Everybody knows how large Japan’s entertainment industry is. From blockbuster video games to manga one-shots, you can find a wide range of genres and interests to enjoy in Japanese entertainment. Unfortunately, many of these products are prime targets for theft and piracy. Manga piracy is the most prominent, with entire chapters from popular magazines like Weekly Shounen Jump being uploaded to the internet days before they go on sale. Movies are in a similar situation, but the industry is fighting back with a new marketing campaign aimed at maligning movie pirates through quirky mascots. Meet Camera Man, the Movie Piracy Mascot.
— 映画泥棒（ことカメラ男） (@eigadorobo) October 27, 2014
The “No More” campaign against film piracy was launched in 2007 to promote anti-piracy values. In the campaign adverts, a slickly-dressed video camera, Camera Man, attempts to record a film much to the shock of his fellow theater goers. His behavior is reported to the theater staff, and he is promptly arrested and punished by Japan’s antipiracy laws, up 10 million yen (100,000 USD) in fines, or even 10 years of jailtime. From this simple premise, the character became an instant hit, with a small figure line produced and even a dedicated fan gathering in the years since his debut.
— 徒歩しろのん (@toho_kyuken) February 5, 2013
Part of the appeal of Camera Man’s character is in his design. The sleek, professional attire of the business suit combined with the mechanical construction of his large video camera creates an uncanny effect that is distant, yet familiar at the same time. There are many such character designs in Japanese media throughout the years depicting a similar appeal, such as Mr. Titan from Kamen Rider Stronger and Friend from 20th Century Boys.
— インスタ泥棒 (@sudokeeeeen) April 30, 2019
Camera Man is not the only part of the No More Movie Thief campaign, he interacts with a minor cast of movie-theater characters. The popcorn and soda-adorned audience members are bystanders annoyed by Camera Man’s blatant attempts at recording. Patrol Lamp Man, the hero of this story, rushes in siren blaring to apprehend anybody trying to pirate films. Camera and Patrol Lamp Man have an amusing relationship, where they’re defined by their antagonism towards each other. As a result, fans view their interactions as a masked friendship or even a close relationship defined by piracy and the law.
What do you think of this dancing mascot for piracy? Is it effective in discouraging people to pirate movies by promoting awareness? Or is it just seen as fun characters for people to enjoy? We hope this informational article about this unusual public awareness campaign has given you more to think about the next time you see a piracy awareness message at a movie theater.