The Temptation of Importing Anime

SnowWolf

Adventurer
It's no secret that the UK anime market is behind the US and Australia though things have improved in recent years and we are getting most of the newer titles or at least the popular ones. Still many of the older popular titles like original FMA, Rurouni Kenshin are things we can only dream of for now...unless we import. Many of us long since gave up and bought a multi-region player. Also when we asked Manga Entertainment UK about these titles we often got a response like this:



Now our patience has been rewarded recently with the startup of Anime Limited and their anouncements of Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, etc, but we may still have a long wait for many other titles.

I really want to support the UK industry, but it's tempting to get these titles from the US. However I really want to be able to share my collection with my friends and many of them don't have a multi-region player. Also what if my MR player breaks down and I have to make do with a standard one.

I do have access to the Australian versions as well and despite different regions, until recently they seemed to play on UK players. Hmm..., but their're really expensive ($56 for a 12 episode series, $89 for a 26 episode series)

I also know I'm going to be face-palming if the title gets released in the UK just after I've gotton the US import.

Do any of you face this dilemma?

Sorry to rant.
 

Animefreak17

Godhand
well first off id find the cheapest blu-ray player i can find and buy 2 of them.

i have a dvd player and blu-ray player both i unlocked to play all regions,

this is what i do when it comes to buying DVDs.

firstly - i buy all the uk releases and wait for the ones that'll get a UK release and buy those.
secondly - i buy the cheapest non region 2 dvds * if a series gets a uk release then il stick with the non region 2 dvd i got that did,
thirdly - i get the cheapest dvds in piles
fourthly - there are series that got a uk release but there second seasons, OVAs, specials, movies or more didn't get released here, e.g gravion season 2, big O season 2 darker than black season 2 , area 88 OVAs, banner of the stars, the list goes on, so when ever i get a series i make sure to get the whole series if there available then i watch them,

problem is that if you buy a series that you think wont get a release and does get a release your kicking your self in the head * i got the US release of one piece*

if you wanna ask anything else of me just ask.
 

SnowWolf

Adventurer
It would be nice if Manga UK could give us a list of the licences in limbo if only to stop us asking for them. It's not their fault, they would probably licence these titles in a heartbeat if they could.

Thanks for replying.
 

Y-San

Shinki
To be fair, almost any DVD player can be "unlocked" you just have to take the two minutes to look it up, online. If your friends can't do that or use VLC (if they have a computer) then don't lend to them, till they sort it out?

Possibly, you're best to start buying things you want that are either OOP here or have been out in the US for a while, since they're less likely to be licensed by this point.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I support the UK industry when they make it worth my while but otherwise I import. I'll buy from any region if it gets me a legit disc of something I want to watch!

I strongly condemn the pattern we've had here over the last few years where we get clones of foreign discs but released later and with inferior presentation. That's a good way to be cheap and sell to casual buyers, so I can see why the companies do it, but it doesn't make any sense to me. It's not even a real saving because so many discs are faulty or have weak PAL transfers that I end up buying the US version as well in the end.

When the UK companies add some real value by giving us something we can't just buy from the US (often more cheaply and faster), then I'm happy to preorder and show support. I think Anime Limited understands this. Then the Aniplex Situation presents another way that the UK companies can be competitive by using our position in region B as leverage to release outrageously cheap versions of Madoka Magica and Bakemonogatari while the US editions are fixed at a collector price. I bought the US versions for both of those with no regrets, though, as I wanted the nicer release more than I wanted to save money. I think more than one US fan has ordered our cheap versions so it probably balances out.

The BD issue has made it awkward as my lust for importing has meant all my BD hardware is region A so UK discs are even less desirable than ever. And I don't want to buy DVDs where BDs exist now I have so many BD players. I could buy a multiregion player, but the industry has to put out enough bug-free discs that I can't get from region A to make that worth the expense first. Given how expansive region A is, that's quite a lot of bug-free discs required ^^;

R
 

SnowWolf

Adventurer
Rui said:
I support the UK industry when they make it worth my while but otherwise I import. I'll buy from any region if it gets me a legit disc of something I want to watch!

I strongly condemn the pattern we've had here over the last few years where we get clones of foreign discs but released later and with inferior presentation. That's a good way to be cheap and sell to casual buyers, so I can see why the companies do it, but it doesn't make any sense to me. It's not even a real saving because so many discs are faulty or have weak PAL transfers that I end up buying the US version as well in the end.

When the UK companies add some real value by giving us something we can't just buy from the US (often more cheaply and faster), then I'm happy to preorder and show support. I think Anime Limited understands this. Then the Aniplex Situation presents another way that the UK companies can be competitive by using our position in region B as leverage to release outrageously cheap versions of Madoka Magica and Bakemonogatari while the US editions are fixed at a collector price. I bought the US versions for both of those with no regrets, though, as I wanted the nicer release more than I wanted to save money. I think more than one US fan has ordered our cheap versions so it probably balances out.

The BD issue has made it awkward as my lust for importing has meant all my BD hardware is region A so UK discs are even less desirable than ever. And I don't want to buy DVDs where BDs exist now I have so many BD players. I could buy a multiregion player, but the industry has to put out enough bug-free discs that I can't get from region A to make that worth the expense first. Given how expansive region A is, that's quite a lot of bug-free discs required ^^;

R

I've got the cheap set of Madoka Magica. It works for me because I'd never seen the series before so the collector's edition extras held no value to me. I think it's really funny how Aniplex are trying the get people in the west to buy at the Japanese prices and Manga Entertainment UK are just giving them the finger.
 

SnowWolf

Adventurer
st_owly said:
I know a few Americans who've imported our BR of Madoka. I think it ends up costing them about $50 including shipping.

Which is the cost of one of the 4-episode collector's editions if I'm not mistaken.

I've just broken my own taboo anyway. I ordered season's 1 and 2 of Digimon in a fit of nostalgia.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
SnowWolf said:
I've got the cheap set of Madoka Magica. It works for me because I'd never seen the series before so the collector's edition extras held no value to me. I think it's really funny how Aniplex are trying the get people in the west to buy at the Japanese prices and Manga Entertainment UK are just giving them the finger.

I think it's a good thing; people who want a nice version can buy the Aniplex edition and people who don't mind lower quality production and quality control can be pleased they got a bargain with Manga's barebones set. I hadn't seen the series before either, but I knew that Kajiura Yuki did the music for it so the soundtrack would be a must-have (among other things). Personally, I'm a fan of Aniplex USA since they release things fast and with quality control, two concepts the UK marketplace often struggles with.

The only thing I dislike about this new way of doing things is when the company releasing the nicest version tries to please our slower distributors by blocking exports. Or when they release lots of versions in different regions but they all suck in some way. But that's a rant for another day :D

The anti-importer sentiments seem to be mostly coming from the local companies themselves (for obvious reasons). A lot of people take up the fight and tut at people who don't want to buy locally without being offered a compelling reason by the companies, but most English manga is imported anyway, so I don't see why the anime industry should be exempted from trying to perform competitively. And there's no intrinsic advantage to buying locally when no high street shops exist any more (as in my town).

I've seen a lot of signs from all of the UK companies that they are trying to turn things around recently, thankfully.

R
 

cudwieser

Student Council President
Just to add my 2 scents.

I tend towards buying locally, but I'm not averse to imports. Most OOP stuff I import bu as has been said, if it's here then buy it here. Quality issues tend not to annoy me so any ebay fluff amuses me.

As for supporting the UK industry I do, but like a petulant child, when it drags it heels it'll be left behind.
 

Rosencrantz

Dragon Knight
In simple terms I support those who come through with the goods

US imports offer BD while the UK doesn't. UK releases are at best perfect copies of the US, but more often introduce errors.

UK companies are improving, notifying fans in good time of licences and this may sway me on some titles.

It's hard to let go of grudges, locked features on Kaze discs, skipping Code Geass S2 extras has seriously hurt there prospects of me buying from them as opposed to importing. Manga are starting to improve but It takes a good amount of time to restore confidence.
 

Ath

Pokémon Master
I always try and think of it like this. Get the product that gives you what you want and expect, and never feel obligated to support a release that does not. After all it's your money and you should spend it as you want to!

If a US release is more appealing than a UK release, whether it's in terms of picture quality, release date, pricing, packaging, on-disc extras, physical extras, BD availability etc, then buy it. The same holds true if the UK is better than the US release, (which was very rare, until the likes of Anime Limited started offering things such as Bebop on BD).

Speaking for me, when I want to get something, I want it on Blu-ray, at a price in line with what I would pay for other TV/Movies on Blu-ray in the UK, with maximum focus put into what's on the disc itself. Anything such as packaging and physical extras are bonuses that I consider optional. UK companies are starting to release more on BD in the future, and with stuff like Import VAT getting in the way and the death of PlanetAxel, that's why for cases like Steins;Gate, the UK release best suits my needs and will be the release that I get. A few years ago, when FMA Brotherhood's UK BD releases were cancelled, the UK release no longer offered me what I wanted and I went for the US release.

I've always thought the problems come when barriers are put in place to prevent everyone from getting the release we want to buy. Things like region coding, import VAT and others like that.

Anyway, my point is, get whichever release that gives you what you want. Whether it's from the UK, US, Australia, Japan, Mainland Europe or Antarctica :p
 

Wakey

Completely Average High School Student
I usualy hear about a series when it gets released over here, look for a blu ray, notice it's only out in America, Import.
 
I try not to import, and if it comes out in the UK, I'll usually have the UK version of it. The UK release has to be seriously gimped for me to get a US or AU version, either than or I'm after a Blu-ray release which isn't available here. Since I'm Region B only, I have to look for AU or unlocked US releases. But I do import shows that aren't released here, Gosick and Nichijou and Bunny Drop from Australia, and countless shows from the US that have never seen a UK release.

But only since Kaze have started releasing here do I look for a UK distro's titles abroad first before I consider the UK version. After all this time, they haven't rectified any of their production procedures, and keep releasing gimped discs. I have no confidence in them anymore.
 

PandoraHane

Vampire Ninja
I haven't ever imported, though I'm still fairly new to everything and tend to find there is quite a lot that has been/is being released here that I haven't seen yet. Also the fact I really know nothing about importing but I haven't really explored it yet.
Though I get tempted as well, nearly every favourite series I'm interested in watching (usually having read the manga) isn't available here. Then to top it off, they usually have a beautiful release elsewhere I'm almost positive we won't get. Right now I'm UK releases only but I can see the frustrations for sure.
 

mangaman74

Akatsuki
Wakey said:
I usualy hear about a series when it gets released over here, look for a blu ray, notice it's only out in America, Import.

This is me as well. Most of my UK anime bds are films (off the top of my head the only series I can think of that I own the UK bd are Freedom*, Devil May Cry and Highschool of the Dead).


* This is the first UK release not the more recent Manga one.
 

cudwieser

Student Council President
PandoraHane said:
I haven't ever imported, though I'm still fairly new to everything and tend to find there is quite a lot that has been/is being released here that I haven't seen yet. Also the fact I really know nothing about importing but I haven't really explored it yet.
Though I get tempted as well, nearly every favourite series I'm interested in watching (usually having read the manga) isn't available here. Then to top it off, they usually have a beautiful release elsewhere I'm almost positive we won't get. Right now I'm UK releases only but I can see the frustrations for sure.


Import is easier than you think and that's to get someone else to do it (ebay, amazon, united publications). To import any other way, such as rightstuf is fine, but most don't factor the uk for pricing making vat and duty an issue. In any case there should be no shame in importing as fundimentaly we need to support an anime industry, just ideally ours.
 

Mangaranga

Za Warudo
Simple, I go wherever I get the best product - 99% of the time it's not the UK, especially since the US gets most releases on BD. The UK is pretty crap for titles on Bluray - something which is slowly improving. As others have said though, what we eventually receive is a clone of the US disc anyway with the Manga logo showing on startup and a 5-6 month minimum delay between the US and UK dates. MVM on the other hand seems to be working with Sentai and Hanabee to put more titles out on bluray and without the terrible delays which Manga almost always suffers from.
Kaze's releases are pretty poor and I try to avoid them where possible, but they do put out some titles which are only in the UK at the moment.

By buying a US product as soon as it is initially released, most of the time of Bluray, and depending on the distributor (Aniplex/Funi/NISA) you can get some nice physical extras as well as cutting out the ridiculous wait. Most Funi releases come with an artbox, and NISA/Aniplex releases come with some nice physical extras. Sentai is the only disappointment as they never do anything special, usually don't have ANY on disc extras, and they also have 1080i video as of late to go with their annoying massive yellow subtitles - usually with spelling/grammar mistakes. Not exactly the best distributor recently.

cudwieser said:
In any case there should be no shame in importing as fundimentaly we need to support an anime industry, just ideally ours.
I find this point rather interesting. Where does 99% of the work for the English speaking releases happen? (Dub/Subs etc.)
In America.
If the US industry dies, then so does the Aus and UK industry. Part of me would prefer to buy the US releases at the end of the day to keep the releases coming - as a plus they just happen to be much better than ours most of the time.
 

cudwieser

Student Council President
The only thing I'll differ with you on Mangaranga is that there is a convenience of it being released here, even if, as some have said, it is a clone. While I can't effectively argue the quality issue (it simply doesn't bother me as much as some) I will still insist on the ideal of supporting the home industry due to the relative convenience, but an overall support of the industry is critical. Import good, Local support just as good.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
It's true, the standard way of releasing anime where we just get clones of the US (or Australian) discs means it doesn't feel as though we're really investing in the future of the anime industry at all. By the time something comes out over here its fate in Japan and the US (and therefore here too) has already been sealed.

If, hypothetically, a title sold quite well here but horribly in Japan, no more would ever be made anyway. And if it sold well here but horribly in America, no dub would be made for any second season (if it was even picked up at all). There have been plenty of series which never do well enough for the US to license their sequels. The UK performance months later is generally irrelevant.

I feel as though supporting foreign markets is better for my interests than supporting the UK, unless the UK is adding something to the process. Simply rereleasing another country's disc when I have to buy online anyway doesn't feel competitive.

Buying from Amazon.co.uk rather than from Amazon.com doesn't feel any more convenient (especially as with VAT-prepaid US shipping the parcels arrive just as quickly).

R
 
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