How do you find out if your anime is hot, or illegally made? This is useful for you ebayers, people who find a DVD which just seems too cheap on a website, or those who want to offer a legitimate business is selling anime.
One of the most common things you will find with hot anime is that there are Chinese subtitles. Usually the subtitles are only in Japanese and English, but since China is the major hotspot for these illegal animes (since copyright laws do not work the same there and technically it isn’t illegal for them to burn anime as they do) you will nearly always find their subtitles there. Sometimes this is legitimate, but rarely.
Another thing you will find is that the DVDs are region 0. People selling them will say this makes it possible to be played in any DVD player, and they are right. Normally though you will only find the DVD to be region 1. Again, there are some exceptions to this rule, but it is even more rare than the above. My advice, if it is Region 0 it is a 98% chance that it is fake.
Most of these DVDs come in series packs. They will sell you the entire Evangelion Series, or Utena Series for a very, VERY cheap price. On ebay this isn’t peculiar at all, since everything there does tend to be cheap. However, more than that, you will notice that the series is only about 3 or 4 DVDs long, while normally these packs have at least 6 DVDs or more. That is because they burned it with lower quality and squeezed all the episodes they could on the DVD. I have yet to find an exception to this. If an entire series is only a few DVDs (unless it is something small like FLCL) then it is definitely fake.
Or what about the DVDs of Death Note, where they also offer the entire series for a cheap price and with few DVDs? Despite the above mentioned, there is something else here to be aware of. If you haven’t found the entire series in stores yet, and you found an English dubbed version online, then it is fake. The license has not gone through yet for the American market, so there would be no way for this seller to offer you the entire series, when stores hungry to push it out there could not offer it to you by legitimate means yet. This is a common sight, and should be avoided.
I mentioned Utena before. The series is no longer being made onto DVD, yet you can find suppliers always in stock of them. Again, guess why? They are burning them illegally.
Lastly, peculiar art for the cover. Usually these hot anime sellers have supplies which bear manga art instead of the anime art that should be on the cover, a dead giveaway. Sometimes companies do this, so for this I would check all the covers, as it may be an odd one you found, but generally this points to an illegal anime.
Unfortunately the market is saturated with illegal copies. Some physical stores buy from illegal suppliers either because it is cheaper, or because they are not in the know. Always be on the lookout, especially if you are selling them without knowledge. The charge for piracy is hefty, and not worth it at all. Besides, for the casual viewer, real anime always has better bonuses, great quality, and you won’t find the occasional glitch as you will in hot anime (such as a hot Utena movie my friend unknowingly purchased. The opening was pixels, and the major dance scene was ruined, we quickly disposed of it.)