Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bandai Announces March & April 2011 Releases - Including K-On!

Bandai has given us their March and April 2011 release schedules, and we now have them available on the store site for pre-order.

Here's what's coming:

Kurokami Part #6 DVD (BLURAY) (Eps #21-24) (English Dubbed) - Mar 22
Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya & Nyoron! Churuya-san! Part 1 DVD - Mar 22
The Girl Who leapt Through Time (BLURAY) - Apr 12
Girl Who Leapt Through Space Part #1 DVD - Apr 26
K-On! Vol #1 DVD - Apr 26
K-On! Vol #1 (BLURAY)
- Apr 26

In addition to these new releases, they have also rescheduled the upcoming Code Geass box back to March:

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Anime Legends) - Feb 8 to Mar 22

A couple of comments: With the rescheduling of the Code Geass box, Bandai will have no new releases streeting for the next 2 months. The Girl Who Lept Through Time seems a strange choice for their next BD release, but we will finally be getting the Girl Who Lept Through Space, though only on DVD, and sadly, only subtitled. The Haruhi-chan & Nyoron Churuya-san! DVD's were originally going to be another one of those Bandai Store exclusives, but I suppose they found out they could not sell anywhere near enough copies just on their own store, so they are putting it out on the street to let us carry it. We'll be offering it for a lower price than them - you know, just to say thanks for their consideration. -_^

But really, who cares about all that, because we are FINALLY GETTING K-ON! We'll be offering each DVD and BD at 40% off MSRP*. That means we will barely be making any money on it, but I figure that's the best way we can help get the series into as many fans hands as possible!

UPDATE: Just FYI, I'm checking with Bandai on the 66 Minute thing. It's really hard to believe they would go with a 2 ep per disk release. I'll verify one way or the other on Monday when they get back in the office.

UPDATE 2: The folks at Bandai have just confirmed that the original playing time for K-On Vol #1 is a typo at 66 minutes. Vol #1 WILL BE 100 MINUTES, and contain eps #1-4 of the series. BD Will be Region 'A' encoded according to the producer.

*Not Eligible for Additional or Coupon Discounts



I figure most of you have probably already seen the actual OP by now anyway. ;-)

17 comments:

MARl0 said...

Is K-On volume 1 seriously only 66 minutes? Is that a typo? It's going to take them 2 years to release just the first season.... Honestly, the cost isn't even my biggest concern, it's Bandai's glacial release schedule that I'm worried about the most with this series.

Robert said...

That's what the release mailer says. I guess the plan is, what, 2 eps per disk? Disappointing. Like I said, the folks at Bandai are clearly planning to milk it for everything it's worth. It's going to be a big release, and they know it.

it's Bandai's glacial release schedule that I'm worried about

I had figured K-On would come in 2 half season boxed sets. Man was I way off! How long will it take 13 eps to street at that pace? Probably a year. And then another year for season 2? Yeah, that's definitely a concern, but it also keeps them in play for that period of time in the R1 market and I think that's what they were more concerned about. What else have they licensed recently? See what I'm saying...?

Anyway, since when has Bandai ever cared about what the fans want, or how much things cost them?

MARl0 said...

I just checked it on Bandai's own online store, and they have it listed as having the first 4 episodes. So I'm thinking the 66 minutes must be a typo on what they sent to retailers. I mean, 66 is an unusual number to begin with, considering the usual 25-50-75-etc. minute count that's more typical of anime releases. I suppose it would be more surprising if Bandai didn't have a typo in a solicitation (if that says anything about them as a company...). Here's hoping this gets sorted out on their end sometime this week. : /

Robert said...

They sent the mailer out late Friday my time, and I didn't pick it up until Saturday, so there is no one to ask out there until Monday. I already sent them a message to confirm, but you are probably right. But even at 4 eps per disk it may take them a year to get it out at 1 every 2-3 months. You know how they are for delays.

Nevon said...

Hey speaking of money I have a question. When anime get licensed do the original creators in Japan get paid?

Robert said...

When anime get licensed do the original creators in Japan get paid?

Yes, that's what 'licensed' means. When a US company picks up a title for legal distribution they pay licensing fees to the Japanese creators for use and re-publication of that title.

Baru said...

66 min is the runtime for Haruhi-chan. So I assume it was just an error in Copy-pasting or something.

Anyway, confirmed for 100 min, so that's cool.

Also, disappointed in Girl Who Leapt Through Space being sub-only. But oh well.

Ben said...

*WARNING! LONG RANT AHEAD!*

I honestly believed that Bandai cared about the fans with the initial release of Haruhi four years ago. Aside from Geneon and ADV Films, what other anime distributor was willing to go out of their way to include a whole bunch of goodies (including a pencil board, an arm band and a CD, among other things), all wrapped in a massive box? Needless to say, the entire series was released as a boxed set at the end of 2007 (the sheer number of leftover limited editions at Rightstuf.com was one ominous telltale sign). One year later, they did the exact same thing with "Lucky Star", only they got even worse results (and gave up on including a limited edition for volume 6).

Fast-forward to 2010, and the release strategy for "Kannagi", "Kurokami", "Hayate" and "Gundam Unicorn" left a lot of people groaning (and thinking they've given up on pleasing the fans). But wait... Haruhi season 2's being released as a complete set? Maybe someone at Bandai finally got the message and they'll be no more stagnated single releases. Alas, they didn't get the memo about not shoehorning multiple DVDs into a case meant to hold no more than one (see "Anime Legends: Lucky Star and Gurren Lagann").

Leap ahead to New York Comi-Anime-clustermuck-Con 2010, and Bandai announces that "K-On" will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray... as singles. Ken Iyadomi must be constantly feeling nostalgic, because his company keeps on making the same mistakes repeatedly. On top of that, they announce that many of their newer titles not named K-On will be sold as store exclusives (because to them, if they can't control the anime market, they might as well lock down many of their titles so that only their most loyal (gullible?) fans will pay top dollar for multi-volume releases of titles like Haruhi-chan (a series that should've either been included as part of the Haruhi season 2 set or as a complete series on one disc).

Part 2 coming soon...

Ben said...

On May 6th, 2010, during an ANNCast interview, Bang Zoom CEO Eric Sherman stated that he talked to a few producers at Bandai and that they've staked everything on Haruhi s.2, Haruhi-chan, the "Disappearance" movie and "one other title" (something tells me it's not "The Girl Who Leapt Through Space"), and if those fail to sell... that's it. Two days later, Ken Iyadomi sent a rebuttal (which can be read at the link below)-
http://www.mania.com/bandai-responds-to-bang-zoom-podcast-comments_article_122450.html
(cue laugh track)

So, having learned nothing from the past few years, guess which is more likely to happen come April (or May, or June, or sometime this summer, given Bandai's erratic schedule)-

a) K-On volume 1 goes gangbusters, proving to be Bandai's biggest seller since Haruhi's initial 2007 release.

b) The Atlanta Thrashers advance to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in franchise history.

c) All of the titles listed for the month of April are delayed by at least one month for undisclosed reasons.

d) K-On's first volume sells poorly, thereby proving that John Sirabella was right all along, that singles no longer sell as well as they used to.

If you guessed (a), there's some real estate in Detroit that I'd like to sell you.

In summation, Bandai's release strategy for K-On is out of sync with the times, Bandai needs to get their act together or simply pack it in and leave. If a stagnated release schedule is their idea of keeping themselves alive (let alone relevant) in the U.S. anime industry... well, it's a rather weak one. Remember when Geneon and ADV Films had a number of titles in 2007 and 2008, respectively? Well, there's a reason why they were picked up (and, in some instances, completed) by Funimation, and it wasn't because those titles set the market on fire (in fact, perhaps the only thing that was lit was Geneon's and ADV Films's self-destruction fuse).

In short, Bandai needs to shape up or ship out.

*RANT OVER! CLASS DISMISSED!*

(Apologies to Robert: sorry if I made your head hurt.)

MARl0 said...

Thanks for getting that confirmation on the 100 minutes for K-On. It still sucks that they're going with singles instead of half season sets, but at least it's getting a BluRay release and a dub. So I can live with that. It's certainly better than not getting it at all, that's for sure.

Robert said...

(Apologies to Robert: sorry if I made your head hurt.)

At least I know someone else out there notices this stuff.

Being in the Anime business since 2006 is like taking the Kobayashi Maru simulation every day. You can't not respond to the distress signal, but there is just no way to save the ship, and it ends up being a test of character. Frankly it wasn't Kirk's solution to the problem, but Chekov's that I always admired the most. :-)

Singles are over. But you called it, in this case the longer release period for the K-On singles keeps Bandai relevant in the market for a few more months. They get to advertise 4 seperate volumes. They get to talk about it at the cons. They get to keep their jobs a little longer. If they release K-On in one shot, what would they do the following month? How many more Legends boxes do we need?

And this AniPlex / Bandai Store thing they have cooked up, competing with or cutting out all their other retailers (except the golden child of course), is the sort of idea only a 'Japanese' Anime executive could love. Remember when Bandai ran that terrible store 'Anime Pavilion' back in the VHS days? The same bad ideas keep rearing their ugly head.

Strangely enough, very few Bandai titles of late get featured on our front page or in our advertising... but I'm sure that's just a coincidence...

Ben said...

Robert said:
"Singles are over. But you called it, in this case the longer release period for the K-On singles keeps Bandai relevant in the market for a few more months. They get to advertise 4 seperate volumes. They get to talk about it at the cons. They get to keep their jobs a little longer. If they release K-On in one shot, what would they do the following month? How many more Legends boxes do we need?"

Well, we could use some quality, wallet-friendly re-releases, such as:
-Gunbuster
-Gunbuster 2
-FLAG
-Zegapain
-Kurokami
-Hayate The Combat Butler (seasons 1 & 2)

I mean, with fewer titles, one would assume they'd have more free time to improve the quality on their future releases. Granted, budget-wise, they're probably in the same position as Sentai Filmworks (and possibly sinking to their level of relevancy at this point). But no, they just had to go and delay Code Geass season 1 "Anime Legends" set (despite the fact that all the discs were released ages ago).

I was really hoping they'd buckle down during the convention off-season and maybe release stuff in a timely manner with few to no delays, but alas, they keep on tripping up over themselves. If they had massive amounts of money, they'd be like the Washington Redskins: shelling out big bucks for A-list titles, yet can't seem to fully utilize them thanks to an aging and inefficient team (compare the hype for McNabb coming to DC with the hype for K-On; don't be surprised if similar end results spring up).

I really hope one day, someone snatches up Angel Beats; I just hope that someone isn't the currently-ineffective Bandai.

Ben said...

One other I noticed in your comment, Robert, is that the singles releases allows the staff at Bandai Entertainment "to keep their jobs a little longer". Considering all the PR disasters they've pulled and their supposed indifference towards fans over the last two years (four if you count the guilty-by-association Bandai Visual USA), do we really want those people to still hold those jobs, after everything they've done (and done wrong)? Just something for you to chew on...

Robert said...

they'd buckle down during the convention off-season and maybe release stuff in a timely manner...

I've felt for a long time that Namco continues to subsidize Bandai USA because it's important to someone there to have some minumum level of presence in the US Anime market. Why? I haven't a clue, but Namco is a big company and they have marketing interests that are above my pay grade.

mozychan said...

Bandai will have no new releases streeting for the next 2 months.

If Bandai keeps their promise of a February 22nd (assuming it will not be delayed again) release of Crunchyroll's [i]5 Centimeters Per Second[/i] then at least they've got something. RACS will not be getting this release correct?

Robert said...

If Bandai keeps their promise of a February 22nd (assuming it will not be delayed again)...

Yet another 'Bandai store' exclusive like they tried (and failed) to make Haruhi-chan.

We don't count anything Bandai tries to release on their own or through limited channels, because those releases are irrelevant. Anything they try to keep exclusively in their own pocket and withhold from the Anime buying public at large is not going to make any noise over here. The only reason for limited market releases to exist are so Bandai can control the market, and thus the price, forcing consumers to pay more for those releases than they would have if it was made available through regular retailer channels.

Bottom line: If RACS can't SHIP it, YOU should SKIP it!

Starcade, back on Leviathan said...

But isn't that the only reason there would be a market if the pirates didn't take it all -- the entire purpose being to control the dissemination?