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A look on the Anime DVD market by Pithlit | DALnet #anime editorials

A look on the Anime DVD market

The obvious things to look at in this segment of anime production are of course prices and quality. I’ll be looking at four different DVD segments or markets (or whatever you might call them). The first one is obviously Japanese, next I’ll try and take a look at the Region 1 disks (USA and Canada) after that we’ll move to Europe and finaly the word’s gonna end up on so called ‘bootlegs’.

As I said, let us start with the japanese DVDs. All of them are Region 2 coded and therefor playable on all DVD players sold in Europe. As it is to be expected these DVDs carry the newest anime. So in this case we could talk about Anime Region 1 DVDs. Most of them are subtitled in english but not dubbed. If you like to be among the first people to own a certain anime on DVD these should be your first choice. But like every good thing in life this one has a ‘hook’ too… the price! They are insanely expensive… about 50U$ a piece.

Now let’s talk about so called official releases or Region 1 DVDs. Since they are licensed to the US companies they are all dubbed and subbed in english. The original soundtrack is also preserved since the companies know that not everyone likes their anime to be dubbed (in my oppinion dubbing ruins the magic). Region 1 coding prevents them to be played on European DVD players (as well as all the remaining regions). The additional english sound track might lead to the conclusion they would be even more expensive than the Japanese editions… surprise, surprise… They go for about half that price. About 25U$ is the average for these editions.

The Region 2 DVDs are of course quite another story. Not long ago they were almost non exsistant. But the Anime community here is expanding rapidly… and so is the market. I probbably won’t lie if I say it’s getting bigger than the american one. That fact shows in new editions coming out as well as early theatre releases (like Spirited Away that premiered in Berlin about six months before it came to US). The DVD editions are also getting ahead of the US ones (a nice example is FLCL coming out a month before the Region 1 release). They often come dubbed in English and French/German/Spanish/Italian, depending on the country that releases it. The subtitles also vary from country to country, but most discs come with selectable subtitles in all those languages. The original sound track is, of course, included. All those dubs and subs would make one think the price would be higher than the ‘official’ releases but you’ve got another surprise coming… they go for about 21U$ each.

The last segment I’ll have a look into are the No Region discs better known as ‘bootlegs’. Most of them are produced in countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan. They are really not very good quality DVDs but most of them are still better than the popular DivX (keyword most). I like to think their quality is custom made for the average asian who can’t afford Region 1 or 2 discs. Most of these ‘bootlegs’ only have stereo sound, no dubbs and very poor english subtitles. Most people like to think about them as ‘illegal’ but I have my doubts sice they have been sold for years now. Their prices go along with the quality. An average DVD goes for about 13U$.

The quality of the Region 1 and Region 2 discs is very good but it still depends on the various distributors. Most of the subtitling is also quite well done, but again… it depends on the distributor. The same applies to the ‘bootlegs’ but overall they are worse than the official releases. I must say I’m sorry I couldn’t do any review of the other regions but I really have no idea of what is going on there.

To conclude this thingy I’ll only say this… If you really want to support the anime studios buy the Japanese releases. Of course you’ll support them by buying the US and Europe releases too, but most of your support will stay in the distributors hands. If you have no money and/or you don’t care about the supreme quality go for the ‘bootlegs’. The choice is yours…

Monday, November 11, 2002

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