Licensor requests have forced Sentai Filmworks to make the Blu-ray edition of Persona 4: The Animation to be English language only. You can get the Japanese language track on the DVD though.
I'm guessing this is yet another instance of the deterring of importing by Japanese fans, because unlike the DVD release, the Blu-ray is region free.
Even with DVD though it is rather simple to get a region-free or lets say American DVD player. With shipping fee to Japan a DVD player would probably only cost around $40 tops with how cheap they sell them for nowadays. So they can reverse import the DVDs just as simply with only one extra step...
You make a good point. The internet makes all of these restrictions seem futile, but unfortunately that doesn't mean they'll stop trying.
Man, reverse importation must be a serious fear for these Japanese studios. I want to see some real figures stating how much they actually lose by a cheaper blu-ray being released overseas seven or so months after they are released in Japan. Most hardcore fans will buy it at that point anyway, with only more frugal fans waiting so long that they wouldn't pick it up anyway....
Of all the moronic decisions.... The Japanese studios right now are seeing falling Blu-ray and DVD sales. They're seeing reverse importing (which is happening at an growing rate with increasingly shorter waiting periods between Japanese release and overseas release), and looking at that as a problem. What they should be doing is looking at reverse importing as an indication of what their problem really is. Namely, that if their sales are going down, maybe that's an indication that they should be reducing their own ridiculous prices. Small print runs selling to niche customers at high prices is just such a foolish business model to begin with. If they reduced their prices, they should see equal or higher profits from the increased volume of sales. Not to mention if you've got a higher volume of people who've watched the series thanks to those discs being cheaper, then you're also likely to sell more merchandise, which is where the real money has always been in the Japanese industry.
Yeah their prices are too damn high. For 2 episodes they want like 60-80usd. In the states we can get like 4-12 episodes for like 25usd.
It's even worse considering that even when a show is released in North America, it is always put on sale. Anime movies often go for only $15 and series for $45 and with the Yen being stronger than the dollar, they save a ton of money with reverse importation. I'm unsure of the adoption rate of Blu-rays in Japan, but in North America a lot of people are still using DVDs and although blu-ray anime releases are the best around, DVDs are still perfectly serviceable. As I mentioned above, importing a US DVD player is very cheap given their pricing, so if an anime fan in Japan really wanted to be frugal they could simply go that route. In the end the Japanese anime market is going to eventually need a change of some sort. Then again I suppose they are still profiting with their current business practice... similar to the game marketplace with their increasingly unpopular practices. As long as they still make money from it, they aren't going to care too heavily.
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