Friday, October 14, 2011

It Begins Again: Con Coverage

First things first, I've once again neglected this blog. I know, it's a bad habit! Unfortunately, law school actually takes some effort! Who knew?

Anyway, let's get this party started!

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So New York Comic Con has begun and already Funimation has scored a rather stunning hit. (And be advised, I've been told that there was a lot to come so this may not be the end!) I don't think it would be unfair to say that many fans were expecting Aniplex of America to be the major newsmaker at this con. Prior coverage of the con certainly didn't indicate huge news from Funimation. Let's start with a look at the one's we expected more from first!

Aniplex's news was limited but fun. For this blog, news on Blue Exorcist and Oriemo is bitter due to the sub-only releases but I can honestly say that I hope the fans who can enjoy these releases will enjoy them. I continue to believe both could support an English dub.

Better news on Madoka Magica was had though! First, we've got not just clear news of the goodies for the LE but also a bit of the English dub casting and pre-order linkies! Madoka's official site lists release details but here's a breakdown of the goodies with my personal biases applied!

Let's cut to the bottom line! This release will be single style, which means about four episodes a disc, even for the Blu-Ray. The first volume comes out Valentines Day next year (talk about irony) and will have an SRP of $94.98. You can apparently get it at $74.98 though. Still, that's HIGH for only 1 volume. Apparently, there will be 3 total volumes, all expensive for the LE. (And really, why would you buy the regular editions? Seriously, if you're buying singles, might as well go all out!)

The first volumes goodies are nice though: First, an English dub! Thank you! This is my favorite feature whether on DVD or Blu-Ray. Cast in some of the major roles are Sarah Williams for Sayaka Miki, Cassandra Lee for Kyubey and taking on another lead role in addition to Squid Girl's. . . well Squid Girl is Christine Marie Cabanos as Madoka herself.

These are fairly new voices and you'll largely know what you think of this casting if you've watched K-On!'s English dub. We can hope for success but we can't be sure if will come.

Extras for the regular and LE version of Madoka's volume 1 are soundtrack CD #1 with Yuki Kajiura awesomeness, ending theme song "Magia" music video by Kalafina, a trailer collection (why do they even calls these extras?) and the ubiquitous textless opening and ending vids.

I'm surprised a CD will be available for both release types. CDs are a great item and I've missed them since Geneon's downfall.

The LE exclusives for Volume 1 include: An exclusive collector's box (Daddy like), 2 cases with double-sided covers (we talking thin packs or full size?), a deluxe 24 page booklet that includes character designs and a special short manga plus the nebulous more companies always use when they want you to think something has lots more when it really doesn't. The short manga is what I want to see most. Character designs are fine and all but. . . what's the point when I can see the characters in action in the show?

Also included are: a double-sided poster (I actually hate these because I can never decide which side to show!) a Kyubey sticker (he's watching you contract!) and collectible postcards! (To mail or not the mail, that isn't even a question!)

All in all, it's a pretty swanky haul but I still feel that Madoka's chances are very limited over here. At least one industry insider has expressed agreement with some of my posted comments on Madoka. We'll have to see though.

Moving on, let's talk about Funimation's surprising announcement that might just change the anime industry forever. Hey, when you're the so-called 900 pound gorilla, every step you take can shake things up a little.

First, lets start with a basic synopsis: Funimation isn't in the streaming business. However, streaming is very useful to them. They're even going to have a subscription service. Now they've joined forces with a company that wants to stream anime worldwide, the company Niconico. Some take this to mean that Funimation will now begin to phase out streaming in favor of letting Niconico handle things. I disagree personally with that assessment as I think there are still things Funimation wants to stream for pay. Let's set that all aside though because this deal is pretty awesome.

Alright, the meat of the matter is now Funimation's got it's hand in joint licensing with Niconico. What does that mean for you and me? It means more anime getting licensed and it means riskier anime getting licensed. It also means that now there's new considerations for home video releases; a new company with different ideas of what they think will be a success working with a cost-effective distribution system! Basically, we're going to see some shows that we wouldn't have seen absent this deal. And if Funimation's own policy of producing an English dub for home video releases is extended to this new venture, which would be wise in my opinion as fans will associate this new venture with Funimation proper, then we'll be getting more English dubs than we might have as well. (However, there is not yet evidence to support this. I merely speculate.)

The first shows involved are: Shakugan no Shana III, Future Diary aka Mirai Nikki, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (what a mouthful!), and Maken-Ki!, most of which are well anticipated or already loved shows. I won't fault any of them but I must salivate over Shana III and Future Diary! Both are must haves if they come to home video (assuming Shana gets her original English cast back, I don't think I'd accept another voice for Shana besides Tabitha St. Germain!) I'm surprised that only recently I was thinking "wow, I hope Funimation will license Future Diary" and now this. I can think of several VAs I'd like to hear voice Yuno.

Hey, universe, if you're going to grant my wishes, how about making Yuno Gasai love me?

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. . . .

I'm still very attracted to her. She does everything out of love!

Funimation also announced some new licenses proper with Fafner and Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror. Considering the complete set of Fafner at my local movie stop is like $100+, I think I'm intrigued by that pick up.

Also in manga news, Yen Press announced a "game changer" of their own with plans to get manga in the US up to date with manga in Japan. I doubt this will immediately end scanlations but it will make it increasingly obvious that they are not necessary any more and it'll give fans a legal option. They announced some new licenses and a license rescue too.

Yen Press added the Puella Magi Madoka Magica manga, Soul Eater Not!, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan (which I think I'll have to buy) and Until Death Do Us Part as new licenses. Licensed rescue from Stu Levy's limbo zone was Alice in the Country of Hearts. A manga based on a dating-sim based on Alice in Wonderland? Interesting.

So for now, that's my full commentary. I'll post again tomorrow unless I feel absolutely compelled to post sooner.

Until then, remember that every fan can and does make a difference!

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And also, Yuno Gasai is someone you should probably listen to. Really.

Bye-ni!

5 comments:

  1. I'm so excited for Madoka's release! @_@
    Can't wait to hear how the dub sounds :3
    That limited edition may be expensive as heck, but I'm all over it :3

    I have an interest in Future Diary, but I'm thinking of waiting for a home video release before watching it. xD I am very glad FUNi made that cool partnership with Nico Nico Douga, more simulcasts are always good!

    And oh my, I might wanna check out Yuki-chan... :x

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  2. I'm interested to see how Madoka turns out too. I haven't gotten a copy of Squid Girl yet (just haven't been in a comedy mood) and I think that dub will actually be telling about how this one will go.

    Lead VAs tend to make or break dubs when they're done on the cheap.

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  3. After hearing the dubs of both K-On and Squid Girl, I'm starting to question whether it's still appropriate to claim that these new-VA-only dubs are being "done on the cheap."
    These dubs are definitely better than the Nanoha and Zero dubs (which I still think aren't as bad as some people claim), plus are actually credited to Bang Zoom proper. Not to mention that even though the VAs are all new, their acting and direction is fantastic, it's what I'd expect from any regular Bang Zoom dub. Plus these actors are all cast in multiple video games with Bang Zoom as well, side-by-side with the veteran anime VAs.
    I think Bang Zoom is almost exclusively casting these actors for most newer anime projects not because these dubs are "cheap", but just to help get their names out by having them work on projects most appropriate for their ranges. (and since a lot of these actors are young girls, moe shows like K-On, Squid Girl, and Madoka are all perfect to accomplish this goal). Meanwhile, their veteran VAs still get work for them on the higher-profile projects and video games. (or in some cases, returning to previous roles, like Rozen Maiden Ouverture)

    It could be true that behind the scenes, these dubs really are very cheap, but from my perspective of hearing the end results, I'm slowly starting to think that it probably isn't the case. (and if it is, then these new VAs are good enough to fool me)

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  4. Yeah I can't even remember the last time I heard a bad dub... Maybe Get Backers? Law of Ueki? But even then it had some good VAs just a few that were uhh...

    I dunno about Madoka... You guys can tell me if it is good and then maybe. Plus those are ridiculous prices for the LE singles... I'm sorry. I would just get the cheaper ones if I bite.

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