Yes, Japan has a favorite series of anti-piracy ads.

On 16 July, Japan was shocked when a brand new NO MORE Eiga Dorobo (NO MORE Movie theft) ad was unveiled. The video was tweeted by the official NO MORE Eiga Dorobo Camera Man account seven hours ago as of this writing and has already gotten over half a million views there alone.

Even if you’re not totally familiar with the campaign to discourage people from recording, downloading, or uploading theatrical releases, you’ve likely seen these characters in one of the countless Japanese parodies, cosplays, or erotic fan fiction of which they have been the focus.

It all started in 2007 with this public service announcement.

Although, the camcorder-headed mime called “Camera Man” simply served to decorate the rather dry message of fines for copyright infringement, something about his particular popping and locking seemed to strike a chord with moviegoers.

So three follow-up 30-second spots were also created and introduced other characters such as his eternal nemesis Patrol Lamp Man, Tiara (a.k.a. the woman), Popcorn Man, and Juice Man (wherein “juice” is a Japanese catchall for any sweet drink including sodas).

▼ Here are all four original ads back-to-back

The constant cat-and-mouse struggle between Camera Man and Patrol Lamp Man captured the imaginations of the Japanese public, but due to their 30-second nature, their conflict never amounted to much and Camera Man was always swiftly apprehended.

It was never really clear if the series actually prevented any movie piracy or not, but the ads were undoubtedly a hit. However, six years ago they came to an abrupt end. Perhaps everything was said that needed to be, or Camera Man’s ego got inflated to the point he was asking for outrages sums to perform, or maybe movie piracy wasn’t as pressing an issue any more.

Then, clear out of the blue, this latest edition hit the public and offered the most cinematic chase yet between Camera Man and Patrol Lamp Man. It will be shown in theaters from 17 July and was directed by Saiji Yakumo who also directed the originals and went on to make other commercials, music videos, and movies of his own such as 2019’s Touken Ranbu.

Overall, people couldn’t be happier at NO MORE Eiga Dorobo’s return.

“I want to go to the movies just to see this!”
“These guys scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.”
“That guy is actually a really good dancer.”
“Did you see Popcorn Man and Juice Man?! Just before the rooftop!”
“They should make a movie about this movie thief.”
“I haven’t been to a movie theater in six years. I wonder if this was why.”
“I want to be Patrol Lamp Man.”

It’s unclear why they chose now of all times to release a new version of the NO MORE Eiga Dorobo saga, considering movie attendance is at an all time low. Maybe it’s an attempt to bring people back into theaters, or maybe it’s simply to lift spirits during these hard times.

Speaking of which, I really think it’s time to reboot MC Double Def DP’s “Don’t Copy That Floppy” to help ease the malaise of 2020 by once more kick-stepping through the tenets of intellectual property law and Kant’s categorical imperative.

I think his influence on the NO MORE Eiga Dorobo campaign is evident, and one could argue that he was the most effective anti-piracy spokesperson ever. It’s an indisputable fact that floppy disk copying has plummeted to almost zero ever since that video was produced.

Source: Nikkan Sports, My Game News Flash
Top image: YouTube/Let’s Go to the Movies! Executive Committee Official YouTube
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