Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fastest license-to-available turnaround ever?

Apparently Bandai not only just announced that it licensed the anime Kannagi, but the episodes are streaming and the DVDs are available to purchase now/this weekend. What's more, it's apparently going to be exclusive to Right Stuf and Amazon.

This is rather interesting for a few different reasons, but really just leaves me puzzled.

Speedy to Market

Bandai's messed around with quick anime releases in the past (like the infamous Blue Submarine No. 6 release format of an expensive one episode a disc so they could match the Japanese release schedule) but I can't recall such a short period between license announcement and availability before.

Why would they delay the license announcement for so long? Are they hoping that the surprise alone will generate enough buzz to hype up the property?

Exclusive to Online Retailers

While the speed may be puzzling, the exclusivity for online retailers (outside of potential convention sales) is a bit puzzling and worrying. What is the benefit to Bandai for limiting sales? Unless Right Stuf and Amazon paid for the exclusivity (which would be another puzzling surprise), it doesn't seem like it would help anyone - even if Best Buy is pulling back from retail presence for anime, there are plenty of other brick & mortar stores that are struggling along.

Online retailers are great, but they are better suited for buyers who already know what they want. Is Bandai not expecting any casual fans to pick up the series and instead focusing on hardcore fans who already know about everything before it comes out?

Interesting Indeed

It's clearly an indication of a new direction or business model for anime sales. The continued commitment to streaming is welcome news, but the rest of the announcement suggests that something is changing.
via Anime on DVD


  1. If you actually follow the Amazon link from their official site, the DVD isn't even offered from Amazon proper, yet-- it's listed from Right Stuf's Amazon outlet, and Bandai Entertainment themselves. I suspect they might just be using those two sites as fulfillment houses, and are basically selling the DVDs directly themselves. Kind of a return to the Anime Village days, no?

    There's probably a good post to be made about the realistic sales expectations for these kinda otaku-centric shows in the US, but I got someplace to be...

  2. That explains the careful wording of "Amazon Marketplace" in the news.

    Sounds like it's just a Right Stuf-exclusive thing, then. They've become the front for Geneon, basically, and Bandai's pretty much gone silent to inquiries about screening permission.

    I wonder if they're going to jump like Geneon?

  3. Geneon is still around, but they haven't licensed anything recently. Don't know if they ever will again, but they're not in a comatose state like CPM was.

    It's an interesting experiment, and I hope it works out for them. Won't care much unless it means anime I want licensed (like Mononoke and Ghost Hound) are eventually picked up (as the chances for them are slowly dying).

  4. Geneon's getting there - honestly, I'd say CPM was more responsive and active just prior to their expiration than Geneon is now.

    They've gone silent, aren't releasing anything, don't handle their own screening permission requests anymore, FUNimation's distributing/licensing their back catalog. A company can't survive long like that.