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Daizenshuu EX Plagiarism Redux

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Aug 25th, 2010 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

(I initially wrote much of this article back in March 2010, but held off on publishing it due to never receiving permission to re-publish an e-mail. I have decided to just go ahead with it. It helps set things in context, and is a great lead-in to some extra commentary based on some recent forum posts.)

We have shared stories like this before, where another website simply lifted the entire content of a major Daizenshuu EX feature (including hot-linked images and all). It is the Internet — we expect this on a daily basis. In fact, the darn thing even works in the first place because content is re-purposed and shared. Information wants to be free, right?

This was an interesting one, though. It is not as black-and-white as the example linked above. In fact, one could argue that Daizenshuu EX is the one at fault for not taking advantage of the different mediums and outlets. All of these different ways to communicate and get the message out are right there, so why not use them?

Let me explain.

Back in February I received an e-mail from a regular visitor who was concerned. I have removed some identifying information about the visitor from the e-mail below, as well as named-references to the source he is referring to (though I will ultimately “out” them later in the article):

I am one of your many fans who uses your website Daizenshuu EX (along with Kanzentai) to get news on what is occurring in the Dragon World. I am also a podcast listener. Since I support your work, I feel the need to at least inform you of a certain individual who is plagiarizing your work on YouTube and becoming popular for it (and of course, no credit is given to Daizex). You may already know and not care, but just in case you do care about someone stealing your information almost word-for-word and being credited and praised for it, I’ll give you the info.

It is a YouTuber named “(name redacted)“. I believe he is a member of your forums going under the guise of another username, but I cannot say anything in this regard because I have no proof. He is known for his DBZ news and has rapidly grown to have almost 2,000 subscribers, which is a lot of people who use him for DBZ news, and a lot of people who should be getting it from your site. (URL redacted)

Now, if you watch a lot of his videos you will notice that they are complete rip-offs of your website updates. Take for example, (URL redacted) . If you watch this, you will notice that it’s just an almost copy & paste of all the info from your website that you posted a few days ago.

Unfortunately, MY BEST PROOF he has deleted because I actually posted a comment on the video talking about it and he removed the video before I could write this email. It was a video copying your “Additional FUNimation Cast Changes” post, BUT, one thing that I noticed is that he misinterpreted the words YOU wrote: “As a minor aside, it is fascinating to be simultaneous talking about voice recastings for both the Japanese and English side of the franchise. It feels like conversations from ten years ago (the shift from Ocean Studios to an in-house FUNimation cast) have resurfaced in a tiny way!”

He thought you were talking about a possible UK release for the DBZKai series and made a video saying that, copying the text I have displayed to you in this email and talking about it. Then, when I told him he was ripping-off Daizex and also that he got the info you wrote wrong, he deleted it. His latest video (as of 3:40 PM EST Feb 16th) (URL redacted) is the only proof I have that I am telling the truth. If you watch this video, he even admits his misinterpretation and that he did make a video.

I wouldn’t even report this to you if he was a nobody, but he is very popular; his videos have thousands of views and as mentioned earlier he almost has 2000 subscribers. And you will find no credit to Daizex ANYWHERE on his channel. I personally do not believe it is fair for you to put a lot of effort in informing and entertaining the Dragon Ball fanbase for “(name redacted)” to take advantage of it and become popular.

The first thing I did as I watched some of the videos was chuckle and take cheap shots at all of the mis-spellings. I suppose admitting I did such right here in the blog post is an extension of that cheap shot, but hey… did you expect anything less from me?

It is quite the interesting situation. Sure enough, if you watch the videos, they are essentially date-for-date and word-for-word reprises of the news updates over on Daizenshuu EX.

The big question to ask is — what’s wrong with that?

Earlier in the post I noted it may be our own damn fault for not taking advantage of the medium — if the audience is on YouTube, why are we not there to take advantage of them and provide them with valuable content in their home territory? Shame on us. People expect the news to be pushed to them wherever they are most comfortable.

(The answer is that I can barely find the time these days to do all it is that I already do, never mind produce video features of each news post!)

In the prior post about the website feature, I noted how you could spin it in a positive way — people were discovering content (and in this case, news) that they otherwise would never have encountered (OK, maybe they eventually would have…). They were reading my words and my feelings. More people than before were doing so. In at least an indirect way, Daizenshuu EX was being imprinted upon the masses! How is that not a plus…?!

You can look at it from the protective side, though, as our e-mail author clearly did… and they’re not even the ones making the darn website updates that are being “stolen” (that our visitors feel so protective and full of honor for the site gives me a feeling resembling joy I think). There is a somewhat “creepy” feeling having your words regurgitated back at you with no attribution. It is pretty disingenuous of this YouTube user to go making update after update, video after video, and never citing their source. That’s just lazy, if not completely amateurish. Don’t they think something is a little weird about that? Lifting so much content and not saying where they first learned about it?

It got more interesting just this week when a completely separate fan posted up a thread on our message board about it. Apparently this content-lifting-individual (or is it a group?) is no longer happy to just copy-and-paste updates into YouTube videos, and instead are running a larger, more traditional website. This is when I start scratching my head a little more. I am not sure how I feel about it.

It is at this point that I do not particularly care sharing the identity of these folks. It is definitely worth it to really showcase the extent they are going to.

You have an update of theirs like this one announcing the inclusion of Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans in Raging Blast 2. The translation of the scan is verbatim copied-and-pasted from Kanzentai, while the image the bottom (with our standard blue border and drop shadow) is ours from Daizenshuu EX — they could have clicked through to the source link (which I provided) and grabbed the original, full-sized image instead of using my tiny, formatted one. Only the former object is credited… and to be honest, I did not even see that credit at first. The news is not our own, but certainly the translation of it is, and to a much lesser extent, the formatting on the image is… well, that’s something.

Head on over to this update of theirs with a gallery of ten animation shots from Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans. To be fair, these ten shots were released by Namco-Bandai to their press partners (of which Daizenshuu EX is one) for free distribution and promotion. Take a look at the file names this group used, though: assets_20100821_animation_10.jpg, and so on. Head on over to the respective “Tidbit” page on Daizenshuu EX, and without looking, take a wild guess at what file naming standard I re-named them all with before posting.

I will let you in on one of our big, dark, pompous, egotistical, hilarious secrets — we absolutely love it when people, especially begrudgingly, have to visit Daizenshuu EX and Kanzentai for news. OK, it is not actually as mean in my head as it sounds when it gets written out like that. The truth of the matter is, both Heath and I (as well as our cohorts!) work incredibly hard to keep up-to-date with the news. We have our regular sources. We have our regular searches. We have worked our way into a position where sometimes news finds us. Honestly, unless you are another DragonBall fansite that has been around at least as long as Kanzentai (never mind Daizenshuu EX) and have the clout to leverage your position, you are ultimately stuck in a endless game of catch-up with us. That is not to say that someone could not come along in a couple years and upset the balance of “power” (for lack of a better phrase), but for the time being… we are it. If you want to know (in English) what is going on with the franchise, you either come to us, or indirectly find out from us via some other source.

Another source like this “Saiyan Team”.

(There is something to be said for news of a different “type”, though. There are other awesome sites out there like DragonNews who cover more fandom-related things than we do, and with an international twist. At the end of the day, though, with the franchise being of Japanese origin, any significant “news” comes out of Japan — and since we focus on the Japanese version of the franchise, well, guess where the majority of the news is being broken…?)

So what is the deal here? Are we just too protective of our own second-hand-generated content? I mean, it’s not like we were the ones who announced such-and-such product. We have broken some exclusive news before, but we certainly do not do it on a daily basis.

Maybe they are just some punk 16-year-old kid first getting into this whole “content creation” thing online. I know I sure had no idea what the accepted rules of society were when I first got into this back in 1998.

What I find most fascinating about the whole ordeal is that example where they removed a video after being called out on completely misinterpreting (some pretty clearly written) words in a news post. They back-peddled on the whole situation. They admitted fault in doing so. Any normal person, at that point, would probably sit back and re-evaluate what the heck they are doing. Yet here we are half a year later, and now their website updates are simply being copied word-for-word.

So I am opening up the discussion. What do you all think about this? Is there anything wrong with what this YouTube user is doing, taking advantage of an open space that we do not have the time to jump into? Quite clearly this is a very self-selected audience that is almost guaranteed to support me, but I definitely would not be opposed to some differing thoughts… because, honestly, I am not entirely sure how I even feel about it.

Hell, for all I know, the person responsible for the videos and site is reading this blog. It is not so far-fetched. All I ask is that, when you run to the comments, you keep it civil and intelligent. I wouldn’t expect anything less of you all, but I suppose I just feel the need to say that, anyway!

Behind The Joke: Appule

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date May 27th, 2010 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

Regular fans of Daizenshuu EX no doubt have heard us drop Appule’s name in semi-sarcastic and humorous ways. It has grown into something of an “in-joke” over the years — it is funny enough on its own (“lolz random character”), but the way in which the joke continued to build upon itself adds a little bit to its mystique and hilarity, and may be worthy of discussion.

So, hey. Here you go.

Many years ago, I started working on a “Character Guide” for the website. It ultimately never turned into anything because I constantly bite off more than I can chew. Whenever I finished a page for a character, I realized I wanted to include even more information, and constantly found myself going back to do additional research. It was a never-ending cycle, so I eventually just gave up. Other areas of the website were far more important and useful.

In 2004, while still working on the section, I decided to develop a page for a character that appeared for a very limited amount of time. I had already done characters like Nappa and Raditz who, while they were only around for a short period of time, could still be considered “major” characters. My stipulation for myself was the character that I did a page for next had to at least have a name — no random characters like “Jingle Village Filler Man #2″. One of the first characters that came to mind was Appule. He was one of the most minor of henchmen, yet the fact that he not only had a name, but had a name that was actually spoken aloud during the anime, is what solidified the choice for me.

The character profile was slightly more interesting than others to write because Appule gained a palette-swap named Oran in the anime who occasionally replaced what might have been Appule in the manga — it was difficult to tell in black-and-white with so many henchman looking so similar to one another. I even enlisted the help of our forum to scan through some of the scenes and figure out exactly which character was absolutely Appule in which scenes.

After writing the character biography page, I quickly adopted him as my scapegoat character for random jokes. What really solidified the joke for me was the Sparking! series of video games on the PlayStation 2 (and eventually the Wii) — so many new characters were being tossed into the game, I joked often (on and off the podcast) that when they announced that Appule was a playable character, we would know that they had finally begun scraping the bottom of the barrel. With the first Sparking! game featuring 90 playable characters and its sequel featuring 129, it didn’t seem like there would be many other notable characters to toss in.

In December 2006, Namco-Bandai announced a port of Sparking! NEO (released outside Japan as Budokai Tenkaichi 2) for the Nintendo Wii. We received the game first in North America as a near-launch game for the console, but it took a little bit of time for the game to be released in Japan and Europe. As a fun extra for the delayed port, these versions received a couple new characters to the roster. Guess who was announced?

Appule would go on to be a regular roster choice in Sparking! METEOR (released outside Japan as Budokai Tenkaichi 3), fulfilling his destiny according to my jokes.

In 2008, TeamFourStar debuted their DBZ Abridged fan parody series. In the very first episode, Raditz makes an off-hand joke (after killing “The Farmer”):


On Episode #0135 of our podcast, KaiserNeko confirmed for us that it was a reference to our recurring joke with the character, launching Appule to even further in-joke stardom.

MIKE: And I have to say, I guess I’ll interrupt you, ya’ know, how you’re describing the process, there are certain jokes that almost seem directly aimed at Meri and myself.

MERI: Hah, what?!

KAISER: You know, that might actually have to do with the fact that I am a hardcore listener of your show!

(a little later in the show)

MIKE: I have to ask, was there an Appule joke early in that episode?

LANI & KAISER: Yes there was!

MERI: I thought so!

MIKE: I didn’t hear it the first time. Meri was like, oh my god, they just made an Appule joke. I was like, really?

LANI: “So this was why Dad said I couldn’t keep Appule…”

MIKE: Yes! Ah, Appule, these guys are right up my alley!

KAISER: Actually, ya’ know, when we wrote that joke I was thinking of you.

MIKE: Aww!

MERI: That’s so sweet!

KAISER: That’s mostly because, I thought he’s the ONLY person who’s going to get the joke!

That same year, I decided to pay tribute to my favorite, ridiculous, minor character in the series. I collected every single last bit of footage from the anime in which Appule appeared (including an episode during the Garlic Jr. filler arc where it seems like Vegeta kills an entire planet of Appule-esque characters), and tossed together a funny little trailer called “Dead In Two Episodes” in a couple hours. I did not end up using every last second of footage, but only because many of the scenes are just redundant shots of the exact same thing. For all intents and purposes, every scene of Appule appears in the trailer. I happened to finish the trailer in time for Anime Weekend Atlanta‘s “Professional” anime music video contest that year. It was nominated for “Best Trailer”, but I have to imagine it was only because there were so few trailers submitted to the contest.

In November 2008 on Episode #0152 of our podcast, our buddy Jeff asked us about character name puns that had not been “completed”. For example, the Jump Super Anime Tour special completed “Vegeta” with “Table” (using the entire word “vegetable” now to form two distinct name puns). For whatever reason, Appule’s name was brought up:

JEFF: Well, that kinda leads to the question, are there any other characters that haven’t filled out their pun yet?

MIKE: Aahh… yeah!

MERI: “Paragas” — “a”…!

MIKE: “Broli” — “co”…!

JEFF: No, no, wait. I could say Appule… Appu… Paragas…

MIKE: He’s neither Saiya-jin nor vegetable.

JEFF: True. But, like, “Appule” and “Paragas”, you could say “Appu… ra… gas…”… never mind.

MIKE: So Jeff, you want Appule and Paragas to fuse!

MERI: SOMEONE DRAW THIS!

MIKE: Into what?

JULIAN: Oh noooo!

MIKE: What is the resulting fusion name?

JEFF: “Appuragas”.

Within a week, that drawing existed. Our listener Tekkaman-James created “Appuragas” for all the world to see:

Just this year (2010), a new line of figures call “Freeza’s Force” has been seeing a release in Japan. While the first line contained the expected characters like Freeza himself and all of Ginyu-Tokusentai, the third line was set to contain Appule (along with plenty of other extremely minor henchmen). I was more than happy to place my order when he became available for purchase on Play-Asia!

So that brings us all the way up through today. It may not seem it (especially after an action figure and even an appearance as a playable video game character), but there are plenty more places to take Appule. Hopefully we will see some more of him in the near future.

Long story short, The Farmer has nothing on Appule. We also certainly would not some kind of short manga explaining “Appuragas” and his origin story…

Daizenshuu EX Removed From YouTube

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date May 13th, 2010 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

I was both anticipating (expecting, really) and dreading this day — today was the day that the “daizex” YouTube account was removed due to “copyright infringement”. What makes it so delicious is the “third strike” which resulted in the take-down:

One of our “Inconsistencies” videos.

For those who are unfamiliar with them, over at Daizenshuu EX we created a series of (so far) three videos in our “Inconsistencies” line (itself a multimedia extension of our “Filler Guide“). In conjunction with a podcast episode (where we discussed the same topic matter among several hosts), we would create a short, narrated video that showcased the differences between the original manga (comic) version of a scene from DragonBall and its later TV adaptation. In our first video, we presented a scene where one character (Vegeta) sees another character’s transformed state (SSJ Goku) in the TV version, which never actually happened that way in the manga, and what the ramifications would be from this. In our second video, we presented a scene where the villain (Freeza and Dodoria) who murders a character (Cargo) is changed when adapted to the TV version. In our third video, we presented a scene in which there is a slight change in the order of events in a scene (Piccolo pushing Goku out of the way of a blast from Freeza).

In all three videos, panning and zooming shots from the original manga version are presented with original narration. A short clip from the corresponding TV episode (with subtitles of our own creation, since we are using the original Japanese version of the show) is played. To conclude, we recap with a couple more panning and zooming screen shots from both the manga and TV versions.

They are basically nerd-erific showcases of dedicated love for the franchise. While we have not quite seen anything exactly along the lines of what we created, other examples do exist out there — our buddy MistareFusion created a great video that has fun analyzing what appears to be a very intentional nod to Star Trek in one scene from the DragonBall Z TV series:

Are we using copyrighted works “without permission”…? Sure. Does that extend to even things like using music from the TV series, in addition to showcasing an actual scene from it? Absolutely. There is no delusion here.

Is it “fair use”…? Let’s hold off for a minute on that.

The way that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) works is that if any kind of provider or host (let’s say YouTube) is notified by a rights holder (let’s say Toei Animation) that one of their works is being improperly used, stored, transmitted, etc., that provider or host must immediately remove or otherwise take down the infringing material. There is no review process until after the material is removed — if and only if the creator of said infringing material (let’s say me) chooses to file a counter-claim (in which they are saying that the material is not infringing, may actually be fair use, etc.). Basically, if you are notified to take something down… you take it down without question, or face further action. The rights holder faces no immediate repercussions for issuing take-down notices to content providers — this means they can issue take-down notices willy-nilly in blanket rollouts and hope for the best under the (safe) assumption that everything will be taken down with no argument. There is the potential for a horribly chilling effect on free speech when organizations hide behind the DMCA to remove legal commentary (for example, issuing a DMCA take-down notice on something they simply don’t like, rather than something genuinely infringing), but that is not the subject of this post, and not something I have enough familiarity with to authoritatively rant about.

YouTube works on their own personal “three strike” rule, whereby an account that receives three take-down notices from rights holders will be immediately deactivated. My main “daizex” account had received two notices of take-downs from YouTube regarding two prior videos:

  • While working on my review of Ayumi Hamasaki’s “Rule” CD single and DVD, I edited a short video clip from the music video to include on the page. Within minutes the video was removed from my account with a take-down notice from the music rights holder in Japan.
  • On April 1st of this year, we received a take-down notice on the opening theme to the video game DragonBall Z 3 (“Budokai 3″) for the PlayStation 2 (which can still be viewed here and here and here on YouTube via other users’ accounts). We subsequently removed other game-related videos from our account. This was legitimately just a case of, “We think this is cool and will post it up for folks.” There were no “education” or “review” pages associated with it.
  • This morning, we received the following e-mail:

We have disabled the following material as a result of a third-party notification from TOEI ANIMATION CO.,LTD. claiming that this material is infringing:

DBZ Filler Inconsistencies: Video #3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_Y3KQRusWY

This is the third notification we have received alleging copyright infringement in one of your postings. Consequently, your account has been terminated.

If one of your postings has been misidentified as infringing, you may submit a counter-notification. Information about this process is in our Help Center.

Please note that there may be severe legal consequences for filing a false or bad-faith notice.

Sincerely,

— The YouTube Team

Were the first two claims pretty accurate? Sure. Does that diminish the accuracy or weight of the third claim? That’s up to you to decide. Personally, I think if anything is going to be called “fair use”, it is a video like one in our “Inconsistencies” series.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) breaks down the area of fair use as such:

There are no clear-cut rules for deciding what’s fair use and there are no “automatic” classes of fair uses. Fair use is decided by a judge, on a case by case basis, after balancing the four factors listed in section 107 of the Copyright statute. The factors to be considered include:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes – Courts are more likely to find fair use where the use is for noncommercial purposes.
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work — A particular use is more likely to be fair where the copied work is factual rather than creative.
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole — A court will balance this factor toward a finding of fair use where the amount taken is small or insignificant in proportion to the overall work.
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work — If the court finds the newly created work is not a substitute product for the copyrighted work, it will be more likely to weigh this factor in favor of fair use.

(A-1) Was our video commercial in nature?
No. We were not enrolled in any revenue-sharing program via YouTube. We do not make any money off of Daizenshuu EX — while we do accept donations, any money received is put immediately back into the site for things like product reviews, hosting, etc. If you care to know, we’re in the hole. Always have been.

(A-2) Was our video educational in nature?
Maybe. While not a scholarly work in any way, an authoritative presentation of information could be considered “educational”. At the very least, it was “insightful”… or so we like to think ^_~.

(B) What was the nature of the copyrighted work?
Well, the copied work was creative (a fictional, animated TV series).

(C) What was the amount of copyrighted work used in relation to its larger whole?
Within our three-minute-and-sixteen-seconds video, the vast majority was original narration and still-shots from the manga and TV versions. Footage taken “verbatim” (for lack of a better phrase) plays between 0:30 and 1:26 (including fades in and out), meaning it is less than one minute in length, and less than one-third of the short video. As for an amount in “comparison” with the original product, are we comparing in relation to the one particular episode? An episode is roughly 22 minutes long. Are we comparing in relation to the entirety of the TV series? DragonBall Z is 291 episodes long, while its preceding and proceeding series have 153 and 64 episodes, respectively…

(D) What is the effect upon the potential market?
Our video is clearly not a substitute for the original product, in that we are constantly interrupting scenes with original narration and swiping them away to move onto the next point. We discuss roughly one minute or so of content from one TV episode of a long-running series. Furthermore, in this particular video we do not even discuss (never mind showcase) what is typically regarded as the most substantial and important “part” of the episode (Goku’s first SSJ transformation) — I personally think that is relevant to this fourth defense point, but you may disagree.

So where do we go from here?

I am not entirely sure. I think it is worth it to file a counter-claim with regard to this particular “Inconsistencies” video, but it is a lot of work for little value in return — which is exactly what the rights-holders are hoping for from an attitude out of those they issue take-down notices against. There is also the fact that some of the material on the channel as a whole was more legitimately “infringing”.

In the long run, though, I do not need YouTube to host these videos. I could just stream them myself on Daizenshuu EX all on my own! One of the reasons I put them up on YouTube, however, was — of course — the massive audience potential. We serve such a niche audience with our website that it can be difficult to find the right ways to reach out to and extend that audience. Our goal is simply to spread our love and enjoyment of the series (and specifically the original Japanese version of it), and a lot of fans out there just have no idea where to look for something like that. We have had plenty of new, regular visitors tell us they found us video YouTube, via our podcast listing in iTunes, via seeing us at conventions, etc. They are all great ways to reach out to that audience, so it made sense to explore that avenue.

The other side of me just wants to abandon it (YouTube being the “it”), though. We all know how ridiculous the comments are, and if we are not greatly expanding our audience there, then is it really worth it to keep producing for it? I am well aware (and have been constantly reminded), though, that the majority of people simply watch the video, smile, enjoy it, and move on with their lives. I consume media online in very much that same way. Positive feedback can be difficult to come by! While I joke that the negative feedback on the videos (from folks who generally are not our target audience to begin with) acts as a pretty huge hurdle to overcome in wanting to produce more, I recognize that plenty of folks out there actually do enjoy them and would not mind seeing more. With that in mind, I actually made a video showcasing the Bandai Playdia video game system exclusive to our Facebook page.

So. Uh. Thoughts?

(Oh yeah… curious to see that “Inconsistencies” video that resulted in the channel take-down? I tossed it up over on our Facebook page. Enjoy! We’ll see how long that lasts!)

Pojo Blatantly Steals Daizenshuu EX Article

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Nov 10th, 2009 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

I live in the real world. Let’s all be honest, here — the web exists as it does today because people lift content from each other. News aggregators, forums, social networking… today’s Internet is a fuster cluck of occasionally-attributed content reposted and repurposed. For the most part, I subscribe to the Techdirt view on content “borrowing” — if my content is good and you take it, more people are experiencing/reading/hearing my content, and that can only mean good things for me. It can mean one of two things for you (“you” being the “borrower”), though: (1) you become viewed as a valuable source of content filtering and presentation, or (2) you look incredibly stupid.

Let’s share an example of #2, shall we?

I received an e-mail this morning from someone named Brad, apparently one of our visitors over at Daizenshuu EX, with the subject header “Pojo ripped your Dragon Box article.” Assuming that Pojo was still an incomplete and haphazardly-run shell of a website made in 1999, I was pretty intrigued by what I was about to see.

pojo_article_steal_1

Look familiar to you? It should… minus the broken images and removed-introduction, of course.

pojo_article_steal_2

That’s pretty astonishing to me. I can totally understand the viewpoint of some punk kid taking an article from another website and posting it up on his own, especially one so uneducated as to not hot-link the images. What takes it to a new level is the deliberate action(s) taken with it. The introductory paragraph about it being both a history lesson and emotional-roller-coaster is entirely removed, presumably because it mentions us by name as Daizenshuu EX right in the text. If the broken images weren’t a hint to the carelessness, though, this should take the cake:

pojo_article_steal_3

Seriously?

I have no idea who “ptrunks19” is, but I think he’s a pretty hilarious guy (or girl; let’s be an equal-opportunity laugher, here). The entire thing is so asininely careless that you can’t help but roll over in a fit of hysterics. What clinches it is the main page update, which (in addition to the “article” page itself), directly attributes the writing with a by-line to “ptrunks19″:

pojo_article_steal_4

Who the Hell is running this site? Do they have any idea what they’re doing? Does anyone actually visit this site for this type of content…?

At the end of the day, I think we all know that there are really only two English-language DragonBall websites you need to bother with, and that’s a pretty good feeling.

Lesson of the Day: “Brick” is NOT an Insult

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Sep 30th, 2009 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

Daizenshuu EX has been around in some capacity (whether it was named that or not!) since January 1998. Yeah, in internet years, we’ve been around for eons. Once it began to receive any kind of traffic and notoriety, you can reasonably assume that we started to receive the kind of both loyalist- and oppositional-styled comments that anything with any type of popularity receives. And we did. I actually very vividly remember someone back in 1998 claiming that we “stole” all of their DragonBall GT: Final Bout sound samples for our site. There was no basis for that accusation, of course, but it was a telling sign of things to come.

Fast forward to 2009. The site is eleven years old, and even the podcast is coming up on its fourth anniversary. The types of and volume of comments we have received over the years remains astonishing to me. No matter how much I see, though, I am continuously flabbergasted by some of the complaints people seemingly pull out of thin air.

One particular commenter on an outside forum took issue with our reference to FUNimation’s DragonBall Z season box sets released from February 2007 to May 2009 (you know, the faux-”remastered” box sets) as “orange bricks”.

Thankfully, our buddy Jacob put in his two-cents on the matter, but… seriously?

It was another clear example of someone wrongfully assuming something about us based on their own, personal, complete misunderstanding. Who knows? Maybe they purchased all of the season sets and somehow feel wronged by the upcoming Dragon Box sets. Maybe our reiterations, with each subsequent release, of the boxsets’ problems somehow made them feel “stupid” for falling into the trap. Perhaps they take issue with our dislike and overall-non-discussion of FUNimation’s English dub, and decided to aim their frustration at another topic. For whatever reason, this individual decided that we were using “orange brick” pejoratively, it was “asinine”, and it was an “insult”.

News flash, internet: that style of DVD packaging is referred to as a “brick”. Also, the sets happen to be orange. “Orange Bricks”. Genius, isn’t it?

orange_brick_open

See how the inside packaging stacks the discs on top of each other? See how the packaging folds over top itself for easy storage? When you stack things over top of each other and place them all next to each other, you can pretty easily see where the “brick” description came from. We don’t call “steelbooks” as such because they are super strong and read great literature to us; we call them that because they open up (like a book) and are metal-styled containers (like steel). Welcome to the world of various styles of DVD packaging.

orange_bricks_shelved
(image courtesy of Metalwario64)

It’s cases like this where I wonder what the actual issue is. The person decided to harp on us for something, and rather than a legitimate reason, they made one up. Sure, it may have been legitimate in their own head for a short period of time, but I can’t imagine hearing the phrase “orange brick” is what first made them run furiously to their keyboard to type up a mean post about the poopie-head website they disliked.

Funny how no-one has a problem with the phrase “blue brick” in reference to the new DragonBall TV series “season” sets. If anything, it proves that FUNimation once again made a fanbase-fracturing decision to go with that format (cropped, DVNRed to death, etc.) for Z, and even legitimate descriptions of their products cause undue shenanigans across the internet.

bricks

We can’t please everyone. We know that. That’s the real issue that I’m writing about, I guess… if you have a problem, say what it is. Don’t hide behind some newly-made-up argument. Come out and say what’s on your mind, back it up, and be a man (or woman!) about it.

Preferably, above all else, actually know what you’re talking about before you criticize someone.

I almost make it out to be that there are thousands of people running around the internet shit-talking Daizenshuu EX, which I hardly doubt is the case. All the nice little e-mails and comments we get are fantastic, but they just don’t give me anything to write about! :D

And yes, I just wrote a blog entry legitimately using the phrase “poopie-head”.

Across The Net: Daizenshuu EX Feedback

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date May 18th, 2009 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

Over in my Twitter feed I occasionally share some of the more hilarious or enthralling comments I’ve seen about our podcast (and even just Daizenshuu EX as a site in general). I figured I would throw a few together in one place for easy reference.

With no real qualifying description on where the hate comes from, and yet being a member of our forum for over a year at that point, Adam / JAPPO wrote on 23 March 2008:

Ummm….. thanks?

(oh and yes I am. I hate daizex, for the record).

With a little bit of reasoning behind it (but not doing the additional reading to show that we do in fact agree with their statement), ShadowRaditz89 wrote on 12 April 2009:

I don’t like Daizex, they are too opinionated and refuse to acknowledge when they are wrong.

Toei Animation officialy lists it as an OVA. Because Daizex disregards this, I don’t acknowledge them as a reliable source.

With some snide-looking eyes, Amerowolf wrote on 10 February 2009:

Thanks to rachetcomand for the news tip, oh, and Daizex, but you know…MFG is better than those guys. >_>

Under fire from other IGN board members, pmc64 wrote on 07 April 2009:

i don’t have an account there. I don’t think anyone there likes the dub anyways. Haven’t you ever listened to the podcast? they loathe the dub.

With their head on straight, jjgp1112 responded:

Mike himself said that Dub fans make up a good amount of the board, and has a strict policy against acting like assholes toward Dub fans and Funi fans like how you do all the time.

In yet another example of people thinking what they want to think and hearing what they want to hear, King wrote on 09 March 2009:

I know Daizex will burst for anything that the japanese will pump out, even though the japanese kind of did the same thing like the U.S did…BUT IN JAPANESE VERSION.

Thankfully, Jacob was around and actually listened to what we said when he responded:

Not really. As the usual panel (plus!) explain in the latest podcast, just because it’s a Japanese production they won’t give it a pass. They’ll give DBE one viewing to be fair, just they did FUNi’s orange boxes and will Kai, but if the product is displeasing…

We smiled a bit when Brent contributed to a post on Bethesda’s Blog on 30 January 2009:

I listened to the MKast podcast while Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe was still in development, and I listen to Daizenshuu Ex’s and Major Nelson’s podcasts every-so-often.

We were a little confused when MDUNNER28 originally wrote this on 30 March 2009, but then they kept talking about our show with each subsequent post, so I suppose they learned to like us…?

Episode 170 of Daizenshuu EX is available. If you can get past the hosts’ goofy elitism, it’s a pretty good show.

Based on this comment (along with a few others) that vashkey made on 11 April 2009, Meri and I did a little aside on Episode #0174 of the podcast to once again re-iterate that just because something’s Japanese, it doesn’t mean it gets a free pass, it doesn’t mean we will automatically like it… and in fact, by the way… we aren’t completely in love with it. Once again, people hear and read what they want to hear and read.

It’s almost ironic though if you keep up with the daizex website. They bash the Funi remaster so much, but they’ve been praising Kai. I watched the first couple of episodes of the Funi remaster before watching Kai and alot of it is the same when it concerns cropping. In alot of scenes if not all Kai matches up the Funi remaster perfectly. Daizex’s predisposition is pretty obvious.

We were tickled with our description as “nifty” when Seleria wrote on 11 March 2007:

Hinode gave me a link to this nifty site called Daizenshuu EX, where there are scans of Dragon Ball artworks by other famous mangakas.

Over on the “Profile” page of Rumic World, Harley wrote:

this is a Dragon Ball site I browse through fairly often. I’m not a huge Dragon Ball fan, but I like to visit well made series-specific sites.

On their links page, Kanzentai wrote:

One of the best old school sites and it’s probably the only one left! This is one of my personal favorites because it has such unique information, and the largest DragonBall music database ever!

Hey… thanks, guys! :P

All in all, it’s incredibly interesting to see the types of responses and comments that are out there (and the style in which they are written). Every single last bit of feedback should be taken to heart in some capacity, but when you have been doing this sort of stuff as long as we have been doing it, you start to recognize which ones are legit and constructive, which ones just didn’t do their homework, and which ones are just not worth your time. There are so many more that I have seen over the last eleven years, and I wish I could have saved more of them. I’m sure they’re still out there on the internet somewhere, and I’ll come across another batch for another blog entry at some point in the future.

People Hear What They Want To Hear

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Mar 16th, 2009 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

I came across the following video on YouTube the other day while going through the referrals for website traffic on Daizenshuu EX. The description is basically nothing more than a link to my site, and the title certainly caught my attention (“TRUE DRAGONBALL FANS WOULD GO SEE DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION”), so I figured I was in for a doozy.

While I don’t think MadThad0890 quite explained what he was trying to say all that well, I think he’s fighting the good fight in one respect, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the live-action movie.

Enough with this “not a true fan” nonsense.

While I have zero interest in FUNimation’s English dub of the series, I do not see this upcoming live-action movie as becoming a huge part of my extended fandom, and (insert a whole bunch of other things here), like MadThad says, that doesn’t make me or anyone else “less” of a fan. We’re all on equal ground. We’re all a bunch of people on the internet getting together and talking about a series that, quite frankly, next to zero of us have had or ever will have any stake in its production or even its further success. We gain nothing from it even existing, beyond perhaps our own continued friendships and camaraderie.

I may have been running my site for well over a decade (including the podcast portion for over three years), but that does not make me any “better” or “more” of a fan than FUNimation’s self-described nine-year-old born every day that pops in an edited, dubbed-only DVD to watch Broli smash up some folks. It certainly makes me a different kind of fan, and I don’t see myself being able to hold a sustained conversation with said nine-year-old, but I’d argue that his (or her!) excitement in watching a crappy action scene in one of my least-favorite animated DBZ movies genuinely rivals my own excitement when, say, a new $200 music boxset is announced.

You’re probably wondering what the title of this post has to do with anything, though. That’s a great question, so let me explain.

I think MadThad is trying to justify his own position by using us as “evidence” without actually understanding our “position” (if we even have one), and is basically reading and hearing what he wants to read and hear.

They don’t support the movie at all. At all.

Now that’s just not true. Especially when you listen to my review of the “Junior Novel” and Julian’s review of the movie on Episode #0168 of the podcast, you will hear that while we think of it as an entirely separate entity… and quite an absurdly ludicrous one, at that… I wouldn’t really call that not “supporting” the movie “at all”. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I would love for there to be a live-action DB movie that is done fantastically, respects the source material, takes its own necessary liberties, introduces the franchise to a whole new audience, etc. Unfortunately, it sounds like Evolution is not going to be that movie, so while I support it in theory, now that I think about it, maybe MadThad actually is correct in saying we don’t support this movie.

But if I recommend going to see it just for the sake of seeing how much of a spectacular disaster it is, is that considered “supporting” it? It sounds like it’s nowhere near the level of The Legend of Chun-Li in its terrible-just-terrible state, with Evolution being more along the lines of having fun with how terrible it is.

You know what? Just like in the first podcast episode of WTF EX when Jeff and I couldn’t come to a conclusion after an hour-long discussion, I think the process of writing out this blog entry has thoroughly confused me… and I’m the subject of debate, here!

Long story short, as I’ve noted over on our message board, I think what the DB web community has always needed, continues to need, and will always need… is exactly what shônen is all about: we need friendship and understanding in an open forum. I’ve been around long enough to see every single name in the book thrown around, every half-thought-out argument tossed in as evidence or proof, and thousands of fans come and go. If we’re going to make it another 25 years, we’ve gotta stop telling each other who’s the bigger fan…

… because if you’re the one saying that, there’s a good chance you won’t be sticking around with us. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Thoughts On Donations?

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Mar 10th, 2009 | filed Filed under: Meta Conversations

This is a subject I am heavily conflicted on.

Ever since the dawn of Daizenshuu EX (and VegettoEX’s Home Page and Ultimate DBZ Links Page before them), I have done anything and everything in my power to keep things as “real” and “transparent” as I can with the site. I have never asked the community for anything, and do not expect anything in return for running the site. There have been plenty of generous “donations” over the years (for example, our buddy godofchaos has been hosting the podcast for us free of charge, and we’ll be porting over the forum to his server in the near future; many years ago our old buddy Scott, or SREDBZ, used to host our website for us). We’ve even had prize donations for website contests. These have always been unsolicited, mean the world to us, and make the community a better place.

I’ve had people ask about monetary donations in the past, but I’ve always struck them down. This is for fans, BY fans, gosh darn it! Things are a little different now. I’m not a 16-year-old punk kid starting a links page. The wife and I are lucky to be two educated adults with full-time, well-paying jobs, but there’s no denying what the current economic situation is.

Time to be a little realistic. Especially with our first home purchase entering the picture, one can’t help but wonder what a couple extra bucks would mean.

There are new guide books coming out. There are new CDs coming out. Shipping from Japan ain’t cheap. Equipment could use replacing and upgrading. Thinking about trying some new conventions.

Despite never having done so in the past, I’m seriously considering putting up a PayPal “Donate Now!” button over on Daizenshuu EX. Part of me feels… ya’ know, so what? Tons of other websites, blogs, and podcasts do this (including some of my favorites). I even paid for a premium version of a podcast for a while before it unfortunately passed on, and I didn’t think twice about supporting it. I tossed a couple bucks over to the CO-OP guys right after they got laid off from 1UP.

The other part of me freezes up and feels like a total sell-out. It goes against everything I’ve tried to do in the past. I feel like we are in such a (comparatively speaking) great, financially-secure place… what right do I have to ask anyone for anything, even indirectly like this? What reason do they even have to take me seriously?

So I guess that’s what my question is. What reason(s) do you have for even taking such a request seriously? If you saw that button pop up, how would you feel? How do you think the rest of the fanbase and community, the ones who don’t take the time to respond but are just as important, would feel? What would you like to see done with any donation you may or may not make, regardless of how little or grand it may or may not be?

I’m definitely waiting to hear your responses. It’s not as important or dire as I think I’ve made it out to be, but your thoughts and responses are genuinely welcome. I’m going to cross-post this on the Daizenshuu EX forum (there’s obviously a larger reader base there right now), but please feel free to leave blog comments. If you would rather privately send your thoughts, go ahead and just send them on over to VegettoEX@aol.com.

Thanks so much, everyone!

“Daizenshuu EX” In The Media

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Mar 8th, 2009 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

OK, so “media” is somewhat laughable when you consider the source this is coming out of, but let’s be honest… seeing your site mentioned in print, no matter what that print form may be, is a pretty awesome thing.

We are cleaning out a few things in the apartment as we get ready to eventually move into the new house, and I have been pulling together all of the various magazines I have sitting around. I came across this:

daizex_beckett_01

Back in March 2001, an issue of Beckett DragonBall Collector had a two-page column called “DBZ Online”. It was mostly a feature about FUNimation’s official DBZ website, but the very end of the column had a little box for other (fan-created) websites that fans could visit. Lookie, here! What’s that second site listed…?!

daizex_beckett_02

Again, it’s laughable when you consider the source and the companion link (“Da Black Gohan”? Really? This is where you want to send people?)… but you can’t help but smile to see your stuff given some attention somewhere.

These Beckett magazines were always of dubious quality, even though a couple halfway-authoritative people signed on to do some translation and writing work. For example, in this particular issue, Greg Werner (of The Ultimate DBZ Info Site) wrote articles about DragonBall GT (two years before it would be mentioned by FUNimation in the US) and a follow-up translation of the timelines featured in the daizenshuu and Perfect File books.

Long story short, it was great to find the magazine again and get a decent scan up online so I won’t lose it. I wonder if the people on Wikipedia working on the DBZ articles will now consider Daizenshuu EX a credible source since it’s been listed/featured as an authoritative reference in a media source. *insert snarky smirk here*