Here is a slightly updated re-post of an article I wrote back in 2011. It's one of my favorites. It might sound snarky, but it's all in fun. And yes, it's all true. Hope you enjoy!
The “I don’t want to buy something I already own” blues
Kevin James Breaux
One of my biggest fears is having to re-buy all my DVD’s in another “New Gen” form of media. It’s a nightmarish notion I refer to as the “Mediapocalypse!”
Remember when we all had cassette tapes? I had maybe thirty tapes in my collection and I really drug my feet over to CDs. I think I had to re-buy maybe fifteen of my albums again. Even at the young age of 18-19 years old, I felt a very clear sense of wrongness in that act. Dude, I paid $8 for that Metallica Master of Puppets tape and now I got to pay another $12 for the CD! That’s bullshit!
Oh, but I have done much worse since…
Back in the early and mid 90’s, there was a monthly comic book convention that I attended in King of Prussia, PA. I almost always, drove up with my friends Chris and Sean. (And we almost always forgot Bob)(That’s a story for another time.) We mostly went to meet comic book artists and hold rounds of witty banter with them while getting sketches, but Chris and I were also into Japanese Animation.
This little comic convention, held in the basement of a Holiday Inn, was perfect for just that. They always had a bunch of different vendors blaring clips from movies, so it was easy to get an idea of what you might like by just standing near a vendor’s table for five minutes.
One day, I bought something like seven VHS tapes. All of a fantasy anime called The Record of Lodoss War. They were bad copies, and get this, they were subtitled by fans. “FOR FANS BY FANS” - the title screen would say. What that meant was: missing words, wrong words, and different names for different characters. It was a year before I knew the main character’s name was Parn, not Pern or Pan. I mean I kinda thought it was Parn… from the Japanese men and women screaming it… but when you have read Pern enough on screen, yeah, it sinks in.
Anyway, for as bad as these copies were, my friends and I loved them and watched them a bunch of times. Six months or so later, I was at the convention again and guess what? These two guys who we bought most of your videos from had NEW copies that were crystal clear, but had no subtitles and no dubbing. Yep, I bought them all. Now we could at least watch this awesome epic fantasy series in good quality.
You might think that was enough, right? Nope, some years later, I saw that The Record of Lodoss War was being released in America and it had real official subtitles! Score! I ordered it, of course. Now I had three full versions of the show.
I would love to say that is the end of this tale, but it’s not. A couple years passed, and one day I was looking in a catalogue and wouldn’t you know, a The Record of Lodoss War box set… and… wait for it…. wait for it…. DUBBED!!! OMG! Dubbed? Really? So I ordered that bad boy post-haste. Now my friends and I could watch it all in crystal clear VHS quality and hear the lines spoke in English. No more bad subtitles for us! And holy crap the main character’s name was Parn! Confirmed!
So here is where I get my sick fear of another change in media. Maybe like eight-nine years ago, and seventeen-eighteen years after my first purchase of the series, I found a DVD set of The Record of Lodoss War on Amazon.com and of course, I ordered it.
---bad quality version with homemade subtitles on VHS. Check!
---good quality version with no subtitles, pure Japanese on VHS. Check!
---official version with subtitles on VHS. Check!
---official version with dubbing on VHS (box set). Check!
---good quality version with English dubbing on DVD. Check!
Yes, I have owned five versions of the Lodoss War. I only own the DVD set now, but sure, I guess at one point I had like 30-35 VHS tapes of the show.
Now can you blame me for fearing a future media change? Not counting my forty or more box sets of shows like Buffy, Angel, Rome, True Blood, Spartacus, and all the GI JOES… I must have like 200+ DVDs. And I for damn sure don’t want to buy them all… all over again. Hell no! Do you know what a season of Star Trek on DVD used to cost??? Seriously, the thought of having to do that makes my skin all red and splotchy… I think I might be getting some sort of weird, “I don’t want to purchase something I already own” hive.
Wait… Is that a Blu-Ray copy of The Avengers?
Write Makes Might!
Kevin James Breaux