Sunday, March 27, 2011

Soy Sauce on Ice Cream: Inserting contemperory American Christianity into anime via fandom.

Putting Judeo-Christian religions and Anime together in a real-world context is like putting soy sauce on ice cream. You could do it, but you'd just ruin 2 things that should be more or less left on their own.

This piece was originally written on March 1, with a scheduled release date of March 16 (to reference the double-entendre of "3:16" as relevant to the subject matter). It has been delayed because of the recent events related to the major earthquake and tsunami that shook Japan, in order to avoid the kind of "God hates Japan" comments that have inevitably come out of ... well should anyone really be surprised at this point?

I saw a somewhat interesting series of pieces on Religion and Anime recently, from a source I probably wouldn't normally see myself reading if not for a helpful link from The Otaku Journalist. Religion, particularly religion in English speaking markets like the various flavors of Christianity, has always been something that I saw as "at odds" with anime for two reasons:

The first reason is more of my generalized interpretation of specific behaviors of the kind of demographics that usually make up anime Otaku in the USA. It's mostly made up of segments that tend to lean towards non-believers. Anime fandom concentrates the non-believers together and helps to make their position stronger in that respect, while at the same time featuring depictions of religious practices and/or super-natural elements that are specifically at odds with dominant Abrahamic principles, repelling the devout believers and causing the kids to be whisked away to special Jesus-camp when mom finds that evil ungodly manga under the bed (yes this really happened).

Reason number two is a combination of incidents I specifically experienced firsthand. I was reminded about a little piece of hate mail that Anime Crash once received around 1998. Apparently, some church group had a website that "warned" parents that anime was more or less pure Satan-juice and your kids are going to hell if they even fucking look at Pikachu. The letter was hilarious, and we actually framed it and put it on display for a while. The 15 minutes of Christian outrage visited upon Anime Crash would continue with some (what appeared to be) students from out of town wandering in, and being genuinely offended that there was a Chinese religious display in a glass case in the store. Knowing Crash, we probably would have sold the thing at the first offer, so it wasn’t like it was particularly holy. But simply the fact that it existed was enough to set them off, and it didn't take them long to start laying into everything from the Chibi Gundams to the ungodliness of Martial Arts.

Finally, I should mention that the home media business has never really had a great relationship with the kind of American Christianity that this survey seems to be a part of, much as it would not like to be. The questions seem a bit of the Chick-Tract line of thinking, which is a conclusion more a result of my own superimposition of experience rather than objective reality, so take that as you may.

The survey results cover a variety of questions, but the meat of the matter is here:

The entire survey is over at Beneath the Tangles, and it was the subject of five posts spanning an in-depth look at the subject. Reading through them, it’s kind of sad when you see what the results have done to the guy over there. The info-graphics, including this one above were made by Otaku Journalist. I am going to assume they won't mind me using them here with those citations.

After looking at the findings, the high proportion of atheist and agnostics is a result, not of anime actually increasing the number of non-believers in English speaking markets (it's not taking religious people and making them into godless atheists). But it most certainly attracts non-believers disproportionally to the average religious makeup of the U.S. This is probably due to the previously mentioned fact that the content, artwork, and subject matter are attractive to younger people in general (who tend to be less religious), and also attract those with the higher scientific literacy it requires to fully understand things like Ghost in the Shell and the more scientifically literate you are, the less likely you are to believe as fact that the earth and rest of the universe popped into existence 6,000 years ago complete with a rib-woman being tricked into eating a magical fruit by a talking snake. Additionally, some content might be a bit repellent to someone who might feel uncomfortable watching Evangelion or reading Saint Young Men (which is awesome by the way). Atheists can take the gamut of just about any anime title out there, while religious types have to be picky for fear of having their personality called into question, because if religion is taken out of the daily lives of these people, there’s not much left to them as a person.

Blasphemy or Epic Win? Blasphe-Win!

Like I said, I feel just a tiny bit sorry for the poor schlub over at Beneath The Tangles, because it’s really a losing battle over there. He seems like a nice guy, open-minded and all that, and that's the problem isn't it?; Unless that guy is willing to kill me for Jesus, he's just an Ethical Humanist with an identity crisis.

From the hate-mail that Anime Crash received way back when (it's long gone, so I can't scan it in here), to Fanime Con getting ruined by Jesus freaks, it’s clear that anime fandom and most theocratic and currently practiced religion is just incompatible. Since anime/manga is one of the few commercial entertainment productions made for an atheist populace (Japan), there are 2 ways that Christianity deals with it. #1 is to take a negative view of anime productions because they endemically lack any kind of affirming of Jesusness-ness, or #2; proceed with a kind of superimposing of some sort of expansionist Christian philosophy on top of it, cherry-picking bits and pieces of anime titles as well as biblicalities to help make themselves feel better about liking anime. Ignoring the fact that eating shrimp tempura and tako-yaki is just as bad as anything else that biblically verboten (like teh ghey secks). It’s disingenuous at best. Case in point; the painful Anime and Christianity panel of actor Vic Mignogna sadly shows not only how much shoehorning it takes these people to even bring the two together, but also how astonishingly ignorant Vic is about things Japanese (history, culture, commerce) ...remember kids, he's really just an actor.

That being said, I feel it necessary to state that I come from a far removed perspective in terms of having religion playing almost no role in any of my activities past or present, (I did not have a religious upbringing), and this makes it very hard to understand what it may be like for an anime fan in a place like Georgia-Bama-Ssippi. This kind of superimposed rationalization of bible thumping on top of manga or anime, might be the only shield that younger fans have against the general fundie population and the kind of social terrorism they have been known to engage in (yeah, remember her?).

The only thing is, that I am glad this future of a doomed America is buying anime with their money... otherwise they would be sending it to a sickening campaign to make DOMA a constitutional amendment, or tickets for the creation museum. Yes this is a sweeping generalization, ...oh no, there goes my Pulitzer.

The comments here are moderated, but it’s only to prevent the high volumes of spam (seen in this previous post) that come here. So real comments, regardless of different opinions will be published as soon as I can pick them out of the spam ocean.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

I wasn't there: An invisible dot, on an invisible dot thinks about the Sendai Earthquake.


Recent events in Japan can remind us that anime, manga, and everything else that goes with it still operate within the realm of the business that is human frivolity. Entertainment and escapism are "shadows and dust," when compared to the natural forces and events in this world that we humans have only recently been able to erect but a paper thin barrier between. An inescapable event like an earthquake, or a man-made disaster such as war (as equally destructive but tainted in the bitter tasting bile of the knowledge of wars being both avoidable and deliberate), serves to show us that what we have, our fandom, is in fact nothing more than a brief disruption in the natural order of things.

The notion of an individual in a completely separate socio-culture state/entity, earning relatively little money, accessing the digitized animation created by a media entertainment market literally half a planet away with a translation rubric in place at will, and can engage that activity on such a regular basis that it has become an indispensable cornerstone in the social fandom activities that youth engages is as astounding in innovation as it is newness. How many reasons can human history give us, for such a thing not to work? How many obstacles of nature, humanity, technology, and knowledge must there be, vanquished or still awaiting us, that tell us by all possible notions that this exercise should not be possible? Yet an otaku kid in Tulsa watching an episode of Panty & Stocking online at 1am, isn't an an exercise in achievement, rather it's nothing more than the activities of another potential convention attendee for A-Kon. Potentially brought to an end by a "geology."

I have a way of missing such events. I was in Osaka on 9/11, when papers from the fallen towers became lodged in-between the bars on my bedroom window. I was equally as far from my Tokyo apartment on the 12th floor of the New Hiem Sakamachi apartment building for this recent event. I am unfortunate to be so lucky. Much as the sheltered child will never get injured or sick, yet hardship is developed from looking through these protective barriers of distance and seeing others, who are active in the outside world during extraordinary events, so too have I been both spared and denied. Shared experience creates intangible knowledge from experience for a single person, but is also shared between those who experience it together, becoming an understanding of congruence of thought shared by everyone in that "place." Becoming a singularity of time and events firmly and tacitly knowable by everyone who shared that "place" and equally unknowable by those who did not.

This singular event and the millions of tangential experiences and "places" it will create will have reverberations felt in all things, including that stylized media entertainment we follow and which serves as a platform of cultural symbio-development. What that impact cause to will manifest has yet to be seen, but it will be a fundamental as it will be varied. It will come from that "place," different, yet understood without words by those who have been there. This potential gulf created by that manifestation is no barrier, but simply the product of articulating that tacit intangibility of known experience, into an explicit medium of words, speech, art, animation, or performance. As our pure thoughts remain prisoners of our mind's interior, it falls to us to make explicit mediums of communication with which we hope to facilitate the same thoughts in the inaccessible interior minds of others. Such has been the driving force behind much of human creativity, and those of us who were not there to share that "place," will certainly find value in the artistic expressions of those who were.

I wasn't there. I was watching Oedo Rocket off of the internet in Upstate New York at 1am. An invisible dot, on an invisible dot.

Shinjuku, Tokyo 2010.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Carry a Badge; Anime Conventions, and why anime market in America is different from Bollywood

Juxtaposing foreign media segments in the USA, illustrated with Convention Badges

There's another anime blog out there in the massive universe of anime blogs: Anime of Yesteryear, which is worth checking out. Unlike other "yesteryear" type things, this blog isn't simply a retrospective on anime that happens to be from 15 or more years ago; but rather the pieces of American fandom that existed in the proto-phases of the formation of the market as we know it today in America... guess I'll throw Canada in there too.

This material is not only worth significant points in the social fandom system of "I'm more otaku than you," but I hope will also be useful in any case studies that get made regarding this very interesting and turbulent portion of the media industry, which has gone through the highest of highs and lowest of lows like an out of control Fu-Go in a hurricane, reaching amazing heights only to land in an abandoned tire yard in some forgotten part of Minnesota. These are early examples of the type of marketing that was done to grow and create a legitimate market for foreign entertainment media in segments outside the clusters indigenous to the source culture. You can talk about Bollywood in the USA, but who's buying it? It's almost all people from the region where it's produced. Such is not true for Japanese anime. Most of the U.S. market for Latin music was manufactured south of the border as well ("Latin music" in this context meaning productions that are specifically not made in the U.S., with a priority on their own domestic markets). But Japanese animation? That was everybody in terms of demographics (except age demos). The advantage of that is a much larger potential for expanding your market and presence in the overall entertainment industry. The disadvantage is that the "easy-come easy-go" rule applies quite a bit, since there is not a "built in" audience that is going to ipso-facto support productions because of implicit cultural understandings and familiarity induced desire, and thereby aggregating bad years in terms of sales into something fiscally survivable.

As an emerging market, anime was being featured in publications like NY Times, WSJ, Newsweek, Washington Post, and others by 1995. The reason? It was the intense visibility of the "top of the pyramid" of the anime consuming market. Some people might attribute this to The Anime Convention as the cause, but that's not entirely true. There were "conventions" long before the mid 1990's, and although they weren't the "Anime Conventions" we have become used to, the first AX, Otakon, AnimEast, or Katsucon, was not going to be the bait on the hook, in terms of getting MSM attention and then using that attention to build a legitimate face to show the market and potential investors. The true sherpa of anime to the media and business world was the specialty retail entity. A convention was something that happened once a year, and got a puff piece and then that was is, but a B&M location in a major media hub that could provide specific people, events, and information, combined with entrenching itself as a source of information/commentary for all things "Asian pop-culture" whenever a local media source needs a talking head. Combine the home media labels operating in the same place, and you've got a media cycle that mentions something about anime at least once per quarter.

A good solid year of this, led to anime = serious business and acceptance as a true entertainment commodity that could be taken seriously. Only after that, did conventions serve to show people what kind of market anime was in America, how it operated, all that good stuff.

But Conventions were a whole other story for the people who attended them. This is especially true looking at the pre-convention center state of things, where cons took up small sections of hotels, or college campuses.


At a certain point as conventions get larger, a connection is lost between the attendees and the convention organization. A loss of the feeling that your presence has direct value not only to the convention, but to the entity that is anime fandom in the USA. These early cons suffered form labor shortages, meaning that the potential for attendees to be called upon to assist in things was greater, and a job well done was it's own reward (most of the time). This would have been impossible if the internet was the same back then as it is now however. With the exception of some minor socializing, there's nothing a convention offers that isn't replaceable by the internet. Think about it, Dealers room, video rooms, panel discussions, news, collecting images, looking at artwork, AMV watching, geeking out and arguing about which version of Chun-li has the better outfit, all that is easier and more plentiful online. You don't need cons anymore for any of the actual activities that they offer other than autographs. So why the continued attendance?

Some of it is obviously market turnover; younger fans come in, older fans go out, and people like Bill O'Reilly get confused about miscommunications. But that's not why people keep coming back at sustainable levels. The reason conventions have grown while other areas like home media have been terrible for anime, is a sociological phenomen, mentioned at the top of this article: Points. Or intense gamification behaviour if you prefer. Otaku are always trying to out-otaku each other, and they see a lot of value in doing this in-person as opposed to online. Winning an internet argument? That's not much, ...but, like pwning some other anime fan IRL w/ ure shiznit-tastic cosplay of that obscure character and use of the word kawaii and desu in a sentence is like such OMFGWTFBBQFF7 levels of otaku-points, that you'll totally plunk down $40 (not to mention pay for transportation and hotel) to engage in dick measuring contests go to a 3 day convention, all the while complaining that a $19.95 SRP on a Summer Wars DVD that you can buy and have forever is too much. No... no one can see you buy that DVD, and thus no upward motion in the fandom stratification can be achieved through that activity. It's the high levels of visibility that gives these fan activities perceived value among attendees, and where can you be more visible to the specific group you are trying to out-fan than at a convention? Nowhere that's where. The major force at work here is called Willingness To Pay.

This kind of thing doesn't really exist in other foriegn entertainment media market segments in the US (like Bollywood films), because there's not really an "I'm more Indian than you" kind of behavior going on within the consumer market. I'm not saying there isn't some "I'm more Indian than you" contest going on somewhere out there, but it's not a driving force shaping that particular segment for the market of this consumer good. Remember when there was all this talk about Bollywood becoming the next big breakout entertainment market and all that? What happened? Lack of gamification opportunities in the general media consuming public = fizzle. That's what happened. You wanna see the PowerPoint? Then pay me, 's what I do for a living.

Getting back to the subjects of Otaku points and Anime conventions:

AnimEast 1994

AnimEast 1995 or Anime East 1995 it seems. There was never another Anime East or AnimEast, though Anime Next is like some sort of distant future descendant. See the footnotes below for more. Bonus points if you can guess which anime the image is from.

Katsucon 1995 You've already seen this...

Katsucon 1997 (Funny thing about 1996, there was this huge snow storm that closed the Jersey Turnpike and I couldn't make it. It wasn't cleared until late Saturday. I did not get a refund... or a free t-shirt... and the hotel charged my ass a fee for not showing up.

Otakon 1995. My Otakon 1994 badge exists, but isn't here, so if anyone has one send a scan and you'll be all special like!

Otakon 1996 still in the tag holder

Otakon 1997 ...I also had a dealer badge from 1997 but I have no idea what happened to it. I think I gave it to someone to get in and out and bring me pizza because there was a Pizza Hut right in the hotel where this things was and it was awesome and blah blah blah

Otakon 1998. Oh look the badges are huge now... and laminated.

Otakon 1999. First year at Baltimore Convention Center.
After this point badges are "meh" but that's ok because after this, my con badges started having "industry" written on them.

The first Anime Central (Acen) 1998. Whoever the Con Chair was that year was a total d-bag.

Anime East / AnimEast:
Anime East should by all rights have been the major East Coast anime con. It was same year as Otakon, in a much bigger market (NYC Metro), much better served in terms of transportation, had access to many dealer/retail accounts, had better PR, better funding, and they even gave out the Tezuka Award Nominations (Or something to do with the Tezuka awards... I forget exactly what, but it was a big deal).

There are 2 reasons out there as to why Anime East is no longer with us: Some say that since Anime East was where Apollo Smile was first unleashed upon the world, it was simply Karmic Retribution to have this event smited by an angry god (smited, smote..?). But then, some say that it was the dirty dealings of one man, whose "take the money and run" move ensured that the funding for 1996 went with him into the shadows, never to be seen again. This is why we can't have nice things.

Some say Martin King (pictured on the right) is that person. This was taken in 1995 at the Anime Crash offices in Manhattan and published in NY Japion. It was when we at Crash were working out sponsorship of the con. The Anime East 1995 badge has the Anime Crash logo on the flip side. There was even talk of Crash becoming a label as early as 1995 in cooperation w/ and acquiring anime with Anime East, but it fell through and we eventually went with martial arts as our first acquisitions for Crash Cinema in 1998.

This con was hard core. Best guest roster by far (New York City is like some kind of enchanted fairy land to the Japanese, and so they were on board like nobody's business), a huge cosplay, big dealers room, great location, and an open bar. They even had their own CCTV channels running on the hotel system so you could watch panels or interviews you may have missed or just check out the AMVs. Seriously. Anime East 1994 was also when I survived on nothing but con-food: Nutra-Grain bars, Candy Corns, and Dr Pepper.

The 1994 convention that by all accounts should have been a campus affair but wasn't, this now megalithic entity started out in a corner of the Days Inn in State College PA. It would stay in State College in 1995 but be held at a place called The Scanticon that year, which seemed like it was from the future. It was a hotel/convention center, and there was a wedding going on at the same time... the reception was nice.

I was at Otakon in 1994, but my badge being somewhere else (I won't be unpacking it any time soon so if you have one send it in or leave a link or something) will not be making an appearance. So instead enjoy the program book cover signed by the only guest who seemed to be around at the time; Robert DeJesus:

Otakon 1994
(Otakon 1994 program book)

If I get requests, I'll scan the whole thing so you can see what a con-goer from 1994 was in store for. Finally as for Otakon, there's this I made from way back:

Anime Central:
It was 1998, I flew to Chicago, got Kenichi Sonoda's autograph, and then brought him up to the control tower at O'Hare (I know people). I got work done for Crash, slept in the dealer's room, and raided the mini-bar of a convention suite after being exposed to the genuinely terrible behavior of the skeevy Con Chair (whoeverit was in 1998, I don't even remember the d-bag's name). I haven't been back to an Anime Central since.

Held during the time of year that is definitely not convention season, Katsucon has always seemed the most "fun" of all the cons, and is where I've never had to actually "do" anything. Going to that con was something nice, and the hotel it was in was very cool since some rooms could look into the giant covered atrium. Ever since it split off into Katsucon and the newer Nekocon, I've felt a little split between the two. I find Nekocon a bit more relaxing because of it's size and where it is.

Nekocon 2004. Not my earliest Necko con, I don't think it's the last one I was at either, but it was the favorite year.

There are other conventions to be sure; Anime Boston, Anime Next, BACC, BAAF, NYAF, NYCC, Icon, those tings in Florida, Anime Weekend Atlanta, A-Kon, and Anime Expo. I have never been to Montreal's Otakuthon which is closer to me than AWA, so it makes sense to go.


So the experience is the perceived value, the impetus to part with cash in exchange for the ability to participate in activities that will generate a set of memories based on not only one's own activities but the interpretations of those activities by others either real or imagined. To observe being observed in a unique setting, which can only be substituted in form and not in function.

Unfortunately, until the American market itself can be satisfied with the same kind of delivery mechanism that exists in Japan (ie, anime can actually make revenue on TV because it's not pirated for a month before it airs, people have to actually pay money if they want to buy/read/download manga, and ...well you know), the convention will always mean the cake is a lie. It will just represent how strong anime is in terms of a draw for American otaku but not for doing actual business ... but for the fans to really care about not hurting anime producers by taking stolen goods? That will take something more than making it a source of Otaku peen points.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tolkien-Temper-Tantrums, Katsucon Catastrophe, & Funimation vs The Congressman’s Daughter: 3 kinds of "Doing it Wrong"

The Streisand Effect is something that can rarely be used as an effective marketing tool. In the times it has had demonstrable positive effects in marketing, 90% of those instances have been due to retroactive strategy changes, where the instigating party simply comes to terms with the extra attention and does what it can to take advantage of the newfound publicity, rather than continue to fight a losing PR battle. Almost never, can a marketing strategist plan and then successfully implement a Streisand Effect from the ground up. Hence;

#1 Tolkien Temper Tantrum:

Recently, there’s been an anime related blip on the Streisand Effect radar in the form of a fan-produced button with the slogan “While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion” that was taken off of at the C&D behest of the Tolkien Estate. This non-infringing product had long since exhausted its life-cycle in terms of pop-culture buzzmetrics and relevancy in general. It was just another microscopic fleck of dead skin on the pile of old-meme that was the internet from 2009 that no one cared about. Suddenly, in steps the Tolkien Estate with a behavior which violates the unwritten social standards of internet pop-culture community, and boom; it’s viral in the blogosphere. The result being that now, someone like me, who never knew about this has; A) found about it, and B) based on the behavior of Tolkien Estate I am now very motivated to make something for myself with this slogan on it and proudly display it at the next convention I go to. I think you should too.

[Added Mar. 7 2011]
Since I wrote this a while back (these posts are usually written a number of days, sometimes weeks before they're posted using Bloggers ability to schedule auto-uploads), there has been a development in this issue. That development seems to be something along the lines of the Tolkien Estate coming out and stating that they have had no involvement in this situation, and leading to the conclusion that it was which pulled these things of their own accord. Something later confirmed by via BoingBoing...apparently. However, in's post containing the original emails, the words "
We have been contacted by The JRR Tolkien Estate" clearly appear in their correspondence dated Feb. 23 from "Mike" at There are only 3 possibilities as things stand:

1) Zazzle is lying. They were never contacted by the Tolkien Estate, and took it down themselves because someone over there has just learned what copyright infringement is and is taking it too far (see Katsucon Catastrophe below).
2) Tolkien Estste is lying, and backing off real fast to avoid a wrath of the internet type incident, either asking or leaving Zazzle to take the PR hit, with the message that it's Zazzle's doing and not Tolkien Estate, and Zazzle is complying since they... who fucking knows.
3) is lying and this has all been concocted as some insanely ballsy method of publicity in the hopes of...
who fucking knows.
4) My own opinion/desire is a combo of 1 & 2, being that knows exactly how this works, and was able to explain to the Tolkien Estate how they might just become the Cook's Source of 2011 in terms of internet wrath... and so they both are back-peddling the hell out of this.

Either which way, I'm done caring about it at this point, thought I still will be wearing a home-made version of this thing to the next con I go to.

#2 Katsucon Catastrophe:
Now, when it’s really “Fair Use” like the above, I am always supportive of this kind of thing and fostering all kinds of creativity. This support usually is something I often extend even when it’s technically over the line of the copyright issue. There are many examples where it’s more beneficial to allow the activity to continue rather than to force a confrontation. Case in point; the Katsucon Artist Alley disaster of 2011. Let’s get the technicalities straight; Most artist alley transactions where people buy things from the artists/vendors are in actual violation of copyright since the character rights are clearly being infringed upon. The fact that an artist drew/painted/sculpted an existing character or a combination of original character in an existing profile, by itself isn’t infringement... until that piece is sold for money. In that case the rights holder is entitled to a portion of that sale, and if there is no existing agreement in place, they can take legal action.

That doesn’t mean shutting down the artist alley is a good idea. Unless you’re selling a hundred pieces of Naruto fan art at $10 each, the small transactions of an artist alley are not something that licensees should think are worth the customer alienation that comes with wielding the bludgeon of "enforcement." But like a college undergrad who just learned something new, Katsucon blundered into this big time due to a lack of real-world knowledge. My own notion is that some staffer (who is probably a pre-law student somewhere), realizes that there’s a technical copyright violation going on, and institutes an over-kill policy, demonstrating a serious lack of knowledge of how this works. I could be wrong, but for some reason I don't think I am. Knowledge is information + experience. Guess which part of that was missing from the thought process of this Katsucon genius... Now because this mess’s Streisand Effect brings unnecessary scrutiny to artist alley activities at conventions in general, it can only lead to problems. Best case scenario is that this just goes away by the time convention season gets into full swing.

My Katsucon 1 (1995) con badge.
Katsucon, I love ya, and I was there in the beginning, but you better not fuck this up for everyone.

#3 The Funimation vs The Congressman's Daughter
Then there are the straight up a-holes who are so steeped in gamification behavior within the fan community, that they will actually hurt the anime business to get e-peen points. While the targets of the litigation aren't the worst offenders, Funimation suing the 1337 to set a proper example of “yes, this is stealing, and this is what happens when you do it” is not surprising, and is only unfortunate in that it takes capital away from Funimation's budget that could otherwise be used to get more anime out. Anime as a commercial product has been seriously hurt by attention whores who make terrible translations and post them online before legit streaming sources make them available merely a few hours later. These lawsuits will win (if legal procedure is done properly) because the law and politics are very friendly to copyright and the billions of dollars it pumps into the economy. Here's a bit on that:

The US Government is in love with Copyright. Some relevant background (Napster case study): In 2001, Napster tried the ridiculous failure that was the “Million Fan March” on Washington DC, as a part of their platform for a complete revision of copyright law, the end goal of which was to make p2p media sharing legal under fair use, and thus clearing the way for Napster to operate on a very large scale, immune from civil actions of music labels and artists. This event, combined with the activities of the Napster D.C. lobby team of Manus Cooney and Karen Robb, was called the “Congressman’s Daughter” strategy. It was the idea that if a member of congress just had their kid show them how Napster worked, they would have some kind of awakening and Congress would make sweeping changes to Intellectual Property laws. Napaster actually put off negotiating a deal with music labels in order to further this strategy, thinking it would work, and then they wouldn't have to deal with labels at all. But the problem is, Congress had just changed I.P. laws, and not in the way Napster wanted. This was the 1998 Mickey Mouse Protection Act, extending the period between creation and entry into the public domain to well over a century in most cases. The law was further cemented into an indelible presence in American jurisprudence with the later 2002 case of Eldred v. Ashcroft. Pile on top of that the DMCA getting through the Senate unanimously in1998, and U.S.A. participation in the GATT Treaty on copyright issues, and it should have been painfully obvious to anyone that this hoped-for outcome of Napster's wasn’t going to happen. The U.S. Government has consistently realized that patents and copyrights are among the top 5 contributors to the entire U.S. economy, with the biggest players in intellectual property issues being Pharmaceutical, Agri-business, and Software entitles, along with Entertainment Media. They all have DC lobbies too... really really big ones.

"Bubble? What do you mean Bubble? Nah, this is totally gonna last forever!"

So the F-1337 don’t have the law on their side, and can only hope public opinion becomes strong enough to serve as a motivation for Funimation to back off, or see if they can sidestep on a legal technicality. And for those of us in the business, it’s very painful to see idiot fans supporting thieving activities because of some perceived entitlement - the "right" to watch anime. It’s not really 100% their fault though, there just isn’t enough information getting through to people to dissuade them that; no, your American otaku demand for HD video perfectly translated commercial-free simulcast foreign TV programs at no cost to you is actually unreasonable believe it or not. The problem is, the way we live doesn’t make that easy to realize. For example; when Verizon was advertising high-speed internet access with the tag-line “download thousands of songs,” they were really hurting things. Downloading 1,000 songs from iTunes is kind of pricey, and Verizon knows that people aren't going to be paying for all those downloads, but they are going to perpetuate the entitlement anyway. The entitlement of “well I just bought a big computer and am paying for broadband, so that’s my investment, and that’s all I should have to be out of pocket” seems to be enough to justify not actually paying for the entertainment media they consume. Again, an internet entitlement notion that only is shown to be completely absurd when applied to a real-world example; “Well I got up out of the house and paid for my subway ride here to the movie theater, so that’s enough of a reason for me to get in without a ticket.” Yes, it’s just that stupid. And no court in the land is going to have sympathy for people who buck the system that greases the wheels of politics.

In this last case, the party who’s “doing it wrong” are the fansubbers, the torrent hosts, and the people defending what they do. When you dabble in piracy, there’s a risk that they’ll nail you. The internet-rage from the ignorant otaku masses is creating a pseudo Streisand Effect in the regular channels, which is just a reminder to the rest of you to play by the rules or risk being #1338.