Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tokyopop Tries Jedi Mind Trick On Manga Fans...

Tokyopop told the Publishers Weekly last week that 28 Summer releases and 11 January 2009 releases that were previously "cancelled" are only "postponed" (unfortunately this does not come close to addressing the approx 125 issues that actually got the axe). TokyoPop Marketing Director Marco Pavia said that the company's restructuring has forced them to lower its monthly output of books, and that now a few of their titles may only be released online. He did not rule out the possibility of eventually dropping some titles though.

On the other end many manga creators have said that TokyoPop has notified them of their works' outright cancellation. Though the issue has remained mostly transparent to our customers, we have been having a terrible time maintaining stock levels on most of TokyoPop's back catalog, and recently have noticed significant restocking delays in new releases which is most likely a symptom of very short print runs. TokyoPop is clearly a company still in big trouble, and I think Mr. Pavia is just trying to do damage control through the media. My experience is that these sorts of things reflect serious systemic problems with a company that almost never have a happy ending.

Around here the folks are already calling TokyoPop the ADV of the manga world, so for the record, here is the whole list of titles that have been, um, delayed - and remember - 'these aren't the books you're looking for... move along...'

TokyoPop Fall 2008 Issues Delayed or Canceled (or both?):

A FLAME INFERNO Volume 1 - Dal-Young Kim, Gwang-Hyun Kim
AFTERLIFE Volume 2 - Rob Steen, Stormcrow Hayes
ARCANA Volume 10 - So-Young Lee
ASPIRIN Volume 2 - Eun-Jeong Kim
BATTLE OF THE BANDS - Steve Buccellato
BECK:MONGOLIAN CHOP SQUAD Volume 13 - Harold Sakuishi
BECK:MONGOLIAN CHOP SQUAD Volume 14 - Harold Sakuishi
BEYOND THE BEYOND Volume 5 - Yoshitomo Watanabe
BLANK Volume 2 - Pop Mhan
BLAZIN BARRELS Volume 11 - Min-Seo Park
BLOOD SUCKER Volume 8 - Aki Shimizu, Saki Okuse
BRAVE STORY Volume 6 - Miyuki Miyabe, Yoichiro Ono
CHRONICLES OF THE CURSED SWORD Volume 23 - Beop-Ryong Yeo, Hui-Jin Park
CIEL Volume 1 - Ju-Yeon Rhim
DRAGON HUNTER Volume 19 - Hong Seock Seo
DRAGON SISTER! Volume 3 - Nini
DRAGON VOICE Volume 11 - Yuriko Nishiyama
FEVER Volume 3 - Hee Jung Park
FORGET ABOUT LOVE Volume 2 - Sang-Eun Lee
FOXY LADY Volume 2 - Ayun Tachibana
FOXY LADY Volume 3 - Ayun Tachibana
FULL METAL PANIC! (NOVEL) Volume 4: ENDING DAY BY DAY: PART 1 - Shikidouji, Shouji Gatou
GAKUEN HEAVEN-NAKAJIMA One Shot - Spray, You Higuri
GANKUTSUOU Volume 1 - Hidenori Matsubara , Hisashi Kagawa, Shuuichi Kouyama
GATCHA GACHA Volume 8 - Yutaka Tachibana
GENJU NO SEIZA Volume 8 - Matsuri Akino
GOOD WITCH OF THE WEST, THE (NOVEL) Volume 3 - Noriko Ogiwara
GOSICK Volume 2 - Hinata Takeda, Kazuki Sakuraba
GRAND THEFT GALAXY Volume 2 - Jim Jimenez, Tricia Riley Hale
GUARDIAN HEARTS Volume 2 - Sae Amatsu
HANNAH MONTANA Volume 10 - Disney
HANNAH MONTANA Volume 7 - Disney
HANNAH MONTANA Volume 8 - Disney
HANNAH MONTANA Volume 9 - Disney
HARUKAZE BITTER BOP Volume 3 - Court Betten
HOTEL AFRICA Volume 3 - Hee Jung Park
I WISH? Volume 3 - Hyun-Joo Seo
I-DOLL Volume 3 - Mi-Ae Choi
INITIAL D Volume 33 - Shuichi Shigeno
JADE OF BANGO Volume 2 - Ae-Ju Yim, Jin-Ju Yim
J-POP IDOL Volume 2 - Original Story By Millenni+M, Script & Art By Toko Yashiro
KARMA CLUB Volume 2 - D.J. Milky, Mark Seidenberg, Michael Dobrzycki
KAT & MOUSE Volume 4 - Alex De Campi, Federica Manfredi
KINGDOM HEARTS(?) - Shiro Amano
KINGDOM HEARTS II(?) - Shiro Amano
KOIHIME SOUSHI One Shot - Koge Dobo
LAGOON ENGINE Volume 6 - Yukiru Sugisaki
LAGOON ENGINE Volume 7 - Yukiru Sugisaki
LIFE Volume 10 - Keiko Suenobu
LIFE Volume 11 - Keiko Suenobu
LILING-PO Volume 9 - Ako Yutenji
LITTLE QUEEN Volume 8 - Yeon-Joo Kim
LOVE MODE Volume 11: (YAOI) - Yuki Shimizu
MAGIC MOON LEGACY OF MAGIC MOON - Wolfgang And Heike Hohlbein
MAIL ORDER NINJA - Erich Owen, Joshua Elder
MARTIN AND JOHN Volume 2 - Hee Jung Park
MISSING (NOVEL) Volume 3: THE HANGED MAN: PART 1 - Gakuto Coda
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM ECOLE DU CIEL Volume 9 - Haruhiko Mikimoto
MY CAT LOKI Volume 3 - Bettina M. Kurkoski
NEVER GIVE UP Volume 9 - Hiromu Mutou
NOSATSU JUNKIE Volume 7 - Ryoko Fukuyama
OFF*BEAT Volume 3 - Jen Lee Quick
PANTHEON HIGH Volume 3 - Paul Benjamin, Steven Cummings
PICK OF THE LITTER Volume 5 - Yuriko Suda
PLANET BLOOD Volume 9 - Tae-Hyung Kim
POISON CANDY Volume 2 - David Hine, Hans Steinbach
PSY-COMM Volume 3 - Jason Henderson, Ramanda Kamarga, Tony Salvaggio
QUEEN'S KNIGHT, THE Volume 13 - Kim Kang Won
QUEEN'S KNIGHT, THE Volume 14 - Kim Kang Won
ROLLING Volume 2 - Geo, Ji-Sang Sin
RURE Volume 4 - Da-Mi Seomoon
SAVER Volume 7 - Eun-Young Lee
SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI (KAHN) Volume 3 - Kazuaki Yanagisawa
SHORT SUNZEN! Volume 3 - Susugi Sakurai
SILVER DIAMOND Volume 3 - Shiho Sugiura
SNOW Volume 2 - Morgan Luthi
SORCERER HUNTERS 100% AUTHENTIC FORMAT Volume 11 - Ray Omishi, Satoru Akahori
SPEED GRAPHER - NOVEL Volume 1 - Gonzo, Minoru Niki, Yuusuke Kozaki
STAND BY YOUTH Volume 4 - Juder, Young-Bin Kim
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION Volume 1 - Christine Boylan, David Gerrold, Diane Duane, Don Hudson, Fj Desanto
SUPPLI Volume 4 - Mari Okazaki
TEA FOR TWO Volume 3 - Yaya Sakuragi
THAT GUY WAS SPLENDID Volume 1 - Gwiyunni, Ji-Eun Kim
TOKYO TRIBES Volume 7 - Santa Inoue
TRINITY BLOOD - RAGE AGAINST THE MOONS Volume 4: JUDGMENT DAY - Sunao Yoshida, Thores Shibamoto
V.B. ROSE Volume 5 - Banri Hidaka
WE SHADOWS Volume 2 - Sonny Strait
WHITE NIGHT MELODY Volume 2 - Selena Lin
YUBISAKI MILK TEA - Tomochika Miyano
ZIG*ZAG Volume 4 - Yuki Nakaji

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Couple Updates

<--- Oh so cute! Do you know what she is? It's a little inter-office joke we have about one of our, um, so called competitors. If any of you guys can guess what it is, AND what our little joke about it might be, I'll give you $100 gift certificate. :-)

(No Steven, you're not eligible since you already know...)

We really appreciate all the new orders everyone have been placing over the past few days. We figured things would be pretty slow during the first few days of the Olympics, but order volume has been pretty robust and is keeping us on our toes!

Because new product shipments from all our studio partners have been so unpredictable recently, we've been keeping on top of upcoming releases requesting daily status reports so we know what's coming and when it will get here.

Funimations Aug 19th Releases

Today Funimation confirmed that Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, Vol #7, the Dangerous Pursuit DVD has shipped to us and should be in stock here around Thursday.

At the same time Funi said that as of today (around 1pm anyway) they do not yet have stock from the replicator on Black Lagoon Second Barrage, Vol #1 DVD or any of the Black Lagoon re-releases. This means that 2nd Barrage will be shipping to retailers at the very last minute for next weeks street date. Certainly we would have liked to have had them already, and of course, it's bad policy for me to share my concerns publicly that a particular title might arrive close to the street date, or even, God forbid, late - so please ignore what I just said. All is well, it will be here right on time, and there is nothing to worry about. See, I sound just like a mouth piece for ADV Films marketing dept... 'all is well, nothing to see here'... I've got it down pat... :-)

Seriously though, we have asked Funi to expedite our copies to us, so if they get them into the Navarre warehouse by tomorrow we'll have them on Friday. We have a massive amount of pre-orders for 2nd Barrage, so we're going to start pre-processing your pre-orders for it on Thursday so they are ready to ship the minute the DVD's arrive.

UPDATE: 2nd Barrage is IN STOCK as of 11:30am Wednesday, Aug 13th.

Bandai Stuff Shipped Out

We have now shipped all your pre-orders for Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, Vol #2, and Zegapain, Vol #6 out of that 2nd batch we received from Bandai Monday morning. I REALLY hope that these DVD's are all good or at the very least 'less defective' than the ones from the original shipment we sent back. We've included letters in all the shipments with instructions for what to do if you do run into any problems, and I want to thank everyone again for their patience.

Catching Up on Figure Pre-Orders

We've been working hard over the past few days building new upcoming figures for pre-order, some all the way out to March 2009. As a side note, we're also posting better product images, and I think you'll be pleased - especially in the 'blow-up' boxes. Anyway, here's what we've posted so far:

Ah! My Goddess: Belldandy Battle Wings 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Bible Black: Yukiko Minase 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Bubble Gum Crisis: Motoslave w/ Nene 1/15 Scale PVC Action Figure
Bubble Gum Crisis: Motoslave w/ Linna 1/15 Scale PVC Action Figure
Chichinoe+ Black Haired Waitress Uniform 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 Kokoro 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Demon Bane: Chibi Al Azif Non-Scale PVC Figure
Evangelion: Rei Ayanami New Movie Version 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Gurren Lagann: Yoko 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Hoshiful: Kotone Kuruhara 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Hoshiful: Ruka Hoshikawa 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Ikki Tousen Kanu Mogdan Drawing 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Ikki Tousen: Ryomou Shimei Maid in Cuffs 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Hayate Yagami 1/7 Scale PVC w/ Reinforce II
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Signum 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Unison Vita 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Vita 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Nanoha Takamachi 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Ryoko Asakura Blue Bunny 1/4 Scale PVC Figure
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Mikuru Asahina Gothic Punk 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Mikuru Asahina Bunny 1/4 Scale PVC Figure (2nd Wave)
Monster Princess: Hime 1/7 PVC Figure
Persona 3: Elizabeth 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Please Teacher: Mizuho Kazami 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Queen's Blade Alice Excellent Model 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Queen's Blade Mellona Excellent Model 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Sexy Magical Girl: Ai 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Shana (Shakugan no Shana II): Shana 1/7 Scale PVC Figure w/ Removable Top
Shining Tears X Wind: Clalaclan Philias Noir 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Shining Wind: Blanc Neige 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Shining Wind: Elwing (Elwyn) 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Shuffle! Memories: Asa Shigure 1/8 Scale PVC Figure
Take Moon Magical Amber 1/7 Scale PVC Statue
Tandem Twin Animal Girls Dog Brenda 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Witchblade: Maria 1/6 Scale PVC Figure
Witchblade: Masane Amaha 1/6 Scale PVC Figure [KOTOBUKIYA]
Witchblade: Shiori Tsuzuki 1/7 Scale PVC Figure
Xenosaga: Kos-mos EPIII Version 4 1/8 Scale PVC Figure [Alter]

That's all I've got for now, have a great evening eveyone!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Otakon 2008 - The Good, The Bad, and the ADV Panel

I'm back from my short stint in Baltimore, and it's official, I have become a cynical old man at 38. I don't lay the blame on myself, I lay it on trying to make a living in an industry that eats it's own young and will definitely give you white hair before your time.

Did I mention that it eats it own young?... :-)

Industry announcements out of Otakon this year look almost as bored as many of the 23,000 attendees (those that could not get into the JAM Project concert) wandering aimlessly looking for something to do other than spend money in the dealer room (the cash drawers are filled with 'chirping crickets' according to some of my retailer friends there). Is it just me, or do even some of the cos-players look uninspired (what's with the cardboard box dude)? At least for them the masquerade started on time, and I hear the nightlife (ie. the Rave) was pretty good - so maybe I should have drank more coffee and hung around...

On to the show announcements. I think what we did not hear about is more important than what we did. Here's the rundown:


Funimation started off their panel with a firm pat on the back for what they have accomplished over the last few months. Among the things they discussed, they said that they will be investigating a new price and packaging model for their DVD releases, meaning that we can expect to see more full and half season boxed sets for new releases with some titles still being released as single DVD's with inventive collectors packaging. This can be seen in the 6th volume of Shuffle which will contain a set of 'God Panties' in the collectors edition.

After rehashing what we already knew about the Geneon re-releases and reaffirming that Black Lagoon 2nd Barrage will have the same dub actors as the first season, they went over some of the early fall releases like Ouran High School Host Club, Ghost Hunt, Jyu-Oh-Sei, and Claymore which they described as 'Berserk with hot chicks'. Scheduled releases that are off the end of the current schedule include Darker than BLACK and a BluRay release of Vexille, both of which will be coming in November. Finally, while apparently Funi is interested in the Tsubasa OVA, there are no plans as of now to release it.

Media Blasters

MB did not make any announcements during their panel, but during the Q&A they did say that they are working on Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan and Magical Witch Punie-chan. They are currently finishing up Kujibiki Unbalance (they'd better hurry) and then will be starting Doujin Work and Genshiken 2 in the near future. They said that Gaogaigar 2 did not get a dub due to lousy sales of the first season. Finally, John Sirabella said that they are trying to get the same voice actors to do Dragon Destiny (Ikki Tousen), but nothing has been confirmed yet. Dragon Destiny will definately be a 2009 release, dashing the hopes of everyone who wanted to see it out this year.

Bandai Entertainment

From the people that getting good DVD's from is like pulling teeth with pliers came the announcement (at a hastily arranged Saturday evening panel) of their plans to release the .hack//G.U. Trilogy anime movie 'sometime in the near future'.

VCI Entertainment

Who? Not an Anime company, these guys are the ones who are trying to get Hollywood to do something with the Voltron franchise. None the less, they are planning to release the 1984 Anime Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs (Star Musketeer Bismarck) on DVD in November. Good luck with that.


Last week we got ADV's October release schedule, and again is will be a month of 100% recycled thin-paks. Same Bat price, same Bat packaging. Still, I had hope that ADV's much hyped Otakon announcements would be spectacular and would revive everyone hopes that the company would survive. The reality could not have been more disappointing.

ADV announced only one new Anime license at their panel - the three episode OVA Indian Summer (Koharu Biyori) which is a short ecchi robot maid show (yes, another one) and a title so minor it's one that I could see even Media Blasters passing over. Hey, we'll take it though. :-)

They also announced no less that five live action titles to be released under a new label called 'Switchblade Films', appropriately named because ADV is so good at cutting their own throats. The live action films (yawn....) will be, wait, I don't remember... oh yeah - Attack Girl Swim Team vs. The Undead, Female Prisoner Epsilon, Gluttonous 1 & 2, Cruel Restaurant, and some new Kunoichi movies.

ADV will now be making many of their older titles available via DRM free download on Crunchyroll, which represents a final capitulation to current market forces - the thinking being that revenue from 'any' venue is better than no revenue at all.

In the end ADV did say that they are 'working' on at least one more new Anime license, but they could not announce it at this time. They also said that they are still working on finalizing a deal with the new license partner to replace Sojitz, but they were not ready to make any announcement on that at Otakon, which is OK, because given our sales of their titles over the last 2 months, no one seems to care much about what they are doing anymore anyway.

That's it for now. Hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed the con!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Status Update for Bandai's Aug 5th Releases

We are now about one-two weeks behind everyone else shipping Bandai's Aug 5th releases, which consist of:

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Part #1 DVD
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Part #1 DVD Limited Edition
Gurren Lagann, Vol #2 DVD (Eps #10-18)
Zegapain, Vol #6 DVD

Let me explain why.

When a big limited edition set comes our way from Bandai, they usually palettize the shipment and send it via a pretty slow trucking carrier, so in these cases it might take a little longer to work it's way out to us than the stores out on the west coast. Our shipment of the above titles was scheduled to arrive around Aug 19th, however, a couple days prior we had already started to get reports from customers on the West Coast that their Code Geass DVD's were bad.

Well, everyone remembers that fiasco we went through back in January when Bandai shipped out an entire pressing of bad disks. What a nightmare that was! So when this shipment arrived we decided to hold it for a few days and see what happened.

Sure enough, people started reporting glitches in the Code Geass DVD's like crazy - so many so that on July 23rd Bandai announced another 'direct' replacement program. We don't know if Gurren or Zegapain was bad also, but we didn't want to take any chances, so at that point we immediately made the decision to send this entire batch back to Bandai in exchange for DVDs from a new pressing. I simply did not want to be responsible for sending dozens or even hundreds of bad disks out to customers if we could do anything about it. That's why we still have these titles on pre-order status, even though just about every other Anime store out there said to hell with their customers and is just shipping the bad disks.

So I'm glad we hopefully dodged the bullet on this one, but at the same time I'm not happy at all that our customer won't have these by the street date. Bandai has already shipped us a replacement batch, and they are expected to arrive by Wednesday Aug 6th, or Thursday Aug 7th. We will have all the pre-orders ready and ship them immediately once they arrive so we should be able to get these to you guy by this coming weekend, and if everything works out these DVD's will work fine for everyone.

In the event that you do get a bad disk, or have already gotten a bad disk from someone else (which I hope is not the case), you can send Bandai a message here in order to get it replaced.

So I want to let everyone know that I appreciate their patience with this and that we will be getting these out to you guys and gals within the next few days.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

How Will You Vote?

If you are still wondering who you will (or won't) vote for this fall, check this out to see which candidate some of the 'coolest people on earth' are planning to support:

HEH. :-)