Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bandai At AX: All Your K-On! Are Belong To Us!


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.

Edit: whoops, no they didn't. Fixed.

Still fairly sure this is getting a dub.
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!

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?

By the way, if you haven't entered my Strike Witches contest, you've got only a few days until the winners are chosen by lot! Go here, enter and maybe win!



  1. I found this announcement exactly as you put it, both surprising and expected!

    I think it's likely this will get a dub, though it's probably just too early for them to give confirmation on it.

    If it gets a dub, surely I'll buy it. :)

  2. This one really didn't shock me at all, but the only thing that did is a Bandai. If they market the series very well, I can see this selling well. Let's just say I thought that it would be Anime Expo or Otakon (which I will be at).

    I know nothing of the series, but all I know it looks cute and has a LOT of songs. I know not all the songs will be in exact English.

    I'm going to buy regardless; however, I will want a dub. Singing + subtitles=headache.

    All I hope it is dubbed and dubbed well. I really can't come up with voices at the time, from listening to the opening.

  3. @ wilhelminaanime: I completely agree on songs and subs. Plus, it's so jarring when you're watching an anime's English dub and suddenly they switch to the Japanese track for a song. I'm sure sometimes there's no choice but it completely takes me out of the show most of the time.

    There are a lot of people, including people that seem to have some insider knowledge, that say Bandai is dubbing it and is using Bang Zoom! so I think we're very likely to get a dub.

    Wouldn't have posted the way I did otherwise.

  4. ExcelGenerationsJuly 4, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    This was another kick ass panel I attended! The first one infact. This has to be dubbed imo. They are pushing the advertisement for this really strong. ASOS type of advertising. I think they called it Tea Party Time?! Something like that I'm not too familiar with K-On. Christina V even went to Bandai's dealer booth after the panel. She started singing songs again and doing their first advertisement for K-On. Everyone at AX was talking about it. It's pretty huge right now. I asked Bandai's Marketing Manager about an English Track. He said that "I can not release any info about specs at this time." Ok Mr. Big Secret Man! :P

  5. @ ExcelGenerations: I'm very optimistic myself but it's not a certainty. While I think it's very likely, I'm holding myself back a little. Plus even if it does get an English dub, there's still the matter of the second season. They could potentially do it sub-only or not at all.

    I don't think that will happen though. Maybe I'm crazy but I think K-On! will be a success.