Monday, January 4, 2010

Funimation's Roll-Out Riot Day 1: The Prelude

Disappointing. Weak. Anti-Climatic.

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!



  1. This was so uninteresting that I refuse to mention it on my blog. I know they are trying to diversify, and for fans of live action, I am happy for them. In these tough times its probably cheaper and easier to sub live action flicks than it would be to have as many anime titles that may or may not sell. I know there are some awesome anime titles coming our way, but this is purely a strategic move by Funi to help keep the company afloat. I certainly can't blame them for that. I guess I was under the impression that the week would be anime only, so this is a let down for me, but I know something in the coming days will make up for it.

    My only wishes now are that Funi doesn't treat the live action as "OMG MEGATON TITLES COMING!! MUST MARKET THE CRAP OUT OF THIS!!!" like they have done with certain series, and that its not just one anime announcement a day. If we end up with 15 movies and 4 anime announcements, I will be some disappointed.

    One other thing has been bothering me. Why do so many people want a redubbing of Sailor Moon? Looking through the comments, its about 75% "We want Sailor Moon" 25% everything else. Why do so many people want it? In unexplicably annoys me.

  2. I'd like a release of Sailor Moon, since I missed a lot of it when I was young. And buying on E-Bay, I'm iffy. I could live without.

    Too me, this didn't shock me, sort of a feeling I had. I figured one would be something, that (seems) small. I probably won't get them, but I think it's a smart move. If they can get an older group to buy there stuff, they can increase there profits.

    But I think it will get better, with the biggest title coming out Friday. Oh well, at least they made a smart move, that will help them later on.

  3. I think a large part of the outcry for Sailor Moon is that it was a series released with an edited dub combined with a large fanbase that doesn't necessarily buy much anime otherwise. Sailor Moon is sort of the the shojo version of Dragon Ball Z.

    I don't expect to see just one anime per day for the rest of the Riot (I hope not anyway) but rather series that have common themes announced together.

    Today was a good strategic move but as I posted, it isn't really making me celebrate wildly. We'll see how the marketing goes.

  4. I understand if people want a rescue/rerelease of Sailor Moon, but many are also requesting a re-dub with it. I never saw Sailor Moon so people must have been unsatisfied with the original dub. It just doesn't make sense, but then again, I never seem to understand the titles everyone likes. Meh.