The whole original point of this series was that Hinano had burned a whole crapload of anime onto spindle after spindle of CDs and DVDs back in the day. There were two different reasons for this: first, for way back in the day (say, 1998) when there was barely any file sharing infrastructure around, so people would often ask to trade episodes. With that setup, you can’t just delete things after you watch them or else you’ll have nothing that you can let someone download from you. The second is that until 2006 or 2007 or so, it still wasn’t that easy to find stuff. In 1998 there was a lot of sitting in Hotline queues waiting for a 50 MB RealMedia file the size of a postage stamp that you will then laboriously download over your 56.6kbps modem. Let’s hope that mom doesn’t accidentally pick up the phone! And that’s not a postage stamp on your 25 inch LCD screen now. I mean a postage stamp on your 15 inch CRT. Even as time passed, that just changed things to hoping that the show or episode that you’re looking for exists somewhere out there in the cloud on WinMX or Share.
Then, even after you find all the episodes of the series, you’re going to run out of space on your hard drive pretty quickly. Even those 50 MB files add up pretty quickly when you only have say, 10 GBs of total hard drive space on your 1999 PC. So you’re going to need to start burning pretty much everything that you download. A side note: if you did the math, you’d see that 50 MB times 26 episodes equals 1,300 MB, so yes, this means that back in the day you could fit an entire series onto two CDs. As you may have been able to tell, that means that many of these shows were burned onto CDs more than ten years ago. Naturally, some of the CDs were flaky and eventually failed over time. With shows that came out in say, 2004 this wasn’t so bad. That meant that I might have needed to track down say, three or maybe four episodes if a CD failed. But when an older show’s CDs had problems, I might lose most of the show. Sometimes, this wasn’t much of a problem. We lost most of Rurouni Kenshin for example, but fortunately for us it’s been on Hulu for a couple years. For the most part, it was usually pretty easy to find whatever episodes had gotten corrupted or lost in some way.
Excluding a few instances where there was just one or two random episodes burned (“Hmm, I still have 70 MB left. Might as well burn episode #7 of Dr. Rin ni Kiitemite to fill the space”) the only full series exception had been Tri-Zenon. Which make a lot of sense; it only has 16 ratings on MAL, making it by far the most obscure anime series that I’ve seen. (Fun fact: that used to be Taiyou no Kiba Dougram until someone finally subbed it; now it has a whopping 61 ratings). So when I make jokes about “Oh, now I can see why she burned this show” when someone like holds hands (or when say, a baby pees on someone’s face), in this case it’s because there wasn’t much choice. In the absence of much choice regarding anime, information regarding anime, and access to anime, all that’s left to go off of is “Hey, this looks like Slayers and has a Megumi Hayashibara OP!” (lolololololol light and shadow lololololol) rather than being able to find out that it’s a terrible little kid robot show ripoff of Legend of the Galactic Heroes and downloading something better instead.
So yeah, no rose colored glasses here.