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AX2008 Article - FANSUBS: The Death of Anime
Writen by Kishiro
Posted on July 10, 2008 at 02:36:55 pm

How much do you like Anime? Enough to watch it I’m sure, but enough to steal it? Do you like it enough to actually pay for it? Do you appreciate it enough to give credit and payment where it is due to the people and actors who put so much time in to creating it?

This panel was also filmed and uploaded to 18 parts on YouTube.

 

The following is a summary and review of said panel. Quotes have been paraphrased and condensed, but all the information is still that originally given by the industry representatives.

 

FANSUBS: THE DEATH OF ANIME.

 

That was the name of the industry panel at Anime Expo I had the opportunity to sit in on and I have to say, at first I was sketchy on going in there. I thought it would be a biased meeting of people from the anime industry trying to spread propaganda on why people should only buy licensed Anime…

I was wrong.

 

Recent statistics mentioned by the industry representatives from such companies as Bandai and FUNimation, have indicated that the amount of hours that TV stations are showing Anime are increasing rapidly, along with the fan base of Anime in general.  However, even with those rising numbers the production of Anime DVDs is on the decline by 20%.  How can this be? With more fans, the sales of Anime DVDs should be on the rise according to the numbers.  The problem lies in the fact that fewer people are paying for their Anime. They are downloading it illegally, much like people have done with music, movies, and other TV shows.  They are watching consumer subtitled (FanSubs) versions of their favorite and new Anime, and helping to share them on the Internet and through burned DVDs.

 

FanSubs are illegal, plain and simple.  They are stolen rips of Anime that have been subtitled for free distribution.  Downloading them is the same as downloading and yes, stealing music—an act that has been cracked down by authorities over the past few years. One problem is that FanSubs are still a main way that the consumer discovers and watches new Anime, and to stay current on the stories.  It is after all very useful for getting the newest movies and series not yet available in America. But to the Industry, they [FanSubs] have always been a problem. They undermine the work of the artists, producers, voice actors, and all the crew involved in creating the Anime. Basically, there is no money going back in to the Industry after putting so much in to it to create these shows and movies, and that in turn is “killing the industry” by way of taking a toll on the profits needed to keep it running.

 

One of the representatives suggested a system similar to iTunes (or perhaps a new feature to iTunes itself) that would allow people to download Anime for one or two dollars per episode.  The question is that will people really pay for episodes of Anime? I’d say yes, since many people do pay for CDs and music from iTunes. The problem is that many more people still download music illegally, and so will people still do with Anime.

 

Fans want to see their shows right away. They read the mangas and wait for the TV and movie adaptations but unfortunately it is impossible to have them ready in America by the time they are ready to be released in Japan as they are made their first and have to be translated, lip matched, and dubbed.  It takes months upon months to do that, longer depending on the length of the series.  People have chosen FanSubs as an easy way to “get the right translations” for their Anime, and just happen to not pay for it as well.

 

FanSubs have resulted in the Industry’s loss of control on how their media, art, hard work, and content is used, distributed, and shared. It is being pirated, and sometimes, people make profits off them.  By paying for unlimited access to a FanSub website, you are not paying anyone but the owner of that website. None of the money goes to the people who actually put work in to producing those Anime.

 

Stealing is stealing, regardless of how it is done or what is stolen.  When you watch and download FanSubs that is exactly what you are doing.  If you want to watch Anime legally, you can either watch them on TV, through the official websites from the Industry, or buy the DVDs, until more methods are available.  TV stations have to pay for the rights to Anime to play them for you to watch, and you have to pay your cable or satellite company to get that TV station, so in the end someone is ultimately paying for that too. It is all a part of keeping the industry alive and putting money back in to what it costs to make Anime in the first place. If illegal acquisition of Anime continues snowballing at the pace it is at now, it will mean companies like SunRise, ShonenJump, FUNimation, and Bandai as well as others will produce less Anime because they are not making enough profits to keep up with the rising costs of production.

 

For the overall sake of the industry and to keep new Anime coming to us, please go through the proper channels to watch and enjoy your series and movies. There are many ideas in the works to get Anime out to people in America and around the world faster and closer to the times that they are released in Japan. Until then, please be patient and be mindful of copyright and licensing laws. Keep in mind that the industry doesn’t just do this for money, but for the fans also, and that they are working on getting the product to you as fast as they can.

 





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