Friday, July 29, 2011
Madoka Magica to be Dubbed!
Aniplex of America, perhaps best known at this time for charging a small fortune for the Garden of Sinners movies, has just made a lot of magical girl anime fans happy with the announcement of an English dub for the absurdly popular Puella Magi Madoka Magica making this only the second dub the company has done by their own will. (They'd re-released some dubbed series but only Durarara! had a dub they were paying to produce.)
Personally, this is a big shock to me because despite the insane popularity of this series right now, it's a magical girl anime and so far in the US such anime have apparently died sales wise if they weren't called Sailor Moon. Some suggest that mainstream male fans are afraid of their macho points dropping if they watch magical girl anime while female anime fans often prefer more shonen or yaoi-esque titles. Others claim that merely using the words "magical" or "princess" in the title of an anime dooms it to being considered a series for pre-pubescent girls. Regardless, this turn of events leads me to think there are 3 possible explanations for this English dub being announced:
First, that Aniplex is convinced the massive online fan popularity of Madoka Magica will translate to big sales and/or they've gotten so much pro-dub feedback on this one that they decided to dub it despite all of the previous failures of magical girl series.
Second, Aniplex isn't aware of the previous failures and/or does not understand that they'd probably get better sales dubbing Blue Exorcist and Oreimo. They simply believe that western the fans will flock to it like the Japanese fans.
Or third, someone made a contract.
Frankly, I think the third choice is the most likely.
As I see it, Madoka Magica will not actually sell well despite the huge fan popularity. The reality is that many of the fans online who practically worship this series probably won't bother buying it. They've already got it subbed and downloaded onto their hardrives and for far too many anime fans in general, that's more than enough. The reality Aniplex of America will likely soon discover is the same harsh one that the other anime companies have learned before: magical girl series don't sell well in the US.
Or I could be wrong. Madoka Magica is a harsh deconstruction of many of the tropes and plot elements of a typical magical girl series. It does not bode well though that even a beloved classic power house of a magical girl series like Card Captor Sakura can't even get a dubbed full release here.
Then again, I was wrong about this series getting a dub at all so what the hell do I know? I can't lose my head over these things. I should just be happy about this news!
Anyway, we know Blue Exorcist and Oreimo fans who wanted a dub are screwed and sub fans will pay a hefty price for these releases despite that. Compare Aniplex of America sub-only sets with releases from other companies and you have to ask yourself why the cost is higher for sub-only from them when they are the US arm of the Japanese company that OWNS the series to begin with. A licensor incurs costs licensing but a US branch incurs more to license? That seems unlikely.
Oh well, some fans like paying higher prices for less content. And don't forget those pretty boxes! Ignore that fans just a few years ago said "screw the box I want my anime to be cheaper!" Ignore it like the NASA data on CO2. I guess the feelies consisting of sixteen ending card postcards, a double sided poster and a 24 page booklet of character designs will have to try and make fans feel like it was worth it. (Wow, remember when we used to get LE sets that came with swag plus bilingual releases?)
Then again, there are fans who will jump for joy to pay more because the releases are more like the Japanese releases. (Ah, anime fans are just weird. Complaining about costs when it's a license by Americans but praising expensive releases when the Japanese come over and do it.)
Well, this bit of con news is certainly welcome to me one way or the other. I love magical girl series and this one will get into my collection! Maybe I'll even help some of you, my readers, to add it to your collections on the cheap? Hmm, maybe I will. You'll have to talk to my partner in this plan. . . .
He can be very persuasive. Don't miss out, plan ahead to save for the release of Madoka Magica!