Bandai threaten fansubbers over Solid State Society

Ammish

Stand User
Well,more chance Bandai will never do a simultaneous release date, paul. Probably because the anime fan base isn't big enough in UK, europe, australia or even America to begin with compared to Japan's fanbase

So, Even though fansubs are making bandai mad. They have to make a choice, let fansubbers do their usual thing or do a simultaneous release date to stamp out most of the fansubbers.

So, Bandai, you have to make a very hard choice

Well, I'm alright with waiting most of the time, I won't watch fansubs, I rather watch the english dubs, even if it means some puff gaymans voice on a big strong guy. Note: I won't watch naruto because of his voice
 

Sy

Time-Traveller
keyblade_master uk said:
Well, I'm alright with waiting most of the time, I won't watch fansubs, I rather watch the english dubs, even if it means some puff gaymans voice on a big strong guy. Note: I won't watch naruto because of his voice
You are missing out on a lot if you won't watch anything subtitled.
 

Ammish

Stand User
WTFDaveMustaine said:
keyblade_master uk said:
Well, I'm alright with waiting most of the time, I won't watch fansubs, I rather watch the english dubs, even if it means some puff gaymans voice on a big strong guy. Note: I won't watch naruto because of his voice
You are missing out on a lot if you won't watch anything subtitled.

I would like to watch sub, but I can't get into it. It dosen't give me much fun as dub do.
 

ikari2001

Completely Average High School Student
I used to watch alot of fansubs when I was a student, primarily because I never had the money to buy anime with.

now, having finished Uni, and in work full time, I haven't downloaded a fansub for a good year or two, mainly because of the amount of anime now available in the UK , I've got enough to watch right now in the little free time I have that I can wait for a US/UK release of an anime.

Because of all this, I certainly think a certain amount of those who download fansubs are those who simply can't afford to buy anime. I'm not saying all of them, just some.

But problem is, those anime I've watched in fansub, I'm very reluctant to buy, however much I may have enjoyed them. I've seen them, and so would prefer to spend my money on something new. Which is the reason I have no problem with a company wishing to protect its product. Free or not, I suspect fansubs can have a harmful influence on the industry. How big an influence I wouldn't know... it is possible they help sales rather than harm them...
 

Laughing Manji

School Idol
Guyver 0 said:
McIcy said:
Yep never ever paid for a fan sub, thats why they are called fan subs as in subbed by fans for fans, one big community

has anyone ever paid? No,

Um yes, somebody has already mentioned the ebay auctions of DVD Rs filled with fansubs, but there are also plenty of direct download sites which for a subscription let you DL popular anime episodes like Bleach, Naruto, Blood+ for a monthly fee.

Kinda like what you get with torrents (except you dont pay the hosts in that case) except the kids who can't/aren't allowed install BT on the family comp, and the people who want to DL stuff at work can now get access too.

Disco Machine said:
Is it really so hard for people to just y'know...be patient until stuff is available here?

I have lurked on a lot of fansubbers forums. There is precious little patience there.

Disco Machine said:
I've seen people say it here and plenty of other places..."OMG Naruto dub suxxx, fansubs are 703 episodes instead, so I'll stick with that".

Really, that's proof fansubs are damaging legit stuff.

How is that proof? Considering that they are using language like OMG Naruto dub suxxx chances are they don't have the purchasing power to buy the DVDs in the first place, and they have at least sampled the TV episodes and been subjected to advertising.

From where I am sitting, the Naruto box set has jumped to no.1 position on play.com. I haven't seen one ad for it, except in Neo. Its not on mainstream TV channels, so where did people get the idea that this show was available to buy and that it was worth buying? It wouldn't be from fansubs would it?

Disco Machine said:
I don't doubt for a second that a lot of people who watch fansubs DO also support official releases, but the fact is...if even ONE person avoids the official release in favour of fansubs, the subs are stealing custom.

The argument as to whether fansubs are doing damage, is about whether there is a net gain or net loss of paying customers due to fansub word of mouth versus fansub free view.

It is very likely that if there were no fansubs, there would have been no custom to steal, but that the potential consumer base could have been a fraction of what it currently is.

I have a couple of observations about the relationship between purchasing and fansubs.
- the people who watch lots of fansubs for free typically have lots of free time, but little money (students/kids). If fansubs disappear, this audience doesn't have the money to buy DVDs anyway.
- people with money that are inclined to spend it on anime do so, while still watching fansubs. They often tend to profile their viewing habits into stuff they are buying vs stuff they watch on fansub, vs what they read as manga
- many people who watch fansubs buy DVDs of the very best shows that they have already seen
- many people who can afford to pay for anime (rent/purchase/TV) will still not pay for it because they can get it for free - if there was no fansub they might have bought it anyway This is the category of people who mostly decide whether fansubs are hurting the industry or not.
- its possible that fansubs spread negative word of mouth about titles that are rubbish. These titles may be in popular genres, and would otherwise sell to an audience that didn't know anything about its quality
- fansubs may be changing what people buy. They are spending the same amount of money, they can afford to follow 2 series, and without fansubs they would have chosen certain series to purchase. With fansubs they watch those shows as fansubs and buy two different ones. This makes marketing and selecting titles difficult
- availability of fansubs can make fans jaded and burnt out, and under appreciate commercial releases. Few fans could buy that much to tire of it so. With limited availability of commercial releases, they would stay hungry
- some people find fansubs tiresome, regardless of their free status. Limited playback on computers vs convenient playback in their living room. Fansub politics can be infuriating too and can turn off fans from fansubs. Dubs are popular for a reason too, many fans won't watch or buy sub-only anime
- there are many reasons that people watch fansubs that are unrelated to its free status:
1-- not available in any legitimate commercial form anyway, there is noone you can pay who will give you a version that you can understand.
2-- commercial forms are highly unlikely to ever be released (old classic 100+ episode anime, that only generates ~1000 total downloads, but is loved by those people)
3-- the commercial variants have had their integrity compromised in a way that is unacceptable to the consumer
4-- peoples perception of what is 'current' or 'fresh' is synchronised with the japanese fans
5-- highly unusual genres are only available on fansub, as they are a commercial black hole for north american licensors (magic girl anime, realistic anime). THis point is related to (2)
6-- Watching episodes on a weekly release basis is more natural than a single DVD every 2-3 months
7-- Licensors won't license the popular anime you are interested in, possibly because it is too expensive (Monster, Honey & Clover, Gunbuster 2, Ouran Host Club, Banner of the Stars III, Mushishi, Jyu Oh Sei, ARIA)
8-- Licensor abandoned commercial releases
9-- Licensor gave the finger to certain countries (Sony, Blood+ unlicensed for europe)


Disco Machine said:
Other than the need to be "cool" and see something before the general public, I really don't see the point of fansubs.

Ah no and no and no.

Fansubs allow you to appreciate something that you otherwise would not be able to see or buy. The commercial anime industry is very good at getting certain popular shows out to us, like Ghost in the Shell, Trigun, Chobits, Samurai Champloo, Elfen Lied, Naruto, Inu Yasha.

But hardcore fans develop their own tastes that are not as well served by the industry. Shoujo fans are really hard done by in general. Anime that strongly depicts japanese culture or history or is otherwise not easily accessible to an american audience is less likely to be licensed too. Anime fans can look past the easy accessiblility and appreciate titles that have historical interest, like the influence of Ideon on Evangelion; or how Yamato and other Leijiverse anime influenced all of modern space anime; or maybe they just want to get all of the parody jokes in Abenobashi and Excel Saga.

Fansubs are about the only source that can satisfy these interests. I can't see a commercial licensor getting excited about an anime about a Mahjong Gambler, but Akagi is a brilliantly gripping show. While geneon has been very unusual lately, licensing a lot of risky shows (like all the Moe stuff - like Ichigo Mashimaro & Kamichu) it might not take with americans and they may quit doing it soon.
 

awadama fever

Za Warudo
Laughing Manji said:
From where I am sitting, the Naruto box set has jumped to no.1 position on play.com. I haven't seen one ad for it, except in Neo. Its not on mainstream TV channels, so where did people get the idea that this show was available to buy and that it was worth buying? It wouldn't be from fansubs would it?
Eh?

You've lost me. :s

How would people know Naruto was available to buy from watching fansubs of it? Do fansubs have adverts on them telling people what's coming out in the shops? o_O

And maybe a lot of the people who've been buying it from Play without having ever seen in it fansub are going from word of mouth...or they're people who read the manga...or they've seen the show and ads on Jetix...or they've been reading the 40 pages Neo gives it every month...or the banner ad that was on almost every page on Play for a few weeks caught their eye, so they thought they'd check it out.

Serenity is the current #1 in the DVD charts...I've never seen an advert for that...and as far as I know Firefly isn't on a terrestrial channel. Maybe it got popular because people just thought it sounded cool, and recommended it to each other...unless they bust out fansubs for sci-fi space shows too. :$

And I really don't see the justification for students and kids downloading stuff for free because they can't afford it (not directed at you Manji or anyone in particular, just a general point). As far as I'm concerned, if you can't afford something, you do without...especially something non-vital like entertainment media. Maybe students should use some of their rampant free time to get a job, which will get them more money, to let them actually BUY their movies/CDs/anime/whatever.

I can understand people downloading stuff for free...I don't agree with it, but I see why people do it. Stuff is readily available and super easy to find online...if something is free and you can get it without having to leave your computer desk (even moreso with net speeds getting super fast), it makes sense to get it. I just think it's ******.
 

Miaka-chan

Stand User
But hardcore fans develop their own tastes that are not as well served by the industry. Shoujo fans are really hard done by in general
I couldn't agree with you more ^__^

@Laughing Manji: Your post was very interesting and very well written; taking into account every point of view.

I can understand people downloading stuff for free...I don't agree with it, but I see why people do it. Stuff is readily available and super easy to find online...if something is free and you can get it without having to leave your computer desk (even moreso with net speeds getting super fast), it makes sense to get it. I just think it's ******.

It's not always the case that it's free, it's often as Laughing Manji pointed out; the only means to see something that you would otherwise never get the chance to see outside of Japan.
 

Capuchin

School Idol
At least half of the shows that I have watched and enjoyed as fansubs in the last three years or so have not been released or licensed outside Japan.
I would be perfectly happy if my computer stopped me watching shows that had been or would be picked up for distribution, but why should I not be allowed to see the rest?

I'd like to know what the Japanese studios think, particularly about titles of theirs that are fansubbed that they know no-one is interested in distributing outside Japan.

-

Disco Machine said:
And maybe a lot of the people who've been buying it from Play without having ever seen in it fansub are going from word of mouth...or they're people who read the manga...or they've seen the show and ads on Jetix...or they've been reading the 40 pages Neo gives it every month...or the banner ad that was on almost every page on Play for a few weeks caught their eye, so they thought they'd check it out.

And yet how much was the word-of-mouth, the decision to translate and distribute the manga, the decision to run it on Jetix and the ads put on Play generated by the popularity arising directly from the fansubs?

In truth we can never really know, but when you provide reasons that distance a direct link from sales of Naruto and popularity of the fansubs, you do realise that you aren't actually severing that link?

How could we possibly ever work out the difference between :
Loss of sales due to free fansubs + Rise in sales thanks to hype generated by them
and
Hypothetical rise of sales due to the non-availibility of free fansubs - drop in sales due to lack of exposure
?

At the end of the day Naruto is a special case and will inevitably become drawn into this debate, whilst the sales of other fansubbed shows never enjoy similar rises.
 

Wildcard

Thousand Master
Heck, I was going to wait for a UK release of SSS anyway. To be honest, I probably wouldn't even be into anime without fansubs. Most of my fave series I saw on fansubs first and bought them later (even at somewhat sharp prices).
 

hopeful_monster

Thousand Master
For a good example of fansubs thier link to western sucess or failure check out this article on wikipedia about FMI.
As for the SSS fansubs i can understand why Bandi have made a specfic point about it. GitS is areadly a well know series and does not need the fansub 'advertising' (for want a better word) for this series, and feel that evought people will buy it without fansubs, and are hoping to gain on the revenue lost by those people who don't buying after trying.
 

Laughing Manji

School Idol
Disco Machine said:
Laughing Manji said:
From where I am sitting, the Naruto box set has jumped to no.1 position on play.com. I haven't seen one ad for it, except in Neo. Its not on mainstream TV channels, so where did people get the idea that this show was available to buy and that it was worth buying? It wouldn't be from fansubs would it?

How would people know Naruto was available to buy from watching fansubs of it? Do fansubs have adverts on them telling people what's coming out in the shops? o_O

If you are going to be stupidly pedantic about this I will stop replying. Fans talk about shows. Never rule out word of mouth.

You cannot isolate the runaway success of Naruto or other popular anime from its popularity on the fansub circuit. There are literally hundreds of thousands of positive word of mouth fan opinions on that show before it ever aired on western TV.

Naruto simply isn't that good/engaging from episode 1. Its well into the mid-late teens that it starts to show some of its true strength

My position is that the amount of stupid fansubbing is excessive, and that Bandai were correct to publicly announce their intent to protect their properties (this is the first time they have done so - FUNi & ADV have been doing this for at least a year). However that doesn't change the fact that your opinions on fansubbing & fansub consumers are practically baseless.

Fansubbing does have both positive & negative effects on the industry. Nobody has done any serious research on it, and most of the industry comments are useless FUD. I can never understand why the industry reps get so irate about fansubbing exclusively when there are other more vicious cases of piracy - like the high street/mall stores that are nearly being put out of business by competition from other high street/mall retailers selling anime bootlegs at retail. And the industry/cops do nothing about it!

Disco Machine said:
Serenity is the current #1 in the DVD charts

The majority of Firefly's fan's became fans of that show after it had been cancelled by Fox. It was the best sci-fi show by a guy who almost single-handedly made sci-fi a cool, kicking and popular TV genre. Firefly fans must outnumber anime fans by at least 10:1 if not 100:1, its cult status is assured, I have *never* met someone who didnt like it. Even people who dont like sci-fi. Cult status usually breeds excellent DVD sales. The Firefly boxset was great, and cheap, and the Serenity DVD is loaded with fan friendly extras.

Firefly's popularity was boosted by excellent word of mouth from people who had seen it. I don't see how that contradicts any fansubbing points, is that the same phenomenon is at work.

Although it is interesting that Firefly had very little pre-release word of mouth. If it had Naruto's level of pre-release fan word of mouth, Firefly might still be airing. And I might be watching precisely 1 hour more of TV a week that I currently do now. Damn its depressing that that show was canned

Disco Machine said:
And I really don't see the justification for students and kids downloading stuff for free because they can't afford it

Its not a justification, just a statement of fact. It also debunks the myth that abolishing fansubs will result in increased DVD sales. These kids don't have the money to buy the DVDs in the first place.

Disco Machine said:
I can understand people downloading stuff for free...I don't agree with it, but I see why people do it. Stuff is readily available and super easy to find online...

True, and I agree that the majority of fansubbing & fansub consumption is done along the lines of We want to translate this show, period. Some groups still retain a historical fansubbing ethic, highlighting and exposing worthy shows (to the point that if *that group* is doing it, it must be worth checking out). But many groups translate new shows as a force of habit. Also several groups will put out a quick crap release of a popular or licensed show just to get their cock sucked by fans on the IRC channel.

It should be noted that many popular-in-japan-and-on-fansub, likely to be successful in US, shows are not being licensed anymore. I don't think that is anything to do with fansub activity, but the simple fact the North American industry lost the run of itself licensing everything, including crap & niche interest stuff and drove up the prices (by an order of magnitude). US Licensors can't afford these anime titles anymore. Maybe it will stabilise down the road.
 

Laughing Manji

School Idol
Miaka-chan said:
But hardcore fans develop their own tastes that are not as well served by the industry. Shoujo fans are really hard done by in general
I couldn't agree with you more ^__^

@Laughing Manji: Your post was very interesting and very well written; taking into account every point of view.

Well it is a bit pro-fansub. I have been trying to do some research on this lately - when I defend fansubs I want to be secure in my facts. However there are a lot of fansubbers that are in it only for intarweb fame. The amount of project duplication really pisses me off, theres a lot of fansubbers that I would like to line up against a wall.

Like when yet more groups decide to jump in translating Strawberry Panic! from episode 1, when the show is nearly fully aired, and there is already about 3-4 groups doing it.

There are shows out there that will never be licensed, but are worthy examples of anime.

In fact I am astounded when fans start declaring that all new anime is crap. I feel like slapping them. Once you dip beneath the surface popularity there is a huge quantity of excellent shows. Its all too obscure for licensing, its only available on fansub. Once you start seeing the activity on the historical projects ... it would blow your mind away.


Capuchin said:
At least half of the shows that I have watched and enjoyed as fansubs in the last three years or so have not been released or licensed outside Japan.
I would be perfectly happy if my computer stopped me watching shows that had been or would be picked up for distribution, but why should I not be allowed to see the rest?

The ethics of fansubbing has always distinguished between abstract, intangible theft, like copyright infringement, and real theft which is revenue loss from people selling translated versions.

In many cases the numbers of people involved in fansub appreciation of specific titles is tiny. Legend of the Galactic Heroes one of the most famous space operas ever and reknowned for its story and characters, can't convince more than 2-3000 people to download the episodes for free. Thats barely a break even point for DVD sales, but you would never convert that number to paying customers (not for a 110 ep series anyway, with conventional release strategies). Ditto any old or classic anime like Galaxy Express 999, Captain Harlock, Touch, or Space Runaway Ideon. In fact many of those shows have historical implications that can be appreciated by anime fans who consider anime an art form.

Compare with Air which must have topped at least 100,000 (maybe > 150,000) distinct DLs among all the groups, or Ouran High School Host Club, which is currently hitting over 50,000. Hell LOGH isn't even topping Akagi ~7000 and that show is virtually unknown/untalked about (people not watching it are losing out though).

Capuchin said:
I'd like to know what the Japanese studios think, particularly about titles of theirs that are fansubbed that they know no-one is interested in distributing outside Japan.

Its hard to get studios to say something about it. You do get some odd comments scattered through various sites and interviews. However it should be noted that the majority of fansubbing piggybacks on japanese piracy.

Japanese fans often lurk on western anime forums like animesuki or animenation and they are a mine of information,opinion and perspectives. Some post comments on blogs and such. Some are genuinely curious, some are dismissive, some are supportive or just surprised by how evolved the western anime fandom is, and how current it is due to fansubs. The explosion of Haruhi Suzumiya popularity was an odd east-meets-west moment.

J-fan: "How come you guys like Haruhi? I thought all the americans liked Trigun and stuff"
US-fan: "Gimme a sec, I have nearly trained my dog to do the Haruhi dance - I will send you the youtube link tomorrow"

Capuchin said:
How could we possibly ever work out the difference between :
Loss of sales due to free fansubs + Rise in sales thanks to hype generated by them
and
Hypothetical rise of sales due to the non-availibility of free fansubs - drop in sales due to lack of exposure

Nobody has ever done a proper study of it, and I don't think any good research is ever going to see the light of day on it without industry doctoring of the results to reflect their opinion on the state of play.

There are some facts in the argument:
- US anime has to be released with a dub in order to generate high sales. Releasing sub only means that the licensor is courting a very niche hardcore audience, and they are possibly bypassing traditional distribution methods entirely in order to cut costs and eke profit out of the limited sales numbers (examples: Super Gals! series 2, Patlabor OVA 2, VOTOMS, Cyber Formula). In theory that means that fansubs can only undermine the sales of sub-watchers.
- many of the traditional pro-fansub ethics arguments are invalid now. Fansubbing used to be part promotion, part awareness generation, usually commenced some time after a show finished airing (often years). Anime is a big business nowadays, and licensors are very connected to japanese studios, negotiations and deals are often conducted or commenced before the first cel is drawn or before the anime is even announced. Companies do not use fansub activity to determine awareness of shows, they have translators, scouts and industry insiders in japan who can determine the viability of these shows.
- the purchasing landscape has changed in the US. The sheer volume of title availability means that people are concentrating their purchases around A-list titles like FMA, GITS, Naruto, Champloo, Elfen Lied etc. And that B list titles which used to sell well, and represented diversity in catalogs, have had their sales cannibalised by the more recognisable A list titles. In particular ADV, who specialised in a diverse catalog, have been very hard hit. It is becoming increasingly clear that the US industry cannot support diversity of titles
- opinion: There is no 'fact' here, but online rental has possibly totally changed the anime purchasing landscape. Many US anime fans have no need to ever buy titles anymore, and it is difficult to judge whether online rental is a money spinner for the industry or a disruptive business model. In fact it has probably undermined the whole buy to watch anime business model, and that DVD sales, are unlikely to grow with increasing fandom - they have probably peaked, and the industry must seek out other revenue sources (like maybe online distro, which will put them head-head with fansubs, merchandising which is limited in its appeal, or TV airing which can only work with mainstream titles)
- The industry has made some really serious balls-ups over the last few years. 1 They ramped up the license fees by splurging on nearly every title they could get. According to insiders, license costs have increased by a factor of 5-10. 2 They undermined individual DVD releases (main source of profit) with the insane repeat discounting of boxsets shortly after individual releases. Between both activities they almost wiped out their profit margins, in addition to radically increasing their costs. If there was no fansubbing, these two activities on their own would put the industry in serious trouble they would have needed the anime industry to nearly double in growth to support those business practices
- A side effect of this is that retailers became unwilling to act as warehouses for anime stock and halved the wait period before they start to return stock (DVD 1 gets returned before DVD 2 is even out)

Finally: Which do you think is easier to say to shareholders:
a sorry guys, we raised our title acquisition costs by a factor of five and reduced our average margins on product from 55% to 20%
or
b its all fansubs fault! We would have sold three times as many DVDs if it weren't for fansubs!
 

Ramadahl

Hunter
@ Laughing Manji: Kudos on one of the best-written stances on fansubs I've seen. I'm pretty much with you on this, except for -
Laughing Manji said:
Nobody has ever done a proper study of it, and I don't think any good research is ever going to see the light of day on it without industry doctoring of the results to reflect their opinion on the state of play.
A more likely factor in the lack of good research is going to be the obscene difficulty of obtaining data. As was previously mentioned, one of the major points to consider is how many people would have bought the DVDs had the fansubs not been available - not the easiest thing to find out.

Also, I'll sometimes download a licensed series to see if it's worth buying, as reviews just don't cut it. Still, renting DVDs is at least a potential option here.

EDIT: speling ^^;
 

Laughing Manji

School Idol
Ramadahl said:
@ Laughing Manji: Kudos on one of the best-written stances on fansubs I've seen. I'm pretty much with you on this, except for -
Laughing Manji said:
Nobody has ever done a proper study of it, and I don't think any good research is ever going to see the light of day on it without industry doctoring of the results to reflect their opinion on the state of play.
A more likely factor in the lack of good research is going to be the obscene difficulty of obtaining data. As was previously mentioned, one of the major points to consider is how many people would have bought the DVDs had the fansubs not been available - not the easiest thing to find out.

I agree to an extent. There is actually good research done on the impact of the internet, mp3 & file sharing on the music.

And I mean good research here, not just Find facts or statistics that back up our company position. I am of course alluding to a recent study by the Canadian Recording Industry.

But I don't think the anime industry has the resources to conduct that kind of research. There are also other major economic factors afecting the anime industry that cannot be isolated from the results (I have mentioned many of these) and the purchase-to-watch basis of the entire anime industry is somewhat unnatural.

Also, there is a pokemon mentality to anime fandom - literally the desire to watch/collect everything. Music, TV and movie fandom typically get segmented by movement, genre, artist etc. Whereas anime fans will watch mainstream Shonen Jump anime mixed together with cutesy shoujo stuff and follow it up with deep or serious stuff like Mushishi.

In music, I wouldn't care about a lot of genres, I wouldn't accept MP3s of Shania Twain or mainstream pop or anything like that if they were given free. Yet I will sample an awful lot of obscure titles that I may not enjoy, or may not be my cup of tea. I appreciate the artistic diversity, and like me there are other fans who have very eclectic tastes.

However it is virtually impossible to legally do this. People simply couldn't afford to purchase or import that much anime. Especially since anime is at a much higher price point than other forms of entertainment (I appreciate that it is 'appropriately priced' with respect to costs).

Many excellent anime have no legal translated versions available. There is no for-free option for anime generally (TV, radio) and usage-related watching of anime (rental) is not widely available - options available to other forms of entertainment. There is very little social appreciation of anime except in major urban areas (unlike movies, concerts etc.)

There is a disconnect between you being an anime fan and your desire to appreciate anime. This is why fansubs exist.
 
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