What is a Bootlegged Anime?
A bootleg is an illegal pirated version of an Anime series. They are usually of lesser quality to the official liscenced English series. For example, packaging is poorer, subtitles are usually dodgy, etc.
How do I spot a Bootleg Anime Series?
- They are usually region-free. The seller will say that the item can play on all DVD players. DVDs are sorted into several regions, for example USA/Canada is region 1, Japan region 2, Australia is region 4, and so on. Region free anime are going to be bootlegs, as the companies who legitimately liscence these anime only get the liscence for their country.
- Low Disc Count. For example, the entire third series of Sailor Moon being on 3 discs. The acutal Geneon/Pioneer release has it at about six discs. This means that the bootleggers are sacrificing picture and sound quality as well.
- Very Low Price - In Australia, the average price of a new, liscenced anime box set is about 120 dollars, depending on how many discs the series contains. Bootlegged series may go for considerably less.
- Different Appearance to Legitimate Release - Bootlegged anime may be packaged differently to the legitimate releases. They may have different pictures, etc. Its a good idea to chase up the liscensor in English-speaking countries to see what the leigtimate releases look like.
- No Censorship Warnings - In Australia, all DVDs must have the rating printed obviously on the packages. They used to be white shapes with the code letter inside + information, and now they are colour coded. Very obvious.
- Contains Chinese Subtitles - As far as I know, no Australian anime release has contained Chinese subs. They usually just have English.
- No English Dub - As far as I know, no anime has been liscenced in Australia without a dub.
Case Study: Cowboy Bebop Box Set
For example, in real life, I managed to purchase my box set of Cowboy Bebop at JB Hi-Fi for 112 dollars. I can see one here on ebay currently going for 109 dollars. It is region 4, has pictures of each dvd in the box (looks like my JB:Hi-Fi one). The seller specifically says that it won't play on US/Canadian players. I can see the censorship ratings (some discs M, some M15+) The seller has 96% feedback rating, that in my opinion is acceptable. They've been on Ebay a long time, this item is probably a legal release.
Another example is starting at 10 cents, has different packaging to the official madman release, has no censorship ratings. Its a bootleged product. I wouldn't encourage anyone to bid on it.
I saw a bootleg! What should I do?
- Report it to Ebay! At the bottom of the listing theres a link to "report this listing"
- Don't bid or encourage others to bid!
- You could always encourage your local company to get the rights to it. Lots of people wanted to see the series 'Gravitation' in Australia and a while ago Madman released a box-set
- You could buy a region-free player, or a player from the country in question. I'm not sure of the legality of that though.