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Open Letter from GDH International's Arthur Smith


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DmonHiro



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 3278
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:48 pm Reply with quote
While he DOES have very valid points....and for the record...I belive he does, most fans were not asking about the quality of the show itself, but the crappy quality of the DVD made by the US firms. I'm alking low bitrates for auitio/video (those who bought Haruhi know what I'm talking about). The horrible "dubtitles" that some companys provide. I'm going to skip whole "vobsub" argument, but I still HATE the subtitles on offcial DVDs.
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rankothefiremage



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 481
Location: Michigan
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:55 pm Reply with quote
DVD subs are limited by the DVD standard itself.

I think alot of fans would rather the companies go after the bootleggers before the fansubbers.

The reason fansubbers seem less "evil" is that they do it for free, where as bootleggers do it for $.
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billyarnie



Joined: 03 Dec 2007
Posts: 190
Location: San Antonio, TX
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:59 pm Reply with quote
For those who don't know who GDH International and/or Arthur Smith is, I checked ANN's enclclopedia under Companies, then (fortunately) linked to the website. GDH is Gonzo Digimation Holdings & GDH International is (I think) the non-Japanese distribution subsidiary. Arthur Smith is obviously the President. Here's the Management Team page: http://www.gdh.co.jp/english/company/keiei.html
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appleturbo



Joined: 25 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:02 pm Reply with quote
while I can't agrue that fansubs do have some kind of impact it boggles my mind that things like rising gas prices (nearly $3 a gallon) and the rising popularity and cost of video games are not brought up.

With video games costing an average of $60 and the big titles selling in the millions I'm sure has some kind of impact on a typical anime fan's budget.

If an anime fan wants a PS3 I think they save for it and they need to cut things from their budget. I'm sure anime DVD's are something they would consider to cut.

Life does not revolve around anime (despite what some people think) and their anime budget will take a hit in light of what is happening in the real world.

From my experiences I buy at least one less anime DVD each month just because of gas. If a video game comes out that I want then I doubt I'm buying an anime DVD that week.

Now that I'm saving up for an HD DVD player and a PS3 that's also impacting my anime budget.

Even if ALL fansubs stopped today I'm still not allocating a penny more to buy an anime DVD.


Last edited by appleturbo on Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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doc-watson42
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 10 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:02 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
5. Various comments:

why not cut out US distributors to allow Japan to move faster to release (and make more profit)?

In addition to Mr. Smith's points, I would add (since I am only a fan—not member of the industry—and can be more blunt) that the U.S. distributors/licensees understand that North American market, and (in general) the Japanese companies do not, and thus tend to make large missteps. See the "Ask John" column "Which Japanese Anime Companies Have Failed in America?" for examples.
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midori kou



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:04 pm Reply with quote
rankothefiremage wrote:
DVD subs are limited by the DVD standard itself.

I think alot of fans would rather the companies go after the bootleggers before the fansubbers.

The reason fansubbers seem less "evil" is that they do it for free, where as bootleggers do it for $.


Funny how you mention this since I have came across bootlegs that use the files released by fansubbers for their products. In a way, fansubbers are indirectly aiding those companies because of the existance of file-sharing and the internet.
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Tempest
Testing
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:13 pm Reply with quote
I'm not trying to start the fansubs are evil, no they aren't discussion, but...

When saying that fansubs are "less bad" than bootlegs, you have to be careful. Certainly the intent is much less unethical, but the effect? It doesn'treally matter if someone is watching a bootleg or a fansub, if that serves as an alternative to a real product, and that viewer would have purchased the real product had it not been for the fansub / bootleg, then they've each done as much harm.

However, taking the aspect of fansubs being used for bootlegs, a single bootleg generally does more damage than a single fansub, because the bootleg is a physical product, while the fansub still leaves many people wanting to buy a physical product.

However, on the other hand, numbers come into play, many, many more people download fansubs than buy anime bootlegs...

It's really hard to determine which does the most damage, and how much of fansubs damage is offset by it's positive effect (there's no denying that there is some positive effect)...

-t
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shionxx



Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 23
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:32 pm Reply with quote
BIG PROBLEM 1) Distributors and whoever has $ to gain, ACKNOWLEDGE you own BIG errors first rather that blaming fansubs for your you money loses...

You pointed some points BUT if distributor in the US cannot even match he quality in fansubs how do you expect to have good sales?

You give us a shitty translation, a shitty dub and high prriced dvd's....NOT WORTH IT.

Before blaming other, see what you are doing wrong, shameless

Do you think the high price is worth the bad job done? and yea its a bad job, yo gotta be ashamed of that.

You cant get enough profit you say? FOR EXAMPLE why do you guys have to milk off few fans paying high prices when you can lower the price and get more fans getting even more more money than milking off less? you can even cover costs for those extra fans and still get more profit...

US Distributor gotta see some episodes....that shows they have NO COMPROMISE, they care for the fans? you gotta be kidding me, they care for the profit, thats all, how not to lose money, Japanese Industry gotta ask for a REAL compromise, thats if they want to survive

BIG PROBLEM 2)

If you don't evolve and accept how the world revolve today YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO HELL, stop wanting to destroy what we have today=internet, file sharing, stop blaming all your loses on them

UNDERSTAND WE DO NOT WANT physical DVDs, we dont want music on discs, WE WANT TO DOWNLOAD FAST AND EASY and watch it in our pc, laptop, psp, etc.

AGAIN WE DO NOT WANT DVDS, the majority oif us DON'T CARE for the bonuses in dvds, we want easy access.

Evolve and stop selling your goddies the old fashioned way, ENTER THE WORL OF DIGITALIZATION, sell the episodes on the net to download, but if you are going to put the shitty DRM its going to suck...

STOP BELIEVING THE ENTIRE WORLD REVOLVES AROUND US AND JAPAN, y

Do you guys realize anime is popular in the entire globe, stop being mediocre and trying to milk off only the US AND JAPAN, AIM FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD...

How do you do that, target the net, compete with fansubs, create quality subs, RELEASE DIGITALLY, karaoke and the like included,

Do you watch fansubs at all? see how a fan presents us with a subtitle job, see the hard work they out in them, little details like extra comments on a thing show their interest in us involving more with a series...

Do you official release have even 1/4 of that hard work?

OPEN YOUR EYES ALREADY, the one for blame are you...

NOT THE NET, NO CHEAP BROADBAND CONNECTION, NO FANSUBS, NO FILESHARING

Take for example ITUNES.

Stop trying to live in the past, adapt to the present, foresee the future and stop with the

ITS HARD TO DO, WE CANNOT because, IM TRYNG, MY COMPANY IS...

Do it damn it, do what it takes to have a REAL COMPROMISE.


Companies GO BANKRUPT, CLOSE DOWN, etc...ITS NOT FANSUBS and you know that, its because you don't want to adapt to how things have evolutioned, you don't change, you dont adapt, you dont accept a new reality, you die, as easy as that and that happens with everything not just companies and the like.


Last edited by shionxx on Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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RayV



Joined: 15 Nov 2006
Posts: 30
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:36 pm Reply with quote
I think Tempest missed something on bootlegs.

While most Anime fans stop downloading the moment a title is licensed, the 'Rippers' (people who rip a DVD legit or bootleg) and Fully illegal filesharers (licensed product) are what keeps the profit low.

Ok the product went out to 10000+ people when it was released. But that was the Japanese product. When it is released as a Bootleg you are limiting it to the people on Ebay or other bootleg outlets.

Now, when you are putting the DVD-Rip of the product on Torrent then you are now letting those people who didn't hear the English version get it. Look, 2000+ just downloaded my 'Ripped' version. The Chinese bootlegger probably didn't even SELL 2000 copies of their piracy, but the Rippers just let 2000 get their free product.

That's the current primary source of DVD sales dropping, the Rippers give the EXACT same product for free. The bootleggers are stealing money but the Rippers are the ones who cause the most loss of sales. Fansubbers do cause loss of sales, but if you provide an English product that you can only buy, then their sales will at least go up. But if you allow the Rippers to continue sharing licensed product, you will NEVER show a profit.
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TsubomiKoneko



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 239
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:43 pm Reply with quote
Hmm... while I do believe fansubs are at fault to some extent we must really consider one thing...

It's not the fansubs, it's the people watching the fansubs. There are those people who will watch a series fansubbed and then go "Okay I've seen it, no reason to buy it". Obviously, it's the people with that poor mentality that are the real danger to the industry.

I know someone could go "If they didn't have fansubs then they would have to buy the show", but that's not really true... if a person has such a horrible mentality as to act the way shown above, and in thus is a horribly cheap person as well (or in some cases, just doesn't have money and possibly has parents that aren't willing to buy anime for them) then they still won't buy the show.

Interest in anime has grown, yes, but it doesn't mean that the pocketbooks of the people interested in anime have grown.

As it stands, my boyfriend and I have 5-6 series that we are buying currently, half the time I have to tell him to wait until the next month to pick up some of the volumes just because we can't afford to be spending $125-$150 a month on DVDs. And even then, we run the risk of the place we buy things from not having said DVD in stock anymore. I'm sure we're not the only people with this problem.

I'm not saying that anime should be free, or that they should lower the price (since the price of the US releases are largely cheaper than the Japanese releases), I'm just saying that they shouldn't expect miracles to happen if they do shut down fansubbers.


Last edited by TsubomiKoneko on Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bisuketto



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 98
Location: Middle America
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:43 pm Reply with quote
While there are good points in Smith's letter, he seems to be missing the point on some issues that were said in other open letters. It felt like he just cherry-picked a few of the answers he knew he could be right on and then ignored the real issues that needed to be addressed. Although, I do have to say that since he did say he's discussed the issue in company and with other companies I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume maybe he just didn't put it in the letter but it's a topic of debate within the higher ups.

shionxx wrote:


BIG PROBLEM 2)


UNDERSTAND WE DO NOT WANT physical DVDs, we don't want music on discs, WE WANT TO DOWNLOAD FAST AND EASY and watch it in our pc, laptop, psp, etc.

AGAIN WE DO NOT WANT DVDS, the majority oif us DON'T CARE for the bonuses in dvds, we want easy access.



I have to disagree on that one point there. A lot of fans do want a physical copy of a dvd for archival purposes in case thier digital copy disappears like digital media is prone to do. While this is mostly solved by the fan making a copy themselves those that want the DVD will by the dvd. Now this only applies to those that would buy the show in the first place but that's an entirely different matter.
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cartoonsrool



Joined: 14 Apr 2006
Posts: 7
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:47 pm Reply with quote
DmonHiro wrote:
most fans were not asking about the quality of the show itself, but the crappy quality of the DVD made by the US firms. I'm talking low bitrates for audio/video (those who bought Haruhi know what I'm talking about).


Agreed. I have yet to watch my Haruhi DVDs, but I have seen similarly poor A/V and sub quality on many of my other DVDs. On the other hand, many of my DVDs are of very high quality. This is a very easily fixable problem. That being said, I wouldn't mind seeing more anime titles released on Blu-ray, if only the pricing of players would drop, say, 75% (DVD player for $30 vs Blu-ray for $300.... on sale =|).

Regardless of release quality, in order for positive change in the anime industry to be made, more letters/blog posts/whatever such as this one are needed to generate awareness and forward-thinking discussion. Debate between solely the few fans aware of the situation and company executives will do no more than what has already been done (that is, NOTHING).
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TsubomiKoneko



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 239
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:49 pm Reply with quote
shionxx wrote:

BIG PROBLEM 2)

If you don't evolve and accept how the world revolve today YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO HELL, stop wanting to destroy what we have today=internet, file sharing, stop blaming all your loses on them

UNDERSTAND WE DO NOT WANT physical DVDs, we don't want music on discs, WE WANT TO DOWNLOAD FAST AND EASY and watch it in our pc, laptop, psp, etc.

AGAIN WE DO NOT WANT DVDS, the majority oif us DON'T CARE for the bonuses in dvds, we want easy access.


Please use 'I' instead of 'we'. There's no point in trying to make it seem like that is truly what everyone wants, because that is not what I myself or a good number of other people I know want.

There are a lot of people who love to collect, digital media isn't very collection worthy.

I love extras on DVDs, so long as they are interesting. I personally don't care for interviews with the English cast of something (usually because it makes me realize the person was talking in their normal voice the entire time), though some other people might like it.

Extras outside of the DVD are nice as well, the release of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a good example, I think what they did with the limited edition releases is fantastic.

While it is a good idea to try to cater to the fans, you need to cater to both sides, not just one. So please, don't try encouraging them to phase out DVD releases.
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Xanas



Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 2057
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:54 pm Reply with quote
tempest wrote:

It doesn't really matter if someone is watching a bootleg or a fansub, if that serves as an alternative to a real product, and that viewer would have purchased the real product had it not been for the fansub / bootleg, then they've each done as much harm.


If they would have purchased then yes, I'd be inclined to agree the effect on the industry is similar. However if someone buys a bootleg they are supporting the "bootleg industry" and it's continuance. If someone downloads a fansub they aren't supporting fansubs financially. Some of them may do that (by donation or by force) but that is a small minority.

Furthermore, as you brought up there is the point that bootlegs are direct competition for the physical product. Fansubs are not. Fansubs may be "competition" in the sense that they prevent some from buying the physical product, but those they prevent probably never even wanted the physical product! If this is true, then the onus is on the industry to find a product that these people do want. You can never and should never expect people to buy something they don't want to support you.

When someone pays for something they don't want to support the industry they are "donating." It's simply not a good economic model to expect most people to act that way. You have to give customers what they want. You have to meet people where they are to do business with them. Endless amounts of reprimands for not purchasing DVDs will never do that.

Even if they do this, yes there will still be a set of people who won't buy even then. Most of those are simply unable to do so. Even many of those I've seen argue that they are "thieves" that I have questioned here told me that they were college students that didn't really have the money. Regardless of their ethical views then, people tend to do what is best for themselves.

EDIT: I should state I thought the article was pretty informative of his viewpoint and perspective. I do think he places things in good order to make his point. This being said, I don't think it's as clearcut as he is saying, because it's difficult to determine why less DVDs are purchased. I like the new series, so I don't want to say they suck as others might. I do know that gas prices have risen substantially. I do know that there is now more than ever more competition in media than in the past (consumers have more and more choices).

It's also difficult for me to see "where the money went" if we are saying it went out of the anime industry. If there really are more fans and they have the same amount of money to spend on anime, what are they spending it on now? He is saying they aren't spending it on anime dvds because of fansubs, but are they buying American TV because it's cheaper? (one would think not, he said sales of that was also down). Are they buying new tvs and computers instead? Have sales on this gone up? Ultimately people only have so much spendable $, so I think one would have to look to the industries that are rising and see if those are competitors in some way with anime. It's difficult for me to see, though, as so much detail is hidden.


Last edited by Xanas on Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:10 pm; edited 2 times in total
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KrisEllieOphi



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 111
Location: Texas
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:59 pm Reply with quote
shionxx wrote:

UNDERSTAND WE DO NOT WANT physical DVDs, we don't want music on discs, WE WANT TO DOWNLOAD FAST AND EASY and watch it in our pc, laptop, psp, etc.

AGAIN WE DO NOT WANT DVDS, the majority oif us DON'T CARE for the bonuses in dvds, we want easy access.


Um, I want DVDs. I just can't afford them. I buy maybe 2 series a year. That's it. Obviously I'm interested in seeing FAR more. But personally, I would like to own the DVDs. I would like to support the industry, I'd like the cases and the art, even some of the bonuses (every once in a while there are some that are really worth watching).

Anyway...he has really good points. But obviously one of the biggest issues is on their end. If they fix their problems, then perhaps the fansubbing will slow (it won't ever stop). Quicker releases, quality releases.

And I think it's a wrong view to say "All the good shows get released quickly." Where's Kanon (the original)? Where's Nodame Cantabile? Look how long it took for AIR.
And don't say "it takes X amount of time to do blah blah blah" when we see shows like Death Note get picked up and released (and even aired on American TV) almost immediately. (Granted, it was a big hit. And how did they know it was a big hit? Fansubs.) From that angle the process does seemed geared towards profit. And when I see companies giving me 3 episodes on a disc (which is just a little over an hour's worth of show), I feel extremely ripped off.
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