Piracy sinks online plans for 2 anime


POSTED: Tuesday, June 02, 2009

If you've seen an English-subtitled version of episode 403 of the “;One Piece”; anime these past few days, you should be ashamed of yourself.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, Funimation planned to broadcast the latest installment of the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirates online on Saturday, the same day the episode aired in Japan.

But some people just aren't patient enough. Ironically enough for a show about pirates (the swashbuckling, sea-sailing kind), it was a real-life pirate (the “;steal copyrighted property and give it away for free”; kind) who allegedly scuttled those plans, cracking the security on one of Funimation's servers and unleashing the episode—Funimation logo, subtitles and all—on the Internet a day early.

The sins of what has been characterized as one person have resulted in punishment for all of us who prefer doing things the legal way. As of this writing, all episodes of “;One Piece”; AND the popular “;Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”; have been pulled from Funimation's Web site. There's no indication of whether the episodes will return, and frankly I'd be surprised if they did any time soon.

It's a new low for the subculture of piracy that exists on the Internet. Any anime and manga—even things that are supposed to be free for a limited time, like Rumiko Takahashi's “;Rin-ne”;—can be found archived on some site, waiting to be downloaded. (Some sites even charge for the “;privilege”; of reading the illegal translations.) But no anime being streamed legally for free online—even “;Naruto Shippuden,”; a past target of pirates—has ever had an episode stolen and posted before Japanese broadcast like “;One Piece.”;

I'd hope there would be some measure of outrage against Internet piracy because of this incident, yet I can't help but think that this will indirectly fuel piracy even more as tech-savvy fans deprived of their legal fixes of “;One Piece”; and “;Fullmetal”; return to illegal venues to get new episodes. It's a vicious cycle, really, with no simple, immediate answers.

Kawaii Kon picks dates

It's been 51 days since Kawaii Kon 2009 ended—enough time, perhaps, for the memories from that event to have faded from the forefront of your mind. Which means enough time has passed to start planning for Kawaii Kon 2010.

The convention's official Twitter feed (twitter.com/KawaiiKon) kicked off the countdown last week, announcing that the sixth annual event will be held April 16-18 at the Hawai'i Convention Center.

Check back with this column for further Kawaii Kon news updates from now until April, or visit the convention Web site, www.kawaii-kon.org.

The mystery begins ...

This month marks four years that “;Cel Shaded”; has existed in the Star-Bulletin. Normally that wouldn't be worth too much advance hype, but this year there are two “;anniversary”; projects I've been working on that I hope to share with you by the end of this month. If all goes well, the first mystery project will be revealed June 16. Stick around ... it'll be worth the wait.

Follow Jason S. Yadao on Twitter at twitter.com/jsyadao or e-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).