Friday, September 28, 2007

US Anime Biz Gets Nuked - But Still No News at Eleven...

Halo what? Halo III was setting records all over this week, and many of us Otaku hardly noticed...

So lets talk about Geneon, shall we?

Without a doubt, the thing that is on everyone's mind this week is the sudden announcement Tuesday from Geneon that they will cease DVD sales operations as today (Friday) at 5pm. This comes on the heels of last weeks revelation that their distribution deal with ADV had fallen apart, leaving them no viable distribution channel after the end of this month. While Geneon is exiting the DVD distribution business, they have not revealed any of their other plans going forward - which has created a lot of rampant speculation regarding the future availability of their existing catalog, titles in current release, and future licenses. Let's leave that discussion (and the idol panic) to the Anime forums and blogs and talk about what we do know as of right now:

1) All Geneon DVD's will no longer be available for us to order from them after today. This means that availability of ALL Geneon produced titles will be limited to what is currently in our warehouse and what we have on order or in transit from them as of today. This situation will require a massive update across our entire catalog, so please be patient with us as we update the store site on a daily basis.

2) All Geneon scheduled releases up to Nov 4th will still be pressed and released. That means we do expect to the be able to fill pre-order for these titles:

Tenjho Tenge Complete Collection DVD Set
Fate/Stay Night, Vol #6 DVD Limited Edition
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Christo Complete DVD Boxed Set
Hakkenden Legend of the Dog Warriors Vol #3 DVD
Hellsing Ultimate, Vol #3 DVD
Hellsing Ultimate, Vol #3 DVD Limited Edition
Kyo Kara Maoh Season 1 Complete Collection DVD Set
Rozen Maiden Traumend, Vol #1, Puppet Show DVD
Story of Saiunkoku, Vol #2 DVD
Zipang, Vol #7 DVD

We have plenty of copies of all of these titles already on advance order with Geneon, however, since we will not be able to go back to Geneon to restock these titles after our initial shipment we will be filling pre-order on a first come, first served basis so I suggest everyone get their orders in now for these titles.

3) We are assuming that all Geneon releases previously solicited for release after November 6th have effectively been canceled. This (unfortunately) will leave several current series unfinished including Hellsing Ultimate, Karin, Kyo Kara Maoh II, Story of Saiunkoku, When They Cry, Law of Ueki, Shonen Onmyoji, etc.

So we do not expect to be able to fill pre-orders for:

Karin, Vol #4 DVD
Karin, Vol #5 DVD
Kyo Kara Maoh!, Season 2, Vol #7 DVD
Kyo Kara Maoh!, Season 2, Vol #8 DVD
Shonen Onmyoji , Vol #3 DVD
Shonen Onmyoji , Vol #4 DVD
Black Lagoon The Second Barrage, Vol #1 DVD
Elemental Gelade Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set
Law of Ueki, Vol #10 DVD
Law of Ueki, Vol #11 DVD
Paradise Kiss Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set
Saiyuki Reload Gunlock Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set
Story of Saiunkoku, Vol #3 DVD
Story of Saiunkoku, Vol #4 DVD
When They Cry: Higurashi, Vol #4 DVD
Rozen Maiden Traumend, Vol #2, Revival DVD
Rozen Maiden Traumend, Vol 3, The Alice Game DVD

4) Most of Bandai Visual's releases were also distributed by Geneon, and they have announced that until they find another distribution partner they will only be able to sell their titles through their own web store. No shipments to retailers are currently happening. This is not that big a deal as they have very few new titles in the pipeline, so we should be able to get the supply situation on their products worked out with minimal delays. I've already talked to them, so that's my take on it for now.

As of Tuesday we were very well stocked on existing Geneon products, and we have made a huge capital commitment on their titles by placing several very large emergency orders with them prior to the deadline in hopes that we can stock their catalog very deep and keep their titles available at least through the end of the year. That said, we are currently experiencing a huge surge of orders for Geneon products that may require a few days for us to sort out, so please try to be patient with us in regards to this. Even if a title is out of stock we will work as hard as possible to fill your orders as soon as possible, and as completely as possible.

OK, so what are my thoughts? How will this effect us?

Personally, I've been loving Karin, Hellsing Ultimate, When They Cry, and especially Black Lagoon so the news that they will not be finished this year - well, it stinks. I share in every other fan's utter disappointment. Professionally there will certainly be a financial impact to the industry across the board. Geneon makes up a significant portion of retailers Anime sales (they are exactly 16% of ours - a big chunk), so this will certainly dampen our holiday expectations and will hamper our efforts to serve Anime fans with the broadest possible catalog of titles. I do feel that market distribution for Geneon's titles will, one way or another, eventually be worked out. Geneon is not going out of business, they are changing their business model, though the execution is extremely poor. Ultimately they want to become a licensing house and let other companies publish and distribute their titles. Geneon's business problems have been around for some time so this is not entirely a surprise - and they are problems the other studios like Funimation, ADV, Bandai, Viz, and Media Blasters do not have. While this will cause us all some short term pain we can take solace in that there are many other strong companies publishing great Anime titles that we will be able to enjoy going forward.

Until then we'll keep the faith and update you with any new news that comes along. I'm sure there will be plenty...

That's it for now. Have a great weekend everyone.

(10/1) UPDATE:

Dentsu to Post Y5 Billion Loss on Geneon's Downsizing

The Japanese advertising firm Dentsu Inc. announced on September 27 that it will post a 4.7-billion-yen (US$41 million) loss on a consolidated basis and 5.1-billion-yen (about US$44 million) loss on a non-consolidated basis due to the downsizing of its Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc. anime subsidiary's "scope of business." It will also post a 7.2-billion-yen (US$63 million) loss on its withdrawal from D&T, a joint sales partnership between Dentsu and Tohokushinsha Film Corporation for broadcasting rights in Japan to foreign movies and television programs. Both losses will be reflected in the financial results for the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008.

Loss due to business downsizing of Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc.
Dentsu's subsidiary, Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc., which undertakes animation related business in North America, has decided to downsize its scope of business and increase business efficiency. As a consequence, Dentsu will post extraordinary losses, etc. of 4.7 billion yen on a consolidated basis and 5.1 billion yen on a non-consolidated basis in its financial results for the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008.


Starlit said...

I think that Geneon is freaking retarded! I've been buying anime (tons) for the last 6 years and am greatly appalled by this current announcement. I have only a few series that are Geneon at the moment and the ones for those series will be released, but my sister has ones that won't be completed such as Story of Sankioku, Kyo Kara Maoh, Shonen Onmyoji, When They Cry, and a few others. I am GREATLY saddened by this development.

Unknown said...

This makes no sense! I've bought several Geneon titles already, and have especially been looking forward to "Black Lagoon: Second Barrage". I've even managed to convince a few people to buy it, rather than go for the illegal option, and then they cut the legal version! Why!?

I hope they reconsider