Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

8 April 2016: I imported the first Konosuba Blu-ray set

Konosuba box
It didn't actually cost me seventy-six hundred yen.

Due to the friendly currency exchange ratio of the U.S. dollar to Japanese yen, I import a lot more Japanese merchandise these days. These goods include the first Blu-ray set for Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!, my fourth-highest-rated show from the 2016 winter season according to my chart. Notably, I don't currently have any plans to do the same for any other series from that season, to include the three shows I ranked higher than Konosuba. There are a variety of reasons for this.

Konosuba book and paper thingy wrapped around half the box
The actual back of the box isn't illustrated.

I used to buy a lot of anime DVDs. This got to be pretty expensive considering some Pioneer releases (in R1) sold for about $30 per four-episode disc. (I also had less disposable income back then.) But then I stopped buying DVDs almost entirely as the U.S. market slowly (agonizingly) transitioned to Blu-ray releases. However, this took quite a few years, and I feel that the industry has only just now reached the point were the flow of Blu-ray anime releases in America doesn't feel like just a trickle anymore. (As an aside, not counting anime fans, nearly everyone I know continues to borrow, buy, and rent almost exclusively DVDs despite owning HDTVs.)

Konosuba book and Blu-ray case
No, it didn't come with the box cutter.

Hopefully, we'll continue to get more Blu-ray releases in America. I'm worried the market might whimsically decide that it's a better idea to subscribe to five or six different streaming services every month instead of buying physical media.

Konosuba book
Wait, am I supposed to capitalize ni and wo?

There's at least a little merit to that. Why purchase the (presumed eventual) U.S. release of Konosuba when I can watch it whenever I want via my Crunchyroll account? (Let's put aside for now the concern Crunchyroll, or at least its right to stream Konosuba, could disappear someday leaving its former subscribers shit out of luck.) Well, for one thing, a U.S. Blu-ray release of Konosuba will probably pack eight episodes on one disc and three on a second. Even if this works out to be "good enough," there still something discomforting in seeing episodes spread out this way, if anything because it at least shatters any illusion that they're at least pretending to maximize quality. Plus in this scenario I've already got the streaming version available whether I buy the U.S. discs or not.

Konosuba game and Blu-ray disc
I haven't actually installed the game yet.

Certainly, I'm getting gouged by importing a two-episode Japanese release, but there's actually a bit of value added. First of all, the episodes feature a seiyuu commentary track in character. If you're familiar with Konosuba and already appreciate why the show works so well, then you'll understand why this is a brilliant extra. The Blu-ray set also comes with a suspiciously familiar-looking book and a little RPG video game loosely based on the show. All told, it's a pretty nice set for a two-episode release. I can't promise I'll continue to import all the subsequent discs, or that American consumers would be willing to pay this much for a similar release, but I'm pretty pleased with this acquisition, at least.

Exhibit A.

I understand part of the reasons for the inferior U.S. releases is due to concerns about reverse importing, since the United States and Japan share Region A for Blu-ray discs (meaning they're compatible without worries about region locking or such nonsense). Certainly, is filled with many listings selling American Blu-ray collections for entire series of anime at considerably less cost than the Japanese releases, so I can see why there might be an incentive to differentiate between the two markets via better extras and presumed superior quality.

Aqua and Kazuma
The book is even the same size.

But you know, I would import a lot more Japanese Blu-rays if they would throw on a token English subtitle track. Seeing as how nearly every show these days is professionally subtitled by legitimate companies, it seems to me it shouldn't be too difficult to negotiate the rights to these subtitles. I don't know that enough fans would necessarily import Japanese discs for this reason. Would it be worth their while? I, for one, was pretty stoked to learn the currently airing Macross Δ is going to have an English subtitle track on its Japanese disc—especially considering the clusterfuck that is Macross licensing in the United States.

Aqua and Kazuma
Informed decisions.

Finally, and just as a reminder, I'm happy to import a Konosuba Blu-ray because I'm eager to see the series succeed. My contribution might only be a tiny part in the overall metrics that determine the show's success from a financial perspective, but I'm glad to participate even though it seems as if the property is already doing all right without me. (And seriously, though, it'll be a damn travesty if an eventual U.S. release does not include the seiyuu commentary tracks. That is some good shit right there.)

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