Importing vs. UK editions

Lutga

Mad Scientist
So, something I've been thinking about a lot lately, as from what I've seen online, it seems to have become almost the norm amongst dedicated anime fans that almost all the releases they buy are imports, and not UK editions.

I've seen various emphasis on picking up expensive multi-volume Japanese sets with English subs, or collecting Funimation limited edition boxes for shows that, arguably, aren't exactly 'classics'. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm interested to see people's motivations behind it - as people seem to very much lament the state of the UK anime industry at the moment and say 'that's why I import' - but surely isn't there a little bit of a chicken and egg scenario at play there too? If the average anime release in the UK only sells a few hundred copies - a thousand copies, these companies are hardly big enough to just plough money in to make better releases when their simply isn't the market there for it to make business sense?

There was a time when I thought price might be a solution - the old Manga business model I suppose, of if it's cheap enough, the people will come. But over the last year or so my opinion has changed and I kind of feel that largely, the only people still buying anime are happy to pay any price if it means getting their beloved show in decent quality.

So I'd be interested to know - for people that import - what are the chief motivations that mean you import? And if those issues were solved by UK distributors, would you still import?

Release date - ie. you import because foreign editions come out before UK editions?

On-disc quality - ie. quality of the show's assets itself, ie. print quality, sub quality, bitrate etc.

Physical release quality - ie. Blu-Ray when the UK release is DVD only, extra goodies like art cards etc, chipboard case etc.


And I suppose the last question is - if the brutal reality is that the UK, due to the size of the market/restrictions like BBFC costs etc. cannot ever address these issues in the foreseeable future - would you care if the UK physical anime industry essentially died away, and that a potential future scenario would be that if you wanted to see anime, you either streamed it or *had* to import?
 

NormanicGrav

The Quintessential Pouts
AUKN Staff
My reasoning for imports pretty much started like this (this was back in 2013):

I wanted the shows on Blu-ray, back in 2013 they weren't doing that with the shows I wanted. When I asked Manga UK over the Q&A podcast about whether they'll provide Blu-ray releases for *titles that I given include Baccano! & Ghost in the Shell SAC* they said no. They even said that upscaled titles (like Baccano!) wouldn't even get released on Blu-ray because they're upscales. I then got the Aniplex version and the upscale is fairly solid.

Quality Control was unacceptable. Kaze, Manga & MVM in my opinion put more harm into the UK industry by releasing products with defects and not even bothering to fix them. I can't believe Kaze got away with the Bakuman scandal and are still releasing their stuff over here (with the cost that Bakuman Season 2 & 3 were permanently cancelled). In 2015 MVM have fixed most of their issues though.

The US sets had more appeal to me, I went with the Aniplex Madoka LE volumes not only because I love the show but also I found they were flawless in terms of audio & video quality. And so I continued with getting more Funimation LEs and Aniplex LEs.

When it came to Part 1 & 2 titles I wanted a box to hold both parts so that I only see the main title on my shelf. This is why I imported the Funimation sets that had a box to hold the other half like Shiki, Eureka Seven AO and Last Exile -Fam, the Silver Wing-. This rule I had I no longer use now for various reasons.

I was very restricted when it came to streaming thanks to dial up. I also refused to watch stuff on other websites because I knew the problems. So when a show is getting released in the US I'll just import it. Now I have a better connection with Crunchyroll and Viewster but I'll still import because the likeliness of certain titles getting released successfully in the UK is zero.

And speaking of releasing in the UK, the BBFC. There are shows that I like I actually imported because I was afraid that they would get cut by the BBFC and High School DxD is a perfect example. So I played it safe and imported the LE. Months later the series is now uncut and 15 rated for the UK.

So years later I pretty much just stick with importing unless it's an Anime Limited title*, I refuse to buy any more sets from Manga & MVM anymore even if they're the cheaper option for Aniplex sets (this rule doesn't apply to their older titles however) because I just got fed up with the QC, format and product design.

Animatsu I may give a chance at some point but for now I'll just import.

*To me, the company has proven themselves (and redeemed themselves) over certain events and have gained my trust. Sure their sets are delayed but they have provided a legit reason over it. When it came to QC they also gave the fans a chance to receive a replacement copy. Heck, at least a 1/3 of the issues were pretty much caused by someone else (Siren Visual (Authoring) with Durarara!!, Aniplex (Video Files) & Sony (Packaging) with Gurren Lagann). My only worry with Anime Limited is their kickstarter campaign. Mai Mai Miracle has been taking a delay and I noticed that US customers are losing their trust with them.
 

britguy

Za Warudo
Back in my fandom heyday (between 2002-2007) I was importing pretty much everything and had very few, if any R2 anime DVDs. The reasoning for this was initially because hardly anything was available in the UK and also because of art boxes and physical extras. I'd order a hundred or so quid worth of anime a month from DVDpacific and get a big package to unbox via fedex, it was glorious.

Fast forward a few years and I stopped buying Anime pretty much outright, until I was Blu-ray capable in 2010, and then, the same thing happened, anime was getting released in the US on Blu-ray but not really in the UK. FMA: Brotherhood was the title that drove me to buy a region free player (parts 1 and 2 were UK compatible but 3 onwards were not) and this opened up the US market to me again, but I found I wasn't that much of an anime fan any more, however, the slow release schedules of UK companies vs the US meant that any anime I was interested in was likely to be imported.

Now, in 2015, Anime Limited have brought a lot of what I found initially attractive about importing Anime with their releases. Fast turn around time (we occasionally get titles before America) and quality packaging and physical extras. I'm still not as big a fan as I was, but I like Anime Limited, I like Andrew and I like what they bring to the table, so my anime is pretty much provided by them. I still pick up the odd non-AL release and I am only likely to import Funimation SAVE releases as they are cheap, and in most instances not available in the UK.
 
I'm not a collector in the truest sense of the word. I lack the room for fancy packaging and plastic tat. So generally it's on disc content which matters to me most. There are three things that drive me to import...

Availability... Most of the shows that I have imported just aren't available in the UK, or in some cases the US. Stuff like Chihayafuru, Gosick, Nichijou, Patlabor, K-On and Soul Eater Blu-rays. There is just so much anime that hasn't been released in the UK, that I could import endlessly.Sometimes release date comes into it, but inadvertently. I import some titles before they are licensed or announced for UK release. So I paid full whack for the AU Usagi Drop, got the US Baccano DVDs before Manga announced it, got the US Baccano Blu-ray before Anime Limited announced theirs, the US Wings of Honneamise, the US Gankutsuou, the US Samurai Champloo BD. But once I know that a UK release is impending, I don't import.

Price... Price still factors into it, even now with RRPs creeping upwards. A non anime example. I wanted to get Galaxy Quest on Blu-ray recently, checked the UK sites and found it for around £30. But in the US Warners released a four disc collection, bundled it with Lost in Space, Red Planet and Mars Attacks, and I could import that for £13. And it's the exact same disc. So much of my mid 2000s purchasing came from the 2 dollar to the pound combined with the £18 import limit. I cleaned up on Bandai collections, and ADV boxset clearouts, and even now, if a title is available for £15 on S.A.V.E. why would I get the UK release of the same for £25?

Finally disc quality. Even before we get into the merits of native NTSC versus standards conversion or PAL speedup, UK (and Australian) companies have often screwed the pooch when it comes to disc authoring. So I got the Siren Visual hybrid Durarara!! DVDs instead of Beez subtitle only, the start of a long line of upgrades that has only no concluded, ironically with the UK Blu-ray. Kaze is... well Kaze, which is why I have the Australian Penguindrum, the US Trigun Badlands Rumble, the US Princess Jellyfish... Manga when they use US or AU masters are generally fine, but when they author themselves, if I like the title, I'll import, hence US Cat Planet Cuties, US Ouran High School Host Club, and ironically the US release of Noein (from Manga US). Even MVM, whose releases are generally sound as they always use someone else's masters. I replaced the ugly standards converted Moribito with the average looking US Media Blasters discs.
 

msgeek

Magical Girl
For me the initial driving force was simply that there was so much more available when importing. As a general rule I see DVD as a depreciated format and always buy Blu-Ray. Once I had obtained every UK anime Blu-Ray the only option was importing if I wanted more. Once I had most of the Funi region B's I was being held back by region coding so got a multi-region player and at that point I already had a decent amount of Funi LE's so decided to aim to "complete the set" as it were.

That said. I own every AL BD release and will continue to buy them. If a Funi LE exists it will be a double dip for me. I'll generally choose MVM over Sentai to support the UK industry and so that if my single region A player breaks I have a redundant method to play without resorting to various bypass methods. Animatsu releases I'm on the fence over. Knights of Sidonia I ordered but may well double dip on the Sentai box and Chunibyo I may well pick up but it depends on their packaging in comparison to the US boxes and may just single dip on the Sentai Set.

Manga, I'll probably still buy if there isn't a nice box released state side (unless that nice box has an aniplex price attached). But feel less inclined to double dip if their offering is something that has been released as a Funi LE...
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
At the moment, my collection is about 60:40 with UK:USA releases. I started with UK releases, then imported a lot more for a while and I'd say it's maybe closer to being even again with Anime Limited having joined the scene.

The main reason I import is availability, there are a lot of shows that just don't get UK releases. If I think something might get a UK release then I'm more likely to hold off, time isn't usually a major factor for me and I'm generally happy enough with a cheaper UK release a bit later. I do like fancy releases but I'm mostly buying for the show.

Availability of Blu-ray is also a factor for me, I don't buy many shows on DVD these days. If the UK release is DVD only and there's a Blu-ray alternative then I'll almost always go with the import (even if it means saving up and getting it later).

If the UK release is significantly inferior in terms of disc quality then I'll usually try to import an alternative. I can be tolerant of slight flaws but even then it's frustrating, especially when UK releases are often copies of another release in the first place (which also means we usually get any flaws that were on the original too).

In general, I might tend towards a UK release just for the convenience. Not having to worry about potential import charges or region code issues is nice. Still, in a sense this type of benefit for a UK release can be kind of "artificial" since they're imposed by outside forces rather than part of the release itself. If they didn't exist, I wonder if more people would be inclined to import (and if it'd be easier to import through regular shops). As much as the BBFC is a nuisance, they probably also help make sure that UK companies don't get as much competition from outside.

I don't think there's a "one-size fits all" solution for the UK anime industry because people have very different expectations. Anime Limited are doing something new and different to the other companies but that's probably working more because it was a gap in the market than it's what everyone should be doing. There are plenty of people who just want the cheap and basic releases that MVM (and I guess now Animatsu) provide so there's room for both. I'm really not sure if there's room for another Anime Limited style company, they might end up competing for the same customers and both struggling in the end. I guess it depends if they can manage to bring in different customers by offering different kinds of shows.

As to the "big question", I have mixed feelings about it. As long as there's a viable alternative to get hold of the products I want, I'm not sure why it should have to specifically be from a company based in the UK. At the moment, the UK companies do seem to be at least making it easier to get some shows so I think they're worthwhile but I'm not sure I'd say they're absolutely essential. If the UK companies all disappeared tomorrow, it might make it more difficult to get anime but it'd still be possible to get quite a lot. I think it'd be a little sad to have no UK companies but from a rational point of view it might not be so bad.

I do tend to prefer buying from companies that I feel deserve my loyalty, Anime Limited being a good example because it feels like they try to communicate with customers even if they can't please everyone. I guess it's easier for companies with a UK base to stay in touch with and UK fans and keep track of what they want so that would also make it easier for them to earn my loyalty, at least. I know some people are against the idea of loyalty to companies because it's business and not really personal but I get more out of a purchase from a company if I feel they actually care (even if it's just good PR) so I think it's worth something to me.

I think it's interesting that most of the UK companies essentially act more like distributors since they're generally releasing someone else's discs. Aside from Anime Limited, it's not common for us to really get a "new" release so much as a cheaper repackage (and even some of the Anime Limited releases may count to an extent). I don't know if that really matters, I certainly don't mind, but I wonder if it's too easy to get attached to the idea of anime releases being "made for us" in the UK when in reality we're mostly getting releases from elsewhere. I suppose in the extreme, any release outside of Japan isn't really original but at least there's some work that goes into subtitles and so on for some releases.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
Short answer: Lack of faith in glitch-free releases, lack of trust in the UK's biggest anime distributor, and being old enough to have the knowledge and resources be able to buy whatever I want from wherever I want.

Long answer: I import heavily. Part of the reason is that those shows which aren't ever going to be considered 'classics' often happen to be my favourites. I discovered long ago in the days of VHS that if I wasn't willing to shop overseas, I wasn't going to get the anime I wanted. I imported Rurouni Kenshin and Yuu Yuu Hakusho from Japan when it seemed unthinkable they would get a US release, and Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2 from the US when the UK wasn't going to give me the option to own them (it still hasn't). If I was only sticking to the big shows that find their way to the UK I'd never have become so deeply passionate about anime in the first place.

This is still true today. MVM and AL tend to dip into different genres, but part of why it's been so easy to maintain my boycott of Manga/Kaze titles is that they almost never release shows I would have wanted in the first place (and when they do, the quality is not up to my standards). I'm not blaming anyone for this; obviously the companies should choose the titles they think will sell best, and as it turns out I don't have very marketable taste.

But since importing is something I have to do anyway, it's just as easy for me to sling the FUNimation release of some mainstream title on my regular US orders as it is to buy locally - the high street is literally dead where I live, and the only advantage of buying locally is to save a few pounds or to pay the thieves at the BBFC for the terrible work they do. When the UK release is just going to be an inferior version of the same masters, it makes no sense to wait. What are the UK companies giving me for waiting? Where is my One Piece stream? When FUNimation drops some show I like in the US due to bad sales and the UK release depends on the US one, won't buying the US versions have more of an effect on future releases than buying here? Why can't the UK companies bally well watch the discs through once before releasing them with catastrophic subtitling errors?

That's how I felt up until a couple of years ago. Beez gave me some hope but we all know how that ended up.

Today, MVM and AL are the only two companies in the UK I consider relevant as they've been trying to take what's working about the anime market in the US and make it work for the UK too. I'm vocally supportive of MVM's NagiAsu experiment as they participated in the US release too, proving their relevance and helping put together a nice package for everyone (it helps that it's a cracking show; I can forgive the ugly BBFC logos and the extra wait). They don't talk much but they are definitely listening to what people want and trying to find a middle ground, and they're even releasing female-orientated titles instead of parroting off the self-fulfilling prophecy that women don't buy anime when barely any is released for them to begin with - women in the US and Japan don't seem to have any problem feeding money into the market. I'm happy to support MVM releases when I can see they've done their best to give us a decent alternative to importing.

AL are more communicative and Andrew is obviously a big anime fan too, so they've been trying to reimagine the US 'premium' model for the UK market and drawing from other US strategies. They've had some struggles along the way but what they've accomplished in the short time they have been around is staggering, and sometimes we even get things the US doesn't - I'm a big importer but I'll definitely double dip if a local release can pull something like that off. AL is also integrating streaming into its business model in a progressive way, and most importantly I feel that if I support AL releases, I get something out of it. In the short term it might be an exclusive artbox or glitch-free release, but more importantly I feel that Andrew is likely to be building up our reputation as a market in Japan and finding ways for some of those deadlocked US-only streams to be UK-viewable, and even putting together cinema screenings!

I don't see any future for a region which rehashes a small selection of US releases with BBFC logos plastered on top of the American artwork. I do see a future in what AL is trying to do.

I also think that the situation with some restrictions is inherently unreasonable. For anime buyers, region A is so huge that a region A BD is effectively region free, and yet US discs are often region free anyway. In the UK, region free discs are rare and they're mostly released by major studios simplifying their production lines by pressing the same disc for multiple regions. There is literally no impediment to anyone playing back a BD from another region anywhere in the world other than the annoyance of having multiple sets of hardware or software tools, it's a made-up solution to a non-problem perpetutated by stupid licensing agreements.

I rarely buy non-anime discs but when I do I'm much more supportive of the UK publishers because their discs are region free and usually identical to the US editions, without all of the quality control issues we regularly suffer with local attempts. I have become firmly convinced that the US is better at making BDs than the UK, or Australia, and I have neither the money nor the patience to continue supporting an inferior process in order to be locked into an inferior region. We all suffer from the industry's haphazard approach to streaming, too; how can the industry consider itself global when countless potential fans who speak English are locked out of English-subtitled streams just because they live in a non-English-majority country? Why are we misleading the Japanese licensors into thinking that all that's required for a worldwide anime release is a stream in the US and Japan? Why are we signing (or supporting releases which result from signing) contracts which lock by language, by location and by player region? I'll tolerate it to some extent because I have to, but it's all a terrible mess and the only people affected are the most loyal buyers who would have supported the product anyway.

What really annoys me is all of the hand-wringing and excuses about restrictions at conventions when I know the same restrictions don't apply in other regions. We all understand that Japanese companies are hard-headed and that Japanese culture promotes a very distorted view of what foreigners want and need. As customers we have no power to change that, so I expect the UK distributors to be speaking out on our behalf and changing things for the better on our behalf, not fighting against our interests as I strongly suspect happens on some occasions. One of the things I love about Andrew is that he's completely transparent about what he can and can't do and why he makes the choices he makes; it makes me want to trust him, and he seems to take all of our feedback as customers and fellow fans extremely seriously. That's the kind of thing which makes me buy local when a similar release exists in the US; the belief that supporting the industry will enrich the anime industry in some way, and enrich my experience as a fan. The 'traditional' repackaging model doesn't do that and if it's a choice of that or nothing then I'd rather the local industry simply went away.

R
 

Lutga

Mad Scientist
I think the thing that frustrates me the most (aside from the length of time it takes shows to come out over here, and the fact that so many UK releases are essentially 'reliant' on the US/AUS to have created the assets first) is that due to the realities of the UK market, it's become pretty evident that certain titles - usually anything older than the past four years or so, is likely never to come out here.

In the US Diskotek have made a fantastic effort at salvaging the kind of old titles I'm sure fans of retro anime would kill for to have over here - meanwhile Funi's discount lines ensure staple shows stay in print. I'm sure nobody really cares if the likes of IGPX and Area 88 stay OOP in the UK, but shows like Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Excel Saga and Eureka Seven deserve to be kept in print.
 

Lavigne

Great Teacher
For me, it's availability, or lack thereof, plus the overall superiority of the package. Granted, you pay more for it, often a lot more, but for my favourite animes I'm quite happy to pay it.

I've nothing against UK distributors per se and am happy to support them where possible - AL for example, I have all their releases so far and haven't felt the need to double dip on any of them. MVM also I tend to use, especially their DOTW, where I pick up anime that I have a peripheral knowledge of, or perhaps no knowledge at all. Animatsu have started off well enough as well so I'll probably continue to pick up some of their shows as well.

There are, however, some shows that simply won't come out here - the Macross franchise being a prime example. It just isn't going to happen. Even if, by some miracle, it did, then the packages could never match their Japanese counterparts, they're just blinded up to the eyeballs.

If they did eventually get western releases then I'd double-dip on them, which is likely what I'd do if and when Eva comes out.
 

Mangaranga

Za Warudo
The simple answer for me is that I will pretty much always import. As others have said, why on earth would I wait for an copy of the US disc in ugly packaging? Being "that guy" who wants the best quality possible, it's also better to import as some of the best US releases are downgraded for the UK/AU too - titles from Aniplex, and even some which Justin Sevakis has worked on like Accel World and Blood Lad are examples of titles which don't match up to the US release.

I bought a region free BD player back in 2012 and I don't regret it at all. I import pretty much everything. After a miserable few years of BD cancellations and lack of BD releases back in 2011/12, the UK industry was pretty much dead to me. Manga was releasing most titles only on DVD, MVM were still DVD only, Kaze's releases were atrocious. Sure the US releases were more expensive but you got titles earlier, on the format you wanted, had a much larger selection and were sure that they'd work properly. Even today there are still many shows that are unlicensed or DVD only in the UK.

Anime Limited are pretty much the only reason I actually care about the UK market anymore. I'm extremely supportive of the model they've followed from the start, and it's quite the rarity to have a company which is so active with the audience, obviously passionate about what they do and yet transparent at the same time - and that goes a long way. That's especially the case after the approach other UK companies have taken in recent memory. I boycotted Kaze ages ago over their BS releases and nonexistent communication, I still take issue with MVM's ugly as hell presentation and occasional defective releases, and I couldn't give a toss about Manga anymore - especially after their string of defective releases last year and their refusal to even acknowledge them let alone do anything about it.

TLDR: I import 99% of the time (Excl AL titles) due to a mixture of earlier release dates, equal or better A/V quality, better packaging/presentation and general resentment toward some of the UK distributors over the years.
 

NoSurprises

Straw Hat Pirate
I don't feel like the kind of people who post on an anime forum are your average consumers anyway? So we're probably a minority of buyers? I dunno.

I import stuff as it's really easy to do now. Hell, I can get stuff delivered by amazon.jp quicker than it comes from Zavvi normally...

Prerequisites for me are;

Is it out in the UK on Blu-ray (or within a month or two of the JP release)?
Does it have English subs?
Do I have a real interest in the show?

If the answers are No, Yes and Yes respectively, I don't understand why people would expect me not to import? The almost guaranteed to be at least as good a quality release as the domestic one is a bonus too.

I do draw a bit of a line though. I was kind of interested in Fate Zero, but the price for the import made the "kind of" part really hard to justify. MVM's release was a Godsend in this respect. I do feel a little bad about their Blu-ray release of Champloo bombing, but I didn't quite understand the logic behind the release? It'd been available for quite some time on Blu-ray in a region B format in the US, anyone with any interest in the show had surely already picked it up? As like I said earlier, it's not particularly difficult to do, probably about the same price too.


It feels something along the lines of:

I imported all 4 GitS Arise movies because I wanted to watch them.


Had I opted for the UK release:

Cross fingers hoping someone bothers picking them up.

Manga releases the first 2 parts almost a year after the first JP release.

Manga goes totally silent with the weirdness involving Animatsu.

Cross fingers hoping the second half actually gets a release.

Almost another year later, a listing appears for the other 2 parts.

Had I inquired about it I'd have probably just got a "No news at this time" reply, if any reply at all.

(I realise English dubs take time, but I was much more interested in seeing how the series turned out, rather than how it sounded. I understand that some peoples priorities may be different and that the wait is probably justified in that respect.)


Edit: I'll stop importing if it gets me a region B/2 copy of Nichijou...
 

BanzaiJedi

Pokémon Master
Looks like I'm one of the few on this forum who is generally content enough with UK releases, mostly because the main grievances most people have with them don't really bother me too much. I never skip the OP/ED so I don't care about chapter markers, and I also don't care what colour the subtitles are or if the BBFC rating and company logos are on the artwork (if the rating was similar to the monstrous Australian equivalent then I would have problems with it, but in comparison the BBFC rating and various logo's are downright subtle). Add in the fact that most UK BDs these days are almost identical copies of US/Aus releases and I see even less point in importing. In fact, the only UK releases I've ever bought which I was unhappy with are Bakuman (subs) and Ouran (squished video).

As for a choice between a UK DVD and a USA BD, I will always go for the UK DVD even if it is a step down in quality (I view BD as a preference instead of a necessity). I can usually buy two UK DVDs or even a nice AL collector's edition BD for the same price as importing a single basic USA BD. Add into that the cost of a region-unlocked BD player and it's simply not worth it to me. I'm not saying that I always go for the cheapest option as I always choose BD over DVD if available domestically and buy Collector Edition's where possible, but I can't ignore the fact that importing everything would severely curtail the amount of anime I can buy each month.

That's not to say I have no imports at all, but I only buy a few of my favourite series that I'm sure will never appear in the UK (so far only Chihayafuru and Initial D), and those are on DVD which is much easier to watch than BDs when in the wrong region.
 

britguy

Za Warudo
BanzaiJedi said:
Looks like I'm one of the few on this forum who is generally content enough with UK releases, mostly because the main grievances most people have with them don't really bother me too much.


Nay yu're not, I'm in the same situation as you :)
 

Lutga

Mad Scientist
I'm the same too - I have to admit when people talk about audio/visual/sub issues, most of the time it goes right over my head. I don't think I've ever noticed something like that even once, so my attention to detail on that front must be pretty small.

So yeah, when it comes to the UK vs. Imports my only grievances really are more focussed around the simple unavailability of certain titles/Blu Ray versions here - to be honest, as it stands I'm happy to wait slightly longer too as I still have a massive backlog to work through.
 

serpantino

Thousand Master
Poor timing really annoys the hell out of me.

I've never been bothered with some of the common issues on here though (non-removable logos on artwork, KAZE's authoring decisions.)
 

qaiz

Pokémon Master
For me, I just want the superior edition, which is always going to be the Japanese set in my eyes and nothing will sway that, so in that sense true to myself I'm both stubborn and an immovable object. Of course in the end it depends where your priorities exist. For some, the cheaper price makes the UK sets superior, and the English friendly nature of them is a huge boon, or the US may be seen as the way to go due to them being both English friendly, cheaper than the Japanese counterpart but also coming out earlier than the UK sets (generally).

For me, I love graphics design, packing and art and the Japanese sets are always better. I'm a part of the niche no doubt, most people just want to pop into HMV (people still do that, right?) and pick something up or purchase a copy on Amazon, but for me if I buy something, its for the packaging and such which is why I buy and import laser-discs and CD's even-though nobody uses CD payers these days and I certainly don't use Laser Discs although I do own a player, but the same could be said in regards to physical media as a whole which is on a downward trend, with digital distribution becoming more viable for many people (although not everybody, many can attest to that).

Although time of availability isn't an issue per se, I won't deny that a set coming out months or years later than the US puts a damper on things, but even then there's always a caveat, like The New Files being DVD only, same with Aku no Hana. At that point, if I want an English friendly release, I'm going to go the the US. And I'm not the one to wait for somebody to pick up say Evangelion, Angel's Egg or Millennium Actress on Blu-ray when I can and have imported the sets right here, right now.

It's not a complicated issue for me, I just default to the Japanese sets. No English dub or sub? I'd still get it over the UK or US sets. Costs £1000? I'd still go for it, because I only watch and buy series that I care deeply about, I'm not one for having 1000 DVD's and BD's on my shelf, instead I focus on particular series. I've probably spent more on various Evangelion releases than most people have spent on their entire collection, that's ultimately how I roll. I invest in the property and franchise itself, and of course I want the best release possible.
 

Lutga

Mad Scientist
Yeah - I suppose it's interesting to see how it relates to the stage people are in their fandom too. Like you say, some people only purchase the shows they truly love and adore - and will be willing to pay any price for them.

Whereas, at the stage where I am in my fandom, I'm still trying to watch a lot of older shows to bring myself up to speed on stuff, and am largely just looking for the cheapest way to obtain them in good quality.

I started getting really 'into' anime around early 2013, and didn't start streaming new shows in earnest until just last summer - so it's only really in the last few months that I'm being presented with the question of potentially buying UK physical editions of shows I watched week on week streaming. Whereas before I'd blind buy lots of shows just because I wanted that new experience of something to watch, I suppose now where the pool of universally agreed upon 'good' shows is getting pretty small for me because I've caught up, I find I'm being more selective with what I buy.
 

qaiz

Pokémon Master
Yeah, as weird as it may sound, I don't care for new series, I'm very much infatuated with the 70's, 80's and early 90's and as such I really only buy and watch those old legacy titles. Things like Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, Cobra, Patlabor, Macross, Gunbuster are series that I own on Blu-ray and didn't mind paying over the odds for. In a sense, it makes it easier for me to focus on what I buy so all of a sudden paying £150 for Eva is perfect because I don't have anything else I plan on buying for the foreseeable future, I just have a hit-list of classic titles I want to buy, with the next one being the Megazone 23 blu-ray this November. Any gaps that I have in my collection (say the Galaxy Express 999 TV Blu-ray set which will cost me around £1000 overall) I'll chip away at a bit at a time. Everything else is cannon fodder. I've watched anime since I was a child, but I'd hazard a guess and say most of you have seen more series this year than I've seen in my lifetime.
 
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