Sunday, October 16, 2011

Con Today, Gone Tomorrow

So NYCC is more or less over now. If you were expecting any big news and amazing surprises, you got a few but the showing was overall kinda weak. I mean, sure, Funimation dominated, which is generally a good thing in my opinion, but most of the other companies were weak.

VIZ pulled off a nice little victory though with the announcement of an English dub for Tiger & Bunny. Although, honestly, I think we'd all have been more surprised if they chose a different way to go about things. Knowing VIZ, this will be a long wait but apparently they're already in pre-production.


Tiger & Bunny has been a fairly sucessful hit in Japan or at least it's gotten a solid following. Sunrise plans to announce a new phase in the franchise soon! Too bad Sunrise keeps working with problematic distributors. VIZ has been very iffy for a while, with their long delays and questionable production values but at least they still seem to grasp that there is value in English dubbing. For that, I thank them.


A minor victory for VIZ but a good one.


Oh, right, almost forgot. VIZ has been waiting to release Inuyasha: Final Act for so long that I'd started to think that maybe they forgot they had it. The dub cast for that one unfortunately has a number of recasts but, hopefully, they won't be too glaringly obvious. The annoucement feels very tacked on though.

My guess is that VIZ really wanted to get this on [adult swim] but they didn't want it. That seems counter-intuitive since Inuyasha was a successful show on there but that programming block isn't very interested in shows that aren't their own anymore. Watch for maybe one or two anime to show up though just to keep a few fans hopeful.

I've been looking forward to Inuyasha: Final Act so I'm grateful though disappointed with VIZ at the same time. Grateful they licensed it but disappointed by the lack of original cast members. I don't know exactly why they couldn't keep everyone since some of the people they didn't cast still work as VAs. I'll still buy it but not ASAP.

As for Bandai Entertainment. . . well, as the old saying goes, if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. Seriously.

Though I will say that all of those pro sub-only folks who wanted more mecha instead of moe might be getting an eye-opener. Mecha show from popular franchise? Sub-only. Moe show? English dub, extras and massive promotion. Hmm, me thinks this was not what they expected.

Not that it'll change their minds! The massive success of Funimation isn't even enough for some folks to realize that steady and dependable plus English dubbing is a very successful combo.

Oh, by the by, in case you didn't catch it, Yen Press is going to release more of the Higurashi manga. Massacre arc is coming. (Why this was something to be left out of a panel report is beyond me. The series may not be the biggest hit ever but it's not unpopular.)


Friday, October 14, 2011

It Begins Again: Con Coverage

First things first, I've once again neglected this blog. I know, it's a bad habit! Unfortunately, law school actually takes some effort! Who knew?

Anyway, let's get this party started!


So New York Comic Con has begun and already Funimation has scored a rather stunning hit. (And be advised, I've been told that there was a lot to come so this may not be the end!) I don't think it would be unfair to say that many fans were expecting Aniplex of America to be the major newsmaker at this con. Prior coverage of the con certainly didn't indicate huge news from Funimation. Let's start with a look at the one's we expected more from first!

Aniplex's news was limited but fun. For this blog, news on Blue Exorcist and Oriemo is bitter due to the sub-only releases but I can honestly say that I hope the fans who can enjoy these releases will enjoy them. I continue to believe both could support an English dub.

Better news on Madoka Magica was had though! First, we've got not just clear news of the goodies for the LE but also a bit of the English dub casting and pre-order linkies! Madoka's official site lists release details but here's a breakdown of the goodies with my personal biases applied!

Let's cut to the bottom line! This release will be single style, which means about four episodes a disc, even for the Blu-Ray. The first volume comes out Valentines Day next year (talk about irony) and will have an SRP of $94.98. You can apparently get it at $74.98 though. Still, that's HIGH for only 1 volume. Apparently, there will be 3 total volumes, all expensive for the LE. (And really, why would you buy the regular editions? Seriously, if you're buying singles, might as well go all out!)

The first volumes goodies are nice though: First, an English dub! Thank you! This is my favorite feature whether on DVD or Blu-Ray. Cast in some of the major roles are Sarah Williams for Sayaka Miki, Cassandra Lee for Kyubey and taking on another lead role in addition to Squid Girl's. . . well Squid Girl is Christine Marie Cabanos as Madoka herself.

These are fairly new voices and you'll largely know what you think of this casting if you've watched K-On!'s English dub. We can hope for success but we can't be sure if will come.

Extras for the regular and LE version of Madoka's volume 1 are soundtrack CD #1 with Yuki Kajiura awesomeness, ending theme song "Magia" music video by Kalafina, a trailer collection (why do they even calls these extras?) and the ubiquitous textless opening and ending vids.

I'm surprised a CD will be available for both release types. CDs are a great item and I've missed them since Geneon's downfall.

The LE exclusives for Volume 1 include: An exclusive collector's box (Daddy like), 2 cases with double-sided covers (we talking thin packs or full size?), a deluxe 24 page booklet that includes character designs and a special short manga plus the nebulous more companies always use when they want you to think something has lots more when it really doesn't. The short manga is what I want to see most. Character designs are fine and all but. . . what's the point when I can see the characters in action in the show?

Also included are: a double-sided poster (I actually hate these because I can never decide which side to show!) a Kyubey sticker (he's watching you contract!) and collectible postcards! (To mail or not the mail, that isn't even a question!)

All in all, it's a pretty swanky haul but I still feel that Madoka's chances are very limited over here. At least one industry insider has expressed agreement with some of my posted comments on Madoka. We'll have to see though.

Moving on, let's talk about Funimation's surprising announcement that might just change the anime industry forever. Hey, when you're the so-called 900 pound gorilla, every step you take can shake things up a little.

First, lets start with a basic synopsis: Funimation isn't in the streaming business. However, streaming is very useful to them. They're even going to have a subscription service. Now they've joined forces with a company that wants to stream anime worldwide, the company Niconico. Some take this to mean that Funimation will now begin to phase out streaming in favor of letting Niconico handle things. I disagree personally with that assessment as I think there are still things Funimation wants to stream for pay. Let's set that all aside though because this deal is pretty awesome.

Alright, the meat of the matter is now Funimation's got it's hand in joint licensing with Niconico. What does that mean for you and me? It means more anime getting licensed and it means riskier anime getting licensed. It also means that now there's new considerations for home video releases; a new company with different ideas of what they think will be a success working with a cost-effective distribution system! Basically, we're going to see some shows that we wouldn't have seen absent this deal. And if Funimation's own policy of producing an English dub for home video releases is extended to this new venture, which would be wise in my opinion as fans will associate this new venture with Funimation proper, then we'll be getting more English dubs than we might have as well. (However, there is not yet evidence to support this. I merely speculate.)

The first shows involved are: Shakugan no Shana III, Future Diary aka Mirai Nikki, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (what a mouthful!), and Maken-Ki!, most of which are well anticipated or already loved shows. I won't fault any of them but I must salivate over Shana III and Future Diary! Both are must haves if they come to home video (assuming Shana gets her original English cast back, I don't think I'd accept another voice for Shana besides Tabitha St. Germain!) I'm surprised that only recently I was thinking "wow, I hope Funimation will license Future Diary" and now this. I can think of several VAs I'd like to hear voice Yuno.

Hey, universe, if you're going to grant my wishes, how about making Yuno Gasai love me?


. . . .

I'm still very attracted to her. She does everything out of love!

Funimation also announced some new licenses proper with Fafner and Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror. Considering the complete set of Fafner at my local movie stop is like $100+, I think I'm intrigued by that pick up.

Also in manga news, Yen Press announced a "game changer" of their own with plans to get manga in the US up to date with manga in Japan. I doubt this will immediately end scanlations but it will make it increasingly obvious that they are not necessary any more and it'll give fans a legal option. They announced some new licenses and a license rescue too.

Yen Press added the Puella Magi Madoka Magica manga, Soul Eater Not!, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan (which I think I'll have to buy) and Until Death Do Us Part as new licenses. Licensed rescue from Stu Levy's limbo zone was Alice in the Country of Hearts. A manga based on a dating-sim based on Alice in Wonderland? Interesting.

So for now, that's my full commentary. I'll post again tomorrow unless I feel absolutely compelled to post sooner.

Until then, remember that every fan can and does make a difference!


And also, Yuno Gasai is someone you should probably listen to. Really.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Madoka Magica to be Dubbed!

Aniplex of America, perhaps best known at this time for charging a small fortune for the Garden of Sinners movies, has just made a lot of magical girl anime fans happy with the announcement of an English dub for the absurdly popular Puella Magi Madoka Magica making this only the second dub the company has done by their own will. (They'd re-released some dubbed series but only Durarara! had a dub they were paying to produce.)

Personally, this is a big shock to me because despite the insane popularity of this series right now, it's a magical girl anime and so far in the US such anime have apparently died sales wise if they weren't called Sailor Moon. Some suggest that mainstream male fans are afraid of their macho points dropping if they watch magical girl anime while female anime fans often prefer more shonen or yaoi-esque titles. Others claim that merely using the words "magical" or "princess" in the title of an anime dooms it to being considered a series for pre-pubescent girls. Regardless, this turn of events leads me to think there are 3 possible explanations for this English dub being announced:

First, that Aniplex is convinced the massive online fan popularity of Madoka Magica will translate to big sales and/or they've gotten so much pro-dub feedback on this one that they decided to dub it despite all of the previous failures of magical girl series.

Second, Aniplex isn't aware of the previous failures and/or does not understand that they'd probably get better sales dubbing Blue Exorcist and Oreimo. They simply believe that western the fans will flock to it like the Japanese fans.

Or third, someone made a contract.


Frankly, I think the third choice is the most likely.

As I see it, Madoka Magica will not actually sell well despite the huge fan popularity. The reality is that many of the fans online who practically worship this series probably won't bother buying it. They've already got it subbed and downloaded onto their hardrives and for far too many anime fans in general, that's more than enough. The reality Aniplex of America will likely soon discover is the same harsh one that the other anime companies have learned before: magical girl series don't sell well in the US.

Or I could be wrong. Madoka Magica is a harsh deconstruction of many of the tropes and plot elements of a typical magical girl series. It does not bode well though that even a beloved classic power house of a magical girl series like Card Captor Sakura can't even get a dubbed full release here.

Then again, I was wrong about this series getting a dub at all so what the hell do I know? I can't lose my head over these things. I should just be happy about this news!

Anyway, we know Blue Exorcist and Oreimo fans who wanted a dub are screwed and sub fans will pay a hefty price for these releases despite that. Compare Aniplex of America sub-only sets with releases from other companies and you have to ask yourself why the cost is higher for sub-only from them when they are the US arm of the Japanese company that OWNS the series to begin with. A licensor incurs costs licensing but a US branch incurs more to license? That seems unlikely.

Oh well, some fans like paying higher prices for less content. And don't forget those pretty boxes! Ignore that fans just a few years ago said "screw the box I want my anime to be cheaper!" Ignore it like the NASA data on CO2. I guess the feelies consisting of sixteen ending card postcards, a double sided poster and a 24 page booklet of character designs will have to try and make fans feel like it was worth it. (Wow, remember when we used to get LE sets that came with swag plus bilingual releases?)

Then again, there are fans who will jump for joy to pay more because the releases are more like the Japanese releases. (Ah, anime fans are just weird. Complaining about costs when it's a license by Americans but praising expensive releases when the Japanese come over and do it.)

Well, this bit of con news is certainly welcome to me one way or the other. I love magical girl series and this one will get into my collection! Maybe I'll even help some of you, my readers, to add it to your collections on the cheap? Hmm, maybe I will. You'll have to talk to my partner in this plan. . . .


He can be very persuasive. Don't miss out, plan ahead to save for the release of Madoka Magica!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Anime to Beat The Heat With +Contest Update

Greetings and salutations my fellow anime fans and friends! This month has been so blindingly hot that your blogger host has occasionally found himself half dead! The rest of the time I was either running family errands or becoming a bit addicted to Funimation's website. (Some Summer vacation, I think I'll have more free time when I go back to law school!)

Anyway, seeing as how most of us are likely suffering in this heatwave (wow, just a few months ago we were having record cold) I thought it wise and prudent and reasonable and some other words that make it sound like this post is more thought out than it really is that I should make a list of a few anime series that I think can help you beat the heat!

After all, if you can't use anime to make your life's problems more bearable, what's the point of watching it at all?


First up is Kanon!

Before you even finish the first episode, you'll feel cooler thanks to the heavy emphasis on snow as a motif! Virtually every outdoor scene is fluffy white with sparkles of ice. If you imagine yourself as the characters, you'll feel cooler in no time flat.

Imagine eating ice cream with Shiori outside in the snow. The real world may be blazing hot but Kanon's world is nice and cool. Every gentle breeze carries a nostalgia for the winters of your past and each girl is a soothing balm to the soul.

Of course, you may end up crying, but that's the price you have to pay for snowy winter in July!

But if Kanon's not your cup of tea. . . .


How about a hefty dose of Kamichu!

Yurie can teach you all the ways to relax and veg out in the heat! From helping adults rediscover their summer memories to curling up on the floor for a nap, Kamichu is the series where a student goddess can teach you all about living your life lazily.

Join in on a beach trip that's more than the usual fanservice-filled beach episode, take laziness to a whole new level and spend some time with a sweet goddess-in-training.

Kamichu is a series that reminds you not to go outside and die of the heat. Don't forget to make a donation to Raifuku shrine though!

Of course, sometimes summer heat can be worth the trouble. There are hot springs and beaches and even public baths that are well worth visiting. So maybe you'd like to head out in the heat with. . . .


the girls of UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie!

Let Valkyrie take you on a tour of the best bath house this side of Tokyo! Join Sanada for a great hot spring bath after nearly freezing to death! Don't allow Laine to drive you to the beach but enjoy a day there after taking your own vehicle!

If there's one thing the cast of UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie knows, it's how to enjoy themselves on a hot day. Of course, fanservice here isn't remotely optional and you will probably be required to see some flashy transformation sequences. Maybe this is what summer is really all about?

So that's a few anime to help you beat the heat! Hopefully, we can all avoid dying from this heat wave that is making all of us realize the horrors of our local electric companies jacking up rates during the summer months! (Yes, they commonly do this and no the extra cost isn't just from your air conditioner.) Make sure you drink lots of water (soda and tea can dehydrate you!) and you stay out of the sun as much as possible. If you start feeling dizzy or disoriented, get to a shady place or inside, drink water and have it poured on you! Watch out for your older relatives and little kids. They're especially vulnerable.

Contest Update: I've decided to extend the entry deadline AGAIN for the Top 5 contest as I can currently decide the winner with a coin toss. (Maybe this was a bad contest after all?)

If you do want to enter, please use this

Contest Entry Link!

Join me next time, same blog channel, same blog idiocy!



Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Day No Nipa Was Had

As I'm sure any Higurashi: When They Cry fan has heard, Funimation will not be licensing more of the series nor will they be going after anything "that bears even a minor resemblance." I think this was a hyperbolic way of saying "no, we aren't going after Umineko, so stop asking!"

I would very much like to say that I'm shocked by this outcome but I'm not. Frankly, I expected this would be the outcome for a long time. There are many fans who do what they should do: they buy and support the shows, manga and such that they like. Unfortunately, there are many fans who just go to an illegal source and thereby contribute NOTHING.

Higuarshi: When They Cry had many fans who weren't going to contribute the series success over here. However, I won't bother with some long anti-piracy rant because the truth is those who refuse to actually support anime are so far in the closet of denial that they are giving tours of Narnia.

These so-called fans are always a problem. What really nailed the coffin shut on Higuarshi: When They Cry was the death of Geneon.

When the series was first being released, it had buzz behind it. It had fans interested and it was new! There are so many anime fans who simply don't care about anything that isn't new. Being new and different got people's attention and they thought, "hey, this show is like a mix of Groundhog Day and a horror flick" and they kinda liked it.

Then Geneon fell. The once mighty giant reduced by several costly failures, Japanese patrons who no longer wished to be part of the R1 market and the simple fact that anime fans just don't seem to like buying even when they changed their prices.

For about a year or so, the show was in limbo. I personally didn't even watch the first episode of the Time Wasting arc because I hated the idea of being stuck halfway for a long time. The waiting was terrible and many fans just gave up after a while and either moved on entirely or downloaded fansubs.

After a long wait, Geneon's Japanese parent finally forged a distro deal with Funimation to finish what had been started. Fans rejoiced! Except, the sounds of the cheers were muted because so few remained to nipa about it. How many sales were lost by that long wait? We can never truly know.

Following the completion of the first runs of series, Funimation and Geneon quickly put out full series sets. These could have sold well-enough to prove the franchise viable after the weak sales of the singles completing the first run. Sadly, Higuarshi: When They Cry didn't sell very well.


This is the key question. In this article, the situation is explains thus:
As one can expect, when you start to release a series, or provide the re-release, it may do well enough to cover what it’s done but not enough to justify going after more. Or, it may do so poorly that you run screaming from the thought of ever going near anything like it again

This is, sadly, a very key point in this sad development. The first part of the release by Funimation was just a distro with Geneon. The re-release was, in essence, Funimation testing the waters to see if the series could actually do well. By this point, the buzz is gone and fans are spending more time and effort bitching about the English dub, bashing the show as lolicon fodder or generally dismissing the first series while begging for the sequels.

This was a recipe for disaster. It might have turned out okay except that Funimation was increasingly under pressure to improve their bottom line as Navarre prepared to shed itself of the company and fans found their wallets growing thin as the early recession pains began to spread like cancer.

All of these factors played into this loss to fans. At this point, we can only expect a sub-only release at best from any current company and that itself might be very unlikely as whatever sales numbers the companies have right now are apparently pretty bad. I personally don't think we're going to see any more of Higuarshi: When They Cry's anime licensed. There are newer and more likely to sell well shows to license.

However, that does not mean that there is no hope!


We fans banded together once and fought for Higuarshi: When They Cry! We battled for our goal of nipa-ing with Rika, hanging with Mion, going treasure hunting with Rena, battling Satako and going crazy with all of them, but especially Shion.

This thread, specifically Sophie's post, should be read. One of the things she posted was this:
Heck, you could probably get the money together to license and distribute them yourselves. It’s probably not expensive anymore. If Umineko sold as poorly in Japan as you say it did, then go after that one. It’s not as big an undertaking as you might think especially if you pool your money.

Now, many are taking this as some sort of dig at the franchise. That is a misinterpretation. What Sophie is indicating to us is that Higuarshi: When They Cry, for numerous reasons, is not a hot property and even the Japanese know it. She's telling us that the cost of licensing isn't astronomical.

Consider this for a moment: how many anime fans actually have jobs? How many have some money to spend on things? How many of us couldn't afford to contribute a lot but could throw in a few bucks here and there?

The fact is, fans aren't putting their money where their internet rage is. Without money, NOTHING is possible. If we fans want to get more of the shows we want, maybe it's time we started doing exactly what Sophie suggests? Pool money. It might take years before it was a viable option but to quote a cliche, Rome wasn't built in a day!

In two years, I'll graduate from law school. In three, I will hopefully have passed the bar and in four I hope to be gainfully employed by the military (branch yet to be determined) as a JAG officer. Now, that's going to provide me with a fairly decent income. If I can get a job as an assistant DA after leaving the military many years after, that would pay much better. If I managed to become a judge or get certain side jobs, I'd be well off.

Money is something all of us are pursuing on some level, so why not be thrifty while we're doing it and prepare for a day in the future when we CAN pool money and we CAN license an anime ourselves! What's more, there are many people in the US who are willing to invest in the future. With the right pitch, we could even get investors.

Really it all comes back to fans. Whether you accept the truth that pirating and illegal streaming distribution and bootlegging are a cancer on the industry or not, I think it would be foolish to deny that fans have power.

We the people can do almost anything we set our minds to. It just takes time and money.

So do you think a few nipas are worth it?


Well do you fanboy?


Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I've been a little hesitant to post my feelings on the depressing news of no more Higurashi: When They Cry or Familar of Zero licenses for Funimation but a recent bit of news has me a bit happier.

Now, I don't want to alarm anyone but a cephalopod invasion force, said to be headed by a powerful squid, is soon to be upon us! Militaries worldwide are preparing for the terrible war that is to come while some are already turning into quislings to welcome our new squid overlords. Truly it is a dark day when any man chooses to abandon his fellow humans in favor of joining forces with the creatures of the deep blue sea.


John Sirabella has informed us of the coming war and confirmed that the enemy has learned several languages, including Japanese and English! They will arrive with plenty of extra support as well, so we must be on our guard and ready to prevent this dangerous force from taking over the land!

We do have photo intelligence on the enemy's leader and there are some sketchy reports of an ability to vomit ink. One agent reports that the enemy has tentacle hair!


We lost contact with that agent shortly thereafter but we do not fear the worst as the agent was male. We've never lost a man to a tentacle yet!

Unfortunately, gender equality laws forced us to place women on the front lines of the last skirmish with the tentacles, resulting in unspeakable casualties. Fortunately, our early intelligence does not suggest that the squid's tentacles are naughty.

The first battle will begin on September 27 according to our intelligence. The Squid Girl, as she is known, will personally lead the attack on we dry-landers! All hope is not lost however as we've heard rumors that she may have a weakness!

We must all join together and take part in this battle against the Squid Girl! You can pre-order intelligence reports regarding the effort to battle the cephalopod armies here. Or you could attempt to gain favor with your new squid overlord by buying an idol to worship.

Together, we must stop the Squid Girl!

Although, her arrival will be another victory for English dub fans.


Look for despair next time as I discuss why there's not much to nipa about. Future blog entries shall be reviews and perhaps a video.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Return of the Heretic

Sorry all for the long absence. First it was my Legal Writing assignment (80% of final grade) and then studying for and taking finals (several being 100% of final grade) and then I packed up and came back home for the summer. Yes, I returned home to a house that isn't air-conditioned on account of my mother not being able to afford it and the power company being a bunch of lying, cheating, evil and cruel jerks who send out employees to read meters when then just put down whatever the year before's reading was and leave. (Aside from a signed confession, we're quite sure we've enough evidence that anyone, except the power company reps who INSIST that mistakes NEVER happen, would believe.)

Of course, none of you are interested in my trials and tribulations.

Sadly, this post is mostly that kind of chatter. I got a late start on it due to a power outage yesterday and today being a "run around with my Mother and take care of things" day.

Well, I got a new phone out of the deal. Once the rebate check comes in, it will only have cost like $10. (I can't find a belt holster I like though.)

So enough about me, let's talk about this blog. Some of you have surely wondered if this blog was dead.

I hereby assure all of my readers (God bless all of you or if you'd prefer may Haruhi bless you) that I fully intend to keep up this blog and get back to posting my thoughts on things. I make no claim to know any deep secrets or to have any special knowledge but I do love English dubs and I do worry deeply about the legal anime industry. While others may worship at the alter of digital-only subs forever, I never will.

Also I'd like to do more contests in the future but for now, the current one will be it for a while due to financial strains. (I have to get my own anime before I can get anime to give to you for free!) However, there will be a second Strike Witches contest when the second season comes out. Same deal as the first one when the time comes.

As for now,

please enter the current contest

if you have any interest in any of the series or if you don't want them for yourself, enter if you know someone who'd like them. Currently I can flip a coin to decide the winner. Go here for contest details.

Finally, I'm going to try and post more because I'm seriously falling down on the job! I'll post again before Monday about some of the current dubbing plans, promises and possibilities.