Anime & Manga News

2.2% of Consumers Purchase 81% of Blu-ray in Japan

by dtshyk
May 24, 2011 1:38 AM | 65 Comments
According to a survey conducted by Japan Video Software Association, very small number of consumers support the DVD and Blu-ray market in Japan. 4.1% of the consumers spent >30,000 yen ($370) on DVD and Blu-ray software in 2010 and their consumption made up 67.4% of the whole disc media sales. Within the Blu-ray market, the tendency gets even stronger: 80.9% of the Blu-rays were purchased by 2.2% heavy users, who spend >30,000 yen on Blu-ray softwares a year. The biased distribution of consumers reflected the fact that anime videos account for 63.2% of the Blu-ray market in Japan.

In 2010, the percentage of DVD & Blu-ray buyers was 21.2%, down 10% from the previous year. However, the average expenditure on DVD & Blu-ray has increased by 30%: $289 in 2010 and $221 in 2009. These data show that the disc software market has been losing general customers and the heavy users have been getting even "heavier".

Source: Anime!Anime!

20 of 65 Comments Recent Comments

Hypeathon said:
Maybe so, but how much are you willing to bet that between TV broadcasting, box set releases of primetime TV shows, and pay for film rekleases based on high profile studios and names, the average number of people who consume any of this stuff is generally higher than in Japan?

Again, it's hard to compare a niche subculture like anime to primetime American TV or Hollywood movies. And note that the 2-4% number in this article refers to the whole home video market in Japan, not just anime.

I'll be frank here, I don't know where you got those numbers from, but over here Eva 1.0 sold 219,000 DVDs on its first week (look on the top of the top-selling DVD of 2008 article and it says Eva 1.0 sold over 297,000 copies total).

I said that was for Eva TV, not the Rebuild movies. I was illustrating how much bigger Eva is than other non-childrens' anime, and why it's not the best example because it's such an exception to the general rules. for all sorts of reasons, not necessarily a fundamentally different approach to storytelling.

Most anime fans don't bother to realize that storytelling in anime TV shows are often not only too quaint and profound for the average audience (forget about otaku or anime fans for one moment), but also really slow.

Quaint and profound? They're sort of opposites.

Regarding the lengthy discussion of storytelling theory, I'm not really going to touch that in detail. I feel like you paint all anime with too broad a brush, and that your suggestions to change it to suit the tastes of the mainstream are by no means guaranteed to accomplish that.

More importantly, it's not an either-or. Sekirei was one of your examples - it doesn't matter how you storyboard Sekirei, it's never going to sell outside of a niche. But Sekirei is not and does not need to be the entirety of anime. You can make Sekirei, and you can make Hypeathonmonogatari.

If animators think your ideas are 1) profitable and 2) artistically sound, and 3) can secure funding, then they can by all means give it a go. There's nothing else stopping them but interest in doing something like that.

But being niche isn't bad. Anime doesn't need to be Hollywood, which is why I find it hard to care that middle aged women and senior citizens don't watch much anime. When I discuss the industry, I'm not looking to revolutionize the framework, which is why I don't have a lot to say, directly, about your proposals.

May 31, 2011 2:21 PM by jmal

jmal said:
Not much different from other markets/countries actually. What's the best selling DVD/BD in America? It's going to be a movie. Not... whatever television shows are popular here nowadays.

Maybe so, but how much are you willing to bet that between TV broadcasting, box set releases of primetime TV shows, and pay for film rekleases based on high profile studios and names, the average number of people who consume any of this stuff is generally higher than in Japan?

jmal said:
The best-selling anime since 2000 is Bakemonogatari at 78k average in one release. Evangelion TV in all its various releases is about 174k and I think the closest anything else comes is 1st Gundam which in all its forms is about 80k... Evangelion isn't a good example because it kind of transcends the usual rules of the market.


I'll be frank here, I don't know where you got those numbers from, but over here Eva 1.0 sold 219,000 DVDs on its first week (look on the top of the top-selling DVD of 2008 article and it says Eva 1.0 sold over 297,000 copies total). And in that 2009 chart I linked earlier, Eva 2.0 sold over 373,000 copies. And as far as what anime sells well, Spirited Away is the highest grossing animated film in Japan alone by $229,607,878. So again, no clue where you got your numbers, but as well as Bakemongatari sells, I can't imagine stacking up well compared the amount of money Spirited Away made in general.

jmal said:
Anyway, I don't think moving away from a television model will really help. Some things about the television model do need to change (like high broadcasting fees) but the basic idea seems to be sound. Films will sell more units usually, yes, but they also take much longer to make and require much bigger budgets. That means risk too.

Here's the thing. At that point, you need to switch over to where the problem lies not from an economic perspective, but from a storytelling perspective. That's part of what I was arguing here. Most anime fans don't bother to realize that storytelling in anime TV shows are often not only too quaint and profound for the average audience (forget about otaku or anime fans for one moment), but also really slow.

When I took my storytelling course and then my storyboarding for animators course in my art college, I learned that your stories have to make some sense with how you transition from scene-to-scene and more importantly, need to be clear and to the point. Don't just drag a scene using every limited animation trick in the book where characters stay still. Don't confuse the audience with a character in a situation just so you have to back-track at how they got there. Immediately give the audience a reason why they should care for a character because they don't understand why they should pay attention to the main characters or what he/she wants, why it drives the story, and what conflicts that character from what he/she wants until episode 5 or something.

Anime studios need to tell and make stories that can give people an immediate reason to be engaged in the story. It's so easy for hardcore fans to look into a TV show and not be phased by the fact the story doesn't make its point until later on because those hardcore fans are already drawn in to whatever unique ideas the show has even if they're not presented well. I'll admit, even I as a hardcore fan think the same exact way with certain shows, like Sekirei. I like the concept of big-tittied chicks act silly and kick ass at the same time in a twisted game of life and death. But at the same time, I can understand why no one else would be sold on the first episode if it felt to them too perverted, misogynistic and pointless for anyone else who's not some hadcore fan of the "nature" of the show to care.

As an fan of not just anime but animation in general, it just bothers me that most anime anything is really niche and hardly appeals to anyone outside of that niche fanbase. I don't understand why animation in Japan can NEVER bother to appeal appeal outside of a small consumer crowd when I see American animation usually aiming to do the opposite and be successful at it. I want anime to appeal to more people and not be this stupid notion of you have to think differently in order to get it. It's just stupid to me to have to alienate a medium from so many people like that. I get why taking higher budget projects is risky to do, but guess what? If anyone in the anime industry wants to make significant numbers, then at some point they have to take a risk. And not just one risk, but multiple risks. There's no way around that. The only thing is that if people in the industry are going to take risks, then they need to strategize and know the tools and tips to properly making that risks. In other words, think smart and not just hard, otherwise, nothing will change and the industry will just be stuck appealing to the same limited crowd over and over again.

jmal said:
Personally, I'm just not a fan of the narrative style of movies (or OVAs).

Okay, but the key word your using is "personally." This isn't about what you think as one individual. I'm trying to look at this under a much, much wider umbrella than what one, die-hard fan of Japanese animation would vocally prefer on the internet because let's face it, there are probably a lot more non-anime fans out there than we would assume. Besides the problem with OVAs from my understanding is that they're a straight-to-DVD format which you still have to buy to keep without even knowing whether what you're watching will appeal to you. OVA title honestly appeal to fans that already know what they want out of that show and not anyone else, which is what I'm being concerned. Again, not just the hardcore otaku crowd, but also the mainstream consumers in general who many of which might also be movie-goers for all we know.

May 31, 2011 1:37 PM by Hypeathon

A useful resources for anime sales is the AnimeSuki anime sales thread, or the Mania/AnimeOnDVD sales thread. For a list (updated more or less weekly) of every series that has sold 10,000 average or more from 200 to present, please see this post.

Yes, Kyoto Animation does sell spectacularly well (entirely deserved, in my opinion), but note that six of the top 10 are mecha series, and I don't mean mecha musume. Personally, I think that list of high sellers has a good bit of variety in it.

Hypeathon said:
When I looked at the higest selling anything on DVD in the past couple of years alone, I noticed that in 2008 it was the Transformers Special collectors edition. In 2009 the best selling DVD was Ponyo. And in 2010, the best selling DVD was the Deluxe collectors edition of Michael Jackson's This is It.

Right. Anime is almost never the top selling item in a year, unless it's Ghibli, because anime is with few exceptions not mainstream even in Japan. Sort of like how K-ON!'s OP/EDs sell at undeniably historic levels for anisongs, but its numbers would be pretty plain - or even bad - for Arashi or AKB48. Anime is still a subculture even in Japan, so you can't really compare anime sales to mainstream sales. I don't think there's any way to make the majority of anime mainstream.

The thing about those best-selling DVDs is that they're all films. They're not 13-episode series, 26-episode series or 50+ episode series.

Films always sell better, because they're a one-time commitment. A good example within anime is Shounen Jump shows. Most of them sell very little in their individual volume releases. One Piece singles sell about 2k a volume. But Strong World sold something like 250-300k (I can't remember at the moment). Your average school kid, the target audience for these shows, isn't interested in buying individual volumes of their anime, but they will buy a one-off movie. Same thing happens with Precure, Naruto, etc.

Or for a more otaku-related example: Nanoha StrikerS sold 22k average, which is very high. The Nanoha 1st movie sold over 100k. This is simply because a lot of Nanoha fans aren't going to buy individual DVDs but will buy a movie, since it's a one time payment.

Not much different from other markets/countries actually. What's the best selling DVD/BD in America? It's going to be a movie. Not... whatever television shows are popular here nowadays.

That's why I think the Evangelion Rebuild films sell so well in Japan. I don't know if the franchise was always this popular outside of the otaku crowd in Japan since the TV series premiered.

The best-selling anime since 2000 is Bakemonogatari at 78k average in one release. Evangelion TV in all its various releases is about 174k and I think the closest anything else comes is 1st Gundam which in all its forms is about 80k... Evangelion isn't a good example because it kind of transcends the usual rules of the market.

Anyway, I don't think moving away from a television model will really help. Some things about the television model do need to change (like high broadcasting fees) but the basic idea seems to be sound. Films will sell more units usually, yes, but they also take much longer to make and require much bigger budgets. That means risk too. It's all well and good to make a movie of Haruhi or Gundam or Gintama or Evangelion or K-ON! because you know they're huge and you know the movies will be a success. Likewise anything from an established studio like Ghibli.

But let's face it, I like Wagaya no Oinari-sama, but it never would have happened if it needed to be created as a two hour movie. Nobody would have green-lighted that budget. Sure, some stories will sell better as movies, if they've got enough mainstream appeal. But I don't think that applies to the vast majority of anime. Or more importantly, their manga/novel/game source materials.

Also remember that while a movie can sell 100k, a 7 volume TV series that averages 14k per volume has moved the same number of disks. K-ON!/!! has sold about 650k units total for example. So comparing single volume or average numbers directly to movie sales can be misleading.

Part of the success of movies is also theater-run exposure, which is a finite resource, and not cheap to arrange.

Personally, I'm just not a fan of the narrative style of movies (or OVAs). I prefer to get to know a group of characters over a period of time in 12 or more episodes. I can watch a movie or OVA that expands on a TV series but I rarely watch stand-alone stories because I don't feel like I get to know the characters well enough.

If anime went back to OVAs or movies as the primary method of storytelling, I would probably fall away from the hobby within a year or two. My guess is that a lot of people would feel the same way.

In the end, I guess I'm just skeptical of the need for fundamental reform in an industry that is growing, not contracting. I don't mean the market should stagnate and not try to improve but I think it's a matter of tweaking the model, not rewriting it.

May 31, 2011 12:04 PM by jmal

@ jmal:

For the record, I do happen to agree with a lot of your points. I'm at the point where in news articles and reports of the industry such as this, anime fans are spewing so much of the same vague nonsense if it's not rocket science and that the anime companies are for whatever reason too stupid to realize and that thei marketing degrees are a sham. Most people don't seem to bother trying to look at what is likely a bigger picture in all this and merely think "lower prices, license stuff faster, have better quality, etc.". Anyway, I don't want to dwell too much into that because it would just be delicately regurgitating trying to avoid EXACTLY what has been said THOUSANDS of time in anime piracy/industry debates EVERYWHERE on the internet. And that would just give me a headache.

Anyway, I do want to just refer to one of your posts and then go on to making a certain point since it's difficult for me to respond all of them.

jmal said:
And the majority of people just are not willing to put up any money for what they say they love, whether it's $60 or $600.

Let me just say in advance that I agree whole-heartedly in how anime on home video in the American market is just fine as is, price-wise and release-wise. I also agree in that not as many fans value products as much as they say they do (not saying no one does, some people do value anime enough to buy it and some while they value and want to buy it, can't buy for whatever the reason). Now while I think that Japanese DVDs are STUPIDLY expensive from my understanding, even if Japanese DVD distributors in Japan could somehow just slash prices of DVD releases as they first release them, I don't think that's necessarily the where the problem lies.

This is something that I've been thinking about for a bit and thought of doing some reasearch. And by research, I basically just searched on Anime News Network for the top-selling DVDs in the past few years, anime or otherwise. And I think it's important for anime fans to look outside of the scope of best-selling anime series on blu-ray because to me honestly, it's a given at this point that whatever sells well on blu-ray is some Kyoto Animation show, some Akiyuki Shinbo title, or some "girls in flying mecha-suits" show. When I looked at the higest selling anything on DVD in the past couple of years alone, I noticed that in 2008 it was the Transformers Special collectors edition. In 2009 the best selling DVD was Ponyo. And in 2010, the best selling DVD was the Deluxe collectors edition of Michael Jackson's This is It.

The thing about those best-selling DVDs is that they're all films. They're not 13-episode series, 26-episode series or 50+ episode series. 2 of those 3 films aren't even animated and the only animated film is a Ghibli title. I feel that with the anime industry and the way studios make shows, it makes it hard for most shows to be profittable when it comes to home video sales. It's hard for your average consumer to want to commit to a TV series where they have to pay for a few episodes at a time, especially if the show itself may entertaining to watch, but not entertaining enough to own and watch over and over again.

I feel that directors and script writers need to change how they tell stories in anime in a few ways. The stories need to be told at a faster ace to make an audience interested in. Less shortcuts and pauses in the timing, facial expressions and gestures in animation need to be put out there so you don't risk boring a general audience. Just basically give anyone who first watches an anime in that one sitting a reason to care about the story and the characters in it. And I think films are the best approach to doing that creatively. That's why I think the Evangelion Rebuild films sell so well in Japan. I don't know if the franchise was always this popular outside of the otaku crowd in Japan since the TV series premiered. But I think they're a good re-telling of a TV series and it makes it easier for a general audience to watch a story in 90 minute parts at a time and even buy on DVD. Whether it's accessible or entertaining enough to anyone outside of the Japanese and harcore fans is something I'm not entirely sure of, but displaying it as a movie makes it easier to try.

I think until the whole price issue with Japanese home video can be "lowered" somehow, studios need to try to make more stories in the form of animated films. They could be either original projects or adaptations or "careful" re-adaptations of short-running/long-running manga or light novels. Of course adapting long-running manga into movies are conceptually tricky because there's so much content to adapt. But if you focus on having that film introduce the audience and get to the point with the story and cherry-pick important parts in the begining of the manga to adapt to a film, then it wouldn't be a bad adaptation. I'm not saying it's easy to do that, but I think stuff like that is necessary at this point.

May 31, 2011 11:23 AM by Hypeathon

VyseLegend said:
The majority of people can't afford it.

The majority of people think $60 for an entire cour of anime is expensive too, so the majority of people either don't have jobs, or value other things more when it comes to spending their money.

They can bitch all the want about Japanese prices, and yes *of course* it's a lot of money (I understand this far better than most of you, given that I'm the one seeing the charges on my credit card), but it's so disingenuous for people to complain about Japanese prices when the R1 industry charges vastly less and is still in a tailspin of shrinking sales and failing companies.

You can not just slash prices and assume sales will increase significantly enough to increase profits. That is a very, very hard thing to do without a huge consumer base, something anime does not have. If you're releasing a niche show with only a few thousand serious fans, something that describes a good chunk of anime, the odds of sales doubling if you halve prices are not necessarily favorable.

In R1, companies don't have a choice because almost nobody in the States is willing to pay much given that they compare anime to mainstream TV shows. So companies they slash prices exponentially, and still see very low sales, and even then what's selling (Naruto/DBZ-types aside) is still going to a concentrated hardcore fanbase of big spenders.

While you might think you're doing a humanitarian service by purchasing these outrageously expensive discs

Hah, I don't do "humanitarian service", I buy what I want because I want to. And by buying what I want, I get to influence what anime gets made in the future. But the practical reality of that is that, yeah, it's keeping the market strong and getting you more anime, whether you like it or not.

And the majority of people just are not willing to put up any money for what they say they love, whether it's $60 or $600. That's the reality of the market, and the Japanese model, harsh and uncaring as it seems to those without the disposable income, continues to work no matter what the overwhelmingly North American or European posters on this site think, based on their lack of knowledge of the market and misreading of a news article.

of generally not-as good as-the past shows

Pure opinion, and one I distinctly disagree with. You undermine your own argument by trying to posit this as evidence. Don't even go there, it's irrelevant to a discussion of sales. When you're a business, quality = what sells. Making a critically acclaimed series that moved 500 units a disc might make you feel good "artistically"... until you're unemployed.

you are giving incentives for the industry to not come up with their own on-demand blu-ray quality streams or downloads.

You're kidding yourself if you think they wouldn't charge a premium for this too. And technological concerns aside, the Japanese industry is paranoid about piracy. It'll be a long, long time (if ever) before they're willing to put 1080p downloads out there for purchase with or without draconian DRM. Which is stupid of them - companies really have to accept unauthorized digital distro as a fact of life or they'll drive themselves crazy trying to kill something unkillable - but very few media companies act rationally about their "IP". The streaming we do have, whether NicoNico or Crunchyroll, had to be dragged out of them and took far too long to materialize.

Besides, digital and physical still attract different audiences. This should not be a debate about either or; digital delivery should be adopted alongside the physical media model. You do best by selling to both.

There is no special reason why we should go to extreme measures to keep an industry afloat.

I can afford it and want it so I buy it. That's not extreme. Releases in other countries are always far cheaper even if you have to import from outside NA or Eur, and for those that don't get licensed, you know most of the people complaining here wouldn't import from Japan anyway - even if it were vastly cheaper than today - because of a lack of subtitles, S&H costs and whatever else they don't like.

Yes, Japanese anime home video costs a lot. But it's a luxury goods market there. Price is not the primary factor in purchasing decisions. Within reason, the core otaku consumer base would still buy even if prices increased further, because it's not price that drives them, but rather character love, collector's impulse, conspicuous consumption, obsession with physical extras, retaining a "souvenir" of the experience, or any number of other things. Things that are very hard to put a price on. If you're not looking at it as such, you're just not going to understand why the market is the way it is in Japan. Doesn't mean you have to like it, but that's what is is right now.

May 29, 2011 10:45 AM by jmal

VyseLegend said:
The majority of people can't afford it.


Oh, since when?

you are giving incentives for the industry to not come up with their own on-demand blu-ray quality streams or downloads. Or something.


You can't just magically create something like that. A majority of the planet doesn't have access to a networking infrastructure able to support such a high quality streaming and/or IPTV service (no, 720p/1080p on Youtube isn't the same as actual Blu-Ray quality), and the amount of people with access to such a network infrastructure is most likely far less than the 2.2% of consumers buying Blu-Ray media in Japan.

May 28, 2011 3:20 AM by no-thanks

The majority of people can't afford it. While you might think you're doing a humanitarian service by purchasing these outrageously expensive discs of generally not-as good as-the past shows, you are giving incentives for the industry to not come up with their own on-demand blu-ray quality streams or downloads. Or something. There is no special reason why we should go to extreme measures to keep an industry afloat.

May 28, 2011 12:51 AM by VyseLegendaire

Avolion said:
I prefer watching animes on my laptop instead, why waste your money when you do already own every anime considering it is possible to watch every single one on your computer

Because if everyone thought the same there would be no more anime. If you don't want to contribute, that is entirely your prerogative and I quite honestly don't care - I am not terribly interested in whether you buy or download anime. I don't expect everyone to, and it no longer bothers me when people do not. I take it as natural that most hobbies are only financially supported by a small core base.

However, don't even dare talk about importing as "wasting money" when it's people like me in that 2-4% who make it possible for the things you leech to exist in the first place. Anime is, before anything else, a business.

May 27, 2011 4:02 AM by jmal

I prefer watching animes on my laptop instead, why waste your money when you do already own every anime considering it is possible to watch every single one on your computer, thats a sensible logic. But of course, some animes that holds a prime class, take Death Note for instance are worth having on DVD.

May 27, 2011 2:20 AM by Avolion

jmal said:

Don't those VISA debit cards (do you mean a card tied to your checking account?) work like credit cards too? I ordered online with my all the time when I had one, years back.


They certainly do.

May 26, 2011 6:18 AM by no-thanks

jmal said:

Don't those VISA debit cards (do you mean a card tied to your checking account?) work like credit cards too? I ordered online with my all the time when I had one, years back.


As I'm finding out it does but one of my first orders was from Amazon with my VISA Debit and it wouldn't go through forcing me to go to other places. One of the reasons why I was williing to try HMV with my card this time was b/c of a recent addition to their FAQ regarding the use of VISA debits. Also since my orders are small I usually buy instock items which is another plus at HMV.

May 26, 2011 6:14 AM by Deleted6938

SoulSlayerShika said:
@jmal Thanks for the tip on Amazon and how it prices the items. I've wanted to try out Amazon for some time now but I don't have a credit card yet, just VISA debit and PayPal

Don't those VISA debit cards (do you mean a card tied to your checking account?) work like credit cards too? I ordered online with my all the time when I had one, years back.

About your question, I am currently buying merchandise from CDJapan, usually one to two items per order, which is retail price and have been getting small discounts with their points system. I also recently placed an order from HMV to test it out which has a pretty good deal on most items if you purchase two at once.

Ah, yeah, CDJapan is a quality store but unfortunately they're expensive. HMV has discounts somewhat similar to Amazon, but you'll end up getting hit on S&H since they don't do the free partials like Amazon does. Cheaper than CDJ though, probably, if you can order there.

May 26, 2011 5:02 AM by jmal

QysteiN said:
Start selling anime in Norway already. Mooooo~


This :|

May 26, 2011 12:31 AM by Ekvi

@jmal Thanks for the tip on Amazon and how it prices the items. I've wanted to try out Amazon for some time now but I don't have a credit card yet, just VISA debit and PayPal, so I was looking into services like Tenso to use until I do. Unfortunatly from what I read their services can be expensive.

About your question, I am currently buying merchandise from CDJapan, usually one to two items per order, which is retail price and have been getting small discounts with their points system. I also recently placed an order from HMV to test it out which has a pretty good deal on most items if you purchase two at once.

May 25, 2011 11:01 PM by Deleted6938

SoulSlayerShika said:
I'm one of those guys that buy Japanese Blu-Rays and it's not easy. One of the current shows I'm buying, Panty and Stocking, is around $100 a piece for around 50min of animation but it does come with extras like a CD or DVD.

Are you buying one at a time from a store that charges near full price? My recommendation if you only buy one show at a time is to wait until all discs are solicited (usually happens before the show finishes airing, if not immediately) and buy them all at once from Amazon Japan.

P&S is ¥9240, normal preorder discount at Amazon brings that to 6,745, and you don't pay Japanese sales tax as an importer so it's 6,408. Order all 6 at once and S&H is ¥1700 + (¥300*6) = ¥3500, or ¥583 each disc, and Amazon will ship every disc individually on release date even if you tell them to group into least shipments possible. Free partial shipments basically.

All that shakes out to about ¥6,991 or about $85 USD at the current awful exchange rate (itself a major factor in perceived cost among non-Japanese, and not something the distributors control), so you can get it for less than $100 USD, definitely. "Only" $15 less but * 6 that's $90 saved for one show.

Unfortunately P&S is Kadokawa, who is notorious for high prices even for R2s, so unfortunately there's no way to get it *too* low. Most non-Kadokawa anime I import instead runs in the $55-75 a disc range.

I'm not rich by the way not by a long shot, I just manage my money in a way to support my hobby.

Exactly. It's a matter of how much you value the item. I value importing anime BDs enough to spend what they're asking. I structure my spending accordingly. If I valued other things more, I'd spend the money on them instead. I make a decent salary as an adult with a career, but I'm not making six figures. Late night otaku anime BDs are marketed at adults with jobs, not teenagers in school. Most BD/DVD buyers in Japan are in their 20s or 30s with a bit of disposable income. That's just what the market is.

May 25, 2011 5:03 AM by jmal

FOE-tan said:
Last time I checked, Norway's DVD region code was different from the one used in the US.

...DVD Region coding? That hasn't been relevant for a decade. There are so many ways around it.

I know you meant R1s, but it's worth pointing out that most JP anime BDs are region free.

May 25, 2011 4:52 AM by jmal

FOE-tan said:

You could always import a Blu-ray player from the US or Japan, of course. The US and Japan use the same region code, so you can play Blu-rays from both countries with a player from either country.


Or, he could simply purchase a cheap region-free DVD player (for about 40-99 pounds). If he's prepared to spend 100 pounds more, he can go for a region-free Blu-Ray player.

Region encoding is hardly a limitation these days.

May 25, 2011 4:38 AM by no-thanks

jmal said:
Oi, in this thread, people apply very North American market logic to a market that could not be more dissimilar.

But anime in R1 isn't terribly different in one respect - most English-speaking fandom consumers just buy the latest big movie or umpteenth DBZ rerelease boxset and call it good; it's a small, small core audience of collectors that will buy 10+ R1s a month. I used to be one of them (200+ R1 discs a year) before I switched exclusively to importing JP releases.

What is extremely different is how much "hardcore" fans are willing to pay. Over here in the States, many people who consider themselves very serious otaku will rant and rave and flail about hysterically if you ask $60 for an entire cour of anime, and oh god don't even get into the righteous indignation when it's sub-only. It's a "ripoff", to have to pay $4.60 an episode, nevermind that discounts online routinely run around 40% if you know where to look.

While in Japan, collectors will put out upwards of ten times that: $600 for a cour of anime (let's say ¥7000 a disc * 7 discs, pretty close to typical), or $46 an episode and about the best discount you can get is 27% at Amazon Japan.

Guess which market is doing better, and which has been going completely to shit? Hint, the anime market in Japan isn't going to shit, and sales are up.

When you get down to it, these numbers aren't too shocking. Owning physical media is a minority choice in today's world. I don't debate that Japan illustrates a somewhat extreme example (I buy thousands of dollars of R2s a year, so I'm certainly not going to complain if prices go down!), but it's hard to knock what works. (Also, aren't these numbers the whole JP home video market, not just anime?)

Also remember that there's much more to the otaku market in Japan than physical media. In Japan, the BDs can be a bit of a loss-leader to push manga, novel, game, music, or visual novel sales. That is rarely the case elsewhere, where little of the larger otaku market exists, or is poorly integrated with the home video market.

Everyone complaining (from half a world away, for the most part) that R2 anime is too expensive is missing the point somewhat - the market isn't for people like you. And I don't even mean that in a condescending way, it's just how it is. If you live in Japan but are not a hardcore physical media collector, then they don't even expect you to buy BDs. You'll buy the novels, the t-shirts, the CDs, the posters, the toys, etc.

So, reign in the smug predictions that the Japanese anime home video industry is going to crash because it's not catering *to you*, people who are not their target audience and never have been. Not liking, even not understanding a business model is fine, but acting like you know it's going to fall apart because you don't like it, when the data indicates nothing of the sort, is a bit foolish.

(P.S., the arrival of BD has only *raised* prices, and yet anime sales are up. Something to think about.)


Great post, I was itching to post something similar but you've spared me from the effort. Too bad that it will most likely go under in a storm of "omg lol too expensive!!!!" posts...

May 25, 2011 3:57 AM by yakisobapan

Onibokusu said:
Sabinlerose said:

Or you didn't read the persons post through enough and missed the fact they live in norway.....
And last I checked Norway didn't have the US dollar nor US prices.


Last time I checked, Norway wasn't exempt from importing.
Last time I checked, Norway's DVD region code was different from the one used in the US.

However, it IS the same as the region code used in Japan (assuming that the television used for playback supports NTSC-J) and other European countries such as the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy etc. Meaning you can import from those countries.

For Blu-ray, Norway is stuck with European (and Australian) licences to import if you actually want to watch what you buy on a Norweigian Blu-ray player.

You could always import a Blu-ray player from the US or Japan, of course. The US and Japan use the same region code, so you can play Blu-rays from both countries with a player from either country.

May 25, 2011 2:35 AM by Rosa_FOEtida

Sabinlerose said:

Or you didn't read the persons post through enough and missed the fact they live in norway.....
And last I checked Norway didn't have the US dollar nor US prices.


Last time I checked, Norway wasn't exempt from importing.

May 25, 2011 12:35 AM by no-thanks