Friday, August 31, 2007
We'll be working very closely with ADV on this over the coming weeks and I'll keep you all up to date regarding how things are progressing.
Thanks to Jerry for sending over this short YouTube clip that features some fans doing Transformers cos-play where their costumes actually transform while they are in them. One of them even did a Valkyrie from Robotech!
The studios continue to fill out their fall schedules and this week we've posted 22 new DVD releases for pre-order. I also just received Bandai's November list, and we'll be getting those up on the site shortly. We got most of ADV's Oct and Nov catalog up for order now including the next volumes of Ah! My Goddess TV Season 2 , Xenosaga , and Air plus ADV plans to re-release a few collections in Limited Tin Boxed sets for the Holidays like Evangelion and Magical Shopping Arcade. Don't have product deatils on those yet, but we should soon. The most exciting announcements this week are several boxed sets of series that had previously fallen out of print including:
Lost Universe Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Thin-Pak)
Nadia Secret of Blue Water DVD Perfect Collection Limited Tin Boxed Set
Princess Tutu DVD Collection (Thin-Pak)
Now if one of the studios will just re-release Nadesico all will be right with the world! -_^
The summer figure sale ends tonight at midnight, so you've only got a few more hours to take advantage of the savings there, but I'll let you in on a little secret - the fall kickoff coupon special overlaps the figures sale for the next 12 hours, so you can almost double your savings if you get your orders in before midnight and use one our fall kickoff coupons!
To save 3% off any order over $67, use the following coupon code during checkout:
Or, to save 5% off any order over $167, use the following coupon code during checkout:
Or, to save 7% off any order over $367, use the following coupon code during checkout:
Ron just peeked around the corner and told me a few more new titles just got unloaded and are now being checked in, including Black Lagoon Vol 3, Karin Vol 3, Full Moon Vol 6, and Shonen Onmyouji Vol 2. And I thought we were going to get out of here early! They'll be updated on the site later this afternoon, but we'll be including these in outgoing orders today, as well as processing your pre-orders for them now.
And as usual, we've got lots of new stuff already on the site for you guys to peruse this weekend. Check below for the scoop on everything that's come in, or check our updates page for the complete story!
My parting words for you this week are - Ekodona Black Armor!
That's it for now. Have a wonderful holiday weekend - and ENJOY your Anime! :-)
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
We are still gathering information on the details. It appears a lot of the fine print has yet to be finalized, but that ADV is already starting to run the show behind the scenes. That's fine, since we have a great relationship with ADV, and they should be able to service the product very well.
ADV will benefit from this. In fact, they need the expanded sales opportunities Geneon's catalog will bring to the table to compete with Funimation. But, regardless of how the 'suits' try to spin this in the media (they will talk endlessly of BS Synergies and Strategics), it clearly does not bode well for Geneon. Outsourcing retailer distribution is not unusual in the Anime industry, but outsourcing control of your sales channel is something a company does as a last resort. It's what happens when you throw your hands up and decide that you no longer understand your market and want to wash your hands of the responsibility of making your company work within that market. Granted ADV will have much better resources for bringing Geneon's product to market. The real red flag is that they are doing this in the forth quarter before the holidays, which is generally a period (for better or worse) when you don't want to make any major changes that will disturb your sales channel - and that they are turning over control of their product line to a competitor. Remember a couple of years ago when Central Park Media, finding itself between a rock and hard place financially, did the same thing by outsourcing their sales channel and distribution to WEA (a 'music' distributor no less). I remember thinking that John O'Donnell must have been suffering from temporary insanity when he made that decision. Later, as CPM has virtually ceased to exist as an operating Anime Studio, we find out that he probably didn't have too much choice.
In the Anime world there is a very simple 3 step business plan that everyone follows:
1) Collect Underpants
It's that pesky step #2 that seems to trip everyone up.
The truth (that no one in the biz seems to want to admit) is that the mass market portion of the Anime business that studios have developed over in the last 3-4 years and built a large part of their businesses around has been a disaster this year. Sales volumes are way off. Licensing and royalty fees from deals made in the go-go period of 2004-06 remain very high, forcing the studios to generate revenue from these titles any way possible. Fan's DVD & Manga shelves are getting full. Even with the cut backs in new releases over the last few months there are still too many titles (or should I say, 'too many marginal titles and re-releases') getting stuffed into the sales channel. Economic factors are creating more pricing pressures than ever before. Marginal fans have too many options for their limited entertainment budgets, and Anime is just not as 'cool' for them as it used to be. Many core Anime fans are turning back to downloads and fansubs more frequently to get access to the really good shows they want to see, but don't want to wait to be commercially released (if they ever are).
Mass market retail chains and book sellers are questioning shelf space allocations to Anime/Manga for the first time in years, causing the studios to make knee jerk reactions, like re-re-re-re-re-releasing old stale titles at rock bottom prices or quadrupling the number of serial manga issues released in a quarter in an attempt to spur interest and "keep up the appearance of demand". After all, if we stuff even more products into the sales channel, that will surely keep the home fires burning, right?
This year many of the older core fans have started to drift away from the genre, partly because there are far fewer quality releases to choose from than in the past, and partly because as they get older priorities begin to change. As these fans move away from the genre, they are replaced by younger fans that have been exposed to Anime in a totally different way than their predecessors, so many of them don't have the same enthusiasm for building huge (and expensive) video and book libraries, nor do they have the same sort of entertainment budgets that the older fans had.
Bottom line? Everyone is getting squeezed in one way or another.
Under all these conditions some consolidation will need to take place, both at the studio and retail levels. I feel like there are too many Anime retailers out there right now, and many are holding on by their fingernails either by subsidizing their margins with bootlegs or making the payroll this week by liquidating Anime at close to cost pricing just to keep the volumes up. Many retailers are relying more and more on sales gimmicks to keep customers coming back. The situation reminds me of the scene from 'A Bridge too Far' when, after holding the bridge at Arnhem by his fingernails for 9 days, British LC John Frost finally gets MG Roy Urquhart on the radio and asks when he can expect relief. Urquhart, taking terrible losses himself, tells him "I'm sorry Johnny, I'm not sure it's a matter of us coming for you, or you coming for us.", and then in classic British understatement Frost says "very well, we'll just wait for XXX Corps then." The last radio message broadcast from the bridge was - "out of ammo, God save the King".
Indeed (but I digress).
As one of the oldest US Anime companies, Geneon finds itself in the position of having as huge back catalog of titles to maintain in a sales environment increasingly dominated by new releases. Not quite knowing what to do with these, Geneon has had terrible problems in execution. I blame Geneon's Japanese management for that - they just don't seem to 'get' the US market, and in fact they have gradually become a rather unfriendly company for retailers to do business with since the change over from Pioneer.
Bad licensing decisions along with a bad marketing organization has caused Geneon to fall into a distant 3rd place in the US Anime industry. After years of maintaining excellent business relations with Pioneer USA, the management at Geneon has become increasingly out of touch with both the fan base and retailer channel, and I have frequently made mention of some of these problems in our weekly newsletters. Their distribution deal with Ditan earlier this year was an attempt to cut costs, and has been a disaster with them frequently having incorrect inventory numbers or not being able to fill re-orders for titles that have only been on the street for a few weeks. I remarked earlier this year to our inside rep at Geneon that it was getting harder and harder to maneuver the product line under these conditions, and whoever made the decision to hire Ditan to do their fulfillment should have been fired.
I now looks that will probably happen...
In the end, the move to ADV should be pretty good for us. One less vendor to work with, one less set of hassles to overcome. It may even cure a few headaches I've had to contend with. After all, it's all about the underpants - so we'll see how it pans out. -_^
Friday, August 24, 2007
One of the upcoming titles I've been keeping an eye on is the release of the first (of four) Rebuild of Evangelion Movie in Japan next weekend.
As an ardent Eva fan (having watched the original series at least 50 times) I have to admit, I was skeptical when they decided to rework the Evangelion series into 4 new movies, but after seeing the new trailers I've been made into a believer. The animation and character designs look amazing! Reportedly the content is quite different from the original TV series, though the time base of the story is the same. The new project is characterized as a remake, however, it is not a re-creation but a "new work" and there will apparently be a large amount of new material. It's sure to be some time before we see these released in English, but I think it will be worth the wait. Here are a few trailers and video shorts for you to sample to see for yourself:
Rebuild of Evangelion - Trailer 1
Rebuild of Evangelion - Trailer 2
Rebuild of Evangelion - Utada Hikaru - Beautiful World
Be sure to check the 'deal of the day' rotation on our front page. Each day we'll be offering something cool to you at 50% off the retail price (and that we actually have in stock...). -_^ Also, the summer figure sale will (definitely) officially end next Thursday, so you've got one more week to take advantage of the savings there. We already price our figures at a discount to MSRP (I know many stores actually mark their figures UP from the retail price) so the extra 10% makes for some great deals off our already low prices.
Oh, I wanted to mention that Utada Hikaru's excellent CD single of Beautiful World (the Eva Rebuild theme song) is streeting next week in Japan and we have a bunch of copies on order that should arrive from Tokyo mid-September. Sorry, but the first copy is mine!
Ron just peeked around the corner and told me a few more new titles just got unloaded and are now being checked in, including Tide Line Blue 3, My-Otome 2, and the 4th Voltron Tin box. They'll be updated on the site later this afternoon, but we'll be including these in outgoing orders today, as well as processing your pre-orders for them now. And as usual, we've got lots of new stuff already on the site for you guys to peruse this weekend. Check below for the scoop on everything that's come in, or check our updates page for the complete story!
My parting words for you this week are - KOS MOS!
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend - and ENJOY your Anime! :-)
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
After a bit of a summer lull in new releases the studios and manufacturers are finally starting to fill out their fall schedules so we are getting a lot of upcoming product solicitations dumped on us all at once. Here's the list of new DVD's and figures that we've made available for pre-order over the last couple of weeks:
DVD Pre-Orders Added 8-/10 to 8/21:
Kurau Phantom Memory, Vol #4 DVD
Blue Seed Mitama Collection Boxed Set (Thin-Pak)
Air TV Series, Vol #3 DVD
Black Lagoon The Second Barrage, Vol #1 DVD w/ Limited Art Box
Black Lagoon The Second Barrage, Vol #2 DVD
009-1, Vol #3 DVD
Le Chevalier D'Eon, Vol #5 DVD
Air Gear, Vol #5 DVD
Welcome to NHK , Vol #1, 1st Conspiracy DVD
Pumpkin Scissors , Vol #1, Honor & Blood DVD
Pani Poni Dash!, Vol #6 DVD
Slayers OVA DVD Collection (Thin-Pak)
Yugo the Negotiator Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Thin-Pak)
Fighting Spirit (Hajime No Ippo) DVD Collection 1 Boxed Set
Fighting Spirit (Hajime No Ippo) DVD Collection 2 Boxed Set
Zegapain, Vol #1 DVD
Zegapain, Vol #1 DVD w/ Limited Art Box
hack//Roots, Vol #4 DVD
Rescue Me; Mave-Chan DVD
When They Cry: Higurashi, Vol #5 DVD
Peach Girl, Vol #5 DVD
Hare+Guu DVD Boxed Set
Tsubasa, Vol #5 DVD
Dragon Ball Z: Broly Double Feature DVD [BLURAY]
Dragonball GT DVD Collectors Boxed Set #4 (The Lost Episodes)
Mushishi, Vol #4 DVD
Suzuka, Vol #5 DVD
Yu-Gi-Oh Dawn of the Duel, Vol #1, Part 2 (Eps 528-539)
Slayers NEXT TV Season 2 Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #27-52)
BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, Vol #4 DVD
BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, Vol #5 DVD
Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles Movie Special Edition DVD
Case Closed the 14th Target Movie DVD
Glass Fleet , Vol #2 DVD
Fullmetal Alchemist DVD Boxed Set #2 (Vol #5-7)
Gunslinger Girl Economy DVD Boxed Set
School Rumble, Vol #3 DVD
Trinity Blood Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set
Witchblade, Vol #2 DVD
Witchblade, Vol #3 DVD
Ramen Fighter Miki , Vol #2, Tonkatsu Tactics DVD
Ah! My Goddess TV Season 1 Economy DVD Boxed Set
Shura no Toki Economy DVD Boxed Set (Thin-Pak)
Golden Boy DVD
Simoun , Vol #1, Choir of Pairs DVD
Step Up Love Story DVD
Figure Pre-Orders Added 8-/10 to 8/21:
Ikki Tousen: Sonsaku (Fighting) 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
My Otome: Akane Version 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
My Otome: Akira (Damaged) 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Oneechanbara Aya 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Queen's Blade Tomoe PVC Figure
Queen's Blade Elina PVC Figure
Samurai Spirits: Iroha 1/6 Scale PVC Figure [GRIFFON]
Samurai Spirits: Iroha "Player 2" Pink Version 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Samurai Spirits: Iroha 1/5 Scale PVC Figure
Sengoku Ace Episode III Mizuka 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Bome: Yano Takumi's Akira PVC Figure Vol 26
Bome: Mitsumi Misato's "Lucia" PVC Figure Vol. 25
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 Ayane 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Fate/Hollow Ataraxia: Sakura Matou Swimsuit w/ Towel 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Fate/Zero: Saber/Zero 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Ryoko Asakura 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Tsuruya Maid Version 1/8 Scale Figure
Witchblade Masane Amaha 1/8 Scale PVC Figure [Organic]
Witchblade: Maria 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Witchblade: Masane Amaha 1/6 Scale PVC Figure [Kotobukiya]
Witchblade: Masane Amaha 'Power Up' Version 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Kamichu Yurie Hitotsubashi 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Art of Shunya Yamashita CoCoNa 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Chobits: Chii "Maid Alice" 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Chocotto Sister Black Cat Version 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Death Note: Misa Amane MoeArt 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Fate/Hollow Ataraxia Caren 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Gun X Sword: Fasalina 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Idolmaster Xenoglossia Iori Minase 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
To Heart 2 Another Days Chie Yoshioka PVC Figure
Utawarerumono Urutori 1/7 Scale Figure
Rozen Maiden Traumend SRDX Hinaichigo PVC Figure
Yakitate Tsukino Azusagawa Swimsuit Version 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Yatake Yoshinori's "El" 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Evangelion Sequel to Angel Chromosome-XX Series 3: A-04 Shamshel-XX Figure
Xenosaga: Kos-mos EPIII Version 4 1/8 Scale PVC Figure [Happinet]
Xenosaga: Kos-mos EPIII Version 4 1/8 Scale PVC Figure [ALTER]
It makes for a quick post to get the ball rolling again. :-)