Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Day No Nipa Was Had

Photobucket
As I'm sure any Higurashi: When They Cry fan has heard, Funimation will not be licensing more of the series nor will they be going after anything "that bears even a minor resemblance." I think this was a hyperbolic way of saying "no, we aren't going after Umineko, so stop asking!"

I would very much like to say that I'm shocked by this outcome but I'm not. Frankly, I expected this would be the outcome for a long time. There are many fans who do what they should do: they buy and support the shows, manga and such that they like. Unfortunately, there are many fans who just go to an illegal source and thereby contribute NOTHING.

Higuarshi: When They Cry had many fans who weren't going to contribute the series success over here. However, I won't bother with some long anti-piracy rant because the truth is those who refuse to actually support anime are so far in the closet of denial that they are giving tours of Narnia.

These so-called fans are always a problem. What really nailed the coffin shut on Higuarshi: When They Cry was the death of Geneon.

When the series was first being released, it had buzz behind it. It had fans interested and it was new! There are so many anime fans who simply don't care about anything that isn't new. Being new and different got people's attention and they thought, "hey, this show is like a mix of Groundhog Day and a horror flick" and they kinda liked it.

Then Geneon fell. The once mighty giant reduced by several costly failures, Japanese patrons who no longer wished to be part of the R1 market and the simple fact that anime fans just don't seem to like buying even when they changed their prices.

For about a year or so, the show was in limbo. I personally didn't even watch the first episode of the Time Wasting arc because I hated the idea of being stuck halfway for a long time. The waiting was terrible and many fans just gave up after a while and either moved on entirely or downloaded fansubs.

After a long wait, Geneon's Japanese parent finally forged a distro deal with Funimation to finish what had been started. Fans rejoiced! Except, the sounds of the cheers were muted because so few remained to nipa about it. How many sales were lost by that long wait? We can never truly know.

Following the completion of the first runs of series, Funimation and Geneon quickly put out full series sets. These could have sold well-enough to prove the franchise viable after the weak sales of the singles completing the first run. Sadly, Higuarshi: When They Cry didn't sell very well.

Why?

This is the key question. In this article, the situation is explains thus:
As one can expect, when you start to release a series, or provide the re-release, it may do well enough to cover what it’s done but not enough to justify going after more. Or, it may do so poorly that you run screaming from the thought of ever going near anything like it again

This is, sadly, a very key point in this sad development. The first part of the release by Funimation was just a distro with Geneon. The re-release was, in essence, Funimation testing the waters to see if the series could actually do well. By this point, the buzz is gone and fans are spending more time and effort bitching about the English dub, bashing the show as lolicon fodder or generally dismissing the first series while begging for the sequels.

This was a recipe for disaster. It might have turned out okay except that Funimation was increasingly under pressure to improve their bottom line as Navarre prepared to shed itself of the company and fans found their wallets growing thin as the early recession pains began to spread like cancer.

All of these factors played into this loss to fans. At this point, we can only expect a sub-only release at best from any current company and that itself might be very unlikely as whatever sales numbers the companies have right now are apparently pretty bad. I personally don't think we're going to see any more of Higuarshi: When They Cry's anime licensed. There are newer and more likely to sell well shows to license.

However, that does not mean that there is no hope!

Photobucket

We fans banded together once and fought for Higuarshi: When They Cry! We battled for our goal of nipa-ing with Rika, hanging with Mion, going treasure hunting with Rena, battling Satako and going crazy with all of them, but especially Shion.

This thread, specifically Sophie's post, should be read. One of the things she posted was this:
Heck, you could probably get the money together to license and distribute them yourselves. It’s probably not expensive anymore. If Umineko sold as poorly in Japan as you say it did, then go after that one. It’s not as big an undertaking as you might think especially if you pool your money.

Now, many are taking this as some sort of dig at the franchise. That is a misinterpretation. What Sophie is indicating to us is that Higuarshi: When They Cry, for numerous reasons, is not a hot property and even the Japanese know it. She's telling us that the cost of licensing isn't astronomical.

Consider this for a moment: how many anime fans actually have jobs? How many have some money to spend on things? How many of us couldn't afford to contribute a lot but could throw in a few bucks here and there?

The fact is, fans aren't putting their money where their internet rage is. Without money, NOTHING is possible. If we fans want to get more of the shows we want, maybe it's time we started doing exactly what Sophie suggests? Pool money. It might take years before it was a viable option but to quote a cliche, Rome wasn't built in a day!

In two years, I'll graduate from law school. In three, I will hopefully have passed the bar and in four I hope to be gainfully employed by the military (branch yet to be determined) as a JAG officer. Now, that's going to provide me with a fairly decent income. If I can get a job as an assistant DA after leaving the military many years after, that would pay much better. If I managed to become a judge or get certain side jobs, I'd be well off.

Money is something all of us are pursuing on some level, so why not be thrifty while we're doing it and prepare for a day in the future when we CAN pool money and we CAN license an anime ourselves! What's more, there are many people in the US who are willing to invest in the future. With the right pitch, we could even get investors.

Really it all comes back to fans. Whether you accept the truth that pirating and illegal streaming distribution and bootlegging are a cancer on the industry or not, I think it would be foolish to deny that fans have power.

We the people can do almost anything we set our minds to. It just takes time and money.

So do you think a few nipas are worth it?

Photobucket

Well do you fanboy?

Bye-ni!

22 comments:

  1. ARGH! I just typed up a huge reply, only for it to be lost thanks to an error... well I'll type up a new one later today...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lets try this again...:

    I love When They Cry. I really love When They Cry.

    It's one of my favorite anime titles of all time, both Higurashi and Umineko have fantastic stories and they will always stick with me as two anime series' that I absolutely love.

    From the very beginning, I've put a lot into supporting this series. Back when volume 1 was released I bought it at a Best Buy that had it early, and then bought it again once a different Best Buy had a copy with an artbox. From there I proceeded to buy the singles until Geneon's fall.
    Once FUNimation announced the distribution deal, I was all over supporting Higurashi once more. Across the internet I did many things, advertising the release, defending its dub, and in the end, I bet I may have actually gotten a few people to buy the DVDs.
    I pre-ordered and bought the remaining singles as they were released, but some people online wanted to wait for the boxset, and once it came, I let them know. At that point, I bet I got the series even more sales. I made sure to spread the word about this series to the few open-minded fans who watched it with fansubs, though didn't usually buy much. And I know a few of them actually bought it. I myself
    bought two copies of the first boxset release to support this show. (one for me as a backup copy, and one for my friend)

    Once the manga hit the US, I was all over that too. I bought two copies of every volume (like the anime series, one for me and one for my friend). And for some volumes, I even bought a third time, for random friends' birthdays!

    And we can't forget the US release of the Visual Novels. Mangagamer did a great job on that, and it's a fantastic experience! I bought it all Day 1 as they released it. I also made sure to make sure people realized Mangagamer did a great job on the release, despite the dumb negative feedback that's spread on the internet from people who are way too dedicated to the fan-translation that's making extremely slow progress (and has been rendered nearly-pointless due to Mangagamer's release anyway).

    Long story short, I did everything in my power to support this series' success. So the news that the anime won't be continued by FUNi was especially saddening to me considering all of my effort, though as you said, definitely not surprising.

    Hopefully someday someone will still pickup Higurashi Kai (and in a perfect world, give it a dub), but as you have already said, it's unlikely, and fans have already moved on to the new and shiny anime, that they can't even look back to an anime from 4 years ago.
    And even though Umineko's newer, if its anime were to come out here, the fans of that series probably won't show up to support it anyway. (The irrational hatred the fans have against Umineko's anime adaptation is ridiculous. Sure the visual novel tells the story better, but the anime tells it well enough and is good in its own right! It's no different than the Higurashi adaptation that probably GOT THEM INTO THE FRANCHISE IN THE FIRST PLACE. I swear Umineko fans are just utterly spoiled by getting an English version of the visual novel before the anime. I'm amazed at how hateful they can get for a series they claim to love.)

    But yeah, my personal experiences with the franchise aside, you're probably right that the biggest nail in its coffin was Geneon's death, and the huge gap in it's original release, in addition to the growing lack of interest in buying an older series that grew older by the day.

    I like the idea you have going there about fans licensing series' themselves. It'd be a very interesting day when that happens. And I definitely wish you luck with that goal. ^^

    Hopefully someday in the future, we may obtain some news to nipa about.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My entire "When They Cry" Collection:
    http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b179/Balmung_HHQ/whentheycollect.jpg

    Includes:
    -Higurashi When They Cry vol.1 w/Artbox
    -Higurashi When They Cry vols.2-6
    -Higurashi When They Cry Complete Collection (Thinpack)
    -Higurashi When They Cry manga series vol.1-12
    -Higurashi When They Cry manga side-story
    -Higurashi When They Cry manga series vol.15 (Japanese copy)
    -Higurashi When They Cry Kizuna part 1 (Nintendo DS)
    -Higurashi Daybreak Portable Mega Edition (PSP)
    -Higurashi When They Cry Matsuri ~Kakera Asobi~ (PS2)
    -Higurashi Chibi Figures: Rena, Mion, Rika
    -Higurashi Swimsuit Figures: Shion, Satoko
    -Umineko When They Cry manga series vol.5 (Japanese Copy)
    -Umineko When They Cry Visual Novels: EPs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
    -Umineko When They Cry ~Rondo of the Witch and Reasoning~ (PS3)
    -Umineko When They Cry Complete Anime Guidebook
    -Umineko When They Cry Character CD: Beatrice & George
    -Umineko When They Cry Ending Theme Single CD: "la divina tragedia -makyouku-" by JIMANG
    -Umineko When They Cry Chiru Opening Theme CD
    -Umineko When They Cry Anime OST
    -Umineko When They Cry Figures: Jessica and Maria

    ReplyDelete
  4. @ bal-anime: I can't claim as large a collection as you (I mean, wow) but I bought the singles with the art box, I bought the manga and I defended the dub. Really, I like the dub except for a few rough spots.

    Sadly your fan love wasn't duplicated by enough people. There's so much hate and apathy from fandom, most of it without basis. It's like how non-anime fans can be told the plot of a series, get really excited by it, then they moment you tell them it's animated it's like a wall suddenly appears and they hate the show.

    It might seem crazy but I think fans banding together to license is entirely possible, especially as a show gets older and thus likely cheaper. Dubbing is a big problem as those costs don't go down much but with enough fans contributing, anything is possible.

    As we move toward an all digital media future, patronage and people working for free on things like this will become essential for less popular and niche series to even exist.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As for Higurashi, I think the anime set up was for failure for in the US. With the acquisition of the PC novels, it should have helped it out, but the novels yet aren't main stream anime fan related.

    All we really get manga/anime outside of that. Some games, and odd stuff like battle cards and toys. Plus Higurashi being a mystery without an answer to the important answers.

    Outside of those things, I'm still sad it didn't make season 2 and the other OVA's. I'd still be happy if we get it even if we get it.

    Yeah I already finished the anime already (not much of the OVA's). Yeah it's sad it won't be coming, but Sentai (IF they get it, MIGHT DUB it).

    Oh well I have to get back to Durarara now. I just hope we can get the DVD's soon.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yeah... When They Cry is a sad situation. Anime fans are weird ones and they need to stop downloading crap if they can't buy and support their products they love.

    I know is this kinda short notice but I am leaving for AX soon. I'll be driving down to LA with my friends around 2AM thursday. So if anyone of you guys want some Q's answered from Funi/MB/etc. go ahead and tell me. On this blog or over at mania is fine with me. I can't wait for AX is almost here!!! Last year was amazing and it will certainly be tough to top it. I'll talk to you guys tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @ Excel Generations: You get to go to all the good cons! I'm so jealous! If you happen to read this, ask MB if they have any plans to go back and dub Simoun. It's the only show left that they did sub-only that I REALLY want to see with an English dub.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh yeah, something of note. I'm pretty sure I'm the one who originally added the "Fight On!" text to that Rika picture, lol.
    It matches the kind of font style I'd use :P

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dude this AX rocks too!!! Guys I got autographs from Stephanie Sheh, Wendee Lee and Crisspin Freeman. I also saw Barbara Goodson!!! I went to funi's panel is was pretty badass I'm sure you guys seen their new shows they got.

    @bal I asked Rojas about chaos shield that is unknown atm. Rosario should be at end of this year. It had alot of delays and problems. Blk Lagoon and Shana is unknown atm with the cast list. He said they want to bring back original they love to do that for all their shows but unkown atm. No materials etc etc. I'll go to their sneak peek tonight at 8PM pst.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I also went to Viz Media's panel. It was actually pretty cool too. Their main man ceo dude was sitting right behind me! They got some cool stuff coming as well and Bleach Fade to Black was so cool! The trailer was sick!!! Mameshiba's was coolio!!! lol seriously they played some trailer for it and my friend and i laughed our asses off. I can still hear it now... "not quite a dog, not quite a bean, mameshiba....." lol...

    The panel was literally delayed for over an hr b/c of some stupid panel in the morning. It made a domino effect for all the panels in LB1 Room. Even funi's was delayed... So after the panel I asked their big honcho sitting behind me about Monster. Yep more Monster Q's. He had a big sigh but he said they have been reviewing and debating if they want to release it all or just give up. He asked me if I prefer dub or sub etc, I told him dub and that I watched it on Ani-Monday but I missed some eps. He said the subs are up on hulu/netflix stuff but he noticed I really wanted it on DVD. So he said they will re evaluated it. He said they need more requests and if that happens is it very likely. So guys EMAIL THEM, WRTIE MAIL!! We need Monster!!!!!!

    Bandai Panel at 4:30 Funi at 8:00. I'll check in on some bang zoom stuff. TTYL!

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Excel- Thanks for asking those for me!

    FUNi got some awesome titles! I'm ESPECIALLY looking forward to Steins;Gate!!
    Glad they went ahead and licensed that instead of waiting til Chaos;Head's sales came in.

    You guys HAVE to check out Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate! They're great!

    ReplyDelete
  12. DUDE! I just kicked it with Mike Sinterniklaas for onver an hr! I also got his auto with stephanie sheh at the gundam UC signing. Bandai's panel rocked especially sittin right behind Mike! he is hilarious!!!

    I asked MB about their upcoming shows. MB said they do have shows comin and dubs. Including previous sub only shows. I asked if Simoun is 1 he wasn't sure if that was 1. So unknowned atm. I told him I want Ramen Fighter Miki so maybe lol. Also asked status on Zetsubou-sensei. MB said don't know date yet possibly 2012. Is it being dubbed? He said I would think so since it's one of our main shows, but he isn't sure on that. If its true then woot woot.

    Gonna get in line soon for funi sneek peek. ttyl

    ReplyDelete
  13. If they really do dub Zetsubou-sensei I'll bow down to Media Blasters :>
    That's one of my favorite SHAFT shows that I've been waiting patiently to see more of since I decided to wait for the US release to see the rest. I'm loving the manga right now, and it makes me even more excited!

    However, FUNimation shall always be my anime gods. (OMG they licensed STEINS;GATE I love them <3)

    Anyway, cool that you got to hang out with Mike, he seemed pretty cool when I saw him at Otakon last year.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ok guys I am beat. So freakin tired... I really loved the panels last year but this years they were pretty good too. Especially Bandia's with Mike sitting in front of me laughing and chatting away with me. Today I ran into Crispin Freeman again. I also got my auto from Steven Blum. Right next to my Wendee Lee's auto! YEAH!!! I missed steve last year :( I also ran into Eric P. Sherman from Bang Zoom! What a nice guy!!!

    Maon Kurosaki concert was pretty cool. I got free tickets because I registered as a Premiere Fan. I paid extra but TOTALLY worth it! I didn't have to stand in long as lines, well I still stand in lines but way shorter. ;D VIP status!

    I asked S23 if they are dubbing To Love Ru but they said no not at the moment. :( So I guess all they did was up their prices for the complete collection. I'm a sad panda... :( Ton of pics and autographs, I love it. Also while browsing thru s23's booth in the dealers hall I heard a voice to my left and said whoa... you're ANN guy! It was Justin Sevakis. Got his pic along with so many others. I also couldn't control myself and bought more. O_O $?$?$

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey guys! I'm back in the Bay Area! AX 2011 rocked! This morning I talked a little more with Media Blasters. I even talked to 1 of the guys who actually decides what shows get dubbed and things like that. Richard I put a good word in for you about Simoun. I also begged for some Ramen Fighter Miki. He said sure he will look into it and anything is possible. They do have dubs otw. Newer shows and older. They told me 1 show, it was some yaoi they originally released sub only. Sukisho, which I'm not familiar with. Actually I don't know anything yaoi lol.

    I also forgot to mention that I picked up Angel Beats from Section 23. First person to snag a copy. Might be the same scenario with Queen's Blade back at Fanime. If they haven't arrived to anyone from TRSI etc, then woot I'm #1 again!

    I'll tell you guys all the good stuff later, I'm tired after that long ride. I'll get pics up asap.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I guess Loveless well did well if they're doing Sukisho, lol. Might get it for my GF, since I think she might like that stuff, lol.

    I'd totally pick up Simoun and Ramen Fighter if they were released dubbed.

    And congrats on getting Angel Beats ^^

    ReplyDelete
  17. http://s843.photobucket.com/albums/zz353/ExcelGenerations/Anime%20Expo%202011/

    Here this should hold you over till I snap some pics of my goodies and signatures.

    ReplyDelete
  18. on the other major problems was the fact that the dvd's still had singles at the time and most of the fans where ages from 14-18 and there isn't really reason for parents to buy a dvd single every 2 months at 30 dollars each. I still have fan-subs for the show and I nearly have given up hope but hell I have 600 dollars to throw In a pool but that's all I can do

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh another edit I have my own article on this plus my own box-set I did legally buy and the visual novels, but well this is what happens, Luckily i was 19/20 when the series came out so I could purchase the dvd's from my job.

    ReplyDelete