The Dish on Fansubs

Anxious times in the cartoon underground | CNET

Hat tip to Reason’s Edge for emailing me the link to this article.

Certainly this article has some valid points, but I would like to address one. The amount of DVD sales.

Bill from Reason’s Edge had this to say:

I’d dare counter that with the observation that the sheer volume of anime being distributed to the U.S. has exploded over the last few years, with studios even resorting to recycling old material. Couple that with the fact that the target “price” for a series is around $150-$200 ($20-$30 a disk, almost always 7 disks) and you get the buying public making decisions and deciding more carefully where they’re going to spend their money. In other words, to the consumer, “Wolf’s Rain” is worth $200, but “Battle Programmer” is not.

I have to agree with that. As much as I enjoyed watching the Fansub of “Twin Spica”, it’s not worth 20$ a disc to me for a seven volume series, in fact, most of what I have watched fansubbed so far falls into this category with the exception of “Bleach”.

To add insult to injury for anime hobbyists is the fact that there are some companies that license anime for the US market, and then promptly butcher it to make it more “America-fied”.

I think that these companies have failed to realize that anime is a niche market. Much like publishing an RPG, you have an audience that is established and is interested in the Japanese product. Let me say that again, the Japanese product. The person who is going to go out and buy anime on DVD is going to be between the ages of 20 and 35, have disposable income and by and large, does not watch these series in English. We’re not all that interested in the English dub unless you do a good job, “Fruits Basket” and “Saiyuki” come to mind. We also get really, really peeved if you edit footage from the show!

If you’re going to cut the show to shreds, we’ll go download the fansub and maintain a copy of that on our hard drives rather than buy a “watered down” product.

Google Naruto. Check all the message boards around the web where otaku around the country are scared that the show will be dumbed down, as was done with “One Piece”. It’s even more disconcerting now that Adult Swim has announced that they have no intentions to acquire the USA-TV license for Naruto. At least Adult Swim has some respect for the integrity of a product.

The moral of the story: The anime importation industry needs to learn to listen to the fans a little more and allow the fans to expand their customer base. One otaku is an infectious thing that will creep into the minds of others and spread the love for anime.