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Pirates are bad. Now enjoy this movie about Pirates.


I really don’t like making girls cry, so imagine my horror upon discovering that when I once innocently bought a bootleg video of the South Park movie for $3 on the streets of Manhattan back in 1999, I not only made a girl halfway ’round the world start silently bawling — I made her cry black tears.

After a year of quiet mockery, Japanese movie theaters are still running this ridiculous anti-piracy PSA. The film industry folks obviously do not heed much opinion from English language blogs or realize how their schlocky sob-story of profit loss counter-productively melds with the burden of ¥1800 tickets to make you want to run out and start pirating movies immediately.

In normal contexts, this ad is just “retarded” (not my words) but an ad visually warning you of the dangers of piracy through use of a Jolly Roger skull and black flag with white X right before presenting for your enjoyment Pirates of the Caribbean — a film celebrating the aberrant bad-boys of the sea — is just retarded (my words).

W. David MARX (Marxy)
August 28, 2006

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

16 Responses

  1. alin Says:

    I the issue is much more complex and subtle than you seem to think and relates to Vivienne Westwood, swastikas in ura-harajuku and much more.

  2. alin Says:

    on a more serious note, you surely have noticed the link between signifier and signified is comparatively loose and rather fluid in this country’s visual culture – so you can’t simply call this ad ‘retarded’ without applying the same judgement to the entire visual culture.

  3. alin Says:

    call this ad ‘retarded’
    i mean the juxtaposition of ad and movie

  4. marxy Says:

    Calling into question the ironic juxtaposition of anti-pirate ads and pro-pirate movie indeed is an insult to the entirity of Japanese culture and society.

    Although I think you are racist for questioning my use of the word “retarded”! This is my culturally-bound right.

  5. alin Says:

    but you see the ad is 和風 while the movie is 洋画 so i don’t know what makes you want to connect then in the first place.

  6. marxy Says:

    Special effects are 洋 in origin, the actress was 和, the idea of “pirate versions” is clearly a direct 和 translation of a 洋 word, the movie theatre is in 和, but owned by a 洋 company. The popcorn featured at the theatre is surely 和 in origin, as well as the Cola.

    This is helping you all understand the dichotomies here, right?

  7. lacadutadegiganti Says:

    I’d say the the thing is loathsome on its own merits. I’ll do anything to avoid it, to the point of missing the first few minutes of the movie (alas, missing the start of the movie realy is about the only way to avoid it, since it’s the last thing they show after the onslaught of ads and previews).

    What makes foreign movies shown in Japan an additional rip-off is that they are often picked up by the Japanese distributors after a few months or more, at about they same time they hit they hit the video market in their home countries. The distributor saves a huge amount, but your ticket is still 1800 yen.

    (Back over to this blog’s resident stalk…sorry, dialecticians.)

  8. marxy Says:

    Wait – stop everything.

    The cola is based on a 洋 recipe but bottled in Japan. So, I guess that makes you right after all, Alin.

  9. alin Says:

    no no no no , coca cola is 洋 through and through and evidently quite evil, the [ ー ] green tea coca cola sells, that can cure or prevent cancer, is 和.

  10. alin Says:

    look at it (coca cola), it’s the color of pirate tears

  11. marxy Says:

    Tears are grape soda-colored.

  12. lauren Says:

    Speaking as a girl, oh no – these tear stains are never going to come out! They might be soda colored, but they sure aren’t soda!

    Thanks a lot, Marxy! Jerk!


  13. Chris_B Says:

    we need a good movie about a japanese girl pirate and her adventures on the high seas, it should feature lots of product placements and a catchy theme song which can be purchased in the lobby along with keitei straps featuring an SD version of the heroine along with the memorial cosplay set of her outfit worn during the big dance number.

  14. bunny Says:

    Gal pirates has already done. Maybe 7-8 years ago, two teenage gals with large breasts, stuff into bikinis and photographed on a desert isle. Their name was spelled “Pai-Retsu”. Maybe its time for the sequel.

  15. Carl Says:

    That’s freaking hilarious. I have heard (and created) a lot of crappy Japanese puns in my day, but that one takes the cake. I presume it was the “Retsu” of “retsu go~” and not the “Retsu” of “列号,” but in any case, it’s wonderful.

  16. alin Says:

    I just got my ‘best of new order’ dvd from the states via amazon and have to admit that the big FBI yellow-john-wayne-sherif-like-whatever bold anti-piracy insignia does strike a much stronges message.