Really bizarre, I know. Well, this explains why they dropped the US license for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (not a big lost, since we’re getting it anyway).
But this still saddens me nonetheless, since ADV Films (despite some stupid decisions here and there) was one of my favorite dubbing companies. Seeing them slowly going the way of Geneon is pains me deep down. Luckily, they’re managing to hang in there in the mean time… But seriously, furniture? Layoffs? Looks like they’re seriously stuck in a deep sh*thole…
While I’m not 100% certain that it’s a problem that’s really causing enough impact in order for this kind of thing to arise, I strongly believe that anime downloads on the internet will eventually lead to the certain death of the anime industry. In the United States, and other English-speaking countries for that matter, most anime is really niche compared to Japan (not counting those mainstream ones, they obviously make some decent profit being syndicated on television), with the fandom mostly being made up of geeks and
Asians like myself [<— cultural thing], so most companies survive through DVD sales rather than merchandise sales (the usual merchandise that are released here: some official artbooks and a soundtrack here and there). The common misconception is that fansubs help garner some attention to people who’ll become fans of the product, and buy the product when it eventually gets licensed into the US. Right? Wrong. While it’s true that fansubs help anime companies determine if a series has a viable market in order for it to be a success, would the “fans”, in the end, buy it?
It’s true that most HONORABLE fansub groups take down their subtitled episodes the minute that the series they’re subbing gets licensed, but some people still have the downloaded episodes in their hds. Quite a few of them go as far as to upload them onto YouTube/Veoh/crunchyroll/some other streaming video service, and the commentors are usually begging for more, rather than treating that single upload as an advertisement to buy the actual product (most refuse to buy anything). And when said videos are deleted…
Chaos ensues. Companies are flamed.
And the series eventually gets re-uploaded for more pirating pleasure. If you take into consideration the countless sh!theads who have the strange notion that any of their favorite series that get dubbed in the US become the bane of man (especially since the original version is obtainable through DVD releases)… this brings up a very good question: If these people can get something easily for free, why do you think they’ll be guaranteed to buy the legit products? If they hate the company for “ruining” their lives (or anime, i.e. the sh!theads), for that matter? Would they go out of their way to buy any merchandise that the company coughs up? DVDs are essentially a tool to test the waters to see if the series is a hit or not, only then would the company start making the merchandise, raking up the cash. Obviously, they won’t waste money on merchandising off the bat. If you think about it, supporting the company is just as beneficial to you as it is to them – all the real gems that you recieve relating to the series you supposedly enjoy would only appear then. Alas, it’s human nature; greed drives them to get the free variation of a product rather than a priced one.
Bottom line: anime is not a right, it’s a privilege. Hate dubs? You can always switch to the Japanese audio track. No money? Get a job. Too cheap? You’re not a real fan, sorry to say. If you are as you’re willing to claim to be, just halt those torrents for a while and get out; spend a few bucks on your favorite anime series. It’d probably do companies like ADV much better rather than the money they get while… selling all that extra office fodder. Seriously.