Friday, August 25, 2006

Updates - August 25th, 2006

Our Ranson, WV order processing center will be closed on Friday, August 25th. All orders placed (or e-mail inquiries sent) after 10am (EST) on Thursday August 24th will be processed when we return on Monday, August 28th. We will be spending the day moving some of our infrastructure to the new warehouse facility in Winchester, VA. Since our facilities are far to large to relocate in one or two days, we will be moving our operations to the new location in stages over the next several weeks.

Like we didn't have enough to do already... -_^

Couple of tid-bits this week. First, Media Blasters has informed us that the first batch of Voltron Tins might be allocated and in short supply as they expect longer than normal leads times from the presser, so they may have to ship retailer's initial orders in batches for several weeks after the release date. I recommend you pre-order early to secure your place in line. ADV has delayed the release of the Evangelion 10th Anniversary until November. I don't want to make any assumptions as to why, but I suspect that the $250 retail price has resulted in lower than expected pre-orders and they wanted to give fans a larger window of time to warm up to the prospect of yet another Evangelion boxed set. Also, Funimation let us know that the new DBZ movie (Wrath of the Dragon) will be delayed until Sept 12th.

Quentin wrote to me this week and asked:

"With the HD format wars starting up is there any news of Anime releases in HD either HDDVD or BlueRay? If so which of the two formats and will you carry them?"

We will definitely be carrying whatever Anime morphs into the high def formats, however, at this stage of the game it's too early to know how HD will effect the Anime market. I've talked in depth about the subject to insiders at a couple of the major Anime studios recently, and the prevailing wisdom is that the industry is in a wait and see mode. We may see some test releases in Blue-Ray and HDDVD late this year or in the first quarter of 2007, but the studios are probably going to wait until one or the other format gains traction in the home video market before committing. One studio has plans to begin with a few disks that are standard format on one side and one of the HD formats on he other so that the DVD's will be compatible with both regular and HD DVD players. From what I'm hearing, HDDVD is the favored format at the moment, but only slightly. I have speculated about the nature of releases, since I feel that many of the $30 TV series boxed sets being released now are really the end of the line for 're-releasing' these titles in the traditional DVD format. I think that HD will give the studios another opportunity to revive older catalog titles by releasing an entire TV series on a single disk. How that would look though, and what the price would be, is anyone's guess at this point - so you may want to think twice about grabbing an HD player now and wait until the HD market has a chance to define itself, especially in the Anime sector.

Bandai this week released a very strong worded message to fan subbers about their properties. They have sunk a lot of money into the release of the GITS Solid State Society movie and have warned fan subbers to stay away from it at their own peril. Ken Iyadomi, who is the president of Bandai, also eluded to the point that fan subbing is detrimental to their business as a whole and that they now consider the practice incompatible with the future survival of commercial Anime releases [that's MY slant on what he said by the way].This is not a new stand from Bandai, but this announcement heralds the end to the days where studios pretty much turned a blind eye to fan subbing and free Anime downloading activities. My hope is that they will also crack down on retailers carrying those Hong Kong bootlegs, as it seems every new online Anime store that has opened in the past 3 years or so has needed to subsidize their sales of legit releases with the illegal imports.

Here is a little tid-bit of Anime Corner inside info. When we process pre-orders for DVD's, it is always done in two separate batches. The first batch we process are the 'stand alone tickets', which are the orders that were placed entirely for the pre-order item shipping. The second batch will be what we call the 'pre-book logs',which are generated from a previous order that had a mix of regular and pre-book items on it. These are the orders that created more than one total shipment for us (some of these orders can create 20 separate shipments). Now most times the two batches are processed in the same day, so this is transparent to you. But sometimes when it's a big new release or when we are swamped with regular orders, we will process the batches on different days. In this case, the first prebooks to ship are the stand alone tickets, as they are a bit easier for us to process since we do not have to generate a new shipment order from an old one. The only exception to this is when a new release is allocated and there are not enough copies for everyone. In that case, we merge the batches and process them in the order that they were placed until the supply of the product runs out. Just a little insight into how we do things. :-)

Can you believe we didn't receive any new boxed sets this week? It's sorta surreal. We did get in a few new key DVD releases early including Jinki Extend and Shana. We also received a huge new manga shipment totaling about 48 new volumes. Getting all those on the site early was job! The missing Demon bane figures finally arrived, and we also received the new Lain statue from Organic. I thought the price on this was a little high, but as a Lain fan I thought the 'diorama' look was extremely cool, so I brought in a few anyway. Several new art books (I hand pick these) also. Finally, this will be the last week of the Urban Gear sale, so if there is anything you want grab it before the sales prices are gone!

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