Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Anime Industry Then and Now Section 3: The Anime Boom Era Part 3: DVDs are the New Hotness, and Fansubs Evolved

The Anime Boom hit like a tidal wave. One of the key things that happened in this era was the prospect of DVDs. To be honest, I don’t exactly recall how I got into DVDs. When popular media shifts abruptly you’re either in the “in the know” boat or you’re not. It’s kind of like how Tina Fey’s character in Date Night (peoplemustseethismovie) didn’t know what flash drives were until her husband, Steve Carrell, explained it to her and she realized she was just using a different name for them. Point is, I began to notice the shift to DVDs in the fandom much like how present day I find myself investing in more and more Blu-Rays. But there were some key things that made me a DVD buyer.

Around my 20th birthday I was given an APEX 5 Tray DVD Player by my parents. The player itself was a bitch to operate. At the time it could barely read any of my discs and often times it would freeze and I would have to restart it. It had long loading times and was just…annoying. My first series I put an investment on the DVD side of things was Battle Athletes Victory. I had already rented the OAV and TV series subtitled from Wizzywig and decided I wanted to own the TV series (having the superior, albeit stranger, narrative). I actually enjoyed the English version and it was fun comparing and contrasting the differences and similarities between the two versions. My second series that transitioned me further into the DVD was Rurouni Kenshin. RK was actually one of the last series I got fan subbed on VHS and I wanted to see how the series faired in English while also having access to the Japanese version. If anything, DVDs were one of the factors that helped mellow out the whole dubs vs. subs debate (the other aspect were dubs actually improving tremendously) since fans no longer had to pick a side. The remaining factor that made me switch over to the DVD Era was the prospect of the PlayStation 2. Around this time I was returning to video gaming after taking a hiatus during the later Nintendo 64 years. My gaming style had changed slightly as I was getting into Role Playing Games (RPGs) because I liked their character development, narrative style, and lush fantasy settings. Final Fantasy 9 was my gateway drug, but about a year later I was so impressed by the Final Fantasy 10 commercials that I invested in a PS2. Suffice to say is that because it could also play DVDs, AND PLAY THEM WELL, it also became my primary DVD player (once again, much like how my PS3 is a glorified Blu-Ray player).

During this era fan subs also began to change, as the computer and the internet were more common by this point many fan subbers went exclusively online and began to experiment with different font types and styles. Also, thanks to the internet they could easily converse and share information with others making the entire process much more efficient. Thus the birth of digital fan subs began to take hold.

On a personal note I should also mention that it was around this time I took a course in college that was titled “Anime: The Study of Animation in Japanese Culture” and it was a fun course. I learned of a lot of the WWII propaganda films, and the origins of Toei before they became “the people who animated Dragonball and One Piece”. It helped put a lot into context of how anime evolved within it’s own culture and how we, as Americans, absorbed it.
If anyone would like a context for how my anime DVD collection grew…

…yeah…that’s just A-M.


  1. I used to have a large DVD collection. Sold off a large percentage of it a few years ago and never picked up most of the stuff again.

  2. There is possibly 20% of my collection I "may" sell off but because I could rent from Wizzywig back in the day it helped filter out the "must owns" vs. the ones I would watch once and never look back on.