Great piece at Vox about the dark side of the anime industry. An essential read. I haven’t watched too much anime recently (i.e., in years) but what I find particularly bothersome is that there’s a lot of money in this industry. But the end product is already pretty expensive. The only way to solve this is to have the industry be less profitable. How likely is that?
One thought on “Anime’s Underbelly”
Odd that there’s not a single word about how much anime production has been moved out of Japan to cut costs. Or the crazy-high retail DVD/Bluray prices (rarely discounted even a decade after release) that have long encouraged video piracy. Or the fact that until fairly recently, only downloading copyrighted videos was a (rarely-prosecuted) crime, not uploading them. Etc, etc, etc.
Twelve years ago in Tokyo, I found stores whose shelves were filled with very-gently-used DVD box sets that had been resold after ripping and uploading. Even at a third or less of their original price, they were more expensive than a comparable set in the US. Amazon has improved things, but it’s still painful to think about buying even a live-action movie from Japan, much less anime.
To take a simple example, the New Cutie Honey (1994) Bluray box set costs ?10,492 ($97.36). The identical coming-soon US release? $19.29. Per hour of video, that’s $33.68 versus $5.62. Once it comes out, I expect marketplace dealers on Amazon Japan to start carrying the import version; they’re sure to get some sales from people who have been balking at the high price of the six-year-old domestic product.
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