Anime Kiosk: A look at the progress made by MAG (Manga-Anime Guardians,) and what it could mean going forward, and how it could have an impact on piracy of Anime and Manga...and how it could not.
... the success of manga and anime in the west is largely built on 'piracy'. In Japan, people can turn on the TV and they'll have all these shows on TV for them to check out. If they REALLY like something, they can go out and buy the anime box-set and/or the manga. In the west, it just doesn't work like that. In most places, there is no dedicated Anime channel. It's hard to discover the good stuff you really like. And when occasionally it does hit stores, it's often ridiculously priced. If they want to fight piracy, the anime-industry should first invest in bringing anime to a much bigger audience in the west, through (free) anime-channels, showing the best and latest shows in Japanese with English subs. And they should release box-sets for a fair normal price. I'd buy a box-set of Kill la Kill with all 24 episodes for around 25/30 euro, but certainly never more than that. As a rule, they should basically keep 1 episode = 1€/$. And for extremely long running shows like Naruto, it should probably be quite a bit cheaper. Right now, manga is doing pretty well in the west. Prices seem reasonably fair, although still quite more expensive than in Japan, and the success of manga is mostly due to people first checking out the stuff for free online, and liking it so much that they want to own a physical copy. The amount of manga widely available in the west also means more people find the stuff they like and buy it. For anime, that supply just isn't there in the west (the demand IS), and the prices are absolutely ridiculous. I feel that if they crack down on manga/anime piracy completely, the western audience will basically just stop being able to check out the new stuff, which will result in people not knowing if they like a show, and as a result being unwilling to invest in buying the official product.
I see your point, and I think it's a good one from a consumer standpoint. I think if you're looking at it from the standpoint of the artist or production company, you have to ask, what right do you have that just because it's not easy to get to, do you have to pirate their work and have it without giving them anything? Then there's the elephant in the room that, while essentially harmless, piracy is illegal regardless of the material. I think both sides have a valid point. It's tough to actually get to watch an Anime or discover something new without pirating and it's expensive after the fact. I also don't think Japan is wrong in trying to fight it though.
Streaming outlets such as chruchyroll netflix and hulu help a great deal too.
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