December 09, 2012

Has Crunchyroll Saved Anime for the US Market?

According to this article, the anime industry in Japan just packed it in and quit.

After the eighth episode of Girls und Panzer aired late Monday, anime studios around Japan have collectively announced the end of the anime industry and discontinued operation. "I would like to thank the fans throughout the years for their continued support,” Shinbou Akiyuki said as he addressed a crowd of reporters at SHAFT headquarters. "But after the last episode of Girls und Panzer, we all know that there is nothing more to accomplish in anime.”

Well, that's all folks I mean there's nothing to top this...
...The episode featured the team of protagonists engaging a Russian tankery school in the snow. Around midway through the episode, to utter disbelief of the television audience, the Russian team burst into a rendition of the traditional Russian war anthem "Katyusha”. Voice actresses Kanemoto Hisako (Squid Girl, Cure Peace) and Uesaka Sumire (Sanae Dekomori) performed the duet. The episode concluded with a dramatic fight scene and ended on a cliffhanger after the Oorai High School team were surrounded by the enemy...

Yeah that musical number was awesome. I mean Everyone is talking abou...
I don't remember any musical number.
There must be an explanation for this. If there were only some instrument we could use to determine what the hell is going on here..

"Try using a Zoopraxiscope!"

Oh, sure enough, Don's figured it out. It's because I watched it on Crunchyroll.
  Girls und Panzer‘s eighth episode is missing about a minute in its Crunchyroll version. Unless you download a fansub, you are going to miss this 1938 song, the highlight of the episode.

He also provides us with this clip for those of us who were foolish enough to watch our anime legally.

Well, thanks to Crunchyroll's legal department, perfection has been averted here in America! Thus there is still a market for the stuff here! Yay!

And sure enough, Crunchyroll's cunning plan to punish us for paying them 7 bucks a month has borne fruit!
Via Chizumatic, we find that the Japanese are producing a whole lineup of shows for the winter season.
Scrolling through it though, I'm beginning to think less that we have Crunchyroll to thank for this and more and more that this is all their fault.

UPDATE: Avatar points out that for the largest corporations getting rights to a song is difficult and to do it in a week or two is nigh impossible even for a major studio. Crunchyroll is a small operation and did the only tenable thing.
It's my understanding that the song is in the public domain in Japan and not the US.
Given the difficulties of securing the Russian rights here, I'd not hold my breath for the sequence to even be included on the R1 DVD release frankly.

Lyrics for

 Apple trees and pear trees went into blooming,
River mists began a floating flow,
She came out and went ashore, Katyusha!
On the lofty bank, on the steeply shore.

She came out and sang she song about
Her young friend, the bluish eagle from steppe
All about the one she dearly loved,
The one whose letters she treasured and kept.

Hey, a song, the song of the young girl,
Fly and go after the bright Sun,
Find a soldier on the distant borderlands
Say hello from Katyusha waiting long for him.

Let him remember the young and simple maiden,
Let him hear the song she now sings,
Let him protect his Motherland for sure,
And their love Katyusha will protect

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 09:08 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 608 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Has Crunchyroll given any explanation of why they edited this episode?  Although I have not watched this series, I too am a subscriber,and I thought I was paying for access to full episodes...

Posted by: Siergen at Sun Dec 9 21:29:43 2012 (Ao4Kw)

2 There's no explanation on Crunchyroll right now. However, the consensus seems to be that it's a copyright issue involving use of Katyusha and Crunchyroll did not have time to secure the U.S. rights to the song before they streamed it and so they played  it safe. This is somewhat ironic given that the song was written by commies for commies.

A similar issue occourd with the DVD release of Van Dread a decade or so ago. Geneon couldn't get the US rights to "It's a Wonderful World"....but Louis Armstrong wasn't a commie.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sun Dec 9 21:38:04 2012 (vp6an)

3 Copyright probably explains the absence of 'Lili Marlene' from the English dub of Strike Witches, too.

Posted by: EdwardM at Sun Dec 9 23:52:39 2012 (moC4O)

4 In all fairness, it's not like this is the first time that the Japanese have secured "Japan-only" rights for a piece of music and put it in anime. Getting the rights can be a real production even for a full-on serious corporation which has people who do that. Doing so in a -week- is in "are you kidding me?" range. For Crunchy, which is... not a full-on serious corporation, with people to do that, to do it in a week? Not the way to bet!

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Sun Dec 9 23:54:38 2012 (GJQTS)


Actually, I think the song is in the public domain in Japan but not the US. Given how thorny a problem this can be, I'd be very surprised if Sentai was able to secure the rights for the DVD release.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Mon Dec 10 08:36:02 2012 (vp6an)

6 I actually got CR to comment on this and it comes down to that Japan doesn't want to keep the footage in the episode. It probably won't be CR's place to pay for it, given the type of right required and the sort of licensing agreement they have (remember this is also a Sentai title). This is also not just an USA webcast, too, so in order to do it either CR or their licensor or whoever would have to secure the rights to a bunch of other countries: "Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and South Africa."
Also, I'm not sure if Katyusha is in public domain even in Japan. If they use the life + whatever that they use, and if Katyusha is copyrighted in Russia when they joined WIPO in '95, then it would be protected in Japan too.

Posted by: omo at Mon Dec 10 21:49:00 2012 (wKVu8)

7 Soviet-era songs don't have any copyright. Except retroactively. Unfortunately, stupid EU laws do work retroactively.

Somehow, nobody ever paid Western publishers and authors retroactively for all the Soviet-era official, legal pirating of copyrighted stuff from the West.

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at Mon Dec 10 23:21:08 2012 (cvXSV)

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