I can’t help but recall my experience with watching Kuroko no Basket: Last Game when I heard the news that Japan’s CODA is forming an organization to combat piracy.
For those who don’t feel like reading the article, the new organization is called International Anti-Piracy Organization (IAPO). And it’s a joint effort with companies and organizations to combat piracy in other countries.
Apart from that, the organization will also help law enforcement with criminal investigations involving piracy.
That means this organization will come and try to prosecute you regardless of where you live. And it’s even easier to do that with the cooperation from companies and organizations across the globe.
Yes, I know. The news about combating anime and manga piracy will never get old.
They believe that piracy is harming the industry, particularly the original creators.
Well, they’re not wrong about that.
But my experience with watching Kuroko no Basket: Last Game at a movie theater paints a different picture, though.
Just to be clear that the situation that I witnessed happened a long time ago, way before the pandemic was even a thing.
Yes, it’s an old story. But it’s still worth revisiting since it was something that I’ve never seen before.
I’ve never seen anything like this before
Back in the old days, I used to receive an email notification whenever a new movie is coming out.
That’s how I found out about Kuroko no Basket: Last Game movie. For the most part, I tend to receive the email notification a few weeks before the movie came out.
The unfortunate part about the movie is that it was only available at a selected movie theater. But that wasn’t an issue for me since I wouldn’t mind traveling to a different city just to watch a movie.
I did the same thing when the Yowamushi Pedal movie came out. So, I would do the same for Kuroko no Basket: Last Game as well.
I usually pre-booked my ticket whenever I had to go to a different city to watch any anime movie. But when I tried to book the ticket for the movie, I couldn’t get the ticket for the noon show on Saturday.
It wasn’t like the noon show was already sold out. There were still a few seats left. But I couldn’t book the ticket at all.
So, I’m guessing that the remaining seats were reserved for the walk-in customers who wanted to watch the movie.
And the fact that I was trying to book for two people could be the reason why I couldn’t place a booking for the preferred showtime.
Since I couldn’t get the noon show on Saturday, I pre-booked the ticket for the same time but on Sunday instead.
After a while, I managed to secure the seats for the preferred showtime. But my seat was three rows from the screen, though.
And it didn’t end there.
I was in disbelief
On the day that my niece and I went to watch the movie, I glanced at the showtime list for a brief moment only to find out that the 4.00 p.m show for Kuroko no Basket: Last Game was already sold out.
Even the 8.00 p.m show was almost full.
And guess what? It was around 11.30 a.m when I saw the list.
Even my niece was also in disbelief with what I just told her about what I saw.
To be honest, I always thought that not many people would want to watch Kuroko no Basket since it wasn’t a hit series or anything.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case at all when most of the showtimes were already sold out on that day.
There were many Kuroko no Basket fans out there who were eager to watch the movie.
Kuroko no Basket: Last Game paints a different picture for me
After seeing how packed the hall was on that day, it made me believe that this situation would only be possible because of the illegal downloading and scanlations.
And when they have the chance to support anything that they like legally, they will do just that.
It can be anything from watching the movie at the movie theater to buying manga and light novels in English or their local language.
Will we get to see a packed hall if CODA or any similar organizations are curbing piracy at its root?
Well, we can if Kuroko no Basket anime or manga are available legally in any shape or form, with no region restriction.
At least now you can since the anime is also available on Netflix. And the manga is currently available for free on Manga PLUS.
But those things didn’t exist back then.
Even with most anime and manga being more accessible than ever before, it’s still pointless if they’re only available in a specific country.
People will still try to download the content illegally since they have no legal means to do that.
This is where CODA and similar organizations get it wrong all the time.
They seem to believe that people who are resorting to piracy are the type of people who prefer to get the contents for free.
Okay, I won’t deny that those people exist. But for the most part, they tend to resort to piracy when the legal options aren’t available to them.
Keep in mind that these people have the means to pay for access to the contents legally.
What do you think these people will do when there are no legal options to get the contents they want?
They would resort to piracy, of course.
I’m not an anime and manga piracy advocate
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to imply here that I’m supporting anime and manga piracy.
But let’s be realistic here, we can’t stop piracy no matter how many countermeasures we take.
As an author myself, I know how big the impact of piracy is.
But when we put so many red tapes in the name of copyright protection, it will only cause piracy to become a much bigger problem than it already is.
The reason for that is simple. People will try to get the contents they want regardless of the restriction.
And they’re more likely to do so when the legal options aren’t available for them.
Until CODA and similar organizations loosen the grip of putting the region restriction in place, this issue is here to stay.
Sure, they can always try to get rid of the big piracy websites. But it will keep respawning over and over again.
And it becomes much harder to combat since these websites know how to slip under the radar.
So, good luck trying to get rid of them.
Many of us want to support the industry legally
While this may not be true for the most part, some people tend to resort to piracy as a way to sample the work.
Let’s just face it. Not many of us are willing to spend our hard-earned money just to test the water.
And that tends to be more prevalent when the things that they want to buy are expensive and aren’t available locally.
Sure, they can convince themselves by reading reviews about the series.
But we know well enough that these reviews won’t give us a clear picture of how good the series is. At the end of the day, we need to take the plunge and give the series a go.
This is where the illegal downloading and scanlations come in.
Whether they’ll buy the DVD or Blu-ray boxset, manga or light novels or not after that is something that we won’t know for sure.
But they’re more likely to buy if it’s something that they know that they’ll enjoy in the long run.
Will CODA and other organizations see the bright side of this issue? I’m sure that we all know the answer to that question by now.
They won’t and they never will.
P.S If you love Kuroko no Basket and enjoy reading original light novels in English, then you may enjoy reading my basketball novel, Twisted Destiny.
Interested in giving the light novel a try? You can download the sample chapter right here on my Payhip store:
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