Tobose made me think of the Positive Side to the Pirating American Fan

I do have to start the argument off with a concession. Yes, I pirate anime. I don’t have a cruncyroll account. I can’t remember the last time I bought a boxset, although part of this has to do with boycotting Funimation, and part of this is lack of interest. I plan to buy K-On and Durarara! as soon as I have the money–it may be awhile as I don’t have work study, but we’ll see. I also believe in the idea that I should be able to watch it once or at least part of the series for free in some form before I buy it. I don’t read manga illegally, and always buy it, or check it out in the library; I don’t know why I’m different in this respect. We know where I stand now and what type of person I am. Cool.

Recently, the creator of Kuroshitsuji came down hard on people who pirate anime and manga, pretty much letting off her overseas fan know she disapproves of them reading/watching her work. As she says, “And the manga is only legally readable in Japan as the print edition published by Square Enix – downloading it and reading it is illegal as of 2010.”. She goes on to spell it out to explain why downloading either her anime and manga is wrong.

After an intial laugh as a simple search on Amazon reveals the manga is for sale over here from Yen Press, (way to know what you’re talking about) I do have to say something in defense of us American viewers. Yes, we watch anime illegally due to not having other means. Yes, I know the opinion has been strongly voiced that if we don’t have it over here, we shouldn’t get to watch it, or pressure the anime companies—which honestly make it sounds like we have more power over them then we have.

Sorry YenPress. You're not consider legal anymore.

I would like to point out that even if we watch anime and manga illegally if we have no other means, that we attempt to make up for it in another way. That is, American fans do buy a ton of merchandise. Yes, imported marked-up merchandise, but they had to buy it fro somewhere, right. Maybe I’m wrong, but I do believe that some of that money goes back to the person who originally creates it. Kuroshitsuji in particular has a ton of merchandise. I would be willing to venture that the money that the fans that do care don’t spend on stuff aka anime and not yet released manga due to not being for sale over here goes into merchandise instead.

My point is, no, American fans are not total leeches, and it’s unfair to paint us as such. I’m not saying the money we do spend makes a big impact, but still, some of that money makes it way back into mangaka’s pockets. Furthermore, it’s money that wouldn’t be spent if the fans didn’t know about the series by finding out about it through illegal means.

So I guess make of that what you will.  Although I’m starting to think we could mail direct donations to make up for having to pirate, and we’d still be called filthy pirates.

10 Comments

Filed under Pointless Rant

10 responses to “Tobose made me think of the Positive Side to the Pirating American Fan

  1. Kuroshitsuji seasons 1 AND 2 are even being streamed by Funimation. So legal means of watching the anime exist too. At the risk of completely missing the point, it seems like the creator should know where her work is going, and also that this kind of statement shouldn’t be made by one who’s work is easily available in English.

    • Oh wow. Somehow I missed that, by when I looked at the movies on Amazon and saw it not there, I just thought it wasn’t licensed. Fail on my part.

      But yeah, I totally agree with you. She should know if her stuff is legally available or not over here before she makes a stance on the issue regarding her stuff as she did. If you’re going to make statements, either know your stuff, or admit up front what you don’t know. Concessions are good things.

  2. Asa

    I like how the entire western audience completely misinterpreted Toboso’s statement. She wasn’t addressing the overseas fans at all. She said that the manga is only legally readable IN JAPAN as the print edition published by Square Enix. Where in this does she address, or even imply that she’s addressing the foreign fans at all? I doubt she even thought about whatever other countries Kuroshitsuji has been licensed in while writing that entry. She was only talking about the ones in Japan, who often live within walking distance to a bookstore or conbini to read whatever manga or magazine they want, but still pirate anyway – and then go and e-mail her about how they just illegally viewed her work. She has every right to be upset about that, and all she did was talk about it in her own blog, so cut her some slack.

    tl;dr All this argument about justifying illegal downloading by overseas fans is completely irrelevant to what Toboso was talking about. I do blame ANN and other news sites for providing only a partial/biased translation of her blog, but this has gotten too out of hand.

    • I would suggest you look at the fanmail she highlighted.

      “I found them all on an overseas video sharing site and read them there :)”

      “I became a fan of the second season so I watched all them on an overseas site – they were really funny!””

      Those are more likely to be overseas fans then Japanese fans. Especially as a lot of manga companies provide ways to send mail to the manga-kas. You demand me to prove she’s talking about her Overseas fan, I demand you to prove she’s not, especially with the fanmail she illustrated.

      Okay. So let’s say she is. she failed she write it in a manner that doesn’t sound like she’s being exclusive to Japan, but rather encompassing ALL her fans. If she was going to put it on her blog, she should have been more through. Maybe this is all a misconception, but this is a hot topic right now, and as such, that leaves little rooms for misconceptions, if you’re going to speak on it, you need to make what you’re saying clear.

      After all, talking about on your own blog=putting out there for all the world to see=putting it out there for anyone to comment on and criticize.

      Furthermore, this has gotten out of hand because it appeared on my blog? I’m a small anime blog. But as I said, it’s a sensitive issue, and even if it’s a misconception, she should have been more careful when approaching a hot topic, or it was going to blow up in her face.

      No, I’m not going to cut her some slack. Especially as I wasn’t overly critical of her in the first place beyond how she doesn’t seem to know what she’s talking about, and I still don’t. I don’t think you’re right about it being ‘Japanese fan’ only. I merely used the newspiece as an intro into justify the illegal downloading we do when nothing is available. If you don’t like it, toughies.

      Don’t like, don’t read. The back button exists for a reason.

      • Raiga

        Okay now let’s think about this a bit:

        1. They’re writing to her in Japanese
        2. They call the site an “overseas” site. In other words, they don’t live in the same country as the website.

        Now how exactly does that prove that the fanmail writers are non-Japanese fans? Non-Japanese fans wouldn’t call their own websites “overseas” now would they?

        I pretty much took it for granted, from context, that she was just talking about domestic fans who were downloading from foreign sites (most likely because we have more pirated Japanese content available for download). The vast majority of anime/manga profits are domestic, and pirating in the domestic market is what’s going to have the largest impact on sales. I honestly don’t think people should be taking this as another attack on fansubs/scanlations/etc. because quite simply I don’t think that was even on the mangaka’s mind when she was writing that.

        Also, always take translations with a grain of salt. What’s ambiguous in English may have been much clearer in Japanese, and the translator could have been biased too.

      • 1. Or her e-mail could translate the mail for her.
        2. I think it was her choice to describe them as overseas sites, rather then list the names of the sites.

        *shrugs* Meh. I’m not going to give her the benefit of the doubt. Sorry.

  3. Asa

    It’s not uncommon for Japanese fans to get things off of overseas websites, in fact it might be the most convenient way for them. Most of the raw scans sites I’ve seen with a 90+% Japanese userbase are completely in English with servers in a western country. And tokyotosho/nyaatorrents/youtube/many chinese websites/etc provide amazingly easy access to raw anime. The inclusion of Japanese netspeak (www) in the fanmail also indicates a Japanese person writing rather than foreign.

    Anyway, what I was mainly trying to point out with the “in Japan” thing was that you were implying that you thought Toboso meant the only legal version in the world to read was the Square Enix version and that she was wrong about it – which relates to how a lot of people have been debating this issue completely from an overseas fan’s mindset and not completely understanding what Toboso was talking about. Of course it’s not to be expected that we’d all understand from a Japanese fan’s perspective, but I do still believe that she was mainly addressing domestic fans and not the ones abroad. From her entry:
    -Nico Nico is an alternative for legal streaming
    -Only the Square Enix publication is the only legal way to read the manga
    -Says quite a bit about the anime airing on late night TV, recording episodes, renting from a rental shop, etc.
    Not to mention it’s generally known that a lot of creators barely know about their fanbase overseas. The whole scanlation issue right now is more the concentration of publishers/corporations rather than the creators themselves. So no, while I can’t prove that she’s not addressing the overseas fans at all, there’s strong evidence that she mainly had the domestic fans in mind.

    And no, it hasn’t gotten out of hand because you blogged about it. I was referring to the crazy amount of discussion in other places. Sorry for the vagueness on that part. But really, the fact that everyone has been trying to justify pirating about 500x more than you usually see on the internet is saying something. I wasn’t trying to target you at all – I know it seemed that way, but I was just fed up with all the comments I was reading at ANN and such and then spotted this entry at the wrong time. Feel free to delete my comments if you wish. Looking back I was just using this as an inappropriate place to rant. Just proves that I need to get my own legit blog already…

    • Having a blog is a cool thing.

      To be honest, the crazy amount of discussion is probably because it’s such a sensitive hot topic right now, with onemanga closing and all, and rather then it being about the manga-ka, I think it’s just that she added more fuel to the currently brewing fire.

  4. Heh, aside from the technicalities, I can’t argue that she’s wrong (especially from a legal perspective). But it doesn’t change the fact I lost respect for her over this. A few of my favorite authors distribute their works freely over the nets, and what royalties lost to them also gets them enormous respect and devotion from the fans (not to mention ease of getting into the series). It’s like, hey look, instead of an author who squabbles over royalties we have one who actually care about us readers so let’s show him/her our love by buying the books even though its freely distributed…

    But hey, can’t expect every author to be a saint. Yet every time one of them do this kinda stuff the more tempted I am to pirate stuff >.>

    • Yeah, I agree with you about losing respect, especially the extreme, “I want you guys to starve. :)”

      But easily finding out and getting into a series, I think can yield an author a lot of benefits that easily makes up for the royalties lost.

      I mean, no, not every author is a saint, especially as manga-ka don’t make that much, but this was a little obnoxious.

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