One of the things that cropped up more in the middle of the past decade, a bit more so at the end to be sure, was the idea of license rescues. One of the earliest ones that got the term coined at the time was that of Lost Universe, the series that ADV Films had dubbed and released which ended up at Nozomi Entertainment. There were others before it, but this one felt like it was a closer one and not one tied to some other “non-anime” company. Since then, we’ve seen a number of titles traded around because of the length of licenses have caused many to expire, companies to go out of business and so forth. We also see this far more heavily in the limited release pool of adult anime titles in the hentai realm as some of them have gone through just about every publisher at least once, which can get amusing.
But when it comes to the more mainstream titles, there are a lot of titles that are long out of print and licenses expired (in North America). We’re seeing some of the Geneon catalog come back into play at FUNimation now which is definitely exciting fans, even if it took too long. But there are many more out there with nary a whisper of movement. As these shows get released again in Japan, either through re-issues or high definition upgrades where available, there’s always a chance at another run here in the US/CA market. Which leads us to ask, what license rescue do you want the most?
For myself, the one I long for is one that would require a lot of work and is rather a dream rescue, though there are attainable levels for it as well. The one that I want the most to come back into print and be done “right” is that of Cardcaptor Sakura. The series was released by Geneon and did well in the initial volumes, but had a series of licensor related missteps that caused it to falter and never recover. Adding the badly edited dub cut that was out there and the lack of a true bilingual cut, the show series just petered out as it moved on. To Geneon’s credit and love of the show itself, they did release it all.
But with a high definition upgrade done in Japan and the show getting at least a DVD release in Australia, it’s a show that may be a bit more accessible now as there are more CLAMP fans out there, a greater pool of potentially interested parties in both genders and the allure of a hard to find title. We’d love to see this get the treatment many series get today with a bilingual and accurate presentation done in 13 episode sets on DVD and Blu-ray. To give the show the kind of release it always needed.
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