How hard is it to go to the cinema?

You might has noticed the recent news on certain anime movie leaks which was traced back to Malaysia, for example this article on Anime News Network titled "Odex Receives 'Notice From Japan' About Sword Art Online Film Leaks in Singapore, Malaysia". While there are many reasons on why and how it leaks, one of the reasons is "so that our friends who could not go to cinema could also watch the anime". So, the leads to the question, the title of this post, How hard is it to go to the cinema, in Malaysia?

GSC Aman Central in Alor Setar, Kedah is the GSC cinema nearest to Perlis

So, how hard it is?

This actually depends on the location where they are staying. Most of anime fans are students of upper secondary school (high schools), students of colleges, students of universities (private and public), students of matriculation, and entry-level workers. I'll write on my own experience later but let me describe common problems these categories are suffering:

1. Students of upper secondary school (high school):
Most of them are staying with their parents except those in boarding schools. Most of the parents would ask so many annoying questions when they want to go somewhere and expect them to only go to school or tuition or additional non-curricular non-school classes (eg. piano class) and otherwise, stay at home. This means, they can't go anywhere else, not even shopping and of course no cinema.
For those in boarding school (in Malay, "Sekolah Berasrama Penuh"), it has even stricter rules and you can't even go out of the school compound. You live in there, so no cinema too.

2. Students of colleges, and private university:
Most of them are rich people, as colleges and private university are expensive. These anime fans are the one who would go to cinema every single day when anime movie is released. They are also most probably the one who would record the movie in cinema because they went everyday, they know most of the thing happened in cinema like when will officer comes in etc.

3. Students of matriculation:
Matriculation is actually a college too, but you don't pay for it. They pay for you as long as you have good grades. All of them are staying in the matriculation campus rooms. The rules are not too strict like staying with parents or staying in boarding schools, you could still go out on weekends to watch movie in cinema.

4. Students of public university:
Most of them came from normal or poor families, because public university is cheaper than private university or colleges. Some of the students would barely able to pay for their foods as everything (aside from study fees) are expensive. The students would choose to stay in the university's residential apartments, even though some university allows them to stay in renthouses. These anime fans would only occasionally go to watch movie because even the transport to go out from university itself is expensive.

5. Entry-level workers:
Most of them just get their jobs and had to pay for many things as everything are expensive. They would not have enough money or sometimes not having enough time to watch a movie.

That would explain why some anime fans can't go to cinema to watch their favourite movie. But even when you can, it could be hard to go to cinema. Let's look at next things.

Common problems faced

1. Availability of cinema
Many cinema operators are concentrating main cities (eg. Kuala Lumpur) while many universities and big colleges are situated far from those main cities (eg. Kuala Terengganu). This means there's no cinema near to them, and they need to get to the cinema with some kind of transportation which leads to...

2. Availability and price of transportation
In some areas, you don't have choice but to ride a taxi. Taxi in Malaysia is known among locals as having very expensive price and sometimes cheating to get double payment. This causes issues to students who don't have that much money to get to the cinema. (Most universities don't allow students to bring car if they stay in the provided residential apartments, and some even don't allow them bring motorcycles)

3. Availability of Anime itself
A whole lot of anime are not available in every cinemas in Malaysia, instead they are only screened in certain branches of cinemas. There are 3 big cinema operators, Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), Tanjong Golden Village (TGV) and MCAT Box Office (MBO). Most of the anime are only available in GSC as they are partners with Odex, the largest anime licensee for south-east Asian countries. Only popular anime such as your name. would be available in all operators, and even so it might not covers every branches.

4. Overall money spent to get to the cinema
Even though the screen ticket is still affordable by most of anime fans, the transport and other side things like foods (popcorns) would add up to the money spent when you're going to cinema. So, this would be an issue in certain anime fans because they don't have enough money to spend to get there. Furthermore, some university (and maybe college too) prohibits their students from doing part-time jobs if they stay inside the provided residential apartment so the only way students get money is fully using the study loan itself (like me) or get some money from parents (impossible for me).

Even though there are many hardships just to be able to watch anime or any other movies in cinema, but you would feel much better watching it in cinema than illegally watching it on the internet. If your friend really had troubles and ask you to help them by recording it, then don't do it. Instead, insist them to go watch on nearest cinema. If you has some time, go pick them up and pay for them, at least you could have some memories with your friends this way. Next related article is my journey to watch two different anime in cinema.


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