These are some of the words already used to describe the first day announcement of Funimation's Roll-Out Riot. However, we here at Blog of a Heretical Dub Lover (and by "we" I mean myself and my stuffed Saber's Lion plushie) see things a little differently.
True, I'm not doing any dances with wolves over 15 films from the Shaw Brothers, films coming from the Hong Kong-based Celestial Pictures that have the world’s largest Chinese-language film collection, 15 films that have been digitally restored from original negatives and that cross multiple genres. Why am I not super-excited?
I'm not the target audience for this lot of licenses. You might not be either. However, take a moment and think: are there a lot of people who have been buying Asian live-action films lately that aren't anime fans? Hasn't Media Blasters claimed their live-action sales were a big part of their "success" that allows them to release anime? (I certainly remember those posts!)
Let's face it, live action is just plain more popular in this country! These movies automatically have a greater sales potential than any anime. (Depressing but true.) Further, there are 15 titles to choose from! 15! Sword of Swords, The Duel, The Lady Hermit, The 14 Amazons, Shaolin Hand Lock, Invincible Shaolin, Soul of the Sword, Life Gamble, Shaolin Rescuers, Shaolin Prince, Bastard Swordsman, Opium and The Kung Fu Master, The Supreme Swordsman, Return of Bastard Swordsman and Hong Kong Godfather. I'd bet good money everything on this list with the words "sword" and/or "Shaolin" will sell well too.
Personally, I don't see this as an "anti-climax" as some have put it. This is a prelude to the anime glory that is to come. These live-action films will do what they have for other companies, provide new income and potentially new anime consumers as well. Many an anime fan and Funimation consumer has asked "what happens when Dragon Ball Z stops making money?" We all know that one series has been a cash machine for the company, so what happens when it finally stops printing money? Well, now we see the hedging of bets. Live-action Hong Kong films that will add to the steady income of the company during their release cycle over this year and 2011.
I see this move as a good diversification move. In the past, I would have rolled my eyes but I've since seen sales numbers for Asian films and come to realize there is a voracious fanbase for them who NEED TO BE INDOCTRINATED IN THE WAYS OF ANIME!
So for today's part of the Roll-Out Riot, color me disinterested (though a few of those titles sound kinda interesting) but not disappointed. This is yet another move by Funimation to strengthen the company at time when it's competition is suffering. And of course, this is but the first day. In addition to the Hong Kong announcements, they also announced Apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Now, I don't know about the rest of you but there's a lot of important subtext to read into this move. Apple's pretty much owned all competition with these products.
Still, the lack of anime licenses is a bit of a letdown.
Riot Rating:1 of 4.
I think this licensing move is wise and that it will pay off but I need more than anime Apps to be really pleased. Still, I believe Gen Fukunaga is planning for the future in clever ways. (Holo must be giving him good advice.) Spice and Wolf first season set review coming this weekend after the Roll-Out Riot!
Yeah, Spice and wolf review after the Roll-Out Riot ends. I had to make sure there was some anime talk in this blog post!