Death Note Anime To Be Available For Download (Legally)

Wanna download it?

I just got this press release from Viz stating that the Death Note anime has been licensed and that it’ll be available for download while the series is still running in Japan:

San Francisco, CA, January 10, 2007 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced that it has licensed from Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV) the Download to Own (DTO) and Download to Rent (DTR) rights for the United States for the smash hit DEATH NOTE anime series, currently airing in Japan.

The deal is significant because it marks the first time a well known Japanese anime property will be made legally available to domestic audiences for download to own while the title still airs on Japanese television. VIZ Media will seek to make the series available to consumers through a number of online providers in order to reach the widest audience possible.

Like the press release says, this is significant because American audiences will be able to watch the anime before it’s even finished airing in Japan. While this is slightly cool, I have a feeling that the actual downloads will be DRM’ed to hell and only available in English dub form.

I think the ideal solution would be to offer subbed downloads on the same day of airing in Japan. Surely this wouldn’t be a problem for the company itself, as they would have access to the scripts. They would beat the fansubs (and even speedsubbers) to the punch, and I’d assume their translations would be fairly accurate. If pricing was decent (like $1 an episode?) I would totally buy it.

Previously on Basugasubakuhatsu:
Death Note – Anime First Impressions
Death Note Vol. 1 – Manga Review

15 thoughts on “Death Note Anime To Be Available For Download (Legally)”

  1. This was discussed before, with industry insiders chiming in. Basically, two problems. For one thing, with the current structure of companies, downloads for $1 are absolutely out of the question, because the market is very, very small (e.g. they were throwing numbers for 10,000 downloads for Haruhi, free). The translation can’t be paid at that rate. So it would be more like $10 or $15 an ep, and even then, very doubtful. The market is “elastic”, as economists call it, so the number of downloads drops steeply as price increases. If millions of fans were ready and willing, then $3 per episode could be feasible. But $1 – no way ever. And another thing, the DRM mentality is impossible to displace in the heads of execs. It just is. The only way to do it is to collect all of them in a big rocket and shoot them into the sun.

    Combined, these two problems are insurmountable. I can see how the market can be grown with technological advances, but the paleolithic morons running companies won’t go away until they die. Think another 60 years before that happens.

  2. blah, i have yet to spend any money on my anime obsession. I’m not sure I’d be willing to spend money for stuff I was able to get for free not to long ago. I’d probably break down and spend the money anyway, but I wouldn’t be happy :(

  3. If fansub groups are already doing it for free, I don’t see how it could really cost THAT much for companies to do it. How much would a professional translator cost, anyway? $10,000? The numbers for downloads could be higher than Haruhi, given the marketing power of a professional company.

  4. Well, it costs more to companies because they have to buy the rights to translate and release the show, while fansubbers basically just steal it and release it illegally. Plus, professional translators may not cost $10,000, but in my country Japanese translators may cost as much as ~$2500 (or even more, depending on what they’re translating).

  5. Wow, thanks for posting that news! DRM is gonna be all over everything in the future don’t know how long independent fan subbers will be allowed to continue… wah!!!
    Still, I’d buy Death Note episodes in a heartbeat if they were priced like iTunes shows. The Colbert Report(hottest show in U.S.) = US$1.99 each. That’s the price point I’d look for anyway.

  6. i simply don’t understand why tw or live-evil won’t sub it any more…i mean, isn’t naruto licensed but dattebayo is still subbing it, along with bleach…sheesh :/

  7. I’ve actually heard from a Japanese Lawyer that recording and distributing most Japanese TV shows is not illegal as long as the show is not licenced wherever you live…Some of the individual shows prohibit this…but that is how the Japanese video stores in the USA procure their materials. Ripping from a DVD is illegal because the content on a DVD is not provided for free.

  8. I wont be supporting American limited DRM ad infested media .
    I like Ad free , No DRM and XviD Media Codec .

    I would rather see Anime in asian audio and english sub titles air a week later in Local tv Australia after the asian tv stations air it.

    We get enough of american voices from non anime USA tv shows .

    I like Deathnote , one of my fav anime along with Bleach and Naruto.
    Recently Naruto 01 aired in Australian free2air tv , meanwhile 217
    fansub eps of Naruto are out already ….

    Personaly I think fansubs are the same as illegal tv eps , which are basicaly a tv show recorded , shared and not avail in Australia.
    In the case of fansubs they add subtitles (w00t) and DONT add american audio or alter names or features of the content.

    Unforntaly all this , you can buy tvshows and anime is still not fixing the global problem of people pirating media .

    Start airing around the world at the same time , less pirating.
    This goes for Anime , USA/UK movies , USA/UK Tvshows .

    One good thing about anime , is it doesnt seem to get canned
    so much as USA and UK tvshows do .

  9. unfortunatley, with this download thing, they would never be able to make much money off of it- ther ewould always be someone who’ll post it on YouTube and then nobody will buy it

  10. I totally agree with Charliebrownau.
    I’m also an Aussie and I just wanted to add that considering how painful it is to watch most dubbed anime, even if each episode were $1, there is no way I’d buy it.

    I mean, have you guys seen the Naruto dub? I still watch bits of it on this morning cartoon show we have down here (Toasted TV) but only cos its basically free.. and so I can see the episodes that I missed as I started watching at Episode 101. But the point is, the dub is painful to watch, everyone’s voice doesn’t match their character and sounds totally out of place. Some dialogue has even been changed..
    E.g. Sasuke to Naruto:
    Jap -> Eng translation: Idiot. (Baka)
    Dub: You’re such a moron.


  11. You pick that as your example of dialogue change….
    Sub: But you confirmed that he died, Kakashi sensei.
    I did confirm it. But he was most-likely in a near-death state.
    Dub: Kakashi sensei, you checked him yourself, you said that his heart stopped.
    His heart did stop. That was just a temporary state to simulate death.
    lol, I’m sorry but if your heart stops for that long you ARE dead. : P
    But yeah, I hope they don’t kill the series, being that I’m unsure who dubbed Naruto (Death Note was signed to Ocean, but I can’t imagine them doing much better)
    The only company that I can imagine possibly doing at least a decent job dubbing this would be the one that dubbed Last Exile and Witch Hunter Robin, even though I haven’t seen Last Exile so I can’t say for sure about the quality of their dubs, Witch Hunter Robin is almost perfectly matched to the anime, if you don’t believe me watch an episode of Witch Hunter Robin subbed, then watch it dubbed.

  12. I’d be willing to pay up to 3 dollars per episode, buying the whole series. (25 currently out, that’s 75$) … it’d be nice if they didn’t do a dub, but stuck to subbing. Maybe a way to skip some costs of subbing would be too hire one of the groups that subs it for free? (But pay them, of course, I’m sure they’d be happy for getting more than 0$)
    Neat, that they want to do it while it’s still airing in Japan.

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