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Volume 11
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Im curious what everyone thinks of region free anime. I generally do not support region free Hong Kong releases (if we can call them that, the laws are so gray over there about copyrighting), but after buying anime DVDs since they existed (10 years or so) I feel like the prices of most anime DVDs are still way too high and offer too few episodes. I also hate the clutter of having 7-10 volumes for most TV series. It may be nit-picky, but I live in a small house in Denver and they take up entirerly too much room.

As to why Im posting this now; I have dl'd and had most of the Japanese TV airings sent to me from a friend in Japan of the Bleach series. However, I like the series enough to where I want to own the DVDs. But with 120 episodes and counting I cant justify spending 20 bucks on each volume and waiting for the releases to trickle out or for an official box set to come out. I searched Ebay and found that their are two different region free sets. I purchased the 3 part, 9 DVD set of episodes 1-71.

A. What are everyone's feelings about me doing that? Do you guys care about the studios not making money from me purchasing a region free version? Is it fair because of the way the companies release the volumes and how much they charge?

B. Does anyone own or has anyone seen this Bleach boxset. I payed $40 bucks shipped so Im not expecting Great quality, but Im curious if its at least watchable and consistent.
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It's not a gray area, hon. You're talking about bootlegs--and plenty of the companies and people who make them, in Hong Kong or wherever else, have been arrested in the past. (I'm talking specifically about anime bootlegs; there's really no room for doubt.)

My take on it? If people want to download anime, that's their business. It's not particularly honorable to do it once after a show has been legally released in one's region, but blathering about morals won't convince anyone to stop or support the official release. Those who buy bootlegs knowingly confound me, though. If you want to go down the illegal route, why spend money when you might as well take it for free? At least nobody's getting paid for ripping off other people's work that way.

~Dagger~
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For starters, im not "blathering about morals" to get anyone on my side. I own a 100% region 1 offical release anime DVD collection. This is a first time I have bought a region free set EVER. Hence why I was asking what everyone thinks about the subject. Im sorry if it confounds you, but after spending literally thousands (16 or so years of collecting anime/manga) of dollars, I feel like the anime DVD market has not changed for the better and they are setting themselves for people to purchase "bootlegs".

Maybe I'm overreacting to your post (and if I am I apologize), but it felt snotty and condesending. The point of me posting this thread was to get a healthy discussion going to see what the general member of this boards thinks, it was not designed to make region free sets look morally superior to official releases or to justify anyone buying a set of them...nor was it posted for you to to dismiss what I wrote as "moral blathering". If you feel that strong about the subject (which you obviously do based on the perceived tone of your reply) it would have been better if you worded it in a way would have solicited normal discussion, not a flame war. (again, I apologize ahead of time if Im reading into your post too much).
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Sorry for the misunderstanding, it read as if you felt I was blathering.

However, I would have preferred you blathered about the morals of the subject . Its interesting to me and it seems everyone I know personally is either in support of region 1 anime or they could care less and have no problem with region free DVDs. Ive heard some pretty interesting debates for both sides and I was trying to get that going here.
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Personally I'm gonna have to go with Dagger on this one.

I'm really kind of indifferent with whether or not you want to buy out of region from China or Korea or wherever, but I personally try to steer clear of it myself. If there's a series I really want to see, then I'll just watch it online or wait for the release here. It's nothing moral or anything, I just don't trust bootlegers for a quality copy. And not to end up getting in trouble for it.
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I agree, thats one of the main reasons I hate stawed away. All of my previous experience has come from renting from asian markets, and its usually stuff that hasnt been released here yet. Sometimes the quality is horrible, sometimes its very good.

I actually seldom DL anime because Im paranoid of getting in trouble for it. I had a friend get busted for it before and it was a mess.

But Im more curious what everyone's feelings are on how domestic releases are handled. For instance, do you think its fair that the main studios charge usually $20-$25 for 3-4 episodes? I bring that point up because DVD mastering quality has gone up, and prices have drastically dropped since the introduction of the format. Anime is one of the only areas where the majority of the releases are still released at a trickle and rarely drop in price. I undertand a move like Ghostbusters can cost 10 bucks at Walmart because it has sold milions of copies and has been around forever...but I also think its incredibly insulting that most anime is still being released the same way since it started coming to DVD. I feel like they know its a niche market and we will buy it no matter what so they get away with it...
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Well, here's the thing: I am a cheap. I will do anything and everything to spend as little money as possible. I think it is ridiculous how high they prince anime DVDs here, when TV shows give us same amount of content for just $50 [instead of fifty dollars for just two or three episodes per DVD]. That is a ripoff, no matter of an anime fan you are.

So, I download fansubs. I have no problem with fansubs, and I probably won't until the American-Anime companies get their act together and price anime at an affordable price.
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Everything is cheap (as cheap or more so than American show sets) if you're willing to wait. Thinpaks, economy sets, clearance sales, Right Stuf sales...

If you're not willing to wait, there's Netflix.

Anyway, y'all try pricing anime appropriately and earning back licensing fees. You can try to lower prices and move more copies, but most anime will simply not sell very much no matter how low the prices get. Or you can raise prices and just sell to super hardcore fans. Companies recognize that this isn't a good long-term strategy. In fact, the only Region 1 company to attempt it so far is actually a Japanese company that's trying to make its own inroads in North America without the slightest understanding of how the market works.

The overall DVD market and the anime DVD market are both slumping. The number of anime DVDs being released here is still pretty high, but it's dropping by a substantial percentage from year to year. The boom is over, and companies are struggling.

Media Blasters has opted to release niche (although this a matter of perspective) shows without dubs, which lets them price each volume at $19. Online or during sales, that easily dips below $10--e.g. the same price as a volume of manga. But the no-dub thing pisses off dub fans and drives away some people who might've picked up a regularly priced release.

If you guys have great ideas about how to lower prices without going in the red, I'm sure the companies would love to hear them.

~Dagger~
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[quote name='Volume 11']I have dl'd and had most of the Japanese TV airings... However, I like the series enough to where I want to own the DVDs. But with 120 episodes and counting I cant justify spending 20 bucks on each volume...[/quote][color=#007520]I really have just one question. Since you can't justify spending the asking price on licensed DVDs, how can you say you like the series enough to [i]own the DVDs[/i]? Owning bootlegs isn't really owning the Anime DVDs any more than owning fansubs is.

I think it's fair for an Anime fan to say "Anime is [i]way[/i] too expensive" and opt out of purchasing official DVDs, but (as elitist as it sounds) if they aren't supporting the company that produces the material, more of what they like will most likely not be created.

When it comes to the actual bootleg DVDs, I don't think it makes any sense to give money to a company that burns DVDs instead of the company that actually produces the Anime. But I guess that's because I'm a collector and I don't enjoy having fakes at all. :-/

-r2[/color]
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Well, for the $30 I now have a DVD boxset consisting of episodes 1-71 with readable (although not great) subtitles that comes in a box with art, three DVD shells and art on the the DVD tops.

It may be fake, but it fits into my DVD collection nicely and I had to do little work to obtain them all at once and in a cohesive package.

And when a season or saga official boxset is released I will definitly pick it up...

And from an economic standpoint, anime is doing poorly because anime never adapted the genre to the American consumer. I feel that the production companies have been relying on the diehard too long to buy 7 DVDs at $20 bucks a pop to obtain a 26 episode series. Now that the anime boom is over (in terms of sales from 3-5 years ago) they're still charging the same high prices and plenty of people aren't paying for it.

Maybe Im jaded, or maybe its because I minored in Economics, but I dont buy into the anime companies having hard times. Lower the prices and people will buy them. Instead, they choose to keep prices at a constant level (which most agree are too expensive and have been for over 10 years now), despite the slump in sales. This is a short-term strategy that may make them more money right now, but they risk losing fans to bootlegs and downloads in the long run.

But to each his own.
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To me, dubs are the clearest indicator of the fact that anime companies aren't doing so well right now.

Dubs are very expensive to make. Without a dub, though, most shows have no chance of getting on TV. In the days of VHS, dubbed tapes outsold subbed tapes by a ten to one ratio. Dubs are a tremendous selling point for a lot of people who buy DVDs and don't pay much attention to downloads.

More significantly, by the end of the boom, there were some really great dubs being made. Now, though, the companies that don't have in-house dubbing studios (everyone but ADV and FUNimation) are increasingly starting to outsource English vocal work to less-respected but far cheaper Canadian and Singaporean studios. And if you thought regular dubs weren't worth listening to, just hope you never hear one from Singapore.

So what are companies supposed to do? Take away a dub completely, and you can lower prices. That's the route Media Blasters has gone down. But you also greatly reduce a show's potential audience & exposure. It's a vicious cycle.

~Dagger~
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[COLOR=maroon]What about a cushy medium? The actual finalization of any TV... thingy, is expensive and puts everyone in the red. The profits come from when people purchase the result. Producing the DVDs themselves are dirt-cheap, going for even - dare I say - three bucks and still getting a net gain compared to what it takes to make the DVD.

So, you have three factors:
Initial, flat cost of making DVD CONTENT: thousands-millions
Cost of getting one DVD and putting created content: cents-2 dollars
Pricing of DVD: 5-100

(you can add in TV airings or whatever, but the basic concept doesn't change)

The key problem is overcoming that initial dip in $$$ from investing in anything, and it's expected that the net gain (dvd pricing minus cost of making dvd), with enough number of sales, will overcome that and even succeed significantly past what was lost. Based on the consumer base, the price is either high or low (small base, high; huge base, semi-high)

A smart idea for a blooming industry such as anime in the US would be to promote early adoption of content, thereby increasing awareness and number of consumers. That is, have anime DVDs cheap upon initial release and then recoil to a flat, generic price afterwards. Fans will be tempted to buy early, and intrigued shoppers and people will have incentive to give things a try. Also, the illusion they are saving will make them buy more impulsively.

Take it another way: the first DVD is dirt-cheap, and all additional DVDs are normal/reasonable prices. Same result.

Of course, the main problem with this idea is that the actual content on the DVDs would have to worthwhile, which it's not. That's the main problem anime has: it sucks. I apologize for generalizing, but anime's content is weak and has little intrigue and originality. There's very little human connection involved, where people can associate with the show in some way. Those few animes that do have a more popular counterpart that does it better. The anime fanbase are mainly those who are proudly "different" from everyone else, and in this case, it's not a good thing.

That is why prices must remain high for anime and smart marketing strategies cannot be implemented. You can confidently gamble with a good hand, but when you have a bad to ok hand, you might as well take the stable road with little reward and low chance of losing.[/COLOR]
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[quote name='Dagger']It's not a gray area, hon. You're talking about bootlegs--and plenty of the companies and people who make them, in Hong Kong or wherever else, have been arrested in the past. (I'm talking specifically about anime bootlegs; there's really no room for doubt.)[/quote][COLOR=Navy][FONT=Comic Sans MS]
I've noticed that most anime box sets you buy on ebay is a bootleg copy. Granted, it still works and all, but it's not from the English dubbing company or anything. I've bought like 3 of them (without knowing until a tad later). The way I figure it, is unless it's a photo taken of the real set and not just some stock photo, then it's probably a fake. [/FONT][/COLOR]
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To an extent its relative to the property and company producingthe DVDs.

For example, Inuyasha is released on 3 episode discs. They range from around $18-$25 per DVD. BUT, they also have the season sets for around $70-80. The single discs would run around $170-190 to obtain the same amount of episodes featured on the season sets.

That I can appreciate. You could argue that the early adopters get screwed, but they are at least offering a one box set for over half the price of the individual discs.

Then we have something like Cowboy Bebop. The discs are released individually for around$18-25 each, and they did release a less expensive boxset, but it was limited and hasnt been repressed. THEN they begin to re-release the individual discs under the "remix" title. They discs are more expensive than the original individual discs and offer nothing new (outside of the remastering which made a neglible difference). They range from $20-30 depending.

That I cant appreciate. Remastered or not, they could have released another, less limited, box set and everyone would be happy. They have milked the property for yeas now and the savings havent been passed along.

I realize is isn' quite as simple as that, but its still arrogant and self-serving for companies to re-release high-profile sets for the same price or more.
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I know, and its a shame. I waited years to purchase NGE on DVD ( I had the tapes from the late 90s to tide me over). But after reading the original releases were from video source because ADV didnt want to pay extra for the right to a clean version I decided to wait. I even waited past the original platinum DVDs for the set you referred to.

$50 bones versus $120 seems pretty unbalanced.
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I'm not that familiar with region free dvd's and such, but I do know one thing. If people continue to purchase them, even with poor quality, instead of buying the legally released version. Every purchase made hurts the company bringing it to you legally. In the end, they can never compete with such prices since those who make bootlegs don't have the cost of creating the show, paying for it to be translated, etc.

And goodness, I guess all of you are too young to remember that VHS tapes even for a single movie use to cost far more than DVD's do. I remember quite clearly paying close to $70 to get Star Wars on tape when it first came out. As well as paying nearly a thousand dollars to get a VHS player.

I think it's great that they are starting to produce thinpacks to make things even more affordable, especially since I am on a fixed income. But in the end, now that DVD's are more established, even for anime, they are a hundred times nicer since they tend to be cheaper and far more durable. And as others have already said, a little patience results in getting them for less than the suggested retail price.

That and the one time I ordered something through a seller at Amazon for my daughter, only for it to turn out to be a bootleg with horrible quality convinced me that saving a few dollars wasn't worth it as we ended up buying a better version anyway.
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Bootlegs are generally of poor quality.

And I was young, but I remember my Dad coming home with a VHS player and a VHS mail order magazine and all of the tapes were around$70-90. I remember not buying any tapes until the late 80s.

Do you also remember how not only VHS tapes were expensive, but they didnt get rushed to blockbuster three months after release. It usually took 9 months to a year.
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[QUOTE=Volume 11]And I was young, but I remember my Dad coming home with a VHS player and a VHS mail order magazine and all of the tapes were around$70-90. I remember not buying any tapes until the late 80s.

Do you also remember how not only VHS tapes were expensive, but they didnt get rushed to blockbuster three months after release. It usually took 9 months to a year.[/QUOTE]I remember getting mail order magazines for tapes. As well as how things took from nine months to a year before they hit the shelves. ;) Still being able to watch movies from a tape was the coolest thing ever. lol

If anything I think part of the problem is that the market is positively saturated with different series that one can buy. It use to be easy to pick and choose what you liked where now, there are so many things out that I end up ignoring other stuff in favor of only getting what I like best.

It's great and at the same time frustrating since it makes it harder for companies to compete and some of them are forced to keep the prices higher than other media like movies just to make ends meet. Since people are far more picky about what they spend their money on. I know I am.
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