Friday, January 6, 2012

Was Gonna Talk About My Holiday Vacation, Then This Came Up...

As Anime News Network reported, Bandai Entertainment (Lucky Star, Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Cowboy Bebop, K-On!, and a bunch of other titles) is pretty much out of the anime and manga physical distribution game, leaving at least the U.S. market (since I don't really pay attention to the industry) to Funimation, Aniplex of America, Sentai Filmworks, Media Blasters, NIS America, Nozomi Entertainment/RightStuf International, Viz Media (wait...I thought companies were dropping like flies...still more companies involved in distributing anime to the U.S. than studios making feature length animated films in the U.S.)...

Okay, once the news broke out, there were a ton of comments explaining the problems that resulted in Bandai pulling the plug (or more specifically, Bandai's plug being pulled) from fansubs to overpriced products...I'm just curious as to whether the latter argument holds water (I don't feel like talking about the fansub issue since I can't think of a good system to combat it besides simultaneous streaming and maybe an ad-supported dedicated anime channel that is not video-on-demand like The Anime Network or only available from certain providers like Funimation Channel...anyway, you can read one opinion about fansubs on Kotaku...)

I think to keep the anime-is-too-expensive fact check simple, I'm gonna look at the price of the last four anime sets/discs I bought...

Title
Purchased At
Retail Price at Time of Purchase
Total Running Time (minutes)
Cost/minute
Sekirei Pure Engagement
(Blu-Ray + DVD)
Best Buy
$49.99
350
$0.14
Rosario + Vampire
(DVD)
Best Buy
$49.99
325
$0.15
Squid Girl vol 2
(DVD)
Amazon
$18.99
150
$0.13
K-On! vol 4
(Blu-Ray)
Amazon
$19.99
75
$0.27

Okay, it does look like Bandai is a little pricey compared to the Funimation and Media Blasters titles.  However, I still view it as a good value since I'm keeping the discs. and I still have to work just a little more than an hour (to account for income taxes) to be able to pay for a little over an hour of K-On!


The K-On! disc might have been cheaper if some U.S. based revenue was generated through ad-supported legal streaming or video on demand prior to release...just an idea (and I hope for the day when I can get both The Anime Network and Funimation Channel from the same cable provider).  But anyway, there are a lot of other forms of entertainment that cost a lot more.  (Heck, the true cost of cell phone service for many people is $3.00/minute if you only count actual minutes used, though I suspect that the true cost has dropped a little, but only a little, since the article was published)

So the takeaway from this exercise?  Anime is expensive, but so are a lot of other activities, like comics/graphic novels, sports, playing musical instruments, etc...If you really enjoy something, you should work in order to pay for the stuff others have worked hard to create for your enjoyment.

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