Sunday, October 16, 2011

Con Today, Gone Tomorrow

So NYCC is more or less over now. If you were expecting any big news and amazing surprises, you got a few but the showing was overall kinda weak. I mean, sure, Funimation dominated, which is generally a good thing in my opinion, but most of the other companies were weak.

VIZ pulled off a nice little victory though with the announcement of an English dub for Tiger & Bunny. Although, honestly, I think we'd all have been more surprised if they chose a different way to go about things. Knowing VIZ, this will be a long wait but apparently they're already in pre-production.


Tiger & Bunny has been a fairly sucessful hit in Japan or at least it's gotten a solid following. Sunrise plans to announce a new phase in the franchise soon! Too bad Sunrise keeps working with problematic distributors. VIZ has been very iffy for a while, with their long delays and questionable production values but at least they still seem to grasp that there is value in English dubbing. For that, I thank them.


A minor victory for VIZ but a good one.


Oh, right, almost forgot. VIZ has been waiting to release Inuyasha: Final Act for so long that I'd started to think that maybe they forgot they had it. The dub cast for that one unfortunately has a number of recasts but, hopefully, they won't be too glaringly obvious. The annoucement feels very tacked on though.

My guess is that VIZ really wanted to get this on [adult swim] but they didn't want it. That seems counter-intuitive since Inuyasha was a successful show on there but that programming block isn't very interested in shows that aren't their own anymore. Watch for maybe one or two anime to show up though just to keep a few fans hopeful.

I've been looking forward to Inuyasha: Final Act so I'm grateful though disappointed with VIZ at the same time. Grateful they licensed it but disappointed by the lack of original cast members. I don't know exactly why they couldn't keep everyone since some of the people they didn't cast still work as VAs. I'll still buy it but not ASAP.

As for Bandai Entertainment. . . well, as the old saying goes, if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. Seriously.

Though I will say that all of those pro sub-only folks who wanted more mecha instead of moe might be getting an eye-opener. Mecha show from popular franchise? Sub-only. Moe show? English dub, extras and massive promotion. Hmm, me thinks this was not what they expected.

Not that it'll change their minds! The massive success of Funimation isn't even enough for some folks to realize that steady and dependable plus English dubbing is a very successful combo.

Oh, by the by, in case you didn't catch it, Yen Press is going to release more of the Higurashi manga. Massacre arc is coming. (Why this was something to be left out of a panel report is beyond me. The series may not be the biggest hit ever but it's not unpopular.)


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!


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?


. . . .

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!


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