With that apology out of the way, let us talk about the latest from the anime grapevine that concerns dubbing or that I care about. Bandai Entertainment USA, which isn't exactly king of the hill lately, answers the concerns of its fans by licensing a film of minor importance. (And by minor, I mean FREAKING AWESOME!)
Yes, they've gone and licensed The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya! (Guess we're not using Vanishment huh? Despite the fact it's a real word? Despite it likely being YET ANOTHER math reference, which are legion in Haruhi land? Oh well.)
Anyway, this movie is one of those "knew it was coming but still excited" deals for me. Honestly, I never doubted they'd pick it up once they got the second season. (Now that, I worried about.) And it appears that there will be a dub for it too. At least, that's how I interpret the whole Bang Zoom! Entertainment will co-produce an English language version thing. Given the apparent level of success this series has achieved and Bandai's OBVIOUS belief in it, since they are dubbing the second season with the original English cast, I'd be shocked if the movie didn't get a dub.
Seriously, a lack of English dubbing for this movie would be like saying "fans, we know you want this movie more than anything else, so we decided to screw over a bunch of you for giggles."
The movie gets a dub. Deal with it sub-elite. (Regular sub fans rejoice along with dub fans, for we shall all reap this bounty of delicious Haruhi fun!)
Bandai also announced the start of an online store. This says two things to me: 1) they're considering even more direct-to-consumer marketing and 2) they're trying real hard not to die. The store is heavy on the new and popular (makes sense) as well as some Japanese imports. We'll see if it grows or fails.
I personally hope they put any old stock that's Out-Of-Print on there. Some of their shows are insanely hard to find discs of at sane prices.
Moving on, Funimation announced that they've got a deal with Fuji Television in Japan to simulcast shows now. They talk about it on their blog a bit too.
The first episode of one of the new licenses, House of Five Leaves, is already streaming on Funimation's website, YouTube, and Hulu. Ooh, linkies.
Despite looking like horror samurai fun, this series sounds a bit more slice-of-life-ish in the synopsis on ANN. A timid ronin named Akitsu Masanosuke joins a charismatic guy as a bodyguard and hangs with his quirky group of bandits. If nothing else, it sounds very different and very not-moe. Personally, I hope its mere existence will convince some anime fans to chill out and stop constantly blubbering about how "all anime is moe and sucks now!" and "this season is the worst season ever!"
Really, does all of that doom-saying and bad-mouthing accomplish anything except making fans who LIKE the shows being slammed feel unwelcome in the fanbase? (And if those fans are new fans or fans who buy a lot, could not the negativity adversely affect the financial future of anime? More on my views of that early next week!)
Also up for simulcast is The Tatami Galaxy, another unusual show with a funky art style.
Seriously, these are some different looking shows coming out lately. I'm intrigued by the style alone with these two series. Synopsis of the anime is laking but according to the article, it's based on a novel about a nameless protagonist in his third year of college who is looking back at his early years and his adventures with a circle (that's a club/organization/thing) which involve. . . something that will hopefully interest anime fans!
Setting aside my warped sense of humor, this deal seems quite interesting. It goes beyond these two series. I don't know the nitty-gritty details but Fuji TV isn't exactly a small time Japanese company and this deal comes after they just increased the length of their Noitamina block. With at least five series planned to air this year alone, that's a lot of simulcasting for Funimation. Here's an important comment from the press release:
“This is a fantastic opportunity to work again with the formidable Fuji TV,” said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO at FUNimation Entertainment, “particularly on the debut of a new Noitamina lineup. This highly-rated block has already launched hits like ‘Eden of The East’ and 'Tokyo Magnitude 8.0' and we hope to extend that success for these new series in the U.S.”
That comment says something. It says "expect us to license some or all of these shows." So, if Funimation keeps with current business models, that means DVDs (maybe Blu-Rays) and English dubs will be had. However, this increase in simulcasting also suggests that it will be used as a means to cherry pick. They can't dub and DVD/Blu-Ray everything they simulcast right?
I sense a disturbance in the dub force approaching. Then again, all of these series are SHORT too and that could actually benefit hybrid releases and make them more affordable. (The basic pattern is, first set sells best and all the rest decline in sales.) It's even possible that fans will shift to watching these legal simulcasts, thus increasing the number of fans orientated toward lawful consumerism. Hopefully these simulcasts will benefit all anime fans and not just sub-fans.
Now before I go, let me ask a question that's really started to bug me.
Why hasn't anyone licensed A Certain Magical Index or A Certain Scientific Railgun?
Take a look at this girl:
Seen her before? I have. Her name is Mikoto Misaka, a character in both series, and I've seen avatars of her, fan art and official art all over. Even on non-anime sites. I've seen fans talking about the two shows a fair bit and both series are pretty successful in Japan with bonus episodes popping up on their DVDs. They've got manga, light novels and the hentai artists are drawing Mikoto and her friends when they get tired of drawing K-On! girls. (Um, not that I look at a lot of hentai.)
My point, the two series seem to have legs. Along with the aforementioned K-On! and it's sequel, A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun seem to be pretty darn popular and both sound like they'd be successful over here. While I'm more than willing to embrace some of the recent licenses that have popped up from all R1 parties, I'm ever more puzzled by the lack of these licenses.
I know the anime industry here is hurting due to the economy going bad and the increased corporate taxes (not to mention property, utility and other taxes that we all suffer through) but are these series really that hard to get at the right price? I mean, am I crazy or shouldn't these have been licensed by now?
Anyway, that's it for this edition of Blog of a Heretical Dub Lover! I've gotten more followers and I owe all of you more posts, so look forward to more content soon. Perhaps even a crappy web-comic since everyone seems to have one nowadays.
Oh dear. Kyon, you'd better make sure she gets a part in the dubbing!