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The skinny on official, English-subbed Asian Films & TV
Online Retailers 
January, 30th 2010, 09:56 pm Online Retailers
DBSK - Changmin - Small Flail
If you're looking for official, licensed DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs, then I would strongly recommend checking out the below sources. These are the online retailers I've been using for years, and I'm one of those people who has no problem going elsewhere when I'm not happy with service I've received. Some are better than others, depending on what forms of media you're looking for and from which countries, but I've found the below to all be trustworthy - especially since I tend to stay away from "marketplace" options.

If you have any retail recommendations, be sure to share them in the comments.

**indicates retailers I use most often

CDJapan is a Japanese (and Japanese limited edition) music megastore that also carries DVDs (though often not subtitled) and a host of other goods. Japanese CDs and magazines are also often a few hundred yen cheaper than they are at YesAsia, but shipping can get a little pricey when ordering multiple items. They are, however, extremely reliable and very fast. Additionally, I've had pre-ordered CDs occasionally ship from the warehouse a couple days faster than those from YesAsia, so while shipping can be costly, if you want things hella fast, I'd say CDJapan is an excellent option.

Personal "CDJapan is awesome" story: A while back, I lost a couple of early Gackt concert DVDs during a move across the country. YesAsia and PlayAsia both listed the concerts I was missing as out of print, and I was ludicrously unhappy about it. On a whim, I decided to check CDJapan - despite not often shopping with them because of the rather high shipping costs. Low and behold, both early concerts were available. As I mentioned, shipping anything airmail or faster can get pricey very quickly, but their economy shipping (though slow) made it to my door safe and sound, and I was a happy fangirl. This seems to be a recurring situation with a number of my friends. As far as concert DVDs go, even if it's out at the rest of the usual suspects, it's often still attainable here. As far as shipping goes, though, I'd opt for being patient and going for either economy shipping or the slowest of the airmail options.

**Han Books
Han Books is pretty much where I buy all my Region 3 English-subbed K-dramas. If there's a title I really love that's not available in Region 1, I know that I can almost always track it down here for a pretty reasonable price (as far as Asian box sets go, anyway). Han Books almost always runs at least a small coupon sale, so if you buy a box set, you'll likely get a bit more of discount than it might initially seem. HB also carries a ton of English-subbed Korean films - many of them the limited editions that are no longer available at other retailers. To top it all off, HB has been consistently fast in shipping things to me. Though listings might say the product may take 5 - 10 days to get in stock, I've never had to even wait 5 days. I can't guarantee that this would always be the case, but it's definitely been my experience. I strongly recommend using these guys for Region 3 Korean DVDs.

**Right Stuf
While it's predominantly known for deals on anime and manga, what a lot of people don't know is that RightStuf.com also carries all of YA Entertainment's K-drama catalog, along with almost every English subtitled Japanese film that's available in North America. I shop there any time I'm looking for K-dramas as I've found the prices consistently beat Amazon and YesAsia by a significant amount.
Ex: Scent of a Woman
Right Stuf Price: $44.99
Amazon Price: $56.49
YesAsia Price: $59.99
In addition to crazy good everyday prices on K-dramas, the weekly specials and studio sales are a virtual treasure trove of random deals...as long as you know to look through them. About twice a year, Right Stuf has a YA Entertainment studio sale where everything YA produces gets discounted even further, and there are almost always Japanese and Korean live-action specials in the weeklies. There's even a frequent buyer program (Got Anime) that nets members an additional 10% off, that's definitely worth it in the long run.

They also only sell licensed merchandise, so there are never any worries about bootlegs, which tends to be a bit of a problem with drama series and movies when shopping elsewhere.

While Scarecrow doesn't always have the lowest price, they're a great resource if you've exhausted all your other means of getting legit copies of certain series and films. A lot of times, even if it's out of print and sold out elsewhere, Scarecrow will have a random copy lying around its warehouse. I've had more than a couple friends strike K-drama gold here when every other retailer out there said the shows they were looking for were no longer available.

Target doesn't have the largest selection of Asian films, but I've found that they regularly have a stock of Dragon Dynasty Hong Kong films in their brick and mortar stores. I'm also seen them carry quite a few of Magnolia Picture's movies, like Warlords and Tidal Wave.

Y FUFU is one of the newer Asian media specialty retailers. So far, the inventory is limited to YA Entertainment K-dramas, some anime and a few K-movies, but it looks like selection is continually growing and everything I've seen on there is 100% official. Based in the U.S., the company also offers free 2-3 day shipping on all domestic orders - hella nice for those stateside who, like myself, have little to no patience when it comes to waiting for shipments to land.

This is CD heaven. I follow a lot of Asian artists, and YesAsia is one of the most reliable places I've come across. There are often department wide sales that go on for months - last year there was a crazy awesome K-pop sale that seemed to go on forever (to my wallet's great distress). And in addition to having all the latest J-pop albums and singles available, they've also got a great selection of legitimate J-pop CDs that have been licensed to Hong Kong and Korea at substantially lower prices than the original editions, so if you're looking to fill in any of your J-pop back catalogs, it's a great option. Or if you're a rabid fan of certain groups (like I am), YesAsia purchases on Japanese CDs now will even go toward the Oricon charts.

For DVD fans, if you have access to a DVD player that will play multi-region DVDs, there's a wealth of incredible Korean cinema available with official English subtitles. And unbeknownst to many, there are even a number of Region 2 Japanese films that come with official English subtitles, too.

One thing to note: Japanese CDs do tend to be a few 100 yen more expensive than at CDJapan, however, if you spend over $39, shipping is free. YesAsia's expedited shipping is also a little bit cheaper than CDJapan's expedited shipping. Free shipping tends to take around 2 weeks, but it's taken up to almost 4 for me before. If you go for the expedited shipping, packages tend to move very quickly. My personal experience: I tend to receive expedited packages between 2-5 days of after shipping, which is pretty quick all things considered.

Other options:

There are certainly flaws with Amazon - their marketplace can be a nightmare when trying to avoid bootlegs, and even the legitimate listings sometimes aren't all they appear, but one of the great things about this monster-sized online storefront is that because of sheer size, they can often times buy into major film distributors' deals that aren't necessarily open to smaller retailers. When they have sales, sometimes the discounts can get well above 50% off. Those sales are rarely aren't always advertised particularly well, but when they're available, they are definitely worth taking advantage of.

Best Buy
Despite being a mammoth online retailer, they don't have the best selection. Even if they do have it, it'll sometimes take me forever to locate it as the search categories and keywords are all kinds of wonky. That being said, I am totally a Reward Zone member, and I'm a sucker for Rewards point coupon days. For the most mainstream of titles (which many of you viewing this probably already own), Best Buy is definitely a pretty decent option, particularly if you shop on quadruple points day.

Deep Discount
The packaging leaves more than a little something to be desired, but sometimes, especially for films, the prices cannot be beaten. I don't personally shop there any longer - I've had one two many tragically trashed boxes land at my door to be willing to work with their returns department these days - but there are times when the sales make me almost willing to risk it.

February, 7th 2010, 06:36 pm (UTC)
thanks very much for this list :D it is so very helpful ><

(CDJapan, although kind of pricey, looks a bit off and not as clean-cut as other websites such as YesAsia. I think because of that people don't trust it. I know it took me a while ^^;. I use it now all the time for things i find out of print ^^)
February, 7th 2010, 07:04 pm (UTC)
I'm totes happy to help! I'll be expanding the information here as time goes by and including other retailers (particularly for those who'll ship internationally), but until then, feel free to float any questions my way, and I'll try to answer or get an answer for you as quickly as I can. :)
February, 7th 2010, 07:05 pm (UTC)
thanks very much :D (again ^^)
February, 18th 2010, 12:32 am (UTC)
wow! thanks for this list! this will be helpful!
February, 19th 2010, 04:33 am (UTC)
i was wondering, the only place i can find HanaDan the movie is Best Buy, American. I talked to Best Buy and they won't buy/ship from other countries, so I'm SOL here in Canda, do you know anywhere else where i could buy it, with Paypal? ^^;
February, 19th 2010, 04:43 am (UTC)
With Paypal? Hmmm.

I don't know if you can pay with PayPal, but I found the official English subtitled version on Amazon.ca at a
higher price than Right Stuf (which is where I usually rec to U.S. peeps), but at least it's a Canadian store, right? And I would imagine shipping would be better via a Canadian storefront than across the border. Is that an OK option?
February, 19th 2010, 04:45 am (UTC)
ah yes, amazon....this may work out. I don't have a credit card and don't trust myself with one so i crossed this off, although it seems it's my only answer. I'll see if i can convince my mom to let me use her card ^_~ (as shes the one who wants to finish HanaDan XD)

Thanks very much for such a prompt reply :D
February, 19th 2010, 04:54 am (UTC)
Found a legit U.S. retailer that will take PayPal and ships to Canada! (I was curious, so I kept looking) :D

DVD Planet will ship to Canada and accepts PayPal, but the shipping is $4.75 per order + $0.75 per disc, plus whatever additional costs might come from customs. But if PayPal really is significantly easier, this might be a good backup for the Amazon.ca option. :)
February, 19th 2010, 04:59 am (UTC)
why thanks so much :D I had so many frustrations looking for something legit/could ship to Canada/ Paypal that i gave up easily -_-

thanks again so much >< i think it's a must have to my growing Japanese DVD collection XDD Eventually i hope some company picks up actual serial dramas but for now i can be content with what's available, because there's quite a bit ^^ And that way i feel legit >
February, 22nd 2010, 07:23 am (UTC)
I have found HMV.co.jp a good alternative for people on YesAsia shipping zonification (5, I think) that doesn't allow free shipping.

Especially for PBs and Limited Edition stuff that tends to be slightly pricier on YesAsia. For the same price of shipping (between $15-20), you get your stuff in one week instead of 3 or 4.
February, 25th 2010, 02:50 pm (UTC)
Sorry it took me so long to reply - LJ is not sending me comment notifications...again. LOL

Anyway, thank you for the heads up! I'm vaguely familiar with the site, but I've not ordered from them before. This reminds me that I'll have to give them a try on my next order, and as soon as I do, I'll add them. :D
March, 12th 2010, 12:56 pm (UTC)
sensasian.com // They do have some cd's for sale but it's more a place for dvd's. They most of the time have Malaysia versions with english subs of tv shows and they are most of the time cheaper then any other version. And they have free shipping.
March, 12th 2010, 01:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up! :D

I'll try and order from them soon, so I can review them for inclusion on the list.
March, 12th 2010, 01:46 pm (UTC)
Oh! And I forgot to ask, but how are the English subtitles? Are the other languages optional tracks, so you don't have to see more than one set of subs at a time?
May, 4th 2010, 02:25 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I've been ripped off on about 5 DVDs recently from buying through Ebay and receiving the fansubs, and I don't want to experience that ever again.
May, 4th 2010, 02:27 am (UTC)
You're welcome! If there's anything I can ever help with, let me know. I won't always have an answer, but I can try. And if I don't have an answer for you, I can always try and hit up some of the company reps that are a little more willing to answer questions from fans like us.
May, 8th 2010, 04:49 pm (UTC) - hello :)
I just happened to get to this entry through a google search. I am debating right now where to buy my ALL ABOUT DBSK II. My choices are between CD Japan (http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=NEOIAV-15) and HMV (http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/2629643). It seems as though CD Japan is cheaper since I have frequent buyer points and the total would be around 66 dollars but HMV's total is around 92 dollars if I buy the AADBSKII and another album. I don't know where to buy it from and would like advice :) thanks! (CDJAPAN is cheaper but.. it has no info on it where as HMV does and other places such as YesAsia is out of print or the prices are around 95)
(Deleted comment)
May, 12th 2010, 03:49 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the suggestions! I've shopped at dvdpacific.com previously, and I will definitely include it on my next update. Once I hear back from the contacts at the other sites (I sent out emails with some questions), I'll tack the others on as well.

As a heads up, dvdasian.com carries some titles produced by a company called Ember Power, which I've heard some differing opinions on regarding legitimate licensing, so I've sent an inquiry to FujiTV's programing sales department to see if they've licensed shows to them.
June, 18th 2010, 04:58 pm (UTC)
hey thanks for your compilations! they were very helpful!
I wanted to add that, among all these sites, CDJapan has the best and most efficient customer service, and it was always a pleasant experience to purchase from them :)
As for the shipping price, I guess Asian countries would get the better benefit as it really is lower and more economical :)
August, 3rd 2010, 06:38 pm (UTC)
Has anyone ever ordered from Dvdasian? If so I was wondering if it was a reliable website to order from?
August, 3rd 2010, 10:53 pm (UTC)
Hi! I don't personally shop at DVDAsian, but one of the recent projects I've been working on is a list of DVD distributors that manufacture unlicensed (bootleg) DVD box sets (you can see the trail of posts I've made by clicking the "unlicensed DVD box sets" tag. In any case, while I don't know about the entirety of DVDAsian's inventory, they
carry box sets from the companies who make the reported unlicensed box sets. I would make absolutely sure that the items you're paying for are 100% licensed copies before ordering anything from them and I would be wary of purchasing DVDs manufactured by the companies mentioned in the tagged posts.

If you have any other questions, please let me know and I'll try to help as much as I can.
August, 5th 2010, 09:19 pm (UTC)
Oh I'll have to check out your list! I really can't thank you enough, your group is really helpful. I really am lost when I've tried to hardsub myself, so I like to stick the box sets. Its nice to have some help feeding my addiction!
August, 6th 2010, 02:04 am (UTC)
I'm so happy this site is helpful to fellow fans! If you're looking for reliable retailers, the ones listed in the above actual post (not in the comments) are all pretty safe and sites I've personally used multiple times.

Is there a DVD in particular you're looking for? Maybe I can help?
August, 7th 2010, 09:32 pm (UTC)
Not at the moment, but I'll probably use those sites for upcoming dramas like Mischievous Kiss or I Am Legend. I also like to know which ones so I can occasionally check them and maybe strike gold!
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