Thursday, November 23, 2006
Since my parents passed away several years ago, Jamie and I now normally go over to her parents house for holiday dinners, but this year it looks like I'm going to be sitting this one out at home due to not feeling well (it's something that's been coming to a head for awhile now, but I won't bore you with the details). I'll be thinking about all you guys out there though, and I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Of course, we'll be back to work on Friday running a full shift to make sure we keep up with processing your Holiday orders.
Our store wide 15% off figure and toy sale has been pretty successful so far, and since I'm not feeling well (I was stuck at home tonight) I went ahead and used the time to finish keying up the holiday figure specials on the store. Ron and Fuller put together a list of about 20 of our most popular selling figures and toys, and I went ahead and keyed them up for an additional 10% coupon discount. I think it's definitely worth a look as the two sale discounts together puts the price of these guys and gals about as close to cost as we can afford to sell them. I'm going to announce this in the newsletter on Friday, but you saw it here first.
You can find full details right here.
One of things we're working on this weekend is a boxed set page, and we should have that completed and up in a couple of days. We're also working this weekend on posting Feb and March solicitations including some of the series coming from the new studio Illumitoon like Bt'X and BoBoBoBoBoBoBoBoBo. On Wednesday I talked to Richard Ray, the executive VP down there, and they seem to have a really squared away operation setup and I'm looking forward to seeing some very high quality Anime releases from their label.
This will be our 9th holiday season serving Anime fans. Considering how hard we work over the holiday's taking care of everyone else (and really not having much time to celebrate ourselves), I thought I'd mention that you might want to give a little more thought to the clerk or customer service rep at some store who is working long hours to help you meet your shopping goals. Many retail stores are opening up at midnight tonight to get a jump on the Black Friday rush, and while most people have a 4 day weekend, the folks that work in retail will not have much of any weekend at all. Running an online store, I at least get the privilege of being able to work from home this Saturday and Sunday, but even many of the people that make-up the Anime Corner crew will be cutting visits with relatives short to come back so we can process orders on Friday. For online retail, e-mails come in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and no one is going to tolerate waiting 4 days for their questions to be answered. Anyway, try to have a little more patience with the people putting in those long hours at work while you're doing your shopping and enjoying your time off. They are working very hard for YOU and appreciate the extra patience you show them during this hectic time of year.
Have a great weekend everyone, and enjoy your Anime!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Seriously though, this year the studios are going to use the holidays to clear out inventory more so than any other time in the past, so sellouts and stock limitations will rule the day towards the latter part of December. If you have any critical gift items that you need to pickup then don't chance it, order as early as possible to help us make sure you get everything you need on time.
To encourage some of you would be 'late' shoppers to get your orders in early, we've discounted our entire figure and toy section 15%. In addition to getting a great deal, you'll have first dibs on all of our in stock toys and figures before they start selling out later this month. I'm going to be consolidating a list of all our sales and special offers here on the blog throughout the holidays, and I'm going to be offering some exclusive coupons here later this month, so be sure to check in often to keep up with the latest store happenings, product status reports, and special deals. Here's what we have currently:
- Pre-Holiday Rush 15% Off Figure Sale
- Geneon Fall Bargain Basement $5 DVD Sale
- Give the Gift of Music $5 Holiday Soundtrack Promotion
- Great Deals and UMD Closeout Sale
- Discontinued Items at Closeout Prices Up to 75% off Retail
You know it's going to be a bad evening when you get home and your broadband connection doesn't work, and that's what I ran into Friday evening. I have a pretty high end business class ADSL connection at home, but I use an older 3-Com 812 ADSL router for the connection.
My network closet at home. No I don't tie up my NIC cables like I'm supposed to. Linksys Wireless-G access point gives me secure wireless for my laptop computer, everything else is hardwired Cat 5e. My 3-Com 812 spare is sitting on top of my regular 812 (mounted to my dumb hub), which turned out to be working pefectly.
I like it better than some of the newer plug and play routers (like a Speed Stream or a D-Link) because it allows you to manually setup just about every setting there is for an IP connection, and it supports VPN and a whole bunch of other features. Last night I came home and my connection was suddenly unavailable, and it took 3 calls, an onsite visit, and about 2 hours of phone time for us to figure out the problem and get it fixed. Our carrier, Frontier, uses PPPoA (PPP over ATM) for the connection, and this requires that an account name and PW authorization be built into the router configuration. Turns out that in my setup, the login domain was changed on their end from citlink.net to frontiernet.net (as part of some network wide upgrade process), and my old router could not be automatically updated remotely. One interesting thing is that since I'm pretty savvy on this sort of stuff, I had to get to a level 2 tech before we were even able to discuss probable cause - all the level 1's just have a check list they go through, most of which I had already done before calling in. The onsite tech that came out told me the router was bad, but I had a hot spare and that didn't work either. The level 2 support guy zero'd in on the problem right away, where it had eluded two level 1 techs. Apparently, they were not aware of their own network changes in progress. Anyway, it's fixed now and thus this post is now up.
Speaking of internet connections, after a 2 month wait Verizon finally hooked up the facilites for our T1 (which is actually though Quest) out at the new office, and we have weaned off a less than optimal WiFi connection we had setup as an inbetweener. The T1 is incredible, speed tests give us rock solid 1.46Mb down-stream and 1.41Mb up-stream. We are running an internal server, VoIP for the phone and fax lines, and VPN out to my house so I can access the office server from home. The VOiP sound quality over it is excellent, and it provides our phone lines for about 40% of the cost of regular business landlines (not to mention it eliminates having a long distance carrier) which paid for the extra cost of the T. Best thing about it is that it's about as close to 100% reliable as you can get, I even picked up a spare Cisco 2524 router with T1/FT1 module for about $30 (those routers were around 2 grand years ago, but can be had for nothing now and still works great for a T). The WiFi connection we had was really terrible. It was a 1mb 'burst' level connection that had a terrible latency and was only up about 91% of the time - which means it would be down off and on about 90 minutes a day. Glad we're off of that!
OK, I'm rambling, back to business... -_^
Peter Paine put up some images on his side blog (that he obtained from this guy) that show some of the real places that can be seen in the Onegai Twins anime. Visiting the real places that are shown in an Anime series is considered a very 'Otaku' thing to do in Japan, but I think it's extremely cool and just had to post a few of the images here for you to see:
We've been working hard this week to keep the site updated not only with new arrivals (as they hit the dock), but also getting all the great upcoming item announcements built on the site. We've added tons of upcoming titles like Coyote Ragtime Show, Utawarerumono, Tales of Phantasia, Gakuen Heaven, Solty Rei, Best Student Council, and many others. Be sure to keep an eye on the upcoming releases page as we're updating it daily as the announcements come in.
We were a bit surprised, but none-the-less very pleased, to see several December DVD titles arrive this week including Pani Poni Dash! and Bleach. With the holiday rush coming, the sooner the studios get them out the better. We received the elusive 2nd Raid boxed sets and promptly sold out of them, but I was able to call in a few favors and get them restocked, though only a few. We also saw the arrival of the 3rd Tenchi Ryo-Ohki DVD in a beautiful limited edition Tin art box. This box is limited to the first pressing, so I'm sure they will run out quickly. And the Jubei-Chan box came after we had almost given up hope. Bandai had to delay it's release a couple months due to a license renewal, but they are here now and ready for your enjoyment!
We have yet another excellent manga and book update for you including new volumes from Cheeky Angel and Red River, plus a new title called Punch (that Jamie says is excellent!).
We also received a new figure shipment that contained several overdue favorites including the sexy Chitose Nambu, Burst Angel Jo, and the kneeling Kan-u Unchou. Pre orders are shipping now, and we won't have many left once they are processed. And finally we have some new Gundam Seed kits for those of you who like to model. Stay tuned for even more great new items arriving daily!
Ok, enough of my blabber-mouthing, I've gotta get back to work! -_^
Saturday, November 11, 2006
This Saturday is Veterans day, and I want to say Thank You to all of our wonderful service men and women. It's a privilege to be able to help so many of you with your Anime needs while you serve our country, and I want to personally thank each one of you for your support, and your dedication.
In the past, I've taken some heat from some Anime fans for supporting our troops openly here at the Anime Corner, and it may have even cost us some business from people (especially from some of our overseas customers) who felt my comments in support of our troops were, well, inappropriate. I still have a few e-mails archived that I keep to remind me of how judgmental people can be. The fact remains that I proudly served in Army National Guard (1/170th 29th Div Lt ARNG) for 6 years back during the first Gulf War, and I got out a short time before my unit was deployed to Bosnia for a year as part of the NATO peacekeeping force. In 1990 I won the division soldier of the year award and had the opportunity to go to the 29th Division Reunion that year in Carlisle, PA and meet some of the men who stormed the beach on D-Day at Normandy in 1944. Hearing them tell their stories (and drinking to the 29th with those men) was a surreal experience that effected me very deeply, and one that I will never forget. All of the wonderful people in our military that put themselves in harms way now, and in the past, will always be my brothers and sisters, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them - you see I understand why they do what they do, and the sacrifices they make - and personally I don't care if other people do or not.
With that in mind and in honor of Veterans day in the US, here is a wonderful music video by Australian Beccy Cole. She supports her troops regardless of her fans' opinions - and so do we. To all of our brave men and women in the military on your day, this is for you:
We're currently in the process of reworking our sale and specials section in a more friendly tabular format. We've also updated the specials and closeout sections and have added several dozen more series to the list (not to mention we dropped prices on some of these to as much as 75% off retail!). Here's a summary of what we've got so far:
- Geneon Fall Bargain Basement $5 DVD Sale
- Give the Gift of Music $5 Holiday Soundtrack Promotion
- Great Deals and UMD Closeout Sale
- Discontinued Items at Closeout Prices Up to 75% off Retail
In the news over the last couple of weeks have been a lot of the inevitable major product delays we always see around the holidays. First, ADV has delayed the release of the 10th Anniversary Edition Eva boxed set indefinitely. If the pre-order numbers were too low, well, I would guess that not a lot of fans are ready to plunk down another $250 for yet another version of Eva. I say release the box for $89.98 and give people an opportunity to buy the jacket separately. In any case, we have had to cancel all pre-orders for the sets on this announcement, and I apologize that we won't be able to get these out to you guys that did want a copy.
Synch-Point announced that the FLCL Ultimate box will be delayed from 11-21 to 12-27. Basically, Synch-Point didn't think they could get it out by Christmas and didn't want to foster that hope so they set the new date post holidays. Media Blasters also told us that they are going to miss the street date of 11-7 on the Ah My Goddess TV Series box. They said their replicator is waiting for replenishment on some of the individual volumes before they can assemble the box set, and that they are hoping to have delivery to retailers within a few weeks - which leaves the question open ended as to whether they will be able to get this box out for the holidays. We'll just have to wait and see.
Speaking of Ah My Goddess, we also got the disappointing announcement this week that because of the cost, Media Blasters was forced to pass on the 2nd Season of AMG. This does not mean that it won't be released, and I'm sure another studio will pick it up, but it keeps the title in limbo for awhile longer. Check the news section for some comments from John Serabella (the owner of Media Blasters).
Production I.G has updated its Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society interview series, this time with scriptwriter Shotaro Suga. Their interview with producer Tomohisa Nishimura is still available here.
We currently have another review in the works from Flash Gordon, but I could not get the editing done in time for this weeks newsletter, so it will appear in next weeks issue. To keep you busy while your waiting, here is an interesting test to see how compatible you are with Rei Ayanami (and you KNOW you want to take it!).
We finally sorted out several late titles this week with the arrival of One Piece 5, Trinity Blood 2 Limited, Kaliedo Star New Wings 6, Megaman 11, and Tactics 2. Most of these were just late ships, but a couple were studio mess-ups that we had to jump through some hoops to get in. I think I made a couple people down at Funimation mad this week, but they'll just have to live with it because I don't like having to fix other people problems (especially when it effects our customers) - and I don't mind telling them so (that means you Larry)! -_^
Yet another really nice new manga update this week with 7 new series including Rose Hip Zero which after the first volume looks very promising! Hey - Ron just popped in and told me that the long awaited first volume of FMP 2nd RAID just arrived and is currently getting allocated to pre-orders. As I said previously the Art Box sold out a couple weeks ago at the wholesale level, but the good news is that we received our entire order and should have a few left over after all the pre-books are filled. Anyone who wants a copy should get in your order now before our remaining stock vaporizes.
[UPDATE]: It turns out we had only 22 copies of the 2nd RAID box left after filling all the pre-orders. I doubt they'll last the weekend unless I can scope some more from somewhere else.
[UPDATE #2]: I have so far been able to turn up 30 more boxes from my 'extensive' list of resources (i.e. - calling in some favors). They will be here on Tuesday. It's a good thing, because the original remaining 22 we're sold out before Midnight on Friday... The search continues...
The CD sale continues go well and several soundtracks have already sold out. I'm going to keep that sale up until all of that sale stock is gone. Finally, I put our entire UMD section on sale this week. UMD never came up to the expectations we had for it, but at the sale prices these volumes are still great deals and would make excellent gifts for any PSP owner.
As always, all sale stock will be allocated first come first served. I'm sure you wouldn't want it any differently...
Friday, November 03, 2006
Speaking of the holidays, Nov 1st officially kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season for us. That means that it's time for me to give the obligatory annual speech about stock outs and early shopping. This year, in particular, with the number of products we are offering I expect hot items to sell out well prior to Christmas, and many may not be immediately available for re-order. This especially applies to imported items like CD's, figures, calendars, and other merchandise (and perhaps anything from Bandai -_^). So if possible, be sure to pickup your holiday items as early as possible to avoid the 'rush'. We are expecting this year to be the best holiday season for Anime ever!
We've now posted our holiday shipping schedule, so be sure to consult it this season for critical Anime Corner shipping dates and cut-offs.
In the news this week, we heard from Bandai that the Magical Meow Meow Collection is now delayed, and no new date is set, so we are not going to post it for pre-order until we have a good release date. ADV announced that they have licensed Le Chevalier D'Eon and Viz announced they will have the upcoming Claymore Anime series. I'm a big fan of the Claymore manga, so I'm really looking forward to that! AAA Anime has issued a bootleg warning regarding the multiple illegal versions of the Ikki Tousen: Kanu Unchou 1/6 Scale (Crouching version with Spear) PVC Figure that have shown up on the market recently. More info can be found here.
These sorts of bootlegs and knock offs are getting more and more prevalent in our market as Anime's popularity continues to grow. Of course, you never have to worry about this sorta thing when you order from us! :-) Finally, Geneon has gotten their Hellsing Ultimate page up and they've posted a short trailer for the upcoming series (see the news section link below). So far Hellsing Ultimate pre-orders have been good but a little lighter than expected, and based on the number of inquires we are getting about it there seems to be a lot of confusion about what it is. Ultimate is NOT a re-release of the original Hellsing series, it's a brand new series based more closely on the Hellsing manga and will be a must see for any Hellsing fan. You can find more info about it over on our news page or at the offical site here.
The Anime Emperor is our 2006 Pumpkin contest winner! Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who submitted an entry!
The new arrivals kept coming this week, and we've been busting our butts to get all the new stuff up on the site as quickly as possible. Along with several great early DVD arrivals like The FMA Limited Movie, Trinity Blood 2, My-Hime 5, and UFO Ultramaiden we posted a huge new manga and book update. Among the 57 new manga's we posted are new volumes from Evangelion: Angelic Days, Genshiken, and Full Moon plus several new series like Penguin Revolution and La Corda d'Oro. We have also posted a large new Yaoi manga update (over in the adults only section) that includes almost a dozen new arrivals. The character merchandise section got a lot of attention this week with lots of new hats, bags, wallets, plush toys, and trading figures. We have a fantastic new figure of Miharu from Girls Bravo in stock that will just take your breath away! This one is from Eye Scream, a new company that we've recently picked up, and the detail and quality is just excellent. We also received a wonderful set of Girls Bravo trading figures from them, so be sure to checkout the whole line-up.
Finally, we kicked off our holiday soundtrack sale this week by putting over 50 licensed Geneon Anime soundtracks on sale for only $5 bucks each (more info below)! CD's make great gifts, and you can use this sale to really stock up, but quanties are limited (we only have 10 or 15 copies of some in stock) and we'll be taking down the sale prices as our sale stock sells out, so of course, don't wait to take advantage of these great deals!