Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Layoffs, Lawsuits and Smores

  • Things looked bleak after the big news about Bandai Entertainment, and yet things have gotten bleaker. Media Blasters has laid off 60% of their employees. They've spun it as a cost saving measure and that most of those people will be kept on as freelancers. Still that's less jobs or jobs for less money for people in the anime industry.

  • And Funimation is suing ADV. Apparently back when Funimation acquired the Sojitz titles they also acquired ADV's debt? Or the right to claim that debt on behalf of Sojitz? My leagalese is terrible but I thought that ADV's restructuring into Sentai Filmworks, Section23 and a bunch of other companies was supposed to keep something like this from happening. I've seen fans take sides in this lawsuit which is just silly. I just hope it gets settled without any irreparable damage to either company.

  • Yet somehow there are still new companies entering the fray. New company S'More Entertainment will be bringing the Galaxy Express 999 TV series and Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo to DVD. I wish S'More Entertainment a lot of luck. Hopefully those closet Bobobo fans come out of the woodwork.

  • I never thought we'd get the Galaxy Express 999 TV series. I was pleasantly surprised to get the movies from Discotek last year. Although S'more will be handling the TV series, Discotek isn't resting on its laurels. They've announced a ton of stuff including the first Lupin the III series and two Unico movies.

  • The manga industry isn't doing so hot either, on either side of the Pacific. Jason Thompson wrote up an article for i09 detailing how these problems happened and how the industry might react. It's a great read, so check it out.

  • The U.K. Toy Fair is currently going on. There's never as many reveals as there are at the U.S. Toy Fair, which is soon approaching. Still there have been some reveals, mainly of the big ticket stuff which is hard to keep under wraps. The Avengers line will have a Quinjet and a three foot long S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier. The new big vehicle for the Star Wars line is the MTT, or Multi-Troop Transport from The Phantom Menace. It comes with four fully articulated Battle Droids that can fold up, and 16 pre-foled Battle Droids. I'm sure people will be army building the new Vintage Collection Battle Droid to replace the pre-folded ones.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

December 2011 Haul

And here's the haul for December. It's entirely anime DVDs and except for the third and final Utena collection, they were all Christmas gifts. I also got some clothes and gift cards too but those don't make for a fun photo.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Merry Effing New Year

From Anime News Network comes this cheerful bit of news:

Bandai Entertainment, the subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings (USA) that handles anime and manga in North America, will stop offering new DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and manga releases next month. It will continue to distribute in its existing catalog lineup, but it will no longer produce and distribute new releases as of this February. Instead, Bandai Entertainment will focus on licensing rights to other companies, particularly in digital distribution, broadcast, and merchandising. The company will be restructured as a result, and most of its contractors and three of its five fulltime staff members will be laid off.

When I learned about this, my heart sunk. My sympathies go out to the people who lost their jobs. I am and have been a big Bandai fan. They had a real knack for acquiring a lot of series I'm interested in. A part of that has to do with their marketing and getting their shows on TV where I was exposed to them. Other fans have criticized them for their issues, sometimes deservedly so, but I always liked Bandai more than the other R1 anime studios.

I never pieced them together, but there were so many warning signs. Of course Bandai shutting down its webstore was a big one, but it hadn't been open very long to begin with so I didn't think much of it. Their final batch of releases in February contains a lot of long overdue re-releases like the second Code Geass and two season sets of Gundam 00. I actually perceived it as Bandai trying to get better at re-issuing older material. I didn't realize it was a last gasp. They're even putting out Akira on DVD, on account of the Geneon version no longer being available. I figured that would be a nice steady money maker for the company, especially with the live action movie on the horizon. The Gundam Unicorn Blu-rays were going out of print but I chalked that up to some Bandai Visual weirdness. And I thought it was crazy that Funimation is releasing the new .hack// series but now it makes complete sense, as well as becoming a reassuring sign that former Bandai franchises will continue under different companies.

This situation is not like with Geneon where hundreds of titles went out of print overnight. Their current library will still be available, and they say they'll even produce new stock until the licenses expire. But those licenses won't last forever. There have been other companies that got by releasing little to no new product. Heck Manga Entertainment hardly releases anything new. Viz gets by these days on just three long-running series. Of course those companies are a part of a larger entity that supports them. Technically so is Bandai, but this move already shows Namco-Bandai is only willing to go so far for Bandai Entertainment.

Another aspect that bums me out is that their release of Turn A Gundam is canceled. Bandai announced the license at Comic-Con 2010 and last we heard it was supposed to come out last fall. We might have had the entire show already had they stuck to that plan. I've been looking forward to a R1 release of Turn A Gundam since I became an anime fan and it was the anime I was most looking forward to in 2012. Maybe it will come out under a different company. Non-Bandai distributed Gundam? What a bizarre prospect.

I hope these other companies take a look at some older Bandai titles as well. I've been dying for an Overman King Gainer re-release. That show has been completely unavailable since before I even learned of its awesome existence.

Twenty Twelve

Now last year I acknowledged that I was blogging less than I'd like to but I specifically kept from promising to change that. Well now you can see why. I made 85 posts in 2011. That's two less posts than in my first year, 2007, and that didn't start until July. So what went wrong? There were some outside factors. I moved to a new house. Internet connectivity has sometimes been spotty. Digital cameras have gone missing. Photobucket accounts have been suspended. I really do not like Blogger's new layout. Mostly though it's just me. I've been having a harder time writing. Or I'll start to write then I get caught up in the re-editing until I decide to give up.

It's no mistake that the last post of 2011 was a Canceled Action Figure Cavalcade entry. I only wrote three all year, including that one. And I already had a couple planned out. The One Piece article started as a draft I began in May. So I forced myself to finish that one before the year ended.

The Canceled Action Figure Cavalcades are some of the most viewed on AFOS. But what was the most popular post in 2011? The first look at Andrew Garfield in the Spider-Man costume which was nearly a year ago. The second most popular? Happy Meals. Neither of these got as many views as some posts from before 2011. There's a spike in interest in this Toy Fair 2010 write-up which I think is attributable to a fake picture making the rounds. Yes Bandai said they would make a new Dragonzord. Then Saban bought back the franchise. Obviously the original plans had to be abandoned, and Power Rangers Samurai happened instead. Be happy we at least got a Rita Repulsa figure.

So what about the year ahead? Well I won't promise I'll return to the peak of my output but I'll try to at lease write more than 85 posts. (Oh good, I already set myself up for a fall.) I definitely want to get the haul posts back on track. I haven't been adding them until after the corresponding month ends. The latest one, which will hopefully be up soon, features my Christmas haul. Those used to be posted on the day of Christmas. I've been having real problems with the camera's battery, but I was also too lazy to get it done when I should have. That kind of sums up everything, doesn't it?