Wednesday, February 09, 2011

AnimEigo Will Not Renew License for Urusei Yatsura

After nearly 20 years on the market in one iteration or another, AnimEigo will finally be retiring the Urusei Yatsura franchise, letting the license expire this fall:

Via AnimEigo:

"Urusei Yatsura to go out of print on 30-September-2011

It is with heavy hearts that we must announce that we will be unable to renew our license for Urusei Yatsura. We will be unable to accept orders after the 30th of September, 2011, and individual DVDs will almost certainly become unavailable before that date as our stocks become exhausted.

So if you've always been meaning to complete your collection of UY, now is the time."

Of course, UY has actually been out of print since about 2006, it's just that there are so many DVD's still left in the supply chain it's remained available. We've had it on 'discontinued' status for a long time, but we certainly still have plenty of them left in our warehouse, and so does AnimEigo, which I imagine is the motivation behind this big announcement. AnimEigo won't be renewing any of their old Anime licenses once they come due, and no one else is going to pick them up afterwards.

Still, the permanent retiring of the UY franchise ends an era. AnimEigo, a flagship company in the early days, no longer does Anime releases (Yawara! was the last Anime title they did), but they are still hanging around doing a Live Action flick from time to time. It's a little sad really, but the sort of titles that AnimEigo published no longer appeal to today's Anime fan. In fact, I doubt there are many younger fans that even know what 'linear notes' are as related to Anime, or care. Most everything AnimEigo did used to have those. They were truly the 'class act' of the Anime business.

1 comment:

dcmatthews said...

That is sad; I'm glad I completed my collection some years ago.

Urusei Yatsura was one of the first shows I was exposed to when I first got into anime over twenty years ago. And even though I couldn't understand Japanese, I could follow the stories just enough (with a little help from friends who knew at least a little nihongo) for UY to become my favorite anime series, and Lum-chan my favorite anime character. And I vowed to myself that I was going to collect every episode!

AnimEigo helped me fulfill that goal in spades: not only by releasing (eventually) the entire series, as well as the movies and OVAs, but providing them with subtitles and the aforementioned liner notes which I found indispensible.

So I'm saddened, not just by the news that their UY license isn't being renewed, but that they seem to have left the anime field entirely.