Episode #0115 (10 February 2008)

We cover anything and everything Dragon Ball in hopes of enlightening... and a little bit of entertaining. Hosted every week by the Kanzenshuu staff and regular special guests from the professional and fandom communities. Your first, best, last, and only Dragon Ball podcast!

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Dogasu
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Postby Dogasu » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:34 pm

My big thing is that in all these type of discussions, the anime fans are always depicted as being blameless. While yes, anime companies do need to adapt and come up with new business models if they want to stay in business, the anime fans shouldn't be off the hook either since they're just as much to blame.
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Postby Herms » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:16 pm

Dogasu wrote:My big thing is that in all these type of discussions, the anime fans are always depicted as being blameless. While yes, anime companies do need to adapt and come up with new business models if they want to stay in business, the anime fans shouldn't be off the hook either since they're just as much to blame.

Perhaps a problem with this discussion is that different people are talking about different subjects. For instance, you keep using the word "blame", which I think is an essentially moral or ethical concept, while desirecampbell is talking purely about economics. So in his last post, he said:

desirecampbell wrote:As a consumer, you have the right to spend your money on whatever you want. You don't even need to explain why you did or didn't buy something. Your money, your choice. The same right that allows you to buy the season sets also allows you to not buy the season sets.

Mike's post is right on the ball: consumers have no obligation to producers.

This is all correct from an economic point of view, but I think ethically it's a bit different. If you were to find that a friend of yours consistently bought products that supported racist organizations, you would probably think they were doing something wrong. As a consumer, they have every right to spend their money on what they want, but as a person, it could at least be argued that there are some things they morally shouldn't buy. So when people like Dogasu argue that anime fans have certain obligations to anime companies, I think they're talking about moral rather than economic obligations.

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Postby Genki-Dama » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:59 pm

Gen Fukanaga's Uncle is a pretty cool guy.

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Postby desirecampbell » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:57 pm

Herms wrote: If you were to find that a friend of yours consistently bought products that supported racist organizations, you would probably think they were doing something wrong. As a consumer, they have every right to spend their money on what they want, but as a person, it could at least be argued that there are some things they morally shouldn't buy. So when people like Dogasu argue that anime fans have certain obligations to anime companies, I think they're talking about moral rather than economic obligations.

Morals are individual things. And I don't want to get into a scruples pissing match, but I can't even fathom why anyone would think it immoral to not buy things from some company.

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Postby Super Ghost Kamikaze » Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:44 pm

desirecampbell wrote:
Herms wrote: If you were to find that a friend of yours consistently bought products that supported racist organizations, you would probably think they were doing something wrong. As a consumer, they have every right to spend their money on what they want, but as a person, it could at least be argued that there are some things they morally shouldn't buy. So when people like Dogasu argue that anime fans have certain obligations to anime companies, I think they're talking about moral rather than economic obligations.

Morals are individual things. And I don't want to get into a scruples pissing match, but I can't even fathom why anyone would think it immoral to not buy things from some company.

Not buying the DVDs? That's just fine. As long as you don't get a bootleg or otherwise illegal copy. Then, it's basically stealing. Stealing from a rich corporation doesn't make it any less theft.

Now, the problem with Dragon Ball is that they continue to refuse to release decent season boxes. These new "remastered" sets are the closest they ever came to, and they re-cropped the show, right?

...if the show isn't being recropped so that parts of the screen are cut off(something I'm very passionate about), Then I'm missing out on what seem to be awesome sets.

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Postby Brakus » Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:54 pm

VegettoEX wrote:Perhaps that solution is suing the fans and sending out C&D after C&D. Perhaps it's co-existing...?


Come to think of it, maybe it isn't an either/or proposition - perhaps it's both. I guess it may depend on the quality of whoever is fansubbing the current hot anime at the time, or it may depend on how friendly or popular the fanbase has been to a particular series. Maybe it's a combination of various things that companies and licensors can do to help rehabilitate anime in the States.

I've heard a lot said about it, but there's a reason why Viz isn't shutting down all the Naruto "fan"-subbers... they're making money for Viz hand-over-foot by exploiting the show so Viz can in turn exploit the merchandise. That's "coping" with the situation and finding an interesting business model, that's for damn sure.


That's an excellent point. However, consider that Viz Media LLC is co-owned by Shueisha, who publishes Shounen Jump both here and in Japan. You're saying that if Viz can't make money off of Naruto through its DVDs, it should do so through the merchandising. Fine and dandy, and it keeps the cash flow going, but what happens if no one will buy the DVDs? What's going to happen to all the people that can't access any high-speed internet connections to Torrent sites that still want their Naruto?

Throwing this back to Dragon Ball, ideally there shouldn't be any illegal way to download Dragon Ball, but rogue sites continue to offer DVD-rips and MKV encodes of stuff that's readily available here in the States. In the case of Dragon Ball, I think FUNi and Toei are well within their rights to issue cease-and-desist orders to the offending parties. It's not like Dragon Ball is still in production with new episodes, like Naruto and One Piece....
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Postby Lavender Saiyan » Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:17 am

I would like to say something along the lines of downloading...

I'll admit, I do download certain Anime's. It's not something very proud of. But I do have a defence...I know this may sound like a load of BS but it's the truth. Most of the Anime created gets aired on TV before it's DVD release in Japan. So fans over there have an chance to watch a series for free and then later decide if they want to buy the DVD's. While us Americans only get the A class and some Upper B class Anime's on TV. Your DBZ's, your Naruto's...Death Note...One Piece, etc. But what about series like Solty Rei, Ouran High School Host Club, Black Cat, etc. Are we Anime fans expected to shell out $20 a DVD over a span of 6 DVD's per series (Based on a 24-26 Episode series)? There's no way we could keep up with every series we want to watch, which is why a lot of people (myself included) turn to downloading some of the lesser interest series.

In the recent Fukunaga interview he acknowleged the major cost is an issue. That's why Box Sets need to come into full bloom with every series. Instead of 4 episodes for $20...You get 12-13 Episodes for roughly $30.

Brakus wrote:-- You brought up how FUNi was this really evil company back in 1999 with the edited DBZ episodes and all that. But they were on TV -- and they wanted this to be on TV no matter what they had to do to it, as long as the licensor (Toei) approved. FUNi did what they needed to do to get exposure to the masses, and it became a juggernaut.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. People back in the day were much too hard on Funimation. If it weren't for the things that they did back then, I doubt Anime would be what it is today.
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Postby yamicell2501 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:41 pm

Yeah, the season or series box sets are definitely (for any anime series) are a step in the right direction. For me, I'd rather "buy in bulk" so to speak with any series, especially if it is something like 25-50 episodes long. Funimation does a nice job in doing this if one waits long enough.

I like the series Black Cat, but I, like Lavender Saiyan, didn't want to pay like $20-25 on single DVDs, and now it looks like my waiting has paid off as they're going to release the entire series in March on one box set.

Now, I just hope Tran's, Sven's, ect. heads and feet are not sliced off like the DBZ sets. lol
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Postby Dogasu » Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:57 pm

Herms wrote:Perhaps a problem with this discussion is that different people are talking about different subjects. For instance, you keep using the word "blame", which I think is an essentially moral or ethical concept, while desirecampbell is talking purely about economics.


I was also talking about economics in my post. I was talking about the kind of fans who download the fansubs but then refuse to support the series they like by buying any of the DVD's.

I mean, when the official release comes, they'll come up with grocery lists of excuses that include "I've already seen it and I didn't like it," "The price is too high," "I don't like their translations" (how many people do you bet are going to give FUNimation crap for not leaving the word "nakama" as-is in the subtitled script for One Piece?), "They didn't put the right opening on the disc," "I'm holding out for the boxset" (which they don't buy once it does come out)...the list goes on.

And yes, these can all be very valid reasons not to buy a release. But a lot of the times, they're just a cover-up for the real reason: "I'm too cheap to buy the anime I'm supposedly a fan of."

THESE are the types of fans who are too often ignored in these types of discussions, and THESE are the types of fans who are killing the industry. Yet all everyone does is look at the companies and what THEY should be doing for US.

It just seems kind of backwards, to me.
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Postby desirecampbell » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:12 pm

Dogasu wrote:THESE are the types of fans who are too often ignored in these types of discussions, and THESE are the types of fans who are killing the industry. Yet all everyone does is look at the companies and what THEY should be doing for US.
It just seems kind of backwards, to me.

Again, you fail to understand capitalism. These people have absolutely no obligation to the company. You don't think that the people who watch a show on TV and don't go out and buy the DVDs are harming the system - but that's exactly what these anime fans are doing. They're watching a TV show, and they don't want to buy the DVD releases of it. There's nothing to fault there.

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Postby SonGokuGT » Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:07 pm

Very good episode, DiazEX Team!
Nice commentary on FUNimation and the state of the industry. Now I can't wait for your Fansub/Piracy topic!

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Postby Dogasu » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:13 am

desirecampbell wrote:These people have absolutely no obligation to the company. You don't think that the people who watch a show on TV and don't go out and buy the DVDs are harming the system - but that's exactly what these anime fans are doing. They're watching a TV show, and they don't want to buy the DVD releases of it. There's nothing to fault there.


Watching a fansub, deciding they don't like the series enough to purchase it, and then deleting the files is one thing. But the people I'm talking about who download the episodes, watch them multiple times, burn them to DVD's, take screencaps, and/or make AMV's with them really should be buying the DVD's. Yet everyone is too wrapped up in their discussions of what the anime companies should be doing to realize this.

I don't mean to sound like an old man out on his front yard yelling at a bunch of kids to get off his lawn...but back in my day, fansubbers at least pretended to have a sense of ethics. They carried warnings to delete the files 24 hours after you watched it. They were created to get people into series that hadn't been licensed in the States yet (or as a way to enjoy series that had no chance of hell of ever being licensed). And, when a series did get licensed, the fansubbers took down their fansubs out of respect for the companies who paid for the rights to release the series.

Nowadays? They're mainly used for people who can't wait fucking six months to find out what happens to Naruto.
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Postby Lavender Saiyan » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:31 am

Wait a second, I've got a question for EX and Meri...You're so against the Fansubs...Yet you watch them...Are you saying that you actually BUY every series that you watch Fansubbed?
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Postby VegettoEX » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:05 am

Lavender Saiyan wrote:Most of the Anime created gets aired on TV before it's DVD release in Japan. So fans over there have an chance to watch a series for free and then later decide if they want to buy the DVD's.

This is absolutely the biggest ethical/moral/legal/logical defense we have.

Lavender Saiyan wrote:Are we Anime fans expected to shell out $20 a DVD over a span of 6 DVD's per series (Based on a 24-26 Episode series)? There's no way we could keep up with every series we want to watch, which is why a lot of people (myself included) turn to downloading some of the lesser interest series.

Nonsense. I did it for years (spending $20+ on a volume every couple months). People before me did it for years. The only thing that's changed is that now we have immediate availability of similar-quality-goods to satiate the desire to view (downloads). In fact, if you ignore the downloads, you have it way better than I did ten years ago; you're getting things (relatively speaking) extremely quickly after they've aired in Japan, the translations are light-years ahead of what we used to have, the formats available provide two versions on the same disc at a lower cost than just one of our older products, etc.

It's nothing more than selfish justification to say that you "can't" keep up with things. You choose not to keep up with things. If you don't have the money, you wouldn't have been watching them to begin with. That's the difference... they're available for the taking, and so you will immediately and invariably begin creating some sort of self-justification for obtaining them.

Lavender Saiyan wrote:People back in the day were much too hard on Funimation. If it weren't for the things that they did back then, I doubt Anime would be what it is today.

If no-one was hard on FUNimation, we wouldn't have gotten our subtitled DVDs.

Lavender Saiyan wrote:Wait a second, I've got a question for EX and Meri...You're so against the Fansubs...Yet you watch them...Are you saying that you actually BUY every series that you watch Fansubbed?

When on earth did I ever say I was against fansubs?

Dogasu wrote:I don't mean to sound like an old man out on his front yard yelling at a bunch of kids to get off his lawn...but back in my day, fansubbers at least pretended to have a sense of ethics. They carried warnings to delete the files 24 hours after you watched it. They were created to get people into series that hadn't been licensed in the States yet (or as a way to enjoy series that had no chance of hell of ever being licensed). And, when a series did get licensed, the fansubbers took down their fansubs out of respect for the companies who paid for the rights to release the series.

While I completely agree with you, it doesn't change the fact that the anime companies are the ones responsible for either protecting or advancing their own business model to sustain their existence. As Rym & Scott would say, this isn't a charity.

The digisubbing epidemic would be solved almost immediately if they would just do something about it. More often than not, they choose not to (see: Naruto). While technology continues to improve and those responsible can hide themselves easier than ever before, it's not like you're ever completely anonymous online (even going through TOR, you can be tracked down rather trivially).

If they want to protect their business model, they need to do something about what they perceive the problem to be. (BTW, this is what the music industry is doing.)

If they want to adapt their business model, well, I wish them all the luck in the world. As soon as someone can figure out how to do this, we'll all be ears.
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Postby desirecampbell » Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:04 pm

The thing is, it's not as cut and dry as it's made out to be. Sure, you (general 'you') feel great saying "I like the series, so I buy it when it comes out" - but what if... the releases are dub-only? Or the releases cost a million dollars? Or they only come out on laser disc? Yes, these are pretty ridiculous things to happen - but it illustrates that there are limits to such a statement as "I like the series, so I buy it when it comes out". There's some line between "completely free" and "a million dollars" that every fan is willing to settle on to buy the releases - it's just different for everyone - and there's nothing morally wrong about it. Morality is a singular, personal thing - and noone's morality is 'better' than another's.

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Postby Lavender Saiyan » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:39 pm

VegettoEX wrote:If no-one was hard on FUNimation, we wouldn't have gotten our subtitled DVDs.

I'm more refering to 1999/2000/2001.

VegettoEX wrote:When on earth did I ever say I was against fansubs?

On past Podcast Episodes, when reffering to Fansubs you've seemed to be against them. But it's possible that you were reffering to DragonBall alone being that it's fully available here in the states. I could have easily misunderstood. I'm sorry about that.
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Postby Dogasu » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:57 pm

desirecampbell wrote:The thing is, it's not as cut and dry as it's made out to be. Sure, you (general 'you') feel great saying "I like the series, so I buy it when it comes out" - but what if... the releases are dub-only? Or the releases cost a million dollars? Or they only come out on laser disc?


The great thing is that, nowadays, a good 90% of the DVDs on the market aren't dub-only, insanely expensive, or put exclusively on a format that nobody can play. Yeah, there's still that 10%...but it's only 10%, people.

Yes, at the end of the day, it's your money and you have every right to spend it the way you want. But if the anime industry continues in its downward spiral because you (general "you") aren't buying any DVDs and supporting the hobby you supposedly love so much, then you have absolutely no right to complain.
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Postby SonEric84 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:08 pm

I think it's okay to watch fansubs online as long as it's a series that has yet to be released in the United States and would be otherwise unavailable to us in a watchable form. For example, a friend told me about The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and I watched it subbed on youtube the first time through, then when the boxsets came out I bought them and own it officially. Personally, I always prefer owning the actual item (even with CDs, I never burn complete albums, only mixes) I'd much rather have the official packaging than some sharpie label or paste-on cheaply printed design.
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Postby desirecampbell » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:40 pm

Dogasu wrote:Yes, at the end of the day, it's your money and you have every right to spend it the way you want. But if the anime industry continues in its downward spiral because you (general "you") aren't buying any DVDs and supporting the hobby you supposedly love so much, then you have absolutely no right to complain.

Well, obviously. If someone is downloading fansubs and never buying the merchandise, they've no right to complain that the NA market is crumbling. Of course, they've no reason to either. Every North American distributor could close tomorrow, there'd still be new Naruto fansubs next Friday.

-edit-
And just as an exercise, if all NA distributors did go out of business, this wouldn't hurt the Japanese anime market. It wouldn't hinder new anime from being produced, nor would it slow production of current shows - it would not affect production in the least. All that would happen is eventually new North American distributors would open and start translating and distributing anime.

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Postby VegettoEX » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:10 pm

desirecampbell wrote:Well, obviously. If someone is downloading fansubs and never buying the merchandise, they've no right to complain that the NA market is crumbling.

See, that's what I've enjoyed about your comments thus far; you're not completely blind. Thanks for being here :).

desirecampbell wrote:And just as an exercise, if all NA distributors did go out of business, this wouldn't hurt the Japanese anime market. It wouldn't hinder new anime from being produced, nor would it slow production of current shows - it would not affect production in the least. All that would happen is eventually new North American distributors would open and start translating and distributing anime.

That's not entirely true, though. We're at a point where the American industry/market has a rather large influence on the "original" Japanese market. (We're seeing it in video games as well as anime, but that's an entirely different conversation :D).

Big O 2, as far as I understand, simply would not have been made had it not been for the American market (someone else with more authority on that series, please chime in if necessary). The three Budokai games came out in the US long before their Japanese releases. Other series have joint input and finances thrown at it from the beginning from American (and other) licensors. To once again cross-segment with video games, gaming companies toss money at anime productions with the expectations that video games can be sold to a worldwide market.

The market is far more global than it was in the day of VHS fansubs, and no-one's more aware of that than those looking to export their goods (read: Japan and anime).
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