The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi (Spoilerific Wikipedia Entry) was one of my wife’s and my favorite shows of this past year. It’s unique in a lot of ways- from it’s play on traditional anime themes to it’s interesting use of chronology. Plus, it’s hilarious.
The anime community has had a long tradition of making works available in countries outside of Japan before they’re released in the form of fansubs, copies that are subtitled and distributed by fans. The practice of fansubbing has evolved a great deal since the creation and increase in use of the Internet. At any rate, it’s one of the reasons anime is so popular in the U.S. now. Now, Japan has always had interesting practices regarding fan based works. I’ve mentioned some of them before in the Otakon thread. Basically, a lot of things go on that are technically copyright infringement- such as the creation and sale of derivative doujinshi (fan comics)- but for whatever reason, some companies don’t enforce their copyrights. Even in the US, different companies have been known to appreciate fansubs. The fansubbing community has it’s own ethical standards as well- once a work is licensed in the U.S., distribution generally stops.
Well, Bandai has done something interesting now that they’ve licensed Suzumiya Haruhi.
First, they make a fan-like video with actors and actresses in the manner mirroring the show itself. They also thank fans who get the fansubs and buy DVDs, and specifically don’t thank people who get the fansubs and don’t buy the licensed DVDs. ^_^ They also make “mistakes-” like forgetting to subtitle the first video. (The “fixed” video is now up.) Fun. They’ve also got a MySpace page for the show.