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Would you buy anime if the U.S. anime localization industry shifted to a business/sales model like the Japanese anime ma
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Posted 4/19/13
Based on this article:

http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2013/04/18-1/what-japanese-consumers-are-paying-for-this-seasons-anime

...as well as all of the comments on that article, particularly those pointing out how Aniplex has been doing "Imports" for some of their most popular series and pricing them closer to or at Japanese market prices. I wanted to see a more organized distribution of people's thoughts. I also kind of want to see how many people actually buy anime. If you feel comfortable, could you also let me know why you made the decision you did?
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42 / M / Canada
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Posted 4/19/13 , edited 4/19/13
I said yes but that is because I IMPORT TODAY. I only buy Japanese import anime, nothing localized for north america. So I don't mind the prices. I like supporting my shows DIRECTLY and that means I don't mind the import prices which are set up under the assumption that the disc sales are the largest contributor to recouping the cost of making the show. Buying localized discs does not directly support the show as usually a much smaller fee has been paid for home video rights.
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33 / M / Planet Sanno
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Posted 4/19/13
The Bandai Visual debacle proved, IMO, that the Japanese business model is not compatible with the U.S. anime / manga market. $50 for two episodes of a subpar show (e.g. Super Robot Wars: Divine Wars)? No, thanks, especially considering that U.S. consumers are used to paying those prices – often less – for entire seasons.

@ hpulley : More power to you for being a faithful importer! Unfortunately, most of the rest of us are kind of broke.
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20 / M / Norway, Oslo
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Posted 4/19/13
Dang thats expensive.
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28 / M / Bay Area CA
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Posted 4/19/13
The anime business model is only sustainable so long as otaku are willing to pay huge prices for small content and "limited edition" junk. It reminds me of watching the music and magazine/newspaper industry desperately clinging to their old business models and quickly becoming irrelevant. This also helps fuel the sameness and otaku pandering that manages to sell anime regardless of quality because the characters are moe and the humor is typical.

I can understand that back when all you had was VHS that 3 episodes per tape and selling it for $30 wasn't really out of the realm of reality. Now though they put 2 or 3 episodes on a bluray disc which could house the entire season with uncompressed audio and 1080p resolution and still have plenty of room for extras, the logic there is almost non existent. That said I am willing to import but only things that I don't think got the credit they deserved from Japanese audiences in hopes that my small contribution can make a slight difference.

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21 / M / Arizona
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Posted 4/19/13
I see why people buy imports but I have never seen value in collectors items. Things like post cards, art books and other extras while cool and all just do not justify that kind of price. I would consider buying a show only if it was like Star Wars - A New Hope kind of epic for me to even consider it.
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42 / M / Canada
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Posted 4/19/13

rcsatcrunchyroll wrote:

The Bandai Visual debacle proved, IMO, that the Japanese business model is not compatible with the U.S. anime / manga market. $50 for two episodes of a subpar show (e.g. Super Robot Wars: Divine Wars)? No, thanks, especially considering that U.S. consumers are used to paying those prices – often less – for entire seasons.

@ hpulley : More power to you for being a faithful importer! Unfortunately, most of the rest of us are kind of broke.


Things are worth as much as people are willing to pay for them but if that low amount that US folks are willing to pay won't finance a show that doesn't get much if any ad revenue then it will eventually stop being made. Is that what you want?

They are expensive indeed but it is all about choices. You have to choose what to spend your money on and I'm choosing anime and manga. Other people like to spend thousands on vacations or fancy clothes but I would rather not.


tommythecat wrote:

The anime business model is only sustainable so long as otaku are willing to pay huge prices for small content and "limited edition" junk. It reminds me of watching the music and magazine/newspaper industry desperately clinging to their old business models and quickly becoming irrelevant. This also helps fuel the sameness and otaku pandering that manages to sell anime regardless of quality because the characters are moe and the humor is typical.

I can understand that back when all you had was VHS that 3 episodes per tape and selling it for $30 wasn't really out of the realm of reality. Now though they put 2 or 3 episodes on a bluray disc which could house the entire season with uncompressed audio and 1080p resolution and still have plenty of room for extras, the logic there is almost non existent. That said I am willing to import but only things that I don't think got the credit they deserved from Japanese audiences in hopes that my small contribution can make a slight difference.



As I said, things are worth what people will pay. When otaku and crazy importers like me are no longer willing to pay these prices in sufficient numbers then they will need to figure something else out. Right now it costs $100000 / episode to make this stuff and it is no longer paid for by ad numbers since most of it runs at 2am when ads cost nothing. The model the created is the one we have today. When it is no longer sustainable, it will either collapse or transform into something else. For now, it's the business model they're using and this is the price otaku and importers pay.

Your logic or math is flawed. Even a compressed episode at 1080p with top quality audio takes up 8GB of space. If there are no extras you can put 3 episodes on a 25GB Blu-ray disc at this rate. An entire season doesn't fit at this quality level. It looks waaaaay better than what gets streamed, believe me.

If it is really 720p or 1080i then you can include more episodes or if the compression is higher but it doesn't look as good. I have some discs with higher content at 1080i60 instead of 1080p24 and you can tell the difference.

I import some real bombs that I love but sadly, adding one more to 300 buys doesn't do much. If a few hundred importers can get 500 sales on a show with 2500 Japanese sales then it might make a difference.
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28 / M / Bay Area CA
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Posted 4/19/13
Someone should tell all my other blurays they are breaking the laws of physics. Just because you can fill the space with useless bloat doesn't mean anything. Even with less than optimal compression a 24 min episode of anime would struggle to reach 1gig and have very little visual difference.
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27 / M / London, UK
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Posted 4/19/13 , edited 4/19/13
At Japanese prices, only the most hardcore fans and the rich can afford, or are willing to afford, to purchase so much anime.

These days we see far more 12/13 epers and they're often half-hearted or tell half a story never to be taken up on a second season. Personally I'd rather see ten good animes than twenty sub-par ones and, I would be far less confused as to where, if at all, to spend my budget.

We're seeing these short animes because it reduces the financial risk of failure (and sells mangas - no doubt publishers have their fingers in this jar), but ironically, high prices are capping the size of the anime fan-base and setting a higher willing-to-buy threshold, massively increasing the chance that an anime will flop and fail to sell though reduced diversity and greater expectations.

On that note, most people have a fixed budget for how much they're willing to spend on media, determined not only by wage but also lifestyle, other interests, commitments etc They're never going to spend beyond this budget; all high prices mean to consumers is that they can legally purchase less anime at no difference in profit to the publisher.

In the western world at least, in no way does it make or has ever been proven to make financial/business sense to overprice to such an extent and (tying in to recent post about illegal uploads) to prosecute downloaders as usually these are just big fans who have maxed their budget or can't obtain the anime locally or in their native language; these people are actually often willing to and do pay the most for their content.

On a personal note as well, owning a ton of discs with 4 episodes each, having to find, store and swap them whenever I want to watch something is also a MASSIVE pain in the butt. I also agree that beyond 1GB quality differences are minimal over 25mins and well within the tolerances of the accuracy of a hand-drawn image, especially to-budget TV animes as opposed to movies with detailed backdrops.
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31 / M / South of sanity.
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Posted 4/19/13
It's kind of bizarre how the industry works. They have a model in japan which apparently works but it doesn't fit how the U.S and many other countries function in the slightest. A few people as it is, may be willing to spend rediculous amounts of money on non-localized imported goods but they're missing out on a ton of potential funding with out proper foreign market strategy. I kinda wish crunchyroll would mediate as a defacto crowdsourcing manager for some of these series.

I think people would dish out considerably more cash if meant they were supporting the shows AND depending on contributions getting localized content for their tier contributions. With the amount of additional merchandise available in japan it would be pretty easy to create various tiers with additional content that a lot of people in the U.S would love to get but cannot with out importing, and without localization at that. Some people would spend big, but I imagine a lot of people would throw in a few bucks here and there if it meant reaching a goal that they'd be guaranteed another season of their favorite anime. Crunchyroll as a content provider would have more content to provide users with their fees as well.

This could of course backfire and we could end up paying up front for anime, which would be terrible.
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42 / M / Canada
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Posted 4/19/13

GMScribe wrote:
...
We're seeing these short animes because it reduces the financial risk of failure (and sells mangas - no doubt publishers have their fingers in this jar), but ironically, high prices are capping the size of the anime fan-base and setting a higher willing-to-buy threshold, massively increasing the chance that an anime will flop and fail to sell though reduced diversity and greater expectations.

On that note, most people have a fixed budget for how much they're willing to spend on media, determined not only by wage but also lifestyle, other interests, commitments etc They're never going to spend beyond this budget; all high prices mean to consumers is that they can legally purchase less anime at no difference in profit to the publisher.

In the western world at least, in no way does it make or has ever been proven to make financial/business sense to overprice to such an extent and (tying in to recent post about illegal uploads) to prosecute downloaders as usually these are just big fans who have maxed their budget or can't obtain the anime locally or in their native language; these people are actually often willing to and do pay the most for their content.

On a personal note as well, owning a ton of discs with 4 episodes each, having to find, store and swap them whenever I want to watch something is also a MASSIVE pain in the butt. I also agree that beyond 1GB quality differences are minimal over 25mins and well within the tolerances of the accuracy of a hand-drawn image, especially to-budget TV animes as opposed to movies with detailed backdrops.


Manga publishers don't have their fingers in the jar, they often are the major producers of the anime so they take a big cut of the anime profits and obviously take their manga profits as well.

I repeat, it isn't overpriced. It is priced on the supply and demand curve to pay for the making of the show. There are big hits that make big profits like the Monogatari franchise and surprise hits like Girls Und Panzer but most on average most shows hope to make a profit and many do not.

It is easy to store and swap discs, I think you are kidding yourself there. You put a series of discs on a shelf. They are labelled. You take the one off the shelf that you want, put it in the player, watch, remove disc, put back on shelf. Pull next disc off shelf... Repeat. Seems simple to me.
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31 / M / South of sanity.
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Posted 4/19/13

hpulley wrote:
It is easy to store and swap discs, I think you are kidding yourself there. You put a series of discs on a shelf. They are labelled. You take the one off the shelf that you want, put it in the player, watch, remove disc, put back on shelf. Pull next disc off shelf... Repeat. Seems simple to me.


This guy gets off his couch
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43 / M / Reno, NV, USA
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Posted 4/19/13
What something is worth is indeed what others are willing to pay for it, and thus inherently rather subjective. I like anime (which is largely why I'm even here on CR), but I'll frankly say not to the level of paying about US$500 for a season's worth of episodes. If prices were like that here in the U.S. (i.e. at the levels they are in Japan), I likely wouldn't buy them-- maybe a one-shot movie from a series I really really liked, but that'd be my limit. I wouldn't begrudge anyone else who is willing to pay those prices, and I wouldn't resort to stealing content either. I'd just continue to watch on CR (assuming it's still available as it is now in the hypothetical world posed by the OP), and content myself with figures and books (which I do buy and import at the current real-world prices). If anime were to somehow become a luxury item, like private jets and tourbillon watches, I'd be disappointed, but then I'd just move on to fill my hobby interest with something I more comfortably feel I can afford.
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42 / M / Canada
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Posted 4/19/13

Man_Of_Leisure wrote:


hpulley wrote:
It is easy to store and swap discs, I think you are kidding yourself there. You put a series of discs on a shelf. They are labelled. You take the one off the shelf that you want, put it in the player, watch, remove disc, put back on shelf. Pull next disc off shelf... Repeat. Seems simple to me.


This guy gets off his couch


I'm over 40 years old, I remember when we had to get up off the couch to CHANGE THE CHANNEL! And the convenience of our first WIRED remote... at least you never lost it in amongst the couch cushions.

Having multiple disks means multiple covers with beautiful artwork! For us, opening each box, looking at the art every time we view the discs... this is part of the fun. Multiple booklets with wonderful art, character pages, storyboards, interviews of cast and staff, multiple bonus CDs, sometimes posters, bedsheets, cards, cell phone dangly thingy mabobs that don't even go on my phone because we don't hang crap off our phones here, figures and other goodies. You can say they are overpriced junk but one man's garbage is another man's treasure and I treasure the artwork and bonus CDs.

And the extras like event footage, seiyuu interviews, bonus OVA episodes. All worth it to me! If the discs were nothing more than the TV episodes packed together in TV quality I wouldn't buy them. When I buy an anime movie sometimes that's all they are, the movie on a disc with no booklet and I do feel ripped off. But anime TV series makers understand their buyers: we want the exclusives, we live for them. A disc in a box is NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Not for the price they charge.

For Bakemonogatari I got the boxed set which only has 3 disc boxes and 3 little booklets with no bonus CDs. It was cheaper than getting the individual Limited Editions but you know what... it wasn't worth it! I can't justify owning the boxed set and scrounging eBay for the LEs too but now I wish I'd bought the LEs so it is LE only for me for now on. If I'm going to own it, I'm going to own it right.

But if all you want is a TV season in a box... by all means get your cheap boxed set.
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31 / M / South of sanity.
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Posted 4/19/13
And stay off his lawn!
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