I wanted to post about this a couple of days back. This auction caught my eye in one of my automatic Outlaw Star eBay e-mails.

Another VCD bootleg... or not?-ptahd22-png

Other images for archiving.
Another VCD bootleg... or not?-gatduen-png
Another VCD bootleg... or not?-0urq3gv-png


Like another VCD that I got, this has a more custom design unlike most bootlegs. I really like this, aside from the common mistake of flipping Gene which removes his face scars and tattoo. Also like another VCD it uses a modified version of the pilot logo from very early stages of the anime's production. That alone intrigued me enough to be willing to pay upwards of $60 for it. Unfortunately, the auction had ended right before my bid/buy.

I decided to ask the seller about whether he has another, or if he'll offer it again if the buyer backs out. I was also curious about where he got it. I looked into a domain on the box. From the site it looks like a legitimate anime distributor in Singapore. My message to the seller:

Hello. I take it you don't still have an Outlaw Star VCD. I'm curious about it because at first glance it appears to be a bootleg, but this Odex company appears to be a legitimate distributor in Singapore. I wonder how a rare VCD like that ended up in the United States.
He replied saying that he got the item in a garage sale but didn't and doesn't have any idea what it is. I suppose that's where the $2 sticker came from. After a short discussion he told me he could have got more VCDs but doesn't know what they are either, but asked me what the value of this actually is.

To be honest, as far as the vast majority of people go, probably not much more than you paid at the garage sale. Nobody uses VCDs nowadays and it isn't in great condition. However, I'm a very big fan of Outlaw Star and I have never seen this box set before, so it's worth a lot more to a fan like me. Outlaw Star isn't popular like Star Trek would be though.
I did offer a higher amount for it but unfortunately the payment had gone through and that was that. And after I saw that Odex website I simply convinced myself that VCDs were simply a more popular format in East Asia so it may well have been an official release. After all, this wouldn't have been the only Outlaw Star official box set with some bad cover mistakes, like Gene.

Then I noticed "GAMES MART PTE LTD". So, who are these guys? Sounds bootleggy to me. And since that Odex site looks legit was it simply a bootleg masquerading as an official release with more effort than usual? I spent a while looking into this. There's not a lot of info (one example) but what I did find suggests that Games Mart was founded by directors of Odex. Games Mart got into a lot of trouble in the past, but some people wonder if their VCDs could be regarded as genuine.

Another VCD bootleg... or not?-stnews_2-jpg

Honestly there's a lot to read so I won't drag on. Odex faced legal action since.

At a press conference held by Odex yesterday, the message from nine anime copyright holders — including some of Japan's biggest animation studios — was clear: They are prepared to take legal action against the wrongdoers directly, should the Singapore courts reject Odex's bid to do so.
I find it interesting how a country's biggest anime distributor could be so shady, especially in a high-GDP country like Singapore. Anyway, that's about it. Will I see this one pop up again? Probably not any time soon. There's only one person I know who'd buy an Outlaw Star bootleg at a high price. Hopefully next time I won't be too late.