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
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 BooksHan 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.
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. 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.TargetTarget
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 FUFUY 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.
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
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.