Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Funimation Commentary +_+

Dubs and the hope for a better future, these are what all living things need.

And maybe some more free time. I've been swamped lately. I've taken a few short breaks to surface the web or post a comment but haven't had a long break to blog lately. (Who knew law school involved so much actual work? Perhaps I should reconsider the ministry.)

So there's been some fun news about English dubs that I'm sure you already know because you probably read the same news articles I do. Of course, you wouldn't be coming to this blog if you didn't want to read someone else's opinion on those reports! I have a duty to satisfy my readers! I must find something worth adding to the conversation, even if only to provide a cheap laugh at my own expense.

First, lets talk about Funimation: As you know, the company has been sold by Navarre to a group of investors for an all-cash bargain price of $24,000,000. Gen Fukunaga, known to those who work under him as "Lord of Nightmares Fukunaga"* lead a group of rich investors in taking Funi off Navarre's hands. Navarre will continue to handle distribution.

So what exactly does this sale mean for we the anime consumers? Will this buy-out mean the dawn of a dark age or a new era of glory? Well, that's largely in Gen Fukunaga's hands if you ask me. Given how cunning he is, I expect Funimation will remain strong post-sale. According to Robert of the Anime Corner Store:
Gen really is the smartest guy in the room in the R1 Anime biz, and is one of the few people who has actually gotten rich from it. He put together this little Anime company with the help of a some private investment money, built it up with the help of his family connections in Japan, and sells it a few years later at the top of the market to Navarre for $142 Million, and then (with the help of a little more private investment money) buy's it back from the same now debt laden company six years later for $24 Million - 17 cents on the dollar - and got to run the thing the whole time. Unreal. In the end, Gen had to round up a group of investors who could easily afford to loose a few million.

Robert notes that Navarre's corporate commentary shows they've lost their taste for the R1 anime industry and see it as a big waste of money. Frankly, I'm neither surprised by that nor am I willing to disagree with them. Thanks to the "anime should be free!" crowd, the bad economy and a general unwillingness by many fans to just be nice and open-minded, the R1 industry is in decline.

I do think the fact that Gen Fukunaga still wants to be a part of the industry is a good sign though. I also expect that we will see many more deals like this one in the future.

That's right anime lovers, because of all those people who love anime too much to pay for it, we're going to see more "based on X" productions for profit. Nothing wrong with that necessarily but I think we're all too familiar with the failures that have happened. Even decent efforts have often suffered from a severe case of they just didn't care.

On a better note: Funimation has gotten additional rights to Fractale and Freezing! That means we're going to see them get DVD/Blu-Ray releases, which also means English dubs will be made for them!

So long as Funimation doesn't change their "no sub-only" policy following the sale, which I don't expect them to do, we can look forward to these two series and more. If the policy does change, I think it will signal the end of English dubs in R1 because the biggest brain and pocket said "nah, not worth it."

Anywho, Fractale and Freezing dubs are expected. I haven't had a chance to watch much of Fractale due to working on my legal memo but what I've seen was interesting. A bit odd but interesting.

Freezing has my attention more at the moment. I do enjoy bloody battles and fanservice sharing time and space. Plus I find the heroine Bridgette L. Satellizer to be just awesome. Her character design and personality just push my buttons in all the right ways. Plus I love the core plot of invasion and desperate struggle. I love stories where humanity has to fight against terrible odds since it tends to result in scenes of sacrifice that display the best traits of the human species: love for others, willingness to fight and die for higher ideals and the lives of others and the sacrifice in general.

My inner cynic must be suppressed at all costs, lest I lose faith and do things that would only get me on the nightly news broadcasts. (Don't worry, I won't blame anime. It'll totally be society's fault! ;) )

She doesn't do VA work very often but I'd kinda like to hear Alese Johnson as Satellizer in Freezing. Anyone want to voice an opinion on that one?

A few other issues with Funimation you may be thinking about:

First, we've all probably taken a moment to feel some emotion over the legal headache 4Kids is in. Amazingly, I can actually make some sense of the legal jargon popping up and I can tell you that, at least from what I'm reading, 4Kids's only hope is that they drafted a really good contract and that there's no evidence they planned something like this from the start.

Also, for those concerned, nothing I've read would suggest a strong case against Funimation for their role in 4Kids little fun and games. I haven't seen a link to the actual documents filed with the court (which would be REALLY informative and nice to see) but the cited Hollywood Reporter would seem to suggest that 4Kids is the bad actor here.
4Kids conspired with Funimation to fraudulently hide from Plaintiffs more than 45% of the total income Funimation paid to 4Kids from the sale of the home videos," the complaint states.

Allegedly, 4Kids not only licensed YGO, but also several other Japanese animation series it didn't own. Under the terms of this supposedly secret deal, which allegedly included a strict confidentiality clause, 4Kids didn't have to do much besides perform certain marketing services. It was Funimation's job to produce and distribute the series, and for this right, Funimation paid a $1.3 million advance and gave over nearly $4 million in a service fee, which was allegedly then hidden from the plaintiffs.
Emphasis added my me. This is the part that I think is the reason we're not seeing Funimation already being sued considering they've got a lot better pocket to go after considering 4kids has gone the route of Chapter 11. (They'll still die but now their creditors are humped along with them.)

Since Funimation doesn't appear to have had any contractural obligation to inform anyone of anything they paid 4Kids. I'm not seeing anything so far that even says they knew 4Kids was pulling the wool over the Japanese owner's eyes. A confidentiality clause isn't exactly an unknown thing in contracts, in fact it's standard boilerplate for some types of contracts. That clause alone does not a "conspiracy" make.

Again though, without seeing the actual complaint filed and such, I'm unable to really analyze the matter. Anyone got a link to the court filings?

Another issue I wanted to mention to everyone: Funimation's charity auctions for Japan are nearing their end! I don't know if they are planning more but now is the time to bid on some sweet English dub VA sigs! (I'm eyeing one particular item myself.)

Last thing I wanted to talk about is Strike Witches is getting a DVD/Blu-Ray combo release soon and Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts will also come out dual format with a fraking ton of extra content! The LE's got the chipboard art box, Right Stuf will throw in a bonus gift with purchase and on the discs will be:
Special Features: Mission: Impossible: Baka Preview, Baka-Only Cross-Dressing Contest, Mission: Impossible: Baka Mission 01, Mizuki Himeji Girls' Meal, The King Game in Fumizuki Academy, Special Christmas Footage, Promo Videos, Original Commercials, Original DVD Spots, Textless Opening Song, Textless Closing Songs.
Dang that's a lot. You all know how much I love Strike Witches so I'm actually going to double-dip on that one! (Well, actually first dip as I got the first DVD set from ANN for review and thus it was free.)

Now I leave you blog readers with these parting links: Alter's Shirley Yeager figure, Alter's Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke figure and a sweet figure of Katejina Loos!

Why Katejina you ask? I say, why not? Her English VA in Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 is Nicole Oliver and she's AWESOME as her. God I love her line after you shootdown 1,000 enemies in a mission. DWG2 is a highly addicted game for me, I've got over 200 hours play time on it! (Yes, I know, I should get more sun and be more productive with my life.)

Well, that's it for this blog post. I've written this a bit late at night so please forgive any typos. I may clean it up later.



  1. Nice job on the latest blog article Richard J.

  2. lol Dynasty Warriors Gundam.
    I haven't played any of them, but I'm considering getting the third one. lol

    Don't really have much else to comment on.
    FUNi's being amazing lately, and that Baka and Test release has a TON of extras! (omg dry-erase board)

    I can't wait to see what they have in store for Chaos;Head, Heavens Lost Property, Shiki, and the Geneon shows they got. :3

    I'm currently addicted to the Opening theme to A Certain Scientific Railgun:

    Can't wait for FUNi to release it :)

  3. You almost forgot one thing. Angel Beats! got licensed by Sentai Filmworks (neo-ADV/zombie ADV) and they are going to show the English dub of it at Anime Boston.

    I vote Laura Bailey for Yui-nyan (also, she did worked with ADV in the past, even though chances here will be low for various reasons).

  4. @ bal-anime: Yeah, I'm looking forward to DWG 3! Gundam00 for the win!

    The massive Baka extras are pretty impressive.

    @ darkpaladinx: I didn't forget, I'm going to do a long post Sentai/MB dub stuff this weekend.

  5. Cool post. I actually understand a lot of info and law terminology you are using lol.

    Taking Business Law atm. :) Love this class!

    Woohoo! More awesome shows and DUBS on the way! I can't wait for Fanime and AX this year!!!

  6. Whoa guys! I went to my kick ass comic store that I know and all of a sudden he had hella anime dvds! He said 1 of his distributors he knows was getting out of the business so he made a deal all or nothing to the store. So now he has all kinds of old shows! CPM,ADV,Geneon, Manga Ent etc...

    He did have a few I never seen before so I bought them. $3.99 a dvd! Tons of singles, movies, few box sets and so on. He also told me he has his warehouse full of dvds so he is going to stock more in the store.

    I purchased: Big Wars, Tokyo Revelation, Sins of the Sisters, Ariel, Bounty Dog, Arcade Gamer Fubuki,Hades Project Zeorymer and Kannazuki No Miko Destiny of Shrine Maiden - Artbox w/ Volume 1. There seems to be some collectible figure or something inside too. BTW these are all new(unopened). He has Patlabor singles, Princess Nine, Robotech singles, Project A-ko, multiple release of Gallforce 1st pressing and newer ones, you name it hes got it. Friend got some Get Backers' singles and Stellvia Vol. 2-6 i think. Freakin treasure trove!!!

  7. You know I don't really feel sorry for 4Kids. Yeah they brought anime in English, but they really didn't care much about other things. (I think too, they are partly the reason dub hate or localization is strong). Ok rant over 4 kids is over.

    I don't think Funimation will go subtitle only (I never watched the stream of the other anime, but that being subtitled for now if that's the case is ok with me, just as long as the DVD is dubbed). If anything I can see with Funimation being weaker, is they won't be able to license as many anime as before.

    That would be the worst case situation. I hope for the best for Funi now. Although I don't think much will change. Of all the companies out there, Funi is usually the best priced and the fastest at getting the DVD's out in boxsets.

    i already had Baka pre-ordered before. I can't wait for it. The only thing I'm worried about is June. I have like up to I think it's like 9-12 anime I want to get and I limit myself to no more than 5-6 a month. A lot of good anime comes out that month.

  8. I actually just finished Freezing a week ago. I'm curious it will turn out uncut.

    Because of this article, I've now curious about checking out Baka and Test.

    Also, I may not care for Strike Witches's brand of fanservice, but it was a good show. I'm shocked that it's getting and DVD/Blu Ray combo release, so hopefully you'll be able to let me know how the show looks in glorious HD.

  9. It's been over a month since the last update. You doing okay? o3o;

  10. Hey guys! Here's some of my experience from Fanime Con 2011.

    I'll post back with some details later. :)

  11. Ok as many of you prob. already know but here's what went down at Fanime. I'll try and keep it short and simple too.

    Durarara had a panel announcing it's debut for Adult Swim this summer. Aniplex panel was right after where they announced the same message showing a clip of Crispin Freeman doing his thing. ;D Aniplex was also asked about Garden of Sinners and few other shows. They couldn't comment but said wait a month or two for some big news.

    Viz Media Panel was gorgeous and fun. They even had a raffle but I didn't win. :( They showed new streams and manga. Blue Exorcist and Mameshiba etc. Some useful industry and career talks as well, it was a blast for sure. The bad news though... I got them to talk about Monster and unfortunately it is done it seems. They have no plans to release anymore episodes on dvd. :(

  12. Oh also Media Blasters had 0 copies of the new English Dub Kashimashi for Fanime. They sold out at a con in Chicago the week before. That's great news though as it tells us that it is selling! :) I also asked the rep if they would dub Ramen Fighter Miki and he wasn't sure but he thinks that is 1 of their shows they are dubbing, which would be awesome!!! He also said they do have a few coming out 1 of course is Magical Witch Punie Chan and that will be ready for AX.

    *crosses fingers for more awesome dubs*