Thursday, February 20, 2014

A word from Katsumi Kawaguchi

First of all, if you don't know who Master Katsumi Kawaguchi is, maybe it's time that you do.  He works at Bandai's Hobby department, demonstrating how to build Gundams for the longest time, and serves as Bandai's spokesperson regarding everything Gunpla over the years.

In case you're wondering where I got the "idea" that the terms "Gundam" and "Gunpla" are Bandai copyright, it's simple research (and common sense, which A LOT of people lack nowadays).  Regardless, a lot of people (who buy bootlegs) doubt this, and despite bootlegs are no longer being labeled "Gundams" by the bootleggers, people continue calling them as "Gunpla."

On my previous post, I added a post he made on Facebook, verbatim.
はっきり言っときます。
FB上で海賊版キットを掲出している人には私はフレンドの承認をしません。
海賊版だと知らずにアップロードしている人も申し訳ありませんが同様の対応をします。

I say clearly.
I do not have approved of a friend who has been posting pirated model kit on FB.
Model kit does not have the name "BANDAI" is not a GUNPLA.
Sorry some people are uploading without knowing's pirated, but I will be the same correspondence.
Well, this confirms what I have been saying and makes it official.  Bootlegs are not Gunpla, no matter how we want to put it.  Since bootlegs didn't go through the same rigorous process or research and development Bandai kits have, they have not earned the right to the title.  Master Kawaguchi rarely posts in English, and when he does, you can be sure it's important, since he is trying to communicate with ALL of us.

Sure, bootleggers will say they don't care.  Of course they don't.  They don't have as much respect for actual GUNPLA as a hobby.  Don't get me wrong, I understand why people buy bootlegs.  They're CHEAP.  Other than that, there's nothing else.  Gunpla is expensive, because they actually have to PAY people that work on developing the same kits you buy bootlegs for.  Imagine, if there is no Bandai producing authentic kits, there won't be any bootleg for you to buy. 

He aired that same sentiment here:
Quality of pirated model kits has improved compared to the old days. There is also a model kit not inferior, even in comparison with GUNPLA.
We licensee is going to have to strive to create a Gundam with the licensor.
Or more, which is a business, we contract with the licensor, we are selling the GUNPLA paying consideration.
It becomes the source to foster the consideration Gundam. Is produced as a source its consideration also new Gundam.
What I'm concerned about is to include it in by pirated model kit flows, such circulation is cut off.
It will ensure that pirated model kit becomes so many distribution, Gundam die out soon.
If I got it right, he might be talking about Dragon Momoko's recent production.  Bandai (or at least, Master Kawaguchi) is considering getting DM as a licensee (which is what DM claims to begin with).  Isn't that good news

But, I'm only speculating on the context of his statement.  He might be saying that if a bootlegger becomes an official licensee that produces Gundams/Gunpla, then you'll basically be paying Bandai price for THAT licensee's products as well.   It's the same thing as someone buying a franchise license to, say, Jollibee, or McDonalds.  The franchisee will still sell the products they franchised at the pricethe mother franchise dictates.

His last two sentences should be taken note of, because it's the same thing I said.  No Bandai.  No Gunpla.  No bootlegs.

No hobby for anyone. Any reasoning other than bootlegs are cheap you may employ to defend why you buy bootlegs is SELF-DEFEATING.  That's why I said "If you can't afford Bandai, get another hobby you can afford" in my previous post. 

A hobby involves money.  Even CHEAP bootlegs cost money.  If one does not know how to prioritize, saying that one has children and can't afford to buy Bandai so one buys bootlegs instead as an alternative is a self pity stance.   You have children.  PRIORITIZE them.  You need a hobby, go knit, or do some cross stitching, or READ a book or something that will not devastate your finances so much, you have to use having children as a reason why you buy bootlegs.

There goes your "alternative" hobby.  Because you bought bootlegs, you also killed the REAL hobby in turn.  This is also one of their reasons why GBWC Philippines came up with the receipt requirement in addition to the box as a preventive measure against people using bootlegs as entries, in part, in full, or both.  You don't care about the GBWC, why, thank you a lot for ruining it for those who do.

Here's more.:
There is no change to being an unlicensed kit what the name of the BANDAI does not contain even Resin kit claiming to GUNDAM.
Resin kits.  Definitely not Gunpla, as resin is considered a different material.  If a resin "design" improves a current one, it may not technically be bootlegging, but it still infringes on Bandai's copyright.  I would have to think long and hard if I am to push through with our plan to create a 1/60 resin Masurao.
We're aware that there are a problem of price, is the problem of the correandaissponding support.
We think that it is an issue such as improvement of production system and so on we should overcome.
I am aware that there are many issues and challenges realistic.
It is that there is no way So if you reject us that can not be eliminated current challenges. There is no enforceable against you guys for us.
However, there is no change in that it is a stance that rejects pirated model kit I am.

In a variety of environments, and there are those who enjoy the model kit under various constraints is that I understand. It can not deny anyone.
However, even what benefits, it is that stance I would not tolerate the presence of a pirated of the model kit.
I'm not going to discuss the pros and cons of pirated model kit here I am.
It is the judgment of all of you is whether or not to accept me standing in such a stance.
I think that the "registered friends" of the FB is a thing like that.
Did you get it?  He's still given you the liberty to choose, but, make the right choice.  The more you buy bootlegs, the more difficult it is for Bandai to produce more and better products, because they are losing profit to bootlegs.   Profit that gos to paying people to develop the next line of kits.  Whereas they keep improving their production methods which costs money, bootleggers don't really spend anything in that department.  And you curse at Bandai for not giving you what you want and releasing exclusives or color variants all the time.  They do that to augment the profit the lost to bootlegs.

Lastly, in a PM conversation, I asked him to confirm if Dragon Momoko is a Bandai licensee.  His response, verbatim:

Model kit of the Dragon Momoko is not licensed. Never Bandai entrust production and sales of GUNPLA to other companies.
There you go.  From the Bandai Man himself.   Malvin of GTO did mention this some time ago, when the DM MG Strike Freedom was released, because the detail was "99%" close, as some have claimed.  Maybe this will end the debacle.

You ask me if I have pirated stuff?  No.  I don't pirate stuff.   I avoid downloading MP3s unless I pay for it, and I avoid downloading that violate copyright laws.  I'm a musician and a songwriter, and is one of the reasons why I understand copyright.   I also teach Adobe Software, and speak at seminars about creativity, originality and copyright, so yes, I can LECTURE anyone about the perils of buying bootlegs. 

Now, having said all these, having made an effort to disseminate information for your benefit, you have a choice to make.  Still gonna buy a bootleg, I suppose?  Yes, because obviously, despite being shown the truth, you're really just a cheapskate bootleg "collector."  It's not that you can't afford to buy Bandai, you just don't know what true value really is.

The money you save from buying a cheap bootleg less than quarter the price of a Bandai kit goes a long way, maybe buy you some BOOTLEG milk (imported from CHINA) for your kid.  But, THINK.  You buy 10 bootlegs for 500 each.  You later try to sell them, for how much, you ask? 

Bootlegs, even unbuilt ones, have a very low resale value.  You'll be hard-pressed to sell those 10 at a profit, most likely you'll sell them at a loss.  Whereas, concurrently, I have 4 unbuilt Sinanjus I procured over the course of several years that I plan to use for a big project.  I saved enough money from each of my project to get one.  If I suddenly need cash, I can sell those 4 Sinanjus for a little profit over the price I got them for.  I made an investment, and it worked for me.  Whereas you ended up with 10 lousy bootlegs you'll be hard-pressed to sell, if at all.

Okay.  It's your money to waste.  It's your right to choose.  Go buy that bootleg.   But, take a long, hard look at that bootleg you purchased, and think of the people who worked hard of getting them to you.  The REAL people who worked on developing it, only for bootleggers to copy it so you can get your fill of the hobby.

The time might come that it may be the last one, because there are no other kits to bootleg. 

On a final note, would anyone want some fine and fresh bootleg milk and onions?



22 comments:

  1. I think the kit he means is the Elyn Kshatriya, that kit was amazing. oh and it is off the Market.

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    1. Yes. But in a PM exchange, he also mentioned the DM Tallgeese III as well.

      How have you been, man? It's been a while...

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    2. Good, thanks. Don't have the time to be active on the Net and the little that I have goes in the Hobby :)
      Hope you are good too.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. I think if some hobbyists buy bootleg kits, they should buy the original too to keep things running. But I hope people get the simple logic: buying bootlegs only and not buying the original kits runs the risk of killing the whole hobby.

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  4. I think the real problem here is that bootlegs are out there. They are available and they are cheap alternatives which unfortunately, most Filipinos prefer. There is demands for bootlegs, and suppliers keeps supplying. Until an iron hold is implemented to subdue its production and distribution in the market, bootlegs will stay, and will be bought

    You cannot kill the grass by just nipping and pulling out the leaves, you kill it by pulling the roots. What I'm saying is, you cant tell these hobbyists to stop buying bootlegs because your conscience and ideology says its bad, and they wont stop simply because Bandai said so. They will keep buying bootlegs because its there, its available, its a cheaper, yet workable alternative despite quality issues which some even find challenging. I really truly hope Bandai can find a way stop these businesses from pirating their products. But has anyone from the movie industry really stopped films from piracy? Torrents anyone? Has anyone from the music industry really stopped music piracy?

    Now, I am a hobbyist myself. I buy bootlegs. I do buy Bandai as well. I will continue to buy bootlegs because its there, its available, and its a cheap workable alternative, with less quality that nowadays is easily overlooked. I will still buy Bandai kits if I really like the kit, and if I cant wait for the bootleg version to come out. Other hobbyists may have the same reason, others simply don't care. I am not against these pleas to stop supporting bootlegs and strengthen support for Bandai, I just find it futile. Snap back to reality, this is the Philippine market.

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    1. The problem is Filipinos believe they're entitled to cheap luxuries. If they can't afford luxuries, they'll say it's a violation of human rights. See the stupidity which comes from a general cultural attitude. It's another thing that will drag down the reputation of Filipinos on the world scene.

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    2. I mistakenly made a general comment rather than a reply.

      The problem is not the availability, it's the mentality of the people buying bootlegs.

      How about drugs, will you buy drugs since they are available? No one gets into drugs because they're there. They get into drugs because it's THEIR CHOICE.


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  5. The problem is not the availability, it's the mentality of the people buying bootlegs.

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    1. That's it. Hobbyists should understand that they are not entitled to their hobby. It is something that they should make sacrifices for. They curse Bandai for being expensive, but may spend the same amount on bootlegs, Yes, more bootlegs for the price, but is it the same quality? I wonder also, when they buy tablets or smartphones, do they still go for Ipads or Galaxy Tabs instead of buying Coby or HTC? But besides that, bootlegs are illegal, and an insult to the actual people who create gunpla. Kawaguchi understands that Bandai can't stop bootleg production, but he spelled out the possible result. Gunpla might end because bootleg kits will kit it. Think about it: if original gunpla stops, there will be no more new releases for the bootleggers to copy. It ends there. Or, at least, they may stop selling gunpla to the Philippines.

      Musicians in the Philippines will tell you that the local music industry is nearly dead because of piracy. They cannot make a living from it because the consumers look for pirated copies instead. The same may happen to gunpla.

      If anyone will raise the model company Academy, that used to copy Tamiya, let me tell you a fact. Now that they're making original kits of their own, they're also expensive. The hobby has a price; be willing to pay for it.

      The problem with Filipinos is that they believe they're entitled to cheap luxuries. That makes them irresponsible.

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  6. Well... bottom line is, unless someone makes a way to stop production or at least distribution of bootlegs, sad to say but its here to stay. It is the only way to stop it. Do not expect the Filipinos to stop buying bootlegs because its morally wrong. Pleading to the masses not to support bootleg kits? Based on history, its not going to work. Telling them to get a different hobby like knitting or cross stitching if you cannot afford the original is asking for a heated keyboard fight.

    Before, we only had Bandai as an expensive source for this hobby, but after the introduction of bootleg kits here, we were then given a choice.

    Are bootleg kits illegal? Yes. Is it bad to buy bootleg kits? Yes. Will you get handcuffed if you buy one? Your guess is as good as mine.

    I am sure that these pleas to stop endorsing pirated products has been aired, posted, or published somehow, somewhere, sometime ago, back when the music industry, the movie industry, was starting to die because of piracy, but did piracy ever stop by simply appealing to the masses not to buy them? Unfortunately, NO.

    I myself have no faith that piracy will stop, unless someone comes up with a solid way to stop piracy from the roots. Until then, I'll just enjoy what I can.

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    1. Bandai has done something about it (and is continually doing something about it). They brought TTH to court. TTH was found guilty of copyright ionfringement and was ordered to cease and desist. They did, but later on resurfaced as GaoGao/GoGo.

      Yes, we don't expect Filipinos to stop buying bootlegs regardless of the reasons, but that's what's really wrong with Filipinos, yes? The question is, just because we can't expect others not to buy bootlegs, will you?

      Are you really going to use that excuse "everyone's doing it"?

      Bootlegs continue to proliferate because people who buy them claim they are cheap alternatives. Yes, they are cheap, but alternatives? No. They're not alternatives. That's why they are called bootlegs to begin with.

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  7. To those who are against bootlegs but pirate movies/series/games/softwares...please start your sentences with phrase "As a hypocrite..."

    On the topic of Bandai vs bootlegs, I believe Bandai should continue pushing quality and reliability (pieces fit together perfectly) and let the bootlegs fight over themselves. They have a different market...I see it like cars, Bandai is the Tesla/Roles-Roce/Mercedes-Benz...and the bootlegs are the Chana/Tata or even Suzuki/Toyota brands...they appeal to different markets. Besides there are some models that are exclusive to bootlegs (like Anaklusmos) or even improved versions (1/144 Age Razor). To say that some people SHOULD NOT enter into a hobby just because they can't afford the top of the line products is a load of crap. People have a right to choose what they want and buy it - ie they have their own market. So Bandai products are top class, high quality products...great...those that can afford that SHOULD get that. For the rest who just want a low quality, sometimes ill-fitting, mis-colored product...again, you get what you pay for.

    Btw, I have both original Bandais AND bootlegs (TTHongli/GaoGao/Daban). MGs/RGs/HGs/MIAS/Converge/SD (yes, no PGs) so I know what I say when one look and anyone with half a brain can see the difference between a Bandai and a bootleg.

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    1. To those who keep insisting that just because bootlegs are available that piracy is inevitable, and that bootlegs are cheap "alternatives," they should ALWAYS start as "As a cheapskate..."

      On Bandai vs bootlegs. Bandai HAS BEEN and continually improving its products, as such, back then, multi-colored runners were inexistent. Bandai developed that color separation and molding system.

      As far as cars are concerned, please do not compare a Toyota to a bootleg just so you can satisfy your analogy. It's a non-sequitur comparison. For one, Toyota is very much a top of the line Car manufacturer for the mid range market. Regardless, no one will bother bootlegging a Benz. Not one will bother bootlegging a Toyota either, for very obvious reasons that might have escaped you. Set your sights somewhere else.

      If you're talking about the "market" as such, Bandai vs bootleg, well, Bandai caters to the same market bootleggers are catering to, and that's the HOBBY market. Please do not make the mistake of saying that Bandai is high end market, and bootlegs are low-end market, much like Benz is and Toyota is respectively. To give you a better example, there's medicine; Alaxan will always cost much more than a generic paracetamol tablet.

      Why? There's an add-on cost to it that makes it more expensive, like advertising and marketing, advance RnD, and so on, whereas a generic pill does not. But they are both just as effective (in most cases). They cater to different markets, A-B and C-D respectively.

      Now, it's a different matter if someone will produce fake pills and package them as Alaxan. THAT is bootlegging.

      As far as Anaklusmos is concerned, technically it's an "original" creation, but the modeler who did the prototype obviously used an NG Dynames as a base. Did it gain popularity? The "improved" bootleg version of the Razor wasn't so much of an improvement, lest you consider having the add-ons as an improvement (no, having more for less is NOT an improvement). Quality-wise, it's still very much the crappy plastic.

      Now, If you can't afford the hobby, go ahead, but cheap crappy kits. It's your "right" after all. But, you seem to forget the simple and undeniable FACT that in exercising your right, you are violating copyright laws. You are buying something illegal, if the crappy plastic wasn't good enough reason not too.

      Beyond the fact that it's cheap, any justification to buying bootlegs (regardless if you can afford the real thing or not IS SELF-DEAFEATING/SELF-DEPRECATING, like what you did just now.

      As far as having half a brain is concerned, that ship has sailed as far as you or anyone like you who defends bootleg to death.

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    2. Also, Please remember that "self-entitlement" applies to those who use "I am poor/have a family/don;t have a job, but I want a hobby, so I buy bootlegs" as a justification. I know people who owns both Bandai and bootlegs, but are not as keen as some people, like you, in defending bootlegs. Like myself, they got those bootlegs out of curiosity. Additionally, I got DM bootlegs, just to see if it holds up to the hype and also be able to OBJECTIVELY review them (countering the BLL's argument "you don't know what you're talking about since you don't own one."

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  8. People may buy bootleg because it is cheap but if they became serious, they will soon spend money on the quality on the original kit. However the original kit pricing must still be affordable. Looking at the past few years, did you see the pricing of the original kits? Is the original kit too far for a average person to afford.

    That being said, the consumer may have calculated the risk of quality and still decided to go for it. That should tell you something. I do believe if that consumer start to be good in what he is doing with model kit, he will save and spend on getting the original one so he can be proud of. No one is proud of owning a bootleg but sometime money talks...

    That being said while I don't approve on bootleg, I understood why they bought it and they are at risk end of the day.

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  9. What do you think of making your own parts though? I have a project in mind that I want to do that requires clear versions of parts from the Kshatriya. I have no intention of selling it, but would that still be... illegal?

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    1. I customize my own parts after all, but if you mean casting clear versions for personal use, that's okay. Duplicating stuff for personal use isn't illegal, selling them is.

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  10. I have a question for you. I don't buy bootlegs, having only bought original Bandai products when it comes to licensed products. I've spent a lot of my cash on them, with 3 PGs, 2 RGs, 12 MGs, 1 SD, including online exclusive versions, and I'll be buying more soon when I can.

    I recently came across the MC Model RX-93[G] v Gundam Ground Type, which is a completely new take on the Nu Gundam. Sure, it resembles the Evolve version of the Nu gundam in it's basic design, and we would only be fooling ourselves if we didn't call it an unlicensed/bootleg kit.

    It really looks like what highly skilled modelers custom-build, and since Bandai has not even released a Gundam Evolve version HGUC/RG kit, this would be a very difficult modification for me to do, especially with the proportions not being even remotely similar to the HGUC Nu.

    So I'm really torn about whether or not to buy this kit, given that Bandai won't be making one any time soon, given that there hasn't been any official design like this. What is your opinion? I dislike bootlegs, but this design is really tempting.

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    1. What I write here shouldn't really affect your decision to get what you like. Mine is just giving you the information, the decisions is yours.

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  11. In regards to resin kits not being Gunpla, there is one exception to this I know of...though right now their stuff is really hard to find and is currently listed as 'discontinued' in retail places like HLJ recently - B-Club. They are(were?) actually a subsidiary of Bandai and do have(had?) the license to make resin kits and after-market parts, and did use the Gundam name in their products.

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    1. B-Club is a subsidiary of Bandai, though, as we all can see, Bandai has stepped up on the after market upgrade parts.

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