How many times have you heard “Piracy is a crime”? Whether it is during movie previews or your newly purchased movie on Blu-ray, everyone must have encountered this saying at least once in their life. The message is inarguably inevitable, particularly in this age of vast and advanced ICT. Despite the Motion Picture Association’s active effort in bombarding society with the aforementioned public service announcement, the reality implies otherwise. Many, if not most, people ignore it. Piracy remains as a glaring issue to the realm of media.
The Japanese have induced a twist to the overdone public message. First released in 2007, “No More Eiga Dorobou” (NO MORE 映画泥棒) is a series of promotional videos that play in Japanese cinema before the movie starts. It mainly consists of two guys pantomiming to funky music. One guy is wearing a suit with an excessively big video camera as a head, whilst the other wears a dark police outfit with a siren as the head. The short commercial emphasizes the illegality of video privacy and subsequently, informs people of the heavy penalty that the proprietor would bear.
The popularity of Eiga Dorobou has increased exponentially since it was first introduced to the public. What started as a mere public announcement has evolved into a fully realized brand.
From key chains, folders, and even toys, Eiga Dorobou has successfully infiltrated the realm of merchandise. In 2014, alongside the gained popularity of the campaign, Bandai, a well renowned Japanese toy company released fully detailed figures of Eiga Dorobou’s two famous individuals. These characters were dubbed as “Camera Otoko” (カメラ男 or Camera Man) and “Pato-Lamp Otoko” (パトランプ男 or Patrol Lamp Man) respectively. Each figure having at a price of ¥3,240.
Eiga Dorobou’s popularity has influence the mainstream popular Japanese culture. They are sometimes seen on local television and even became memes. During Halloween, a lot of individuals wore costumes of the characters, marching the street of Shibuya.
So if you’re in Japan, try to experience Japanese cinema. The funny and slightly corny act of the Eiga Dorobou duo may captivate you!