from a regular old Panasonic to a monstrosity like the Oppo. These will allow you to play back BDs and DVDs from any part of the world. Here's a pretty reliable one here:
Quote:
http://www.amazon.com/​Icom-​BD780-​Multi-​Region-​Player/​dp/​B00BFEF9N8/​ref=​sr_1_3?​ie=​UTF8&​qid=​1407562739&​sr=​8-​3&​keywords=​region+​free+​blu+​ray+​player


3) If you already have a BD-drive on your home computer, then all you need to do is find a video player with region free encoding drivers. Install it, pop it in, and play it. That simple. There are some high-end players you can buy, and there are some modifications to existing free players. Here's one such player:
Quote:
http://www.slysoft.com/​en/​anydvdhd.​html


Once you have one of these three things, you're ready to go. Now, you actually need to find some retailers who will ship internationally. Here are some bona fide ones:

www.amazon.co.uk
www.zavvi.com
http://www.anime-on-line.com/​

I'm sure there are plenty of others, but these two are the ones I tend to use and they've yet to fail me.

Now, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1) As I've said before, 90% of the releases will be seen over in the UK. For example.....I'm still weeping over Garden of Sinners not getting licensed in the UK, yet. But them's the breaks. There could be a thing or two that won't be available there.

2) A lot of anime sold on Amazon.uk come from marketplace sellers - in some cases, directly from the companies. Sometimes, these sellers will not have an option for international shipping (blame Amazon!). Don't be afraid to contact them directly. In most cases, they will redirect you to a store that does ship internationally. If not, then don't be afraid to propose an independent transaction. Both times I asked, both times they agreed and it worked out in the end.

3) This is perfectly legal. You're still getting an official release. You're still supporting the industry. You're still giving money to the creators in some fashion.

4) Reduced quality is a myth. I personally don't know enough about BD encoding and authoring, but I can tell you this: I've imported enough titles, and watched them on a big-ass 60 inch SmartTV to tell you that there is no noticeably drop in quality between releases. In particular, this was tested between my imported Durarara BD set and a friend's...ridiculous lunchbox release.

5) Shipping and handling is gonna be expensive. That's something you'll just have to calculate in your purchase. If it ends up costing you more to import, then that's logically not the solution for you. It ultimately depends on the retailer and what series you want to buy.

And with that, I'll wrap up this post with a look at the books. Once again, let's say you really want to own Madoka Magica - just the series, and nothing else special. And for the hell of it, you also want to throw in Fate/Zero in there as well. Buying the North American releases, you'll be spending $410. That's four hundred and ten dollars on two shows.

If you take the alternative route:

- Let's start with the generic region-free player I posted up above, which costs $150.
- Next, let's add Madoka Magica - figuring in conversion rate and S&H, let's round it down to an even $50.
- And finally, Fate/Zero: Once again converting and calculating S&H, it'll cost you about $110 to get both sets.

Altogether, the import tactic will cost you $310. You just paid a $100 less than what you would have otherwise, AND your shiny new region free player will act as an investment on any future purchases.


Last edited by Leland Lee on Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 5982
Location: Wales

PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:20 pm Reply with quote
Leland Lee wrote:
1) As I've said before, 90% of the releases will be seen over in the UK. For example.....I'm still weeping over Garden of Sinners not getting licensed in the UK yet.

It was announced by MVM back in May.
http://www.anime-on-line.com/​xcart/​product.​php?​productid=​24911
http://www.amazon.co.uk/​dp/​B00MFT0E1O
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Leland Lee



Joined: 25 Jul 2014
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:57 pm Reply with quote
Anime cry I love you.

Not only that, but I just learned of another retailer that ships internationally! And roughly $7 for shipping? Even better than Zavvi. I double love you! I'll update the post with that store as well. Thanks a bunches!
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Megiddo



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 6188
Location: IL

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:32 am Reply with quote
I've been importing official releases from Australia/UK/HK for quite awhile now. Definitely one of the best things I've ever done was pick up a multi-zone/region-free BD/DVD player. Not only are quite a lot of releases cheaper to import, but there are even series that do not have a North American release at all, like Nichijou or Chihayafuru.
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getchman
He started itHe started it


Joined: 07 Apr 2012
Posts: 6304
Location: Cheshire, CT

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:36 am Reply with quote
thank you for the essay. It's something I'll consider, but since AoA doesn't have very many shows that I actually want, I wouldn't be using it very often, so it likely wouldn't be a good investment
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Nico87



Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:57 am Reply with quote
Implying that importing stuff from UK = supporting the creators.

Bleh.
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SpacemanHardy



Joined: 03 Jan 2012
Posts: 1646

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:36 pm Reply with quote
Nico87 wrote:
Implying that importing stuff from UK = supporting the creators.

Bleh.


But it is. If you buy a legally licensed product, regardless of where it originates from, you are in fact supporting the creators.
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publicenemy333
He started itHe started it


Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 456
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:32 pm Reply with quote
I've considered getting a Region Free bluray player for some Aniplex titles, but honestly, it seems like it just make things even more inconvenient for me.

I usually do everything on my ps3: dvd/bluray, netflix, crunchyroll, etc. Do I really need to shell out all that money for a bluray player that Im ultimately only gonna watch a couple aniplex titles on? I don't exactly have a need for one other than for that, I don't import movies often. Also, I've kept pretty much every game console I've owned since the SNES, along with a VCR I have hooked up as well, so adding another Blu-Ray player will just take up more space

Luckily, Aniplex doesnt have a lot of titles that Im all "I MUST HAVE THIS" for, other than maybe Kill la Kill right now. And for stuff Im interested in seeing dubbed (like Magi), they seem to be putting stuff dubbed on Netflix now, so maybe that option will be available down the line (here's hoping).

I've considered maybe getting a BR drive for my PC and a long VGA cable to hook up to my tv since that seems like it'll be much cheaper, but looking that up it seems like going through a bunch of complicated crap (Im not all that computer savvy)
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Leland Lee



Joined: 25 Jul 2014
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:04 pm Reply with quote
Nico87 wrote:
Implying that importing stuff from UK = supporting the creators.

Bleh.


...You're kidding right? :/ If the sub-licensor gets the money, the original licensor makes a share of the profit. And that share ends up going to the original creators. By that logic, buying from Funimation or Viz isn't supporting the creators either...

publicenemy333 wrote:
I've considered getting a Region Free bluray player for some Aniplex titles, but honestly, it seems like it just make things even more inconvenient for me.

I usually do everything on my ps3: dvd/bluray, netflix, crunchyroll, etc. Do I really need to shell out all that money for a bluray player that Im ultimately only gonna watch a couple aniplex titles on? I don't exactly have a need for one other than for that, I don't import movies often. Also, I've kept pretty much every game console I've owned since the SNES, along with a VCR I have hooked up as well, so adding another Blu-Ray player will just take up more space

Luckily, Aniplex doesnt have a lot of titles that Im all "I MUST HAVE THIS" for, other than maybe Kill la Kill right now. And for stuff Im interested in seeing dubbed (like Magi), they seem to be putting stuff dubbed on Netflix now, so maybe that option will be available down the line (here's hoping).

I've considered maybe getting a BR drive for my PC and a long VGA cable to hook up to my tv since that seems like it'll be much cheaper, but looking that up it seems like going through a bunch of complicated crap (Im not all that computer savvy)


Well lol, you don't have to play Aniplex titles exclusively. I mean honest, this region free player is an investment. And as such, try and take bigger opportunities with it than just Aniplex anime. For example...Code Geass! While Funimation are sitting on their hands with the Blu-ray releases, Kaze released the series on BD quite some time ago. And it's an excellent master at that.

Then, there's also stuff that isn't anime. TV shows, movies, whatever - they sometimes tend to get way cooler stuff than we do here in the states for extremely competitive prices. One example is Battlestar Galactica - they got an absolutely amazing complete series set in a metal box at roughly HALF the price of the crappy one we got here. Although...I think that set was actually region free so I don't think that counts. Well, out of all the stuff I imported, truth be told the Aniplex anime isn't the center of my pride. It's actually Buffy the Vampire Slayer. >:3

I imported the complete Buffy and Angel sets from the UK for one reason and one reason only: It's the only place where they were released in their original aspect ratios.

Keep your eye out over that horizon man! There's lots of stuff that will catch your fancy. I mean...it's not like you bought that PS3 for a single game or franchise either, right? Razz
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Tony K.
Moderator


Joined: 18 Nov 2003
Posts: 9394
Location: Frisco, TX

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:11 pm Reply with quote
Note: This reply is hours late because I had to stop mid-writing to conduct the Live Draft for my Fantasy Football League. Apologies for the delay.
----------

Alright, while the opening post has some very good information, some of the other words were a little poorly chosen and may have been misconstrued as condescending. And while I, personally didn't find the original statement that offensive, it can, indeed, appear to be that way for some.

So to preserve the usefulness of this thread I've gone through and edited/deleted (lots of) stuff to give the topic a sort of "clean slate." So to everyone, (opener included) please try to keep discussion limited to factual information (cost, pricing, statistics, etc.), as opposed to more "emotive" claims (labeling views/ideals and the people who have those views as "xx!").
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Leland Lee



Joined: 25 Jul 2014
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:06 pm Reply with quote
Judge, jury and executioner indeed. Thank you Tony.

I'm thinking of title rummaging through some of these sites in the next few days and put up an index in the thread later. Always helps to know exactly what's out and about.
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ikillchicken
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 6949
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:31 pm Reply with quote
Okay. That seems reasonable.
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Touma



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
Posts: 1025
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:47 am Reply with quote
Leland Lee wrote:
Nico87 wrote:
Implying that importing stuff from UK = supporting the creators.
Bleh.

...You're kidding right? :/ If the sub-licensor gets the money, the original licensor makes a share of the profit. And that share ends up going to the original creators. By that logic, buying from Funimation or Viz isn't supporting the creators either..

What is a "sub-licensor"?

If you buy something that was made in a different region you are supporting the creators, but you are not supporting the company that paid for the license to legally distribute the product in your region.
And you may be supporting a company that is violating a license agreement by selling a product outside of their region.

I am not going to comment on the legality or ethics of the situation, just presenting it as a point to ponder for those who are concerned about such things.
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Leland Lee



Joined: 25 Jul 2014
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:05 am Reply with quote
It's just a term I more or less made up to differentiate between stateside companies and ones in Europe (Or it could be used...dunno. Sure makes enough sense though!).

Basically, when a company in the UK - like say Manga Entertainment - licenses a show for distribution, 99% of the time they will simply use the American localization efforts. Dub, sub, extra features - so on and so forth. And that requires a secondary licensing effort in addition to rights from original creator and animation studio, blah blah. Simply put, when a show is licensed in the UK, they get permissions and assets from both the original studio and the localization company stateside. Hence, "sub-licensor" - since their releases are almost always a few months (or weeks) behind North America's. Funimation snatches this one show for release sometime in the near future with a shiny new dub, MVM then announces it too has distribution rights in Europe and will use Funi's dub. It may sound complicated and expensive, but it's like a hundred times cheaper than hiring a bunch of new voice actors and staff to localize the series. Maybe that's one of the reasons why anime there in general is cheaper - they don't spend as much to distribute as they do stateside. (But as a result, the companies are much smaller and more...humble as a result. Kaze UK doesn't even have a website.)

Now, that's 99% of the time. I'm sure you could count on one hand the number of shows that were licensed and released in Europe/UK before hitting stateside. The only one I'm aware of is Code Geass Akito The Exiled, and I think that was just a sub-only release.
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Nico87



Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:27 pm Reply with quote
"90% of the time a company stateside licenses an anime for distribution and begins localization procedures, they will sub-license it to any smaller European company".

AoA has first refusal on AoJ titles. They're then free to choose if they want to "sub-license" said title(s) to the UK. AoA are doing all the work, subs and dubs (if included), so the UK company basically just receives a lot of data and starts printing discs. AoA receives a one-time fee from UK for the license. Who knows if AoA has to pay a % of that to AoJ? And if they do, it's not a lot money.

UK licenses stuff from USA, not from Japan.
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