I love buying DVDs. I wish I didn’t quite so much. I’d sure save a lot of money that way, but for better or worse, that’s the kind of anime fan I am, I guess.

I’d certainly buy more if they weren’t so expensive. But are they really? For years now I’ve been hearing people say that anime on DVD is even more expensive in Japan than it is here in the states. I’ve never found an explanation for this. Wouldn’t a country with more anime viewers/potential customers make for a more mass produced/cheaper product? I’m no student of economics, but it would seem to me that this logic would hold true across different cultures. Now I have heard that titles are deliberately delayed from being distributed in the US due to our comparatively low prices — which would entice Japanese fans to actually import their discs from America rather than buying them from the shop down the street — but I don’t know how much truth there is to that. But that’s a tangent of the matter that I’m trying to investigate here.

On Amazon’s Japanese website, the DVD for Evangelion 1.11 appears to have a standard retail price of ¥5,040, with Amazon selling it for a discounted price of ¥3,763. That’s about $58 and $43 in American dollars (according to this website, as all conversions in this entry will be). This discounted price in Japan is still higher than the standard retail price here in America of $29.98, with Amazon.com currently offering the film for as little as $13.49.

In Japan, Amazon is selling Ponyo for ¥3,651 (srp ¥4,935). That’s $42 and almost $57, respectively. The list price on Amazon.com for Americans? $29.99, with a sale price of $16.49.

I don’t even know how to wrap my mind around something like this. Like most of the series I’ve tried to look up, there’s rarely any kind of box set available, let alone a discounted “slim” set, as so many series are eventually released in here in America. A search for Bamboo Blade yields 10 results, each appearing (as best as I can tell) to be a single disc selling for ¥8,190, or about $94. The only exception is first result on the page, with a possible entry-level, “bargain” price of ¥ 4,935 (almost $57), on sale for ¥ 4,036 ($46). If you add up the cost of every disc on this page (assuming each disc is unique, which is probably a big assumption for me to make), the total comes to about ¥77,746, or $893.53.

Bamboo Blade, which I’m currently watching over on ANN, runs for 26 episodes. Now I’m going to admit that my methods for figuring this all out might be horribly flawed. If I’ve made any egregious errors, then I hope some better-informed reader of this entry will help correct my mistakes. Because it looks like Japanese fans buying Japanese DVDs are paying out about $34 per Bamboo Blade episode. How any fan is able to afford this is beyond me. Meanwhile, American fans can pick up the entire series on Amazon for just about $50.

For all our pissing and moaning about what gets licensed and doesn’t, or how anime companies are trying to “rip us off,” maybe we really don’t have it all that bad.