July 4th Weekend News and Notes

Finally, Hayate without that annoying censor character!

It’s rare that we do any real news posts on THAT, but seeing as how there was a huge pile of crap that occurred in the R1 DVD market as well as some scattered news on the other side of the Pacific I figured I’d post something. Plus I’m kind of bored right now. And Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans!

1) Fullmetal Alchemist and Darker Than Black Second Seasons

Through some apparent incompetence, a list of animators was released by Bones regarding these two continuing shows which are probably in their infancy. Both are awesome action shows in their own right and something to look forward to. While I only have one rumor source on this, a cut-out of a French anime magazine has been floating around 4chan the past day or two with at least the news on FMA as corroboration. (Canned Dogs)

2) ADV Implodes

For those of us who purchase R1 DVDs this didn’t come as much of a surprise, but ADV pretty much sputtered out this weekend. While they won’t give the whole scoop, we all knew it was coming when back a few months ago they lost Gurren Lagaan and were barely able to re-negotiate for their other titles. They’ve officially broken from Sojitz, their Japanese licensing partner, meaning they’ve lost just about everything from the past two years. This includes shows currently being released, like the Kanon Vol. 6 order I have that will sit open eternally. (AoD, ANN1, ANN2)

3) Funimation Takes Over The World

In what’s probably a brilliant business move, Funimation saw the opportunities brought about by ADV and Geneon’s demise and struck deals on a stack of their licenses. While the deal with Geneon is more a partnership where Funimation calls the shots, Funimation just straight out gobbled up many of ADV’s former licenses including the aforementioned Kanon. This makes them by far the top dog in the R1 market in terms of market share, although Bandai is doing it’s best to catch up. Who knows how long it’s going to take them to release the ADV stuff that’s already partially done, they could very well just start over on shows like Kanon and Welcome to the NHK or halted Geneon titles like Higurashi and Black Lagoon. Hell they even picked up Saimono, a show a lot of people on this blog follow which doesn’t have a full set of English fansubs. (AoD, ANN)

4) Hayate no Gotoku! Gets Licensed

Totally didn’t see this coming, I wouldn’t have thought a relatively long-running otaku comedy would make the journey across the sea. But I’m thankful nonetheless because I want to see this show in all its DVD glory. Now Bandai has been doing pretty good with the liner notes in their Lucky Star releases so hopefully that means they might do the same for Hayate. And with the recent push for boxsets (in chunks of 13 episode for their release of Code Geass at least), there’s a good chance it will come in that much more affordable form. (AoD)

5) Nico Nico Gets Canned

The big bad anime industry just dropped the bomb on Nico Nico, and they have signed an agreement where Nico Nico will remove all fan videos with copyrighted material in them as well as the shows themselves obviously. This pretty much removes all reason for people to go to Nico Nico, and it’s a sad day for those who frequent it. (Canned Dogs)

6) Gonzo Ending In Trainwreck

SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Cuz you know, Gonzo shows always end in a trainwreck, amirite?! So Gonzo’s parent company is in danger of being de-listed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange unless they can become profitable within a year. That means making something along the lines of $30 million in profits with Strike Witches and the second season of Rosario + Vampire carrying them. Good luck with that. See what happens when you trainwreck perfectly good series? Nobody buys your DVDs. (AnimeNation)

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  1. Posted July 5, 2008 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Funi doing a complete restart on the ADV and Geneon titles – they’ve already mentioned that, as far as the Geneon titles go at least, they’ll be looking to continue onwards from where the previous releases stopped off, and as soon as possible. For Geneon, that could to be as soon as next month – everything seems to be sorted, and Geneon continued their production work on their titles even after they didn’t have anyone to manufacture and sell their DVDs. For ADV titles, that’s going to depend on how discussions with ADV go – production work on Kanon and NHK at least is completed, but the exact ownership of those materials is likely to be in question (it’s not unknown for the Japanese side to retain ownership of a dub post-license, for one thing). I doubt Funi will just completely start over with near-complete series like Kanon, though – I just don’t see it making any kind of sense for them.

  2. Posted July 5, 2008 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    FMA2!!!! DTB 2!!! Mon Dieu! Fracking awesome! If true.

    My squee about SaiMo will be heard around the blogosphere. I have the first two discs that Geneon released, so YAY its nice to know I’ll be able to complete that series since I love it so much. My friend had told me about it last month but I couldn’t find anything to confirm what she had told me, so the fact she was right makes me blissfully happy.

    Although who knows how long it will take for them to get it released. They licensed Ghost Hunt end of last year or very early this year and its supposedly due for a fall release. But apart from releasing the V.A for Naru there is little information regarding it.

    I had read about Gonzo on ANN, its not looking good, that’s for sure, I had no idea things were so dire for them.

    And as for ADV, I’ve been thinking this has been on the books for a LONG time. I’ve gotten quite a few decent shows from them and the quality is nice. But it seemed like they wasted a lot of capital buying up licenses to shows that weren’t very interesting, they had a hell of a lot of fanservice type crap. And sorry as popular as EVA is, releasing upteen different versions of it isn’t going to help recoup your losses.

    And I also think ADV lost a lot of support from their fans by the way they seemed to rail against evil downloaders, suggesting they are the root of all the industries problems right now. No-one denies that they are a MAJOR problem in the N.A industry and certainly they have helped caused the situation in part. But there are also other factors involved. I mean its certainly interesting that manga is just as heavily downloaded and yet sales for those are still up. Of course you don’t have to pay out to dub manga so its a lot cheaper to produce.

    DVD sales are down across the board, not just for anime. The economy has something to do with that and in regards to anime some of it may have to do with pricing and just plain availability.

    The one major chain that sold anime in Michigan where I live went bust about 2 years ago now. Leaving the only places you could get your fix from to be places like Borders and Suncoast. Two stores that actually sell anime at the MSRP. Which can be $30 for one disc. Whereas in places like Media Play for the first week of release you could pick up a copy for a good 10-15 dollars cheaper. Best Buy used to have decent prices here, but once their main competitor Media Play went bust, then their prices went up.

    Hubby and I turned to buying our anime from an online store which had prices comparable to Media Play. We also now buy our manga there too, since they sell it for a lot cheaper than Borders. Not everyone can get their stuff from online. Sometimes something will pop up for a nice price in Walmart now though.

    And because of pricing and the downturn in the economy a lot of people are being a lot pickier about WHAT they buy. Which is where I think ADV has had a problem. Viz and Funimation have really benefited from the Japanese companies they have links to and have been very smart in their acquisitions.

    Viz has after all has two of the most popular titles out there in Naruto and Bleach. Owning rights to both the manga and the anime. They’ll be making money off of InuYasha too for a few years yet despite the fact it ended in Japan. And with a second series of that likely, I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing more anime over here for them on that title. That is one hell of a popular show over here. I mean I think its been in almost constant repeat since AS started airing it.

    They’ve also been helped by having a lot of their titles on Adult Swim and so have gotten their shows out to a much bigger audience than ADV.

    The anime network only became available in my area a few months back and I’d have to pay and extra $20 a month to watch it. Its only on limited carriers

    The Cartoon Network comes as part of my package and I think is available on most cable packages. I also get the Funimation Channel, I don’t pay any extra for them, they also have a deal with IFC also part of my package so I got to catch shows like Speed Grapher (with is meh) Basilisk (Loved) Gunslinger Girl, Withblade (actually really liked this one the further I got into it, but I’m a big witchblade fan anyway). Oh and Trinity Blood on AS!

    Shows I’ll be purchasing, Ghost Hunt, Ouran High School Host Club, Darker Than Black, those are just a few. And who is releasing them, Funimation. Anyway my point is Funi has been picking up a hell of a lot of great shows. And I’m over the moon they’ll be distributing Hellsing Ultimate since I love that series too and can now complete my collection.

    ADV has had only a handful of shows I’d have been interested in. I’m sorry but just sitting around and blaming your fanbase for your business doing down the toilet isn’t going to help pull you out of it. You need to do something about it!

    Other companies like Viz and Funimation instead of openly attacking their fanbases, have tried to address the issue of downloading and why people do it and come up with alternative solutions. Whereby people download but pay money for it. Viz may not have been getting subbed versions of Death Note out as quickly as fansubbers. But it was a start and nice to see a company responding to fans and what they wanted. I know quite a few fans who paid to download so they could see it earlier and obtain it legally. I just waited to see it on Adult Swim.

    I think you could access the Anime Network online too, but I usually gave up because it was horrendously slow for me or the player just wouldn’t work half the time. I had no problems with watching shows on Funi’s site.

    I totally understand ADV’s anger at downloaders but I think I started to think badly of them due to an article in PiQ (The magazine that replaced Newtype over here and then went bust itself.

    I think it was Monica Rial who railed not only on downloaders but also suggested that people who rent off of places like Netflix were bad too.

    Which I think is another reason you can’t just blame downloaders. An awful lot of anime is available to rent through places like Netflix these days. Which again goes into why companies have to be smarter about what they spend their money on. Gone are the days where in order to figure out if they like a series fans have to buy a disc. Now you can download or rent. At least if you rent though the company has gotten some money back. I’ve saved money on quite a few titles because I rented them through Netflix and found them to be horrible. Otherwise I’d have wasted money on something like Maburaho…hmm actually that’s an ADV title. Sorry J.C Staff you know I love you, but it was little more episodic fanservice.

    She went on to say how people renting should be supporting by buying shows. Again that’s nice to say, but with the economy the way it is, anime fans can’t really afford to just buy whatever they might be interested in. So Netflix is a nice LEGAL way to see what you might want to buy. I think that is what really irritated me, is that these fans were sort of being attacked too for not supporting the industry, when they are at least trying to obtain things in a somewhat legal manner and thereby supporting the industry in a way they can afford.

    ADV’s other problem is that they have their own studio and that’s gotta be costly to run. I’m not entirely sure about Funi, but Viz farms out voice work to studios like the ocean group, so that saves them a lot of money.

    Anyhoo, my point companies like Funimation and Viz have been trying to move with the times and ADV didn’t seem like it was, so it doesn’t surprise me they are having so much trouble.

  3. Posted July 5, 2008 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    DTB second season!? WTF? Are they planning to destroy the awesomeness of the first season?

  4. EX-Keine
    Posted July 5, 2008 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    OK… (takes one big breath) You are ONLY HALF right on Gonzo, and that so-called “trainwreck” is because of what they are putting out NOW and VERY RECENTLY, meaning this year and last year. I will admit, I cannot believe that I actually put up with the all 13 eps. of Rosario + Panties because it really tested my patience. I will believe you that the 2nd season will be full of fail. So from that point of view, you are absolutely correct that that studio is NOW a piece of shit…

    “Gonzo shows always end in a trainwreck, amirite?!”
    (puts heavy metal on and turns up the speakers) Always? ALWAYS?! As in… EVERY SINGLE series that that studio has made?! What the fuck kind of half-assed bullshit sentence was that?! That’s like me honestly declaring that ALL Kyoto Animation shows/adaptations blow or that ALL of J.C. Staff series suck total ass and are nothing but trash!!! Let me ask you something… Have you ever watched Hellsing? Saikano?! Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo?!! And for fuck’s sake and most importantly… LAST EXILE?!!! Those series could arguably be Gonzo’s best products, I mean… THE first complete DVD collection I ever bought no hesitation was Last Exile because the entire thing… story plot, music, universal setting, and every single other element… wasn’t some “trainwreck” that had overuse of fanservice or big boobs or an assload of panty shots beyond overuse! Side note: Would you believe that I actually saw all of Last Exile in english dub? (Ooh, avoid dubs like the black plague~…) But I digress… What I’m saying is if you’re going to say Gonzo’s a trainwreck, you might want to be careful on how to word that so you don’t go “ALL~!”, because Gonzo DID have some more-than-just good shows as mentioned.

    Never thought that Hayate would be licensed for release here… I’m glad it’s Bandai Ent. and NOT the other shitty co. called Bandai Visual USA, glad they got absorbed by the former….
    Yea, Bandai Ent. makes good on their promises and delivers great quality work consistently, but FOR NOW, Funimation is the king of the companies….
    I thought that FMA ended with just that movie-after-the-series. I’m guessing they could try and use the adaptation from the manga to include that chinese guy, whose name I don’t know… Please describe me something about Darker Than Black, I’m kind of curious… Do you think it’s worth sitting all the way through?

  5. Posted July 6, 2008 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I’ve enjoyed a lot of Gonzo shows, Samurai Seven, Basilisk, Trinity Blood (Well the ending was rushed on that one, but I’m not sure you can blame them. There was a hell of a lot of information to fit in to only 25 episodes and I think that’s why the anime suffered.)

    Witchblade (started off crappy but got really good as the series went on)

    Afro Samurai (supposedly this is getting a second season.)

    Peacemaker Kurogane, Kiddy Grade, Kaleido Star <– yeah, yeah I know but I actually really enjoyed that show.

    And lets not forget FULL METAL PANIC!!!!!!!!!!! Arguably one of THE best shows EVER!

    So I will agree not everything Gonzo has done has sucked, but I do have to say I have no interest in any of their 2008 offerings.

    Now if they could offer up more info on when we’d be getting “The Five Killers” I’d show some interest.

    And there might be good news on the ADV front, they say they are in talks with another partner already.

    Which is awesome news for the N.A market if they aren’t dead. As much as they have irritated me they have done a lot for bringing anime over and they do good jobs with the dubs. Hopefully they are beginning to take note what other companies around them are doing and will begin to move with the times.

  6. EX-Keine
    Posted July 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    @D.J: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that Trinity Blood went 24 eps. the way it did because before production was announced the creator suddenly died of emphysema (too much smoking, geez)… It’s a total shame, really, because the artwork was unbelievable, and I thought that it would go 52, maybe 78 eps. if that universe had many things to cover and progress, and I did like that series a lot in the beginning….
    More Samuel L. Jackson samurai action? Sorry. I’d take Samurai Champloo over this one, and also… old school rap beat obviously sounds better than what’s “hot” these days….

  7. Kirachan
    Posted August 20, 2008 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    But…but… Gonzo’s BLASSREITER is good… so far

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