Exclusive: The Vision of Odexflowne

Despite the terribly irresistible pun of a title, this article aims to bring to light what Odex, at least officially, aims to achieve. This is the story from their Point of View.

I repeat, it’s their story, I have fabricated or modified nothing.

I met Peter Go, director of Odex, at about 9 pm, on a weekday. We went to a certain 24hour prata store, where he ordered a couple of drinks. Armed with a large notepad and a pen, a relic of my days as an army journalist, I listened attentively as Peter talked endlessly about his company, how fansubs were destroying the anime industry and what Odex was doing to counter the situation. It is obvious Peter is an anime fan – he has seen far more than most of you have. Except that for him, anime isn’t just a hobby, it’s his livelihood.

As anyone who has turned their hobby into a full-job would know, it is not easy to balance love and money. I would know, I worked in a figure store, where I had to sell people bad figures at high prices, despite them being fellow figure fans. I quit within a month. Even the esteemed RJC blogger, Darkmirage, told Peter Go to just fold his company, for anime is not the most lucrative of businesses and should be left as a hobby. But Odex still stands. Perhaps it could be seen as a testament to the strength of their love for anime. Or perhaps it’s just for money. While we won’t truly know, due to their secretive nature, I would like to share some of what I heard from him.

The central belief Peter holds is that an anime fan is one who gives back as much as he takes from the anime industry. That is the hallmark of a true fan. In other words, a free-loading downloader is not an anime fan. Animators in Japan slog for peanuts, because of their love for anime, bringing us the shows we enjoy. Watching it legally on TV in Japan and even here helps them, for it increases ad revenue. Buying DVDs, merchandise and others also help them. But downloading for free does not return anything to the industry and this is a form of theft, according to Peter. He has visited almost all the anime studios in Japan and is on close terms with the directors of a few like Sunrise (explains why ALL Sunrise anime are on the AVPAS list). He recalled that he wept when he first saw the working conditions of the animators, such was the harshness.

If you have lots of love for anime, channel it in the right places, Peter exclaimed. The days of fansubs being promotion material are long gone. Nowadays, they are more harm than good, people are not buying DVDs because they already have obtained the shows via illegal downloads. Peter believes he is a far greater anime fan than all the freeloaders because of what he has done for the local scene, and truth be told, he may be right. There is now a huge amount of anime shown on TV, many casual fans buy VCDs of anime legally and all these can be attributed to Odex obtaining the rights to these anime. Just a few years back, it was not possible to purchase such a wide variety of anime titles from retail stores. While there was anime on TV, it wasn’t shown in such great numbers.

The huge rise in anime popularity is noticeable in our daily lives. Even the least likely of people have watched anime. There’s this sweet statistics girl, who looks more attuned to the likes of studying than that of Inuyasha, but she is a fan of the latter. Almost all the guys watch anime. But the problem is, such popularity is not being reflected proportionately in terms of revenue collected by both the distributors and the studios. For that, Peter blames the downloads. Downloaders do not contribute to the economy of the anime industry, he stressed.

So what is Odex’s ultimate aim in stamping out the culture of downloading anime?

Peter wanted to keep this a secret, because he felt nobody would believe him, such is how seemingly impossible it sounds. But here it goes. He wants to see a unique Singaporean anime culture, one which is totally free of piracy, illegal downloads and 100 percent friendly to the Japanese studios. Most other countries cannot achieve this because of their geographical dispersion and lack of strong policing, but Singapore being so tiny and manageable, is a unique country able to attain this culture. So what happens when an entire nation is free of piracy and supports legal purchases of anime?

The Japanese studios would cease to think of Singapore as a small market and would reward us accordingly. Now that anime is so widespread, with the resulting high demand for legal goods, there would be much economies of scale and a subsequent lowering of prices. If Singapore is a big market, Singaporeans would have much clout with the Japanese studios and we will soon start seeing special Singapore-only extras in anime, or even more Singaporean anime characters and settings. Not only those, we can start demanding for same-time releases of DVDs and airtime of episodes, and invite high profile staff and seiyuu down here. In a capitalist economy, money talks and if everyone got their anime via legal means, Singapore would be ahead of the other countries in terms of attractiveness to the Japanese studios.

Beyond all those, the localised anime culture would also support cosplay, arts, music and other aspects of anime fandom. If these are of a high enough standard, Peter even wishes to have them included as DVD extras in his products, for a local touch.

But of course, to achieve such an anime utopia would require the co-operation of both the anime-loving masses and the licensing company. It does seem like an impossible dream, what with the high-handed approach Odex is taking, and the juvenile cyber-terrorism undertaken by the online masses.

The dream does sound good, and it did bring a smile to my face as I heard it. Imagine the possibilities, like a female Gundam heroine who shouts, "Wah lau eh!" when her Merlion Gundam explodes! Hirano Aya coming to Singapore and performing in the indoor stadium! Anime DVDs of great quality for less than ten dollars! Watching the latest anime episodes on TV or VoD at the same time of Japanese releases, while the silly Americans struggle with their week-old fansubs! Sounds great right? But all that, apparently according to Peter, is dependant on whether we can generate that critical mass of anime demand needed for Japanese studios to take notice and care of us. And to do that, fansub downloads need to be eradicated.

So there you have it, it’s the vision of Odex. So what say you now?

157 Responses to “Exclusive: The Vision of Odexflowne”

  • God, I was happily reading the comments until I reached Captain Obvious’ bullcrap.

    Christ, I’m almost ashamed that you are watching the same anime as I am. Because you obviously do not deserve them.

  • I have only 1 thing to say. By doing so, Mr. Ho is effectively killing the Anime Community in SG. As the dust settles and every thing is over, we as consumers or in his mindset potential consumers would just simply swear off anime. The Gameing and Anime market did not Grow bigger but in fact it grew with us. Anime has always been there and we have always been watching. Back during the days of Doremon and such classics to the latest Bleach Naruto and others. The Community is not getting younger and we are all getting more and more busy with our RL. If getting that 20 mins of escape requires so much effort or money, I would rather sign up @ a gym and ‘whip’ myself into health.

    On the other Hand I do acknowledge that the downloading is a problem, BUT! there is so little choice of what we are getting from. It is human nature to fear change and such a huge jump is not healthy for all parties.

    My simple quote for this saga is as follows.

    We as consumers can swear off Anime.
    But they can eat s**** when we do so.

  • Since this is a Mr Peter Go Topic, how about some comments from 1 of his former freelance editors on the quality of Odex’s fantastic subtitling. I’m sure as Mr Go is an ardent Anime fan himself, he would naturally have good QC and not use pirated hongkong Dvds as for their own projects. I mean after all, “He wants to see a unique Singaporean anime culture, one which is totally free of piracy, illegal downloads and 100 percent friendly to the Japanese studios.”

    Well.. read for yourself. :)

    [Insert Epithet Here] Odex!

  • In all the arguments, are there any solid figures? How were sales like before they fell? How are sales performing after the events? What is the sales target like? Without getting some of this feedback, are we expected to just believe blindly that emptying pockets is going to lead anywhere? Talk bout lack of transparency. Would be nice if there were some written proof that the Studios are taking spore seriously. Still, if VoD materialises might be interesting to see if it works.

  • ………I’m so late to comment but still wanna. SO, OMG Captain Obvious, did you had a horrible childhood life?! Calm down! You don’t need to always fight with any other people here just because you think they made stupid comments. It’s just their own opinion’s. Now back to the real subject. One clear reaoson why people download shows to watch is because they can’t waiit. They always want to be the first to see show’s like Ouran High School Host Club so they can be in the ‘in-crowd, the cool people so to speak’ who have seen the show first and can talk about it, say cool lines from the shows etc while good anime fans have to stand back and be like “what? I haven’t seen the show yet so IDK what you are talking about.” It’s like being a popular kid in school. Always being #1 and knows everything. Well in fact it’s just lame. Your not a true anime fan if you steal the show to watch, nothing is free in this world and i’m surprised people still don’t know. Your mom probably pays the bill so you can have access to the internet in your room to watch anime show’s. How would you feel if you created a anime show and no one is buying your dvd’s? Pretty lame ha? Well that’s what the awesome Japanese people creating your favorite shows are probably feeling right now. Don’t forget, They get their money from American sells too, if not they just have to cut down on making shows cause they know their not going to earn enough. Less anime in the future…not cool right? So do the right thing people and don’t cry out that your dirt poor so you can’t buy any dvd’s. that’s a lame excuse. Get a job lazy couch potato’s!

  • Cyber Monday better be good to me…it better make me O

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