You reap what you sow.
impz comments on the clarification
DM pretty much shows how much of a fool he really is (even if he does raise some interesting issues)
tj_han makes a really bad pun (bad puns should be made criminal)
Time to get to work.
The central belief Peter holds is that an animé fan is one who gives back as much as he takes from the animé industry. That is the hallmark of a true fan.
Well, that may hold true for being a fan, but that kind of fan that statement is hinting at (when read in context of the article that was lifted from) is an idiot and a cash cow for companies to milk. I am, unfortunately a discerning customer and I do demand some form of quality in my product. If a product or service is good, it gets spread to at most 4 people, but if a product or service is bad, word gets spread to at least 7 people. It is not surprising, though, that since the company in question puts out such bad products, no one is buying from them. Bad news spreads very fast.
The issue of giving back as much as you take is a funny issue. If my support is mainly monetary in nature, wouldn’t that mean I am nothing but a mindless corporate whore who does everything in his or her power to keep the company afloat? Support is more than just monetary in nature. It works mainly on fan support, monetary and otherwise. Think about it for a moment. Without Comiket and the like, we would be seeing only mecha animé, even though Osamu Tezuka did work his butt off doing various stuff. NO EROGE, NO NEGIMA, NO LOVE HINA, NO TOUHOU, NO ORIGINALITY. I don’t know how anyone with half a brain could survive in that kind of a situation.
In fact, to bring up the Tezuka Factor, he did a lot of story adaptations prior to Astro Boy. He got his style directly from Disney. Now, Mr. Tezuka, the Father and Pioneer of Japanese animation, was a fan of Disney movies. He’d watch them over and over, trying to understand how they were animated. He brought in Western animation techniques and improved the Japanese animation scene. He worked his butt off in sweatshop conditions to produce a staggering amount of animation and manga. (Yes, he was responsible for the sweatshop conditions animators and manga artists face today, cry me a river.) He singlehandedly brought Japan out of the postwar slump and into the modern era. He was a fan, and he did everything in his power to turn Japan into an animation powerhouse rivaling that of Disney. He was a fan. And he made Japanese animation what it is today.
That is what a fan does. Someone who does EVERYTHING in his power to establish and/or further an interest in ANYTHING, be it wargaming, comics, manga, animation, Classic Battletech (Battletech is closely related to animation, that I will cover much later.), books, blogging, friendster, video games, whatever. They won’t just buy stuff, they spread the word. They introduce their friends to it. They try their very best not to act dumb while doing so. He or she who is passionate about anything will do ANYTHING to get more people interested in whatever they are interested in. Well, anything that puts their interests in a positive light.
If support is just monetary in nature, we’d end up with endless Naruto and Bleach episodes. And no, I don’t think I want another repeat of the music industry OR the videogaming industry. Endless churning of the same material, only with minor changes in graphics and whatnot. That is no way to expand an industry or business.
As for putting back what you take, let me subvert it into something more relevant: You reap what you sow. It’s true, you reap what you sow. You sow oats, you reap oats. You plant an acorn seed, you get an acorn tree. You sow evil, you reap evil. Plant nothing, and you get nothing. It’s one of the facts of life. If you don’t show an interest in anything, you won’t get anything. Likewise, if you don’t plan to engage in the local market, how will you expect them to respond positively, or even respond at all. And to make matters worse, you go about sowing evil on the sly. I’m not surprised that the reaction to the news is consistent with what I’ve heard about the RIAA and MPAA.
You reap what you sow, people. And you’d better be able to swallow that bitter pill. Nothing will help you swallow that pill. It is knowledge, and to have it is far better than gold or silver or crude oil.
He wants to see a unique Singaporean anime culture, one which is totally free of piracy, illegal downloads and 100 percent friendly to the Japanese studios.
Having dreams is good, it guides a man to his destiny.
However, when a man uses unjust actions and lies to establish his dreams, he is no better than a fool. Deeds before words. Actions speak louder than words. It is in the best interests of the man in question that I openly rebuke him for acting so childishly. What he is doing is no better what your average fan does: openly attacking people whose views are contrary to him, only this time the man in question has got the legal and finacial power to force people to be unable to fight back.
Is this how you want to establish your dream, by turning this country into a desolate land of Copyright Protection ruled by the lawsuit? No signs of growth, no fanbase, and everyone laughs at us for being idiots? Would any Japanese animation company even consider setting up shop here due to this fiasco, after knowing that is how you treat their fans and potential customers? Will the International community even look at us in the right light after this? (I am running the risk of defamation here, don’t sue me for stating what I think is the truth.)
Even America knows they can’t survive without the efforts of the fans. While I will concede to him that a fair amount of “fans” here are nothing but dirty freeloaders who care only about themselves (I should know: I know some of these people; I am not one of them.), it is they who do the market testing. It is they who do the PR work. And at the end of the day, it is them who will sing praises unto your name and bring in the money.
I am painfully aware that our country has a disproportionate amount of people who want free stuff. In fact, it is so deeply engrained into our genes that it would take a Herculean effort to get rid of it. Human nature is such an awful thing to have. And yet, we are human. We may be able to control our urges, but more often than not, we fail. It is more prudent to exploit human nature, rather than to use negative reinforcement. iTunes is a great example of this. Detestable as it is, Apple (and Steve Jobs) has done something that no recording company could ever dream of doing: appealing to human nature. We want things quick and fast, and for a reasonable price. iTunes does that, and a bit more. I won’t go into details, but iTunes music sells more music than the a CD single every week.
To realize that dream, you have to wake up to the cold hard facts. You are working with humans. Humans are flawed, and cannot comprehend your dream. They want things quick and they want it now. Can you tap into that desire and fufill your dream? Only time will tell. But first, you need to take the first step. Acknowledge that you will never survive without your fans. Heck, you are one yourself, aren’t you?
I am an informed customer. I am not like the drooling corporate whore, who buys everything related to his interests and calls it a good buy. I do my research on what is offered, and then I will decide for myself what is good. I do my best to not be too picky about quality, but I have to realize this: A bad product sold cheaply has less worth than a good product sold at exorbitant prices.
I am also a fan. I love my hobby. I would do pretty much anything good and honest to ensure people know of it. I am willing to part with money in order to purchase the latest keepsake or merchandise. I spread the word, I do good works, I don’t make a mockery of myself if I can help it.
I find it very hard to reconcile both these sides of me when it comes to something like animation, manga and eroge. I know a fair amount of merchandise is made to fleece people from their cash, but at time I cannot hold back the sudden impulse of buying. I would love to do so, but I only have a limited amount of money to spend, and even then, I have to take care of the basic needs. I am not a fool who mindlessly spends.
Also, I do not see the need to buy every single thing related to my hobby. I spend what I can. A bit here, a bit there. The odd pencilboard, an occasional DVD set, a figurine or two. Am I not contributing to the industry with these minor acts? You say it is not enough, I say, it is. Little drops of water, tiny grains of sand, make the mighty ocean, and the great big land, so goes that poem I used to read when I was young.
Giving back what you take is more than just spending money. It is about devoting a portion of your time and soul into spreading the word. You make friends and introduce to them your hobby. You get a job related to your interest and try in initiate change. You might want to try maintaining a blog and write about your interest. Am I not doing my best in giving back what I took from the industry in doing so?
I do not abhor fansubs, they are a means of giving back what you owe. I abhor people who justify their reasons for not supporting the industry, people who mask their true intentions under a veneer of lies and deception. I would very much like to flog them in public for being hypocrites, but alas, we live in times where doing as such is not just forbidden, but punishable in most countries. This is all what I can do.
I wish I could do more, but alas, I am human, and my resources are limited. And soon, I will be unable to do even this. It is not my final hurrah, far from it, but if this goes on, even this will be taken away from me. I will forever mourn the loss of my hobby, and I will forever HATE the people who have taken it away.
You have been forewarned.