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.
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.