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Editorial: An Open Letter to the Industry


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jpdsurf



Joined: 22 Oct 2007
Posts: 27
Location: 女子高生
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:06 am Reply with quote
Wow! I have no idea how to solve this problem but something must be done or the anime will go like MTV. Music vids cost to much for the money and *poof* they will be gone or should I say very hard to see and get.
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rebii



Joined: 10 Dec 2006
Posts: 31
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:13 am Reply with quote
For myself, I download fansubs, but I also buy based on the fansub. I dislike dubs in genera because of inferior acting and inferior translation. There are of course exceptions.

From my experience, the people who don't buy couldn't afford to anyways. They will probably become buyers eventually. I do not download licensed released material.

I buy, sometimes multiple sets as I did with Noir, I gave one as a gift to a friend. If not for fansubs, I would not consider purchase of series like Pumpkin Scissors (in progress), Moonlight Mile, Flag, Ghost Hunt, and likewise Kanon (2006). I will be purchasing these series as they become available and within my budget.

I had started Black Lagoon, but hear that the production company folded. Very disappointing. If not for fansubs, I would never be able to view the second season of Black Lagoon. I also would never get to see a great series like Monster, which I will buy if it's ever released.

Fansubs give exposure, and do not take from the market. They are simply a translation of a broadcast series. They are not available in surround, nor do they contain extras like interviews.

I do hope the industry does better, but to blame its downturn on fansubs is absurd. As I said, and even you seemed to notice, those who download and don't buy probably could not afford to do so anyways.

Robert

PS I hope they license El Cazador de la Bruja soon.
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Greed1914



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 3830
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:14 am Reply with quote
I definitely agree with what has been said in this letter. People won't stop out of guilt, especially when that's as far as the punishment really goes. It's a pretty tough call to make, on the one hand fansubs do hurt the industry since a lot of people watch and never buy, but at the same time, it's unfair to say "Buy this event though you haven't actually seen it." There definitely needs to be a bigger rush to make content available through legal means, but unfortunately the industry can't really afford this anymore. I know that in the U.S. we have an advantage since our DVDs are cheaper than in Japan, but at the same time, the Japanese have LOTS more available on TV while we're stuck with a few hours on a few channels, and a lot of that time is spent on reruns.
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Avacado Burger



Joined: 25 Apr 2006
Posts: 85
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:16 am Reply with quote
I would pay for high-quality digital downloads in a heartbeat if they were to make them fast and a few days after the show's release (and not have to deal with all those pain in the ass codecs and crap). I still want previews to see what I'm downloading first, as I'm one of those guys that gets a sub of every new season to see what's good.

You make a great point about Japanese audiences being able to see them on TV first. In the US, box sets of TV shows sell pretty well because people have seen these episodes and want to rewatch them over on DVD. I guess it's venturing into unknown waters which makes it a harder sale.
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jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 1680
Location: Los Angeles, CA
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:20 am Reply with quote
rebii wrote:
I do hope the industry does better, but to blame its downturn on fansubs is absurd. As I said, and even you seemed to notice, those who download and don't buy probably could not afford to do so anyways.


Before this goes into a strange direction (which I should have anticipated, as everyone is in sort of a defensive mode right now), I want to clarify the following:

I DO NOT BLAME FANSUBS. I BLAME THE INDUSTRY for allowing fansubs, which they can neither control nor generate revenue from, make the legal and revenue-generating options irrelevant.

The industry is in charge of this material, as their owners. That's where ALL blame begins and ends.
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Demonic_Angel



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:24 am Reply with quote
I agree that the blame should go on the industry. Fansubs have been circulating for so long and no one has done much to stop it. These companies can't seem to get the idea that times have changed and that distribution methods must change as technology improves and the market changes.
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Greed1914



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 3830
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:29 am Reply with quote
Agreed. If companies in either country want to get there material off the Internet, then they really have to show that they're willing to do something about it. Having Japanese studios tell American companies to step it up doesn't really help since it's their product too, and the Raws come from Japan in the first place. I'd suggest really bringing the hammer down on the DVD rips and leaving the fansubs alone for awhile just to get the point across, and find ways to make previews available to help people out. This means including a full episode of a show on a company site, and inclusion of an episode of another series on a disc, like Funimation did with volume 4 of FMA.


"The industry is in charge of this material, as their owners."
I also agree with this because it's just like the analogy in the letter. You can't expect people to stop participating in something that's free and goes unpunished.
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scoobdog



Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Artesia, CA
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:33 am Reply with quote
Personally, I refuse to watch fansubs, but I also fit into that category of older viewers that was mentioned. Obviously, buying a DVD isn't a problem if you have a job to pay for it.

What worries me is that the kind of mentality that leads to downloading exists outside of the anime industry, and the same instant gratification that drives internet sales and internet based knowledge sharing pushes a lot of the viewers of the internet generation to seek out anime that is still being aired overseas. I've noticed that a lot of downloaders are even downloading raw broadcasts.

Instant gratification is a beast that is fundamentally unsatisfiable. It doesn't really matter how fast a subscription service gets the latest anime out to the public if people are going to want it even faster. Short of moving toward true simultaneous licensing on every new show, the industry here will not be able to keep up.
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james438



Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 19
Location: Iowa
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:33 am Reply with quote
As this is an open letter and the anime execs you mentioned are afraid of the internet you should specifically send this letter to them or to the more influential people in the industry.

I started my interest in anime by downloading fansubs several years ago in 2003 or so and stopped after about a year and have since started buying and collecting the dvd versions. At a guess I now have 50 or so (most used off of amazon) and I still have a ways to go before I have collected all that I had at one point downloaded. I have broken down and watched the final episode of paranoia agent just recently on youtube, but I plan to buy the rest of that series soon. I also have cheated and downloaded the manga elfen lied.

Just my own personal admission. I stopped because it was all too questionable and just did not feel right. It was too close to stealing for my comfort.

Nice letter. Well thought out and just well done. I wish that ANN had some official position on something as opposed to being strictly amoral though.
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HeeroTX



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 2046
Location: Austin, TX
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:36 am Reply with quote
Good editorial Justin. I agree with pretty much everything you said (at least from the "fan" side, I only have so much I know or can comment on from the industry side). I don't know if I am the only person that feels this way, but if anything the current industry "guilt-trip" is making things WORSE. I more or less stopped downloading (from a combination of the guilt process and lack of any real interest) and have seen my overall anime interest and buying plummet. I have considered buying a few DVDs but ONLY because I KNOW some of the people behind them.

I don't want any of these people to lose their jobs, but SOME of them also come across as incredibly sanctimonious and condescending. It's gotten to where I neither download nor buy anything and have less overall interest in the medium as a whole. Conversely, I have become a much stronger proponent and buyer of manga. (thanks in part to some titles I only started buying due to scanlations, for some reason, don't ask me why, I don't feel as assaulted on manga)

A friend of mine summed up one of the problems perfectly. Right now, if you wait for the domestic release (of manga or anime) the fandom will have passed you by, by the time you read/watch it everyone has already digested it and moved on, and if you're LUCKY you don't get major details spoiled by a fansite or wikipedia before you get there. That, more than anything else, is why the industry needs to work out how to get at LEAST "near simultaneous" releases. (speaking to some fellows from Brazil, they get our shows (legally) a week after US broadcast subtitled in Portuguese, we should be able to at LEAST replicate that)


Last edited by HeeroTX on Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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james438



Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 19
Location: Iowa
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:38 am Reply with quote
I'll bite. How old are you scoobdog? I am 32 myself. I also agree with you about this instant gratification culture that has developed. It is a terrible thing and has to stop. We are developing a culture with little to no self-control.
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[Ryuuzaki]



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:39 am Reply with quote
I was wondering if anyone in the anime industry has ever contemplated sponsored ads on fansubs?

Check this out:

http://www.hiro-media.com/products.html

The main problem now is that anime companies outside of Japan cannot show the latest animes for anime fans. However, fansubs are able to do so. Once we watch fansubs, we are less inclined to purchase the real DVDs.

Perhaps getting sponsored ads on fansubs and hopefully pay off the costs related to producing the anime. Would that work?
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maxxjulie



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 192
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:39 am Reply with quote
If the anime industry is hurting so badly, why is more and more anime constantly being produced? I buy dvd's, but usually watch them once and never again. It's a huge waste of money. All i know is Naruto Shippuuden is finally good again and I'd be pissed if the newest fansubbed episode wasn't available every Thursday night like usual. I actually buy dvd's because of the fansubs. I see 4 naruto box sets staring at me to my left. I bought them because I watched Naruto fansubbed and got obsessed with it. Getting rid of fansubs will only piss people off and they'll give up on anime completely.
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championferret



Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 765
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:40 am Reply with quote
I guess I'm often 'forced' to opt for fansubs because many shows I like never get licensed anyway.
However,
Quote:
Before legal action will be effective, fansubs must be replaced. THERE HAS TO BE A LEGAL, INEXPENSIVE WAY TO WATCH NEW ANIME IN ENGLISH. Not necessarily own, but at least watch.

You see, this is the problem. I'm the sort that refuses to watch dubs; I am just unable to take anime seriously at all when the characters are speaking in annoying american accents. (no offense) I would like to watch anime on TV, but even on TV channels like SBS where basically every other show is subtitled, anime is dubbed. Cartoon Network or something, fine, but if you're putting foreign film on a channel full of other foreign films, all with subtitles, why make it the dub?
There are probably other people that feel this way. And, as stated, I think the fact that anime shown on TV is never extremely 'recent' by Japan's standards also contributes to this.
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Splitter



Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 1276
Location: Knockin' on Heaven's Door
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:41 am Reply with quote
Indeed, these are troubling times for the anime industry. I myself watch up to four or five ongoing series fresh from Japan on fansubs at a time. Most of my friends do as well. It's exciting for us because we're getting it fresh and immediately and we can all talk about it and wait in great anticipation for the next episode. Buying a series on DVD eliminates this excitement and social gathering.

However, I am not without respect for the people that put anime in my lap in the first place from America, back in the years when I would buy EVERYTHING, and had never even heard of fansubs. My collection will attest to my support of the industry in both past and present and I have no shame.

Fansubs, once upon a time, may have been vital to the company. Now they are vital to the consumer. I have seen series that are worth less than garbage and would have the utmost pity for someone who ended up spending anywhere from fifty to one-hundred-fifty bucks on it.

However, it is through fansubs that I have seen plenty of anime I want to support in America and see gain bigger fanbases. Air TV, for example, I have seen countless times in fansub form. I still went out and bought all four volumes. People who have their respective favorite anime should do the same thing. If you loved it, why not support it's American release? People paid money so you could have it in such a convenient form.

It almost feels like I've turned this response into a defense. So be it. I don't feel attacked, but while Mr. Sevakis lays claim that the people who don't pay for it didn't have the means to buy it anyway, I find that a crock. I've talked with people all over the internet. Most recently, a boy asking where he can find Black Lagoon on the internet for free. I told him to just buy it. He told me "f*ck that, I'm not paying for anime". THAT is where we are, ladies and gentlemen. THESE are the people you are trying to sell anime to.

The fansub industry will no doubt continue to bankrupt the licensors of the fine products. Watch Adult Swim's action line-up shrivel up and die, watch all the dubs, finally at a respectable if not wonderful level of quality, vanish to the depths as sub-only DVDs begin to run rampant.

Oh, you still don't care? Watch Best Buy's anime shelves disappear to half a single shelf like it was 15 years ago in the "special interest" department. Watch whole licensors pull out for better deals for their services. Watch fansubs go back to being all you'll ever get. Fine, you think?

Now watch it happen in Japan. Watch as the money they make from licensing overseas begins to die away. Watch as the budgets for spectacular productions get cut little by little. Watch your hopes of the next Haruhi or Gurren Lagann vanish before your very eyes. Watch the whole anime production world crumble at it's feet. Do you see it now? Forget about fansubs. By now, anime as you know it to be is dead.

This is a very real possiblity. I'm not telling people they have to buy everything that gets licensed but if you're watching anime, support the shows you loved when you watched them for free! It's better quality, an earnest translation, quality sound, and more times than less the dub rendition is fantastic, not to mention you can just pop it into any DVD player and you're good to go. No muss, no fuss. Digital is taking off too. XBox Marketplace, iTunes, ADV even launched a FREE streaming site for cryin' out loud! Anime fans, you have it all at your fingertips. Stop ignoring the ones that made this world of big eyes, small mouths and giant robots accesible to you and give them their dues!
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