In a move that is both a surprise and totally expected (a surprise because we didn't think they had the money and expected because the show is rather popular) Bandai Entertainment kicked off the Anime Expo convention by announcing the license of K-On!, a show that swept Japan and many non-Japanese anime fans up in it's depiction of a group of girl's activities as they form a light music club. (Panel Report here.)
Various sources and rumors make the likelihood of an English dub highly probable. Zac Bertschy of ANN posted this on ANN:
There's a dub, they introduced the voice actresses at the panel. Full report up in a mo.From that confusion though, we get Zac's very reliable assurance of a dub. Beyond him we have the comments from Bang Zoom! CEO Eric Sherman regarding Bandai Entertainment's decision to bet the company's future on two big projects. One of these was the continuation of the Haruhi franchise (the second season and the movie) but the other remained a mystery, likely until now. Assuming this is the second title, we can feel safe in the knowledge that Bang Zoom! will be dubbing K-On!
Edit: whoops, no they didn't. Fixed.
Still fairly sure this is getting a dub.
Additionally, Bandai Entertainment is planning to use a similar marketing strategy to the Haruhi franchise, involving live-action videos with popular VA Cristina Vee as Mio, Karri Shirou as Yui, "Kix" as Tsumugi, and "Briana" as Ritsu. This marketing decision increases the probability of an English dub as it shows a higher level of dedication to the series.
Allow to me personally voice my desire to see them make a great English dub with dubbed singing. I know some hate English dubbed songs but actresses like Wendee Lee and Cristina Vee have shown that they can sing very well, so why not use them? Done right, as Bang Zoom! has done in the past, K-On!'s English dub could be amazing. Dare I even say, profitable?
Unfortunately, right now, we don't have true confirmation yet of exactly what is going to happen with this release. The second season is unlicensed (though we may be wise in believing that Bandai Entertainment has a right of first refusal with it) and no details were given of the release format.
DVD? Blu-Ray? Singles? Sets? Limited editions? Plushies? No one knows but the men in the suits who stare at anime. Here's what they shared with ANN:
Bandai Entertainment Marketing Director Robert Napton clarified with ANN that the release format of K-ON! — whether it will be Blu-ray Disc, DVD, or both — has not been decided yet. The panel announced a cast for Bandai Entertainment's K-ON! marketing videos, but Napton emphasized that no announcement has been made about an English dubbing cast, or whether there will be a dubbing.
We don't know all the details yet but hopefully, in time, we will have details that rock. I honestly believe this is the second series Eric Sherman mentioned and that we will get an English dub for it. It just doesn't make sense otherwise to pay what is likely a very high licensing fee for a show that you then intend to market to the "niche fans."
What I do know is that this license will likely prove to be either a great success or a total flop. Potentially, the mainstream fans may find themselves interested (who doesn't love cute girls and music?) but the problem lies mainly with the countless anime fans who illegally downloaded K-On!. Will they step up now? Will they prove their fan love?
At the very least, we know this series is extremely popular with many fans. People are paying to translate the hentai doujinshi of it at least!
Uh, or so I heard.
I'll be watching the Anime Expo coverage as more develops out of there to comment and provide another point of view on things. Perhaps I'll even entertain you?
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