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When Jacob Grady began pirating anime and manga online eight years ago, he was still in college. He took out student loans to pay the server bills, and he figured that if he ever made enough money from the site to purchase a round-trip flight to Japan, the effort and expense would be worth it.

Like many Americans, he got hooked on Japanese pop culture as a kid through the Cartoon Network’s action-oriented programming block called “Toonami” (“cartoon tsunami”). He would race home from school to catch the latest episodes of “Dragonball Z” and “Gundam Wing.”

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