Another week and a lot of questions! there continues to be some good stuff that gets asked and pieces that get me to think about things I sometimes haven’t thought about for a long time. Having been doing this particular field since 1998, there’s a lot of stuff that you learn that kind of goes into the background after awhile and simply “is” how things are and works, which is familiar in most industries. So bringing out the questions and applying it fresh is always fun.
Check out some of the things we were asked about this week, and hit us up with new questions here!
Frankly, most companies really don’t do enough to talk up their titles. Granted, you have limited resources in order to do promotion, but there are creative ways to get the news out there and extend the life of the marketing of it before its release.
English language casting news is definitely one such way. Between having actors announce their roles sometimes, doing cast announcements at conventions, extended reveals with graphics over the course of the week and, of course, video reveals.
So yeah, I’d say the odds are greatly in favor of it.
Beyond that, they’re doing what almost every other Japanese company that wants a foothold in the USA has done in the last ten years as a new entry into the market. So it’s not a surprise that they’re focusing on higher prices, more pack-in materials and goods and fewer episodes per release. That’s simply the market they know. I’m just glad that they’re doing a new dub for one of their two new shows (denki-gai doesn’t warrant one in my opinion) and they’re not replicating the Japanese release style completely, since they’re getting fewer discs here.
What I ~hope~ for is that Pony Canyon digs into their catalog a bit for titles that have never been licensed for release over here, or got DVD only releases whose licenses expire, and brings something new from the past to the game.
The better approach is to take each property as it is and see if it’s enjoyable from there, rather than its origins or connections in toys or video games.
Most that import aren’t like that. They’re in a pursuit of quality that means something important to them. I don’t import much, but I’ve gotten a few things, often because I expect it’ll never come out here or some other reason. And most that I know don’t play the superior card in how they talk about it.
But those that do the kind of trash talking style aspect of it, I relegate to the same pile as those that go on about others not being real fans, which means I mostly ignore them.
At this point, it’s going to start hitting diminishing returns soon based on when it first came out and when it ended. That’s not to say a lot of fans won’t flock to it, but it really needed to start being released while it was being simulcast to continually build awareness.
I love the show and am hopeful that this’ll be the year. But I have no idea what would really be the best fit for it.
Overall, I have a real affection for the original Urotsukidoji series because it was just a huge show in its day and really does some great stuff.
I also have some real affection for Another Lady Innocent, because historically inaccurate beautifully animated hentai is so rare and it’s just an absolute visual treat.
The one title I keep coming back to regularly that I really enjoy and pull out every now and again is Consenting Adultery. That’s probably my favorite “serious” show.
The one I’ll show anyone I can get my hands on is F3 through, because, well, F3!
And honestly, anime has had its chance and it blew it in going mainstream and wide. I suspect it won’t get another shot at it again outside of a couple of flash in the pan shows here and there. While I thoroughly enjoy a lot of anime, very little of what’s produced these days are global mainstream shows that can appeal.
It’s not the price of the releases that’s keeping anime niche. It’s the content itself.
According to this, Discotek only has “partial rights” to Free for DVD sub-only release. How the fuck can you have “partial rights”?
It pretty much sounds like when Crunchyroll got their streaming rights for the first season of Free!, it included the DVD home video rights only. So if anyone wants to release a blu-ray, they have to license those rights.
FUNimation ended up with this along the way with the series Baccano, which when they licensed years ago there weren’t Blu-ray rights to license. So they can release the DVD, but we saw Aniplex USA putting it out on Blu-ray because they had the rights.
Essentially, when a series is licensed, it doesn’t mean you get all rights to it.
For me, it’s the sports anime that will seemingly almost always end up like this. I’d love to see Kuroko’s Basketball get a solid release. Baby Steps too.
There’s also the slew of short form anime series out there which are almost never picked up, which is a real shame. I want Poyopoyo on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as others like Encouragement of Climb.
But I keep coming back to the same thing.
I really miss Geneon Entertainment, ne Pioneer Entertainment.
Pioneer was a company I got behind when they brought out Japanese laserdiscs with dubs and subs back in the mid 90’s and that started my home theater/entertainment kick. They were also a very big supporter of anime getting on DVD in the early days – as well as a very big supporter of my site when I first started – they even hosted my site briefly while we dealt with early web issues in the late 90’s.
The company is one that had some great releases across a broad spectrum of genres and types and they also largely had some of the best quality releases in terms of authoring, which made sense considering who they were.
With so many companies disappearing in the past decade, they’re the ones I lament the most.
That’s not to say I don’t miss the others; I had/have great relationships with them, made numerous friends there that I still have to this day and many work elsewhere in the industry or in morphed versions of the companies. I’d love to have them all back, to see BEI back at strength, CPM bringing out some classics, Urban Vision with its quirky as hell titles and seeing those adult anime distributors back in the game.
If there are places in your region that does offer it, I always recommend going there because that’s how you get things to grow and change.
But I’m also old school in that if I don’t have access to things in a straightforward legal manner, I can do without. There’s a wealth of stuff out there and, as I’ve been told, have endless patience.
From what I know and understand, they do not go after home video rights. Sometimes a streaming distribution partner bundles it with the streaming rights and because of that those home video rights have sat idle. Discotek is taking advantage of that with the new deal.
I really don’t see it making a major impact in general with what other companies get.
The upside is that some of these lost shows will finally get a release.
The downside is that until Discotek starts producing dubs, a number of shows that really deserve to have them and would do well with them won’t have them. And the same goes for high definition releases. For a good chunk of the market, no BD (or no dub), no buy. If you can stream it in better quality than you can own it, why would you own a lesser quality copy? Therein is the rub for me.
It is certain
It is decidedly so
Without a doubt
You may rely on it
As I see it, yes
Signs point to yes
Reply hazy try again
Ask again later
Better not tell you now
Cannot predict now
Concentrate and ask again
Don’t count on it
My reply is no
My sources say no
Outlook not so good
The titles that Discotek are doing are ones that Crunchyroll has had the home video rights for for a long time. Some streaming rights come bundled with the home video rights, which CR hasn’t exercised before since it’s not their core business.
There’ll likely be a few every season that fall into this category, but by and large it’s not the norm by any measure.
I still have no freakin’ clue what they were smoking in making that show.
Magical Play comes close as a second.
As for strange subjects? In relation to anime, give me series revolving around married couples. They’re pretty damn rare, but when we do get them they’re usually a lot more entertaining since the character dynamics are very different.
In my experience, I’ve found diverse things that work, some very obvious ones of course, with:
Lupin the 3rd: Castle of Cagliostro
And, to my surprise, His & Her Circumstances
It’s easier to suggest things based on what people might like. If someone likes SF, find the best of that genre – though not the crazy best or something like Evangelion. Ease them into things. Find things that aren’t culturally heavy and more accessible.
A lot of it is that for a lot of directors, making the adjustment from a confined two hour placement to a larger placement of material isn’t easy. You can see it with some that they can do it as some trilogies work, while others don’t.
I’d be interested in seeing what Sofia Coppola could do with an extended run, a ten episode personal show on an AMC, FX or something. Same with Sarah Polley.
I think Paul Thomas Anderson should take the leap to something on HBO in order to really expand on story and cast in a way that he seems to want to with his films.
An insane Wes Anderson event series is totally a dream.
I keep hoping Galavant did well enough that we could get Baz Luhrmann to do an even musical series.
And if I could bring him back from the dead, I’d have someone throw tons of money at Stanley Kubrick for something on a premium network.
I’d say Baker is definitely the bigger surprise since his slate of work is just huge and it’s hard to imagine him not being busy.
In the end, it’s good for fans to get a taste of something new and old at the same time, and especially since the time away has them working in a lot of other roles which can add an enhance what they do in anime.
I think we’re seeing it because the manga side are seeing it more on the shelves as the comic side does it – notably with DC Comics and Vertigo and some Image titles as they’re owning the bookstore channel in this regard.
Retailers see them as standout pieces that they can display more as it catches the casual eye.
From a production standpoint, there are definitely some real standouts. The new Jojo’s book is freakin’ gorgeous across the board. I really love how Vinland Saga looks as well with a great heft, something that looks and feels like a solid, serious work and reading experience.
These releases tend to come and go through the office to reviewers, so I don’t get extended time with them. But seeing the diversity is a huge plus and I love seeing the effort and passion going into them.
And who wouldn’t want to do a commentary for hentai…
I think my interest would be within a few different movies in that I’d rather do a conversational commentary with the writer/directors for them, such as Wings of Honneamise, Urusei Yatsura 2 and the Kimagure Orange Road movie as opposed to me just babbling on about things.
I admit to following directors more than others, but also partially because directors work with their small cabal regularly so they often travel together. And a number of writers end up working towards directing, or we get actors that move into writing and directing.
I watch things from pretty much every genre out there so I tend to see a lot of things, but it can get overwhelming and lost in the blur of it all. There are those that come up from time to time, but I really have a hard time naming off the top of my head to be honest.
Where I’m getting interested is in seeing how many comic writers are making the transition, becoming more involved in the adaptations of their works, and seeing them writing comic series with a more theatrical bent to them.
I’m currently reading the fifth Game of Thrones novel (I know, that’s not the name of the series), but it’s proving to be a real slog. I’ve got some Peter F. Hamilton and Stephen Baxter lined up after that. but they’re all just thick and detailed hard SF novels.
Three non superhero american comic properties you would like to see adapted into tv series/ movies. Either because they would be a good fit in the current market or personal preferance.
Manifest Destiny – This would make an excellent TV series. I could almost see it as a CW show to complement The 100 except set a few hundred years ago.
East Of West – Similar in that I think it’s ideal for serialized storytelling, except on a premium/pay network.
Manhattan Projects – Give this a couple of big budget crazy ass films and just run with it in a hilariously over the top way. Pure R-rated material that would be intense on all levels.
Pax America is one that I’m glad is getting explored already because otherwise that would top my list.
When it comes to comic books, I used to love the standalone stories because that’s when you would have characters that would in a sense just sit around and shoot the breeze and talk. Things would get expressed, characters reveal themselves more, etc etc. I far prefer that kind of exposition over the talking and exposition amid a fight. Witty banter? Sure. Revealing things amid all of it? Leaves me cold.
Each type of story works differently too, so some series or properties really don’t work well with arcs or standalones. It’s about really knowing the material at hand. A mixture of both is what I prefer, though there are great ways of doing standalone pieces amid arcs that don’t come across as forced. When one reads lengthy series of novels involving huge arcs over the course of years, you have to populate it with the smaller standalone stories in order to better build the larger narrative.
Comics and anime (and manga) have really forgotten how to do that, partially because fans don’t like spending money on things that “don’t mean anything” or where “nothing happens.”
The little sister stuff can vary a lot, some being super creepy, some just being a more natural if exaggerated version of sibling relationships. Most shows/manga that are out there have a creative out so that it’s not truly creepy as hell. Those that go the distance I have to give props to in that they don’t back down and find a cheap way to resolve the situation. It’s one of the reasons I liked Oreimo to a degree. Other shows like Koi Kaze can really humanize it in an interesting way.
Here’s a piece I wrote about with it last year:
The basic thing to remember is that no anime is created equal in terms of what it has to do to be profitable.
Toradora was the first series NIS America released and they were very cautious in what they were doing in exploring the market, rather than going in with a huge splash and potentially facing a disaster.
I was VERY surprised to see Yuki Yuna getting a dub, but very pleased. I’m not surprised Dengeki-Gai didn’t get one. Creating a dub from the get go for at least one series shows that they’re listening (even if pricing is what it is) to what fans want, and fans do want dubs. So they’re a bit ahead of the curve of some other Japanese entrants into the US market.
Now, if we get a release date (which will be at least a year away) and nothing in North America by then, then yes, it would be surprising. But a lot of it will likely be determined by the streaming numbers and interest as to whether it gets passed – or if Madman opts not to exercise the home video release.
I’d say just enjoy the show as it is now and see what happens.
The fact is though is that AoA and Pony Canyon are going to do just a select number of shows. While we may get a dozen different series released each month from Sentai or FUNimation, we get far less from AoA. The market ~cannot~ sustain the collectors item only thing. We’d get a trickling of shows and that’s about it. And even though every show is a precious jewel to each company, most shows really don’t need or require the big collectors item approach.
“And with only one show on the schedule that’s actually new, with Kill la Kill, it’s no surprise that ratings have continued to drop down over time since the relaunch a couple of years ago. Every show is dead and tired at this point and with the wealth of material that’s out there, some of which surely has actual TV rights included with it, it’s insane (i.e. business) that we’re seeing this slate of shows being used. It’s still easy to guess that a lot of shows don’t have full on broadcast rights, but the Toonami block basically needs to be a nightly block with new series on a regular basis – or Toonami needs to give a few subtitled shows a try to see what happens. Nostalgia goes only so far for most of these shows that they’re showing or that are being dropped.
Regardless, for most “fans in the know” and likely a number of casual fans, these are shows that have been around for an age and there’s little buzz about any of them, especially since Attack on Titan finished its initial run and the hype has died down considerably there.”
I suspect that a lot of the Toonami ratings are simply inertia based fans that are just hoping to help by watching in some small way.
I’ve never been interested in Toonami since for me, everything they’ve shown is stuff that I’ve seen before and I’m not terribly interested in watching dubs (though I want lots and lots of good dubs out there; they just don’t appeal to me for the most part). Toonami coming back was great and we saw good ratings when they do new things, like the Evangelion presentations, Attack on Titan and so forth. But the block has been very, very tired.
I can’t imagine anyone being really enthused in serious numbers about Cowboy Bebop or Inuyasha being on the block. They’ve been around the block for too long, same with DBZ & One Piece.
There’s a ton of fresh shows out there. Toonami needs to change its approach wholesale. Pick up a bunch of 13 episode shows, do them as a two week block; first half and then second half. Make mini events out of it. Bang them out hard and get people hooked to seeing what else is coming. Then spread out showings elsewhere throughout the week with ongoing broadcasts at the midnight hour for an hour each night with two different shows for 13 weeks.
But frankly, I have zero faith in the Cartoon Network in general, because their guiding principle seems to be “If we don’t own it, it’s not worth it.” They’ve screwed over too many shows I actually cared about for me to care about their success anymore.