Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Updates - January 30th, 2007

I was talking a little bit in my last about how cold it was here at Anime Corner World Headquarters, but that was when it was around 30 degrees (F) outside. Last night it got down to 4 degrees with a 30mph wind so whatever perceptions I had last week have been shattered - it REALLY IS cold now! Of course, everything is relative, and while 4 degrees is extreme weather to someone living in Florida, it might seem like a nice day to someone living in, say, Minnesota. I was talking to one of our contacts at Navarre last week - they are up there in New Hope, MN. I was joking around with her that we would have to do lunch sometime, and she said lunch sounded great - as long as it was anywhere WARM!

Speaking of things that are 'relative', this coming Wednesday is my 37th birthday. Now before you all start sending in masses of birthday wishes (wink) you should probably know that it's mostly just a technical date and that I stopped officially aging at 29 (and mentally at about 17) so to me it's just my 8th 29th birthday... -_^

Seriously though, while everyone will tell you 37 is young, in Anime circles I'm considered 'relatively' old, at least among most of the fan base. Nothing is falling off yet though, and there are two or three Anime fans older than me, like my friend Jerry who turned 50 this week (happy birthday!). The cool thing about Anime for us 'old men' is that despite our rapid aging, it helps us stay young at heart - and that's all that really matters!

In the news this week we have one date change for you. Geneon has pushed the 4th Shana DVD a couple of weeks from March 6th to March 20th. We got the word that Solid State Society is coming to a DVD near you in July, and we've made it available to you in pre-order at 40% off MSRP for a limited time. Fun finally announced a new date for the rescheduled Initial D season 1 DVD boxed set (March 13th), and we also have made it available to you in pre-order for a short time at 40% off MSRP. In other news Funimation announced 5 new licenses this week as part of their 2007 kick-off event - Ragnarok: The Animation, Suzuka, Aquarion, Shuffle!, and My Santa. All 5 are set to begin coming out on DVD during the second half of 2007.

After getting some exchange requests, we hit up Bandai this week about the problem a few people are having with the Gundam Seed Destiny Vol #6 DVD where part of Episode 25 is not playable. Bandai did some investigating and found out that one batch (but not all) seems to have been delivered bad from the presser. Right now this problem appears to be effecting about 15% of customers, but we have pulled all of our GSD 6 DVD's and returned them to Bandai. I apologize in advance for any backorder situations that this may cause. Also, if you do have a bad disk, you can let us know and we'll replace it for you, or you can e-mail Larry at Bandai directly (vongl@bandai.com) and they will send you a new disk.

The backorder situation with Geneon continues (we are calling it the 'GENEON EFFECT' around here), as they still have not completed their warehouse move. A few catalog items have started to ship again, but all of the new January releases are still in transit and won't start to ship to retailers again until next week. We apologize for any backorder situations (or extended order holds) this has caused for titles like Disgaea - with Geneon being closed for almost a month now it's been a difficult situation for everyone. We're staying on top of them (I've really been giving them hell for not planning this better) and we will make sure we get these back in as quickly as possible in order to get your copies out to you. Hopefully in about another week this will all be just a memory.

Our work continues on updating our checkout process to make it more user friendly, and I think you will be very pleased with the results once we get it finished. One feature will be an integrated shipping/billing screen that will eliminate one step from the current checkout, and another will be a calculator right in the shopping cart that will allow you to apply a coupon code or credit code prior to checking out so you know what your order total will be ahead of time. And the big announcement is that we are planning to bring back PayPal as a payment method on a trial basis. Long time customers will remember the terrible fraud problems we had with Paypal back in 2004, but that was a long time ago and we're hoping things are better now. We've built an ASP right into the checkout process that will allow you to access your paypal account and fund your order quickly, easily, and securely through PayPal, and we are currently testing it to make sure there are no bugs or snags in the process. We're hoping to make that live around the second week of February, so stay tuned!

Lots of new DVD arrivals this week including Shadow Chronicles for all you Robotech fans, and the early arrival of the DBZ Vegeta remastered set. Since the DBZ set arrived early, I've extended the 40% off 'pre-order' price through the street date of February 6th, but they are shipping now! We have another batch of beautiful new PVC figures for you this week including the very large and beautiful 1/5 scale Chi's (we're calling her the B.F. Chi around here), and the burst version of Fate Testerossa which comes in a gorgeous window box. We've been diligently adding new figures for pre-order, and I've included a partial list below. Finally, since my birthday is coming up, I have some special B-Day coupons that will help you guys celebrate along with me!

To save 3% off any order over $37, use the following coupon code during checkout:


Or, to save 5% off any order over $137, use the following coupon code during checkout:


Or, to save 7% off any order over $337, use the following coupon code during checkout:


Coupons are valid ONLY for NEW orders, and good through Wednesday, January 31st only, so don't wait!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Updates - January 19th, 2007

It's cold out here at Anime Corner World headquarters, but so far this winter we've managed to dodge the bullet of those ice and snow storms that have been hammering the western part of the country. It's good weather out here to curl up on the couch and enjoy a few new Anime episodes, and hopefully all those folks that will be ice'd in this weekend already have a few DVD's on top their entertainment center (and electricity) to view and enjoy! I know we will be!

Lots of stuff going down this week, so I'll get right to business. First, on the home front, Ron (our ops manager) got through his surgery just fine, and he'll be back with us in a few weeks. In Anime news this week are a couple of delays. First, Geneon pushed the release of Paradise Kiss 3 DVD back a week to Feb 27th, and Stuf needed to bump the first DVD of To Heart back a month from Feb 27th to March 27th as they need more time to get the quality of the transfer right. They also gave us the good news that the Season 2 Super Gals boxes are finally on the way to us, and in fact, they have arrived on our dock a few minutes ago and will start shipping today!

We've being doing inventory, and as a result, I've got some great deals on overstocks that we'd like to move out the door. We've added these items to the store specials page, but I've also provided a short list below of the ones that I think are the best deals - most are priced between 40% and 60% off retail (this week only though), so take advantage of our excess inventory to grab some of these fan favorite titles while they are on the cheap!

Like many of you, we prefer to ship your orders through the postal service. Priority Mail is one of fastest and most cost effective delivery methods (as opposed to media mail, which is not), and we are right next to one of the big regional postal sorting facilities (SCF) here in the mid-Atlantic area, so we can deliver your orders incredibly fast no matter where you are for a great price. Direct Creative (an online marketing firm) likes the postal service too, and recently did some fun shipping tests to see how far they could push the envelope by shipping non-machinable items ranging from frying pans to wheels of cheese. The things they tried to ship are hilarious, and the results are fascinating!

A lot of you have been writing in to ask about when Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya might be released, and in the spirit of that ANN recently did a poll to find out what series fans are waiting for most out of six recent license announcements. As of this morning, the results looked like this:
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Bandai Entertainment) - 38.2%
Death Note (Viz Media) - 34.0%
Ah! My Goddess - Second season (ADV Films) - 7.6%
Rozen Maiden (Geneon Entertainment) - 5.1%
009-1 (ADV Films) - 1.5%
Ayakashi ~ Samurai Horror Tales (Geneon Entertainment) - 1.3%
None of these excite me - 12.2%

That's pretty definitive...

Otaku Blogger Steven Den Beste recently picked up the Battle Athletes OVA and liked it. That made me feel pretty good since I was one of the people that recommended it, and it would have been my ass if he hadn't. Phew! My career in Anime can continue a while longer... :-) He has quite a few interesting comments on it over at Chizumatic. Since then, there has been some discussion as to if the TV series is better than the OVA, and most people seem to agree that the TV series is better. For the record, I favored the OVA, but I like both versions very much. I saw the OVA first, and thought the length was perfect for the story they were trying to tell. The Battle Athletes TV series (Victory) is also very good, and the viewer benefits by being able to get much more back story on the events and some extra character development. I just felt that (like many Anime TV series) 26 eps was probably a little too long for this story, and some of the plot lines got a little tired before the end. They also had time to develop more characters, and I felt that the length of the OVA kept the plot focus tight on Akari and Kris, my two favorites. A little trivia - this is a pretty old release, but it sold great during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

As many of you know, Funimation never finished the original uncut re-release of the DBZ Vegeta Saga last summer, and I know a lot of you guys were pretty upset about it. Now that the new boxed set is coming up, I've worked out a deal with Funimation to help makeup for the long wait. Not only are the episodes contained in the new boxed set uncut and brilliantly remastered in high def, but we're offering it to you during the pre-order period for a full 40% off the retail price! That's like getting all 39 eps of Vegeta for the price of one DVD! Get your order in today though, because we only have a limited number of boxes on order for the special price, and once they've been allocated this special price will be gone!

We have lots of new items for you this week, including several very early DVD arrivals like Trinity Blood 4, Air Gear, Pani Poni 2, Black Cat 2, along with new manga from Netcomics, ADV, and Dark Horse. We received another excellent batch of new figures including the girls from Eureka 7, a new version of Ingis from Orchid Seed, and the gorgeous Kotona Elegance from Zoids who probably could not be wearing any less otherwise she'd be completely nude! We also received the Elwing figure from Shining Tears that has been a long time coming and that everyone has been waiting for. Finally, we've added some of the latest pocky flavors and snacks to come out of Japan, including the delicious dessert called Yokan that is made from bean paste and has been mistaken during airport security checks for blocks of plastic explosive.

No, I'm not kidding about that! :-)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Busier than a One Armed Paper Hanger

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything in a couple of weeks. I actually took some time off over the holidays, and now I'm paying for it.

I started the year behind on paperwork, and things have just snowballed as the beginning of every year means lots of things hit that can't be put off. End of year inventory is one. That's huge. Certain business tax filings are another (like payroll filings so the employees can get their W2's before the end of January). Then there are the endless meetings and paperwork for insurance renewals, employee benefits package reviews, business license renewals (and the dreaded form 6 for declaring our assets so they can be taxed - yet again), annual meetings with the shippers to try to stave off another years worth of annual increases, renewing our vendor contracts - stuff like that. I've have at least one meeting with someone every day next week except for Friday. For the first two weeks of January the business allows me to focus about 90% on bureaucracy and about 10% on Anime, which sucks frankly. Sometimes it makes me look back on having a real job with nostalgia. Well, not really. That sucked too - but that sucked ALL year.

Anyway, I'm still up at 2:30am this morning plowing through paperwork, and I'm hoping that after a few more days I can get my head above water and post something meaningful here again.

Happy new year everyone! Watch some Anime for me this week.... :-)