wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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Get out of my hobby, you goddamn kids

Once in a great while I really enjoy being old. It allows me to rant at iggerant kids who have no sense of history, no apparent comprehension of economics, and think that "I got away with this" is morally equivalent to "I am doing the right thing." Hand me my cane, imma thrash some people and hopefully beat some sense into their heads. Since this is Sunday, let us start with the Reading, courtesy of jariten and revolutionaryjo.

This whole business of digital distribution is a pain in the ass for a lot of hard-working people, and I'm not talking about those worthless leeches at the RIAA. The music business has been one of the most corrupt dens of thieves in the history of these United States, and considering the competition in that field I'm saying quite a bit. So I don't cry much for the lads at WEA, Sony, Columbia, and the other labels whose main job is to fuck the Next Big Thing out of all the money they possibly can, while spending their spare time screwing the lesser bands and artists likewise. I'm totally on the side of musicians who use the Internet to get their music out, go on tour to make their bux and meet their fans, and generally avoid dealing with the big labels.

Authors aren't quite as well off, but they've never trusted/relied on the publishers quite as much as musicians, and are in a better position to deal with pirated e-book editions. This is mainly because people still prefer to read dead tree books and not e-books, though how much longer that's going to last is anyone's guess.

Now we come to the real point of this post, which is the anime business in America. Unlike the first two examples, distributors here in the States have to dub and sub anime before it can be released to the slavering hordes of otaku. This is because most of us don't read or speak Japanese well enough to follow Dragonball Z, much less the more complicated series. So on top of the licensing fee, you have the additional expense of paying people to translate the script and dub it into English. This is done as cheaply as possible, but even so it's not free. Now you have to get the product out there and sell it, which adds more expense for marketing. Finally, you need some profit margin so you can go out and get the license for the next series you have in mind. None of that expense, of course, gets recouped when someone downloads a fansub version off the net.

I was appalled to read the ANN guy's sneer (echoed by revolutionaryjo, who ought to know better) that "Fansubs are filling a consumer need that the industry is not currently meeting." Well, no shit. There will always be people who want their product RIGHT FUCKING NOW and don't want to wait for the distributors to hire professional translators when a bunch of otaku with too much time on their hands will do it for nothing. Nobody can compete with that - they'd go broke trying. Of course, this leaves the vast majority of anime fandom out in the cold, especially if they can't process subtitles while trying to watch the show.

I'm not going to even bother with the IP rights of the shows' creators. In a generation that believes "information wants to be free", that battle was lost long ago. However, unlike the music business, anime creators don't always have the option of freelancing. They may not have the tech skills to make it work, the inclination to make it happen in the first place, and besides, VA don't work for free even if you can make the pretty CGI work for you. So you pretty much have to have studios, and the studios are Japanese, and they don't adapt very well to change because they're Japanese. Anyone that seriously expects the head of Pioneer Electronics to be seriously concerned with the anime division beyond whether it's making money or not is kidding themselves. He's got bigger fish to fry.

It all boils down to money. If people download fansubs and fandubs, they're not going to buy the DVDs, and that's going to cripple or kill the US distribution market. I know bam2 and gohanvox; I know Monica Rial. I don't think they're out there parroting the corporate line on account of having drunk the Kool-Aid. They're people who know the business a lot better than some snot nosed punk at ANN who is basically asserting his right to destroy their jobs on the grounds that he wants his anime for free and they can't stop him from swiping it. Did it occur to this jerk that the domestic distributors have never had the kind of money required to seriously go after digisubbers/digidubbers in the way the RIAA has? Does he want ADV and Funimation and Gonzo to join the RIAA so they can bring that kind of muscle into play? Has he considered that companies operating on narrow margins are perhaps not very well equipped to make the adaptations he demands - and that the Japanese studios may not be willing to make those adaptations?

So you have to wait a year for fresh anime. Boo fucking hoo. I've waited ten years for Yawara!, punk. Show some god damn maturity and develop some patience. Or get out of my hobby kthxbye.

EDIT AND UPDATE: I am reliably informed by jariten that the "snot-nosed punk" has over ten years of experience in the industry, and I therefore apologize to both of them for assuming he was just another annoying teenage otaku.
Secondly, this has nothing to do with people sampling series to see if they like them, and everything to do with people downloading entire series AND NOT BUYING DVDs.
Tags: anime
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