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|Peter Go, CEO/Director
Stephen Sing, Enforcement Division
|Products||Video VCD / DVD|
Number of employees
Odex Pte. Ltd. is a Singapore-based company that licenses and releases anime for local and regional Southeast Asian consumption. Odex was established in 1987 and set up its Anime Distribution department in 2000, selling anime in Singapore. It works with Japanese licensors such as Sunrise Inc., TV Tokyo, Yomiuri TV, D-Rights, TMS, Showgate Inc and Aniplex Inc. Odex also sells programs to television stations in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, such as TV3, NTV7, Astro, MediaCorp TV and StarHub TV. Other than licensing, Odex also does English dubbing, translation and subtitling for other companies. Odex also deals in anime merchandise sales.
Odex is most well known for taking legal action in 2007-2008 against home users who were allegedly downloading copyrighted anime videos from the Internet. The actions received extensive press and blog coverage, especially as they roughly coincided with similar attempts in the United States by the music industry RIAA to enforce against file sharing by home users. Issues of intellectual property, copyright protections, privacy and freedom of speech underlie these events.
1987: Founded Odex.
2000: Odex set up its Anime Distribution department to license and bring into the region videos ranging from drama to animation of all kinds.
2003: With the support of Japanese licensors, the Anti-Video Piracy Association of Singapore (AVPAS) is created to fight video piracy in Singapore. AVPAS's committee-in-charge is led by Dr. Toh See Kiat, followed by Odex directors Peter Go and Stephen Sing.
2004: AVPAS, together with Odex, obtained their 1st success in fighting video piracy when they raided the warehouses of a major video retail chain selling pirated anime VCD in Singapore with the Singapore Police Force. In order to continue in its fight against video piracy, AVPAS created its official website. After a month, they started to take actions against illegal downloaders.
2005: Odex set up its own professional setup of English dubbing studios and DVD authoring facility. Odex was tasked with making English dub and DVD authoring for release in the USA market, clients engaging Odex’s services includes Bandai Entertainment USA, Geneon Entertainment USA, History Channel.
2006: Odex has achieved in putting a prime-time anime title (D.Gray-Man) on Singapore Free TV (MediacorpTV, Okto channel) within 5 days of Japan TV broadcast. This is followed by other popular titles such as Casshern Sins, Seto no Hanayome, Gundam 00.
2007: Odex joined Anime Festival Asia (AFA), took up a big space in the event. Odex also participated in SGTCC selling Bakugan.
2008: Odex succeed in provide same week telecast as Japan by collaborating with Mediacorp. Odex took part in AFA again.
2009: Partnering with Animax, Odex succeeded in making anime titles released same day and same time as Japan’s TV broadcast across 42 Asian territories.
2010: Odex started its business in MobTV. The company brought its website back up, but only to provide a link to the MobTV website so that visitors can learn more about the Animetrix service that Odex is providing on MobTV. Odex brought the Gundam 00 movie - Awakening of the Trailblazer into Singapore theatre, released on the same day as Japan. There were two screening venues, which are at Alliance Francaise and at Sinema after the first day premiere in Singapore. Odex made a grand presence in AFA, being one of the two largest booths in the event hall. They brought in a wide range of anime cushions and anime apparel under their license. They also worked with AFA organisers to put up the screening of the Gundam 00 movie - Awakening of the Trailblazer and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya during AFA.
2011: Odex continued its participation in AFA, focusing on merchandise sales and movie screening. Movie shown included: Sora no Otoshimono the Movie: The Angeloid of Clockwork, Detective Conan: Quarter of Silence, Naruto the Movie: Blood Prison, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos and Ryūjin Mabuyer The Movie Nanatsu no Mabui.
Odex licenses and releases anime for local and regional Southeast Asian consumption. It was registered in 1998 to license, import and release overseas drama and animation into Singapore. It began distribution in 2000.
Odex VCDs packaging has two silver strips at the top and bottom, with the words Original Japanese Animation along the side with its logo. The VCDs are packaged as square boxed sets, with a CD folder containing six discs with 13 episodes each. The DVD boxed set is not packaged like the R1 and R2 sets, which come in one disc with two episodes, but as three discs with 12 episodes, using dual-layer DVDs.
Odex's VCDs contain Japanese-language audio. Some releases also include Chinese dubbing and English dubbing. Subtitles are written in both English, Chinese and Malay. They are generally priced below those of United States or Japanese counterparts. During promotional period, a 13-episode VCD boxed set was sold for SGD$10 while a DVD boxed set went for SGD$20.
Other than licensing and distributing, Odex also does English dubbing, translation and/or subtitling for other companies. The shows are sold to television stations in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, such as TV3, NTV7, Astro, MediaCorp TV, and Starhub TV. Odex also sells anime merchandises. Odex also supply anime for pay TV anime channels across south east Asia like Philippines' Hero TV and Pan-regional anime channel Animax Asia
Reception from anime community
Legal action towards downloaders
In reaction to falling sales and evidence of home users' downloading anime videos without payment, in 2007 Odex initiated actions to track users and demand settlement or litigation. It succeeded in gaining court orders for subpoenas for two ISPs to provide them with subscriber data for certain IP accounts. Odex settled out of court with many downloaders, who paid fees in lieu of litigation, ranging from about SGD$3000 to SGD$5000.
Odex's subtitling has been criticized by the Singapore anime community for having font with lower quality and sometimes inaccurate translations, as compared to fansubs or imports. Allegations were made by the online community that Odex had passed off fansubs as its own work. Sing admitted that this was partially true as Odex had hired anime fans to do subtitling in 2004 who had taken "the easy way out and copied word for word the subtitles on fansubs they downloaded". Sing explained that when Odex released its anime, the company did not realise what the anime fans had done, and it has been "paying for this mistake ever since". It was reported at the same time that all of Odex's translation and subtitling was now done "in house". However, Odex's release of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in September 2007 was found to contain translations strongly resembling an earlier unauthorised fansub release.
Odex stated that because of the censorship laws in Singapore, they had to tweak subtitles to conform to the Board of Film Censors' (BFC) requirements. However, a BFC spokesperson denied this, saying the board preferred that subtitles be accurate.
There has also been controversy on the statements provided by Odex on its website's FAQ page regarding the issue of its subtitles. The statements provided by Odex vastly deviated from the questions asked and did not make sense or provide proper answers. The original statements are as quoted below:
FAQ Question: Some people say the frustration with Odex is that its versions have grammatical errors, inaccurate translations and poor video quality and that the fansubs are better.
Odex's Answer: In any translation work, there are slightly different ways to say the same thing and our goal is to provide the most accurate translations possible. We believe we have the most advanced video transfer equipment available in Singapore. Odex respects the guidelines laid down by the Board of Film Censor and thus we also believe in [*]providing subtitles that do not cause any discomfort to the various religious and racial groups in Singapore[*] and thus would take the extra mile to [*]remove vulgarities[*] and tone down any [*]offensive language[*].
Following criticism of its anti-piracy actions, Odex set up a forum on its website, which aimed to foster and improve relationships between the company and the anime community.
Odex's website was subsequently defaced by an unknown hacker with no hacker group claiming credit for the action. The website was replaced with a note asking a boycott of Odex's products and how to download anime anonymously. The website was then taken down by Odex and a spokesman for Odex said Odex will make a police report over the hacking.
Odex's licensed anime
- 'We learnt to be more humble...Yes, we've made mistakes, Chua Hian Hou, The Straits Times/The Star (Malaysia), 2 September 2007
- "Odex's Company Profile". Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- AVPAS members list
- Successful Defence Against Major Local Video Chain Fails To Overturn Criminal Search Warrants
- "MediaCorp Partners Odex to Launch Anime Channel with Same Week Telecast as Japan". Anime News Network. 21 July 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Odex: Settlements hardly cover costs, Sheralyn Tay, Today, 21 August 2007.
- Chua Hian Hou (16 August 2007). "Anime firm boss gets online death threats". The Straits Times. p. 4. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
- "Singapore's Odex subs Haruhi with similar text to fansub". Anime News Network. 28 September 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2008.
- "Subtitles must be done accurately: Censors". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- Odex FAQ Page on the Internet Archive
- "Odex website hacked". AsiaOne. Retrieved 2 April 2012.