Sunday, November 23, 2008

Updates - November 23rd, 2008

Thanksgiving Holiday Coming Up

Just as a reminder, we'll be closed from Nov 26 to Nov 30 for the thanksgiving holiday, though we will bein over the long weekend processing orders, there will not be any outgoing shipments on Thursday or Friday of next week. All orders placed over the holiday weekend will be shipped out when we reopen on Monday, Dec 1st.

Schedule Updates, Delays & Cancelations

At long last, the Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit Art Box finally arrived this week which put it about two weeks late but welcome none the less. :-)

Bandai gave us some rather interesting news this week (more on that in my state of the market section below). Both Ghost Slayers Part #1 and Clamp School Detectives have been bumped again, this time from early December all the way out to February 3rd. They also pushed Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Part #2 back one week from Dec 2nd to Dec 9th, and I don't think we'll be getting that one as early as we would have liked this year.

Aside from those changes, everything else looks good to go and we've already gotten in just about all of the releases scheduled to street before December, so you'll have plenty of new stuff to watch on turkey day! :-)

2008 Holiday Delivery Schedule Posted - Reminder

Just as a reminder, our holiday delivery schedule has been updated for the 2008 holiday shopping season. Be sure to check it out because this holiday season is a week shorter than it was last yearso we've layedout the real deal for shipping date cut-offs (some of which are only a couple weeks away)that you'll need to know when doing your Holiday Anime gift shopping here at the Anime Corner Store.:-)

Just for Fun - How Do You Know It's Christmas In Japan?

The Japanese don't celebrate Christmas in Japan quite the same way we do,and as always you can expect the unexpected. Like what you ask? Like these cute Santa Biker Gals making trouble in Akiba:

These gals are from the the infamous Cos-Play biker gang 'The Ladies', who have previously made a nuisance of themselves blocking traffic and making noise while riding dressed in Maid and other light fetish wear. I wish they would make a nuisance of themselves around my neighborhood -I could show em my Harley... -_^ You can see more here and here.

State of the Industry

I spend a lot of time commenting about the 'industry' as a whole, and considering the times I'm thinking about just making a 'state ofthe industry column' a semi-permanent feature here. This week I've got several items that might interest you:

Broccoli Books Shutting Down

Shizuki Yamashita announced this week that Broccoli International USA will be shut down and dissolved at the end of the year. This includes Broccoli Books and the Shonen Ai imprint Boysenberry, which previously published the Manga titles Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion, Digi Charat Theater, Galaxy Angel, Galaxy Angel II, Disgaea, Kamui, Sola, Nui!, Murder Princess, Es, and several others. This also finally puts their defunct DVD division Sync-Point to bed, and eliminates the possibility that there will be any future re-presses of FLCL unless another firm picks up the license.

Yamashita made an appeal in a blog post saying that the US rights to their books will revert back to Japan, and some of these titles could be rescued by the other US Manga companies if they move quickly. Personally, I wouldn't bet on it, the market is just too soft. Broccoli's wholesale division will also be closed, and was one of the last US based sources of rare imported books and unique Japanese merchandise sold by many small (um, that's not us) Anime retailers. They have been busy liquidating their inventory since the beginning of September, sending us daily e-mails offering us blocks of unsold merchandise priced as low as .05 cents on the dollar, so this announcement was not unexpected.

Couple of Comments on the US Anime Studios

As I travel in both fan and retailer circles, I get to hear a lot of things not intended for public disclosure, and I'm also very careful about what I write here always trying to let you know what's going on, but not harm anyone in the industry by repeating clueless forum gossip.

ADV Films is currently the weakest studio in the R1 industry having been virtually decimated over the past year by business mis-steps. I think the folks running ADV really thought that the Anime gravy train was going to run non-stop coast to coast, and had gotten aboard for the long ride not knowing the trip would require stops and lay-overs at all major destinations in between. Because ADV has so much business exposure to the failing mass market retailers, I'm currently putting ADV's survival at only about 50/50 into next year, and the only reason I'm commenting on this is that a lot of people are e-mailing in asking us about it. I am currently recommending that you fill in any ADV titles you want in your collection before the end of this year, and I would also recommend that you try to purchase any ADV titles complete and be wary of committing money to promised future releases. I'm just trying to give it to you straight, which no one else seems willing to do these days.

I am also a little concerned about Bandai. While I have no information that they are in any way having financial problems, they did inform us this week that they will be shutting down their warehouse for 10 days between Nov 24th and Dec 3rd - right in the middle of the Christmas season. This is what caused the the 2nd volume of Code Geass to get bumped up a week, and seems like an odd time to close down as I'm sure it will cause sporadic stock outs during the first and second week of December. Most retailers like us have already taken in their holiday inventory (and trust me, many are buying lite this year), so my feeling is that Bandai is trying to save some money prior to the end of the year. Bandai has been spreading out their release schedule, taking what they had originally slated for Oct to Dec, and stretching it out between Oct and Feb, and has recently informed us to make sure we pre-order 100% of our estimated sales for all future releases - meaning that they are no longer going to print and warehouse overages in case we need more copies of something quickly. None of this points to any 'problems' at Bandai, but it does indicate that they are making changes that they feel appropriate based on current market conditions. Expect more of this sort of thing to come in the near future.

Two Potential Issues that Could Impact Imports

Two things happened recently that may effect imported goods from Japan. A recent ruling by a US District Court that the '1st Sale Rule' does not apply to Imports gives US companies more leeway to block the sale of Japanese imported goods here in the US - if they choose to. Icarus Publishing has already commented that this could 'potentially' effect the sale on imported Japanese goods here in the US - things like Art Books, CD's, and merchandise. We all remember back in 2005 when Funimation sent a cease and desist letter to Akadot asking them to stop selling the legit Japanese Imported Full Metal Alchemist CD's.I don't think this will effect our business, but it might limit the amount of some imported merchandise available from other US based retailers. It's all 'coulds' and 'maybes' right now, so we'll have to see how it pans out.

On another front, and in a virtually unreported story, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has implemented new rules for the importation of toys which may effect the Japanese figure trade here in the US. Starting a few weeks ago, all toys coming into the US intended for children aged 14 and under will come under strict customs inspection. While most Japanese produced Anime figures are intended for audiences of 16 and over, the US Customs dept has a tendency to be indiscriminate with their classifications (trust me, we know) and it will now fall to the Japanese producers to certify compliance of each product with the US Government that 'X' product does not fall into the 'childrens toy' category and thus would not have to be ASTM tested prior to entry into the US. What does this all mean? We'll, it doesn't mean that figures are going to go away, however, some of the smaller makers in Japan have told us that if US customs starts to require expensive testing and certification they would most likely just not make those products available for export to the US market. These new rules not only apply to retailers like us bringing in big wholesale shipments of toys and figures, but to individuals that order figures on a one off basis directly from Japan. More figures may end up on 'not available for export' lists in the future. At any rate, it's probably not going to be that big a deal, and nothing on our upcoming list has been effected (yet), but I'm sure there will be plenty of near term import delays as each Japanese manufacturer gets their paperwork in order to comply with the new rules.

Coupon Corner - 5% Discount Offer Extended thru Thanksgiving Day!

The 5% coupon has been a huge hit, and so many of you have written in (again) and asked that we've had no choice but to extend our pre-holiday coupon offer one more time!

You can now take advantage of the great savings across the entire store for another week! No limits, and no restrictions - and that's a good thing considering all the new stuff we have plus all the new items we've just added for pre-order! From now until Thursday, November 27th you can save up to an additional 5% off our already low prices on every product on the store. Coupon can be applied to any items on the store, including pre-order and sale items. The more you order, the more you can save!

US customers can also combine this offer with our super saver shipping option to save even more!

To save 5% off ANY ORDER, just use the following coupon code during checkout:


Coupon code is valid ONLY for NEW orders and is only good through Thursday, November 27th so don't wait!

Pumpkin Scissors and Welcome to NHK

We have been working with Funimation regarding the final volumes of Pumpkin Scissors and Welcome to NHK, but so far their buy in requirements and order terms have been a little steep for my taste. Most people have expressed interest in rebuying thethin-paks anyway (and just trade in the old single DVD's they might have), so while we are continuing to work withFuni on this,we have decided to go ahead and make the new boxed sets as affordable as possible by discounting the first box in each seriesnearly 40% off retail:

Pumpkin Scissors Season 1 Part #1 DVD Boxed Set (Esp #1-12)
Pumpkin Scissors Season 1 Part #2 DVD Boxed Set (Esp #13-24)
Welcome to NHK Season 1 Part 1 DVD Boxed Set
Welcome to NHK Season 1 Part 2 DVD Boxed Set

For a limited time you can order the new boxed sets above in pairs for only$81.96 (MSRP $120), and if you use our current coupon you can bring that down further to only $77.86. This will help out all you folks who really just wantto own one or both of these series entirely asthin-paks.

Just In and Hot off The Truck!

Just when I thought we were in the clear on Friday, Ron buzzed me and told me that they do have one new arrival that came in on the late morning truck:

Death Note, Vol #8 DVD

Vol #8 wasn't due to street until Dec 23rd, but we've got it in stock now and will begin shipping it today. The LE version hasn't arrived yet, but that won't stop me from taking a copy home to watch this weekend! :-)

New Arrivals in Stock this Week

Again, we have tons of new early arrivals this week, some more than a month in advance! We've got 28 new DVD arrivals including the 11th Naruto DVD Collectors Box and the previously AWOL Moribito Art Box. We also have restocks on the hard to find Scrapped Princess Boxed Setfrom Bandai - not sure when we will get more, so get em while they last! We also have some great new manga arrivals, and while we did not get any new figure in this week we still have some stock on most of the new arrivals from our last two updates, so be sure to check them out before they are all gone!

That's it for now! Have a great Thanksgiving everyone, and enjoy your anime!

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