Thursday, July 30, 2009

October Releases from Funimation, Viz, Media Blasters & ADV Now Available for Pre-Order!

Our server upgrades are complete and we now have the following October releases from Funimation, Viz (Oct & Nov), Media Blasters and ADV available on the store site for pre-order. We also have 4 in stock releases from Funimation that are now available at a new low price!

Here's what we've got:

ADV Oct 09

Clannad After Story DVD Collection #1 (Eps #1-12)
Ghost Hound DVD Collection #1 (Eps #1-11)
He Is My Master Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-12)
Kiba Season Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-52)
Popotan Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Re-Release)
RahXephon Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set + Movie (Re-Issue)
Sugar, A Little Snow Fairy DVD Collection #1 (Eps #1-13)

Funimation Oct 09

Blassreiter DVD Collection #1 (Eps #1-12)
Claymore Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26)
Comic Party Revolution Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set
D.Gray-man Season #2 Part #1 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #27-38)
Desert Punk Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Viridian Collection) (RePrice)
Mushishi Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Thin-Pak) (Viridian Collection)
Shonen Onmyoji Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26)
Story of Saiunkoku Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-39)
Tokyo Majin Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-27)

Media Blasters Oct 09

Ah My Buddha (Amaenaideyo!!) Vol #5, The Five Bare Aggregates DVD
Genshiken 2 - The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, Vol #2
Loveless Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Lite Box)
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit DVD #6 (Eps #18-20)
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit DVD Bundle #3 (DVD #5&6 - Eps #14-20)
Mouse Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Lite Box)
Otoboku: Maidens Are Falling For Me Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set
World of Magic Knight Rayearth Complete Collection Season 1 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-20) (Remastered)

Viz Oct/Nov 09

Bleach DVD Collection #4 Boxed Set (Eps #62-80) (Uncut)
Bleach, Vol #21 DVD
Bleach, Vol #22 DVD
Death Note Re-Light 2: L's Successor DVD
Nana DVD Box Set #2
Naruto: Shippuden , Vol #2 DVD (Eps #5-8) (Uncut)
Naruto: Shippuden , Vol #3 DVD (Eps #9-12) (Uncut)
Naruto: Shippuden Movie 1 DVD
Naruto Season 1 Uncut DVD Boxed Set #1 (Eps #1-26)
Naruto Season 1 Uncut DVD Boxed Set #2 (Eps #27-52)
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Battle Dimension Box Set #2 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #18-34)
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Battle Dimension Box Set #3 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #35-51)

Funimation Re-Prices

Hell Girl Complete Collection Deluxe DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26) - Now Only $36.98! ($69.98 to $49.98 MSRP)
Pani Poni Dash! Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Thin-Pak) - Now Only $36.98! ($69.98 to $49.98 MSRP)
Shin-Chan (Crayon Shinchan) Season 1 Part 1 DVD (Eps #1-13) - Now Only $21.98! ($39.98 to $29.98 MSRP)
Shin-Chan (Crayon Shinchan) Season 1 Part 2 DVD (Eps #14-26)
- Now Only $21.98! ($39.98 to $29.98 MSRP)

Autumn is shaping up with lots of new Anime goodness! I figured the studios would wait and position some of their best new releases in the 4th quarter (which we are all assuming will be much better than the dismal Q4 everyone had last year). It's very good to see ADV back off from so many in house re-releases to pave the way for three new shows - and good ones at that. Good work guys! :-) Funi's schedule has been streamlined a bit with fewer solicitations, however, that is because Funi is doing more 'reprices in place' rather than immediately try to rework every single price change into a Veridian box that is three months away, and their Oct schedule includes the first half of Blassreiter and three important new boxed set releases for Claymore, Shonen Onmyoji, and Story of Saiunkoku - so again, good work. Media Blasters will have lots of new material as well in more episodes of Ah My Buddha, Moribito, and the second season of Genshiken 2. Even Viz is stepping up with a 4th Bleach box, Nana, and lots of Naruto: Shippuden. I'm very happy to see this, as the October release schedules together are showing us more new material than we've gotten in maybe a year. November should be even better. :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm Alright...

Store Site Server Maintanence Part II

Another FYI to you guys, on July 29th to early morning July 30th from 12 midnight to around 4 am (EST), we will be conducting our second round of system upgrades to increase capacity and help improve store site performance (and pave the way for a few other things coming this fall...).

As before, this maintenance period will be transparent to you, so you will still be able to use the store as normal, however, you may not be able to use coupons or gift certificates when placing an order during this time (as that database may go offline for a short time).

We won't be publishing out any new item pages or other changes we've recently made to the site until this is completed, so all the new October releases from ADV, Funi, and Media Blasters that we've recently built will appear on the site sometime during the early morning hours of July 30th.

I know many of you are waiting to see Clannad After Story or Blassreiter or the Naruto Shippuden Movie available for pre-order, and they will be up and available a few hours from now. :-)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Conan O'Brien & Andy Richter Dub Anime

In case any of you missed this on Friday:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kannagi Now Available to RACS Customers

We now have Kannagi available to RACS customers. We have purchased a large qnty at retail and will be passing them through to you at cost.

Our official company position on the matter is as follows:

"Regretfully Bandai Entertainment has decided not to make the first issue of Kannagi available for general release. They have instead chosen to make this an exclusive sales item at one US retailer and therefore deny Anime fans a choice of where they can purchase this title. We dispute this policy, and have brought in a number of copies of Kannagi at retail, and are passing them through to you at our cost in order that customers who wish to purchase their Anime from RACS are not denied the opportunity to view this excellent title until next year when Bandai will allow all retailers to carry the general release version at a higher price."

And so it goes...

UPDATE: Vol #1 is now in stock.

UPDATE: I have temporarily removed (but not deleted) my original post about Bandai's handling of the Kannagi release in favor of the official statement above. We are currently in a dialog with Bandai regarding this and other issues and have a few things to iron out before we decide how we're going to proceed. I hope they will show us a favorable outcome, but it's up to Bandai as to if that post will come back, and in what form it will take.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Otokon 2009 Announcements

The big show in Baltimore is over, and it was great! Attendance numbers are coming in at over 26,000, and I sure believe it. Here's a quick roundup of industry announcements.

Hint hint, it's almost all Funimation:

Funimation announced that it has licensed four of the Detective Conan films. The films are: Detective Conan: The Last Magician of the Century, Detective Conan: Captured In Her Eyes, Detective Conan: Count Down to Heaven, and Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street. All four films are based on the main character from Gosho Aoyama's Detective Conan manga - a prodigy detective trapped in a seven-year-old's body. Funimation will begin releasing the movies individually this winter.

Funimation also announced at its panel on Saturday that it has licensed the new Casshern Sins and Eden of The East series. Casshern is the new 2008-2009 version of the series which just ended it's Japanese TV run in March. The story follows a cyborg who rises against the robotic armies that have subjugated all of humanity. Eden of The East is the latest series from Production I.G,and just ended it's Japanese run last month with the announcement of two theatrical films. Funi will release both the Casshern Sins and Eden of The East television anime series sometime in 2010.

Later at the show Funi said they had acquired the rights to the original Dragon Ball Z masters for the show and the films, and will be re-releasing them all in a complete collection, broken into an appropriate seven parts starting this fall. The collection will have the show back in its original 4:3 aspect ratio, as opposed to Funi's previous cut-off widescreen releases, along with Japanese and English tracks, a set of features, and a collector's booklet. Each set will go for approx $80 MSRP, meaning the entirety of Dragon Ball Z on DVD will be $560 MSRP. We'll have it for much less that that, of course, probably under $400. :-) They also announced the English cast for Nabari No Ou and Spice & Wolf. I'll have that list up on the blog later this week as soon as I get some time.

At the AniPlex booth they were saying that Sony will be releasing the second half of Blood+ this October to coincide with the DVD release of the live action Blood movie. Now that's music to my ears, though I'll be happier when we hear it directly from Sony.

At Bandai's panel they discussed their dumb new marketing strategy, but had no new license announcements or much else to talk about.

Finally, lots of Otakon 09 Cosplay action can be found here. Of course, way too many people were cosplaying Team Fortress 2

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Minka Lee: The Cuteness is Nearly Unbearable!

I've been following Minka Lee for awhile now. She is the dancing maid who has garnered a lot of attention on Nico (a video sharing service in Japan) for her lively dance performances including Ranka’s Seikan Hikou and multiple Haruhi-related songs. She now has a new video to the tune of the Hatsune Miku original song, and it's really almost too cute to watch:

She's great! I especially like the little Omake at the end, and I can watch it over and over. You can see some of her other short dance videos here, but I warn you, watching them can prove thoroughly addictive...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Store Site Server Maintanence

Just an FYI to you guys, on July 14 to early morning July 15, from 12 midnight to 6 am (EST), we will be conducting system upgrades to increase capacity and help improve store site performance due to the larger than expected increase in store traffic that has been coming in over the last couple of months.

This maintenance period should be pretty much transparent to you, and you will still be able to use the store as normal, but you may not be able to use coupons or gift certificates when placing an order during this time. Also we won't be able to publish out any item page or other changes during this time - not that we would that late at night, but you never know - sometimes I get my best work done at 3:30 in the morning... :-)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Subtitled Haruhi Available the Weekend Only

The Kadokawa Anime Channel on the YouTube streaming website has officially posted episodes 9-12 of the "renewed" airing of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya television anime series with English subtitles. The 12th episode, which is the first episode in the "Endless Eight" story arc, is the second new Haruhi episode that Kyoto Animation produced since the anime's original 2006 run.

The four subtitled episodes will be available until July 12 (July 13 at 12:59 p.m. Japan Standard Time).

Anime Expo Bishoujo Cos-Play Action

Admit it guys, one of the top reasons you go to cons is to see cute cos-play girls often dressed up in, well you know, as little as possible. I've been searching AX09 cos-play photo archives for the past few days for some of the best pics, and while YOU might be looking for images of that delectable Yoko or Misa Misa, this is my kinda gal right here:

Now don't even think of trying to steal her away by walking up to her and telling her how many Anime DVD's or Manga volumes you have to offer - she's heard it all before. Besides -and I'm sorry guys - but I have them all... -_^

Lots more excellent AX09 Bishoujo cosplay pics here and here at Japanator.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Bunch of New Sept & Oct Releases Posted for Pre-Order

We've just completed going new release sheets from four companies, so we've got lots of new Sept and Oct releases up on the store site for pre-order. Here's what we've got for you:

ADV Sept 09

Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Collection #2 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #14-26) (Re-Release)
Legends of the Dark Kings (A Fist of the North Star Story) DVD

Bandai Sept 09

Freedom (Freedom Project) DVD Part 2 (EPs #5-7)
Hayate the Combat Butler DVD Bundle #2 (2 Disks) (Eps #8-14)
Vision of Escaflowne, the Movie DVD (BluRay)

Media Blasters Sept 09

Genshiken 2 - The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, Vol #1, Full Circle
Ah! My Goddess TV Season 1 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26) (Lite Box)
Green Green the Collection DVD Boxed Set (Lite Box)
Huntik, Vol #1 DVD (Eps #1-4)
Weiss Kreuz, Knight Hunters / Knight Hunters Eternity Complete DVD Boxed Set

Viz Oct 09

Bleach, Vol #21 DVD
Death Note Re-Light 2: L's Successor DVD
Naruto: Shippuden , Vol #2 DVD (Eps #5-8) (Uncut)

I did not include the releases from Bandai (like the Gundam 00 , Vol #2 DVD) that were actually just August releases that got bumped into September. Media Blasters has finally rescheduled the first volume of Genshiken 2 but (at this point) will not be releasing the volume with an art box as was originally planned. I also wanted to note that Bandai has abandoned the idea of releasing Freedom as a complete box (for now) in exchange for a 2 part seperate DVD release. Better than the old DVD/HD version, but still not as good as a bonafide boxed set that we were all hoping for. ~sigh~

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Schedule Changes from Bandai and Viz (Updated)

I've got another grocery list of street date changes for you today, mostly from Bandai. The following titles have been rescheduled:

Nana DVD Box Set #1 (Eps #1-11.5) - moved from July 21 to Sept 8
True Tears Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (AnimeLegends) moved from July 21 to Aug 18
Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 DVD Bundle #1 (DVD #1-2) moved from Aug 4 to Aug 18
Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 DVD Bundle #1 (Limited Edition) moved from Aug 4 to Aug 18
Ghost Slayers Part #3 DVD Bundle (Eps #21-30) moved from Aug 4 to Sept 1st
Gundam 00 , Vol #2 DVD (Eps #10-17) moved from Aug 4 to Sept 16th
Gundam 00 , Vol #2 DVD Special Edition (Eps #10-17)
moved from Aug 4 to Sept 16th

That's all for now. We're wading through several updated release sheets this morning, so I'll be back with an update if we missed anything. Bandai's Sept schedule and Viz's Oct schedule will be posted to the store site for pre-order shortly.

Evangelion 1.0 English Trailer Perspectives

Funimation has recently released the first trailer for their English release of the first of the Rebuild of Evangelion movies 'You are (Not) Alone'. Unlike the Japanese trailers, Funi's trailer is decidedly oriented towards the 'action' scenes, and gives a good indication of how they intend to market the movie to an American audience:

I'm sure Funi's second trailer will be better, and I hope they work very hard to clean up the dub acting as the trailer does not seem to capture the spirit of the movies or the English dialog present in the original series.

In contrast, the much better original Japanese trailer (set to 'It's a Beautiful World') focuses more appropriately on setting the tone for the characters and the tribulations they will face as they fight a hopeless battle against the Angels:

I also like the very tastefully done 'Fly Me to the Moon' Japanese trailer:

After all, Evangelion is NOT really an action or giant robot Anime, it's a brilliant Existential journey into the nihilistic nature and ultimate futility of life told from a uniquely Japanese perspective. Personally I think Funi will do better with it if they market it from that point of view rather than just another Hollywood style action flick. But what do I know. :-)

Fascinating Economic Chart

The OECD has put together a truly fascinating time chart of industrial output over the last 30 years as a gauge of where we are during the current recession. While indicators have just recently taken a turn towards less bad, industrial output in the US has yet to show improvement.

I think the biggest fear right now is that we might end up with a dreaded 'double dip' where the stabilization over the last 4 or 5 months has actually set us up for another leg down before any actual turn around has a chance to grow legs. If the economic cycle holds true that will be the determining factor of whether a recovery is a year away, or 2 1/2 to 3 years away, and this time it's much harder to predict because the wild card are these unbelievable federal deficits that could end up stoking significant inflation 2 or 3 years down the road.

I'm old enough to remember what the 70's were like, so I'd rather not see anything like that repeated again. :-)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Can't Seem to Stay Out of Trouble

This morning a very nice Anime fan named Carl sent over this e-mail (presented in it's entirety):
"um, why is every thing like expensive and what with like say 10.98 why can't it be 10.00 with no .98?"
To which I promptly replied:

I agree, it should just be $11.00 instead of $10.98. :-)

He's probably running me into the ground on some blog or Anime forum as we speak...

I love talking to Anime fans everyday via e-mail, and I spend a good 3-4 hours of each day doing it. But mixed in with the nice General Anime inquiries and the intelligent order and product questions are always a few dumb questions or remarks - and true to form, I'm always ready with one of my trademark snarky replies which keeps me in trouble with a small portion of the fan community.

I guess it's just the price I have to pay to keep my sanity. :-)

Anime Expo - Where Did the Anime Industry Go?

Well, the big con in California is over and all we have to show for it were all these lousy new license announcements...

...or do we?

Reports coming out of Expo this year seem to reflect a tepid atmosphere but still a fun show for fans that lacked almost any industry presence. Funi and Viz were only two Anime industry companies that attempted to have any real presence at the show, and many (formerly) big names in the R1 Anime Industry were notably and totally absent this year.

As a result, we only got a tiny handful of new announcements, and while this is being explained away in some circles that the old model of 'giving up your best goods at the big show' is dead, one has to wonder. I mean, Expo is the largest and most covered convention in the US with the largest single concentration of Anime fans in one place outside of Japan - if you can't leverage the exposure for your best stuff there, then when? Where is your commitment to Anime fans. Where is the commitment to Anime retailers out here on the front lines sweating out the recession without much new material to offer our customers? Where's the beef man?!

I'm glad people had a great time at the show, but I'm pretty disappointed by the lack of industry involvement. It makes a lot of the hype we are hearing from some of the US Anime publishers ring hollow, and makes me feel like the disconnect between Fans and the Industry is wider than ever.

But maybe I'm just a little cranky because it's Monday. 'shrugs'

Sunday, July 05, 2009

More Announcements from Funimation

So far new announcements coming out of Expo have pretty much been dominated by Funimation. Today they announced at their Anime Expo panel that they have licensed the 'Sengoku Basara' television series. They also confirmed that they have not lost the license to One Piece, and DVDs will still continue to be released.

Funimation also announced the voice cast for Slayers Revolution and Slayers Evolution-R's, which will be released in early 2010:

Lina: Lisa Ortiz
Gourry: Eric Stuart
Amelia: Veronica Taylor
Zelgadis: Crispin Freeman
Xellos: Michael Sinterniklaas

The good news - Lisa Ortiz will reprise her role as Lina!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Eva 1.0 Movie Coming this Fall / One Piece Coming Fast & Hard Next Year

FUNimation has confirmed that it will screen the original Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone film in North American theaters later this summer. It will then release the updated Evangelion: 1.01 You Are (Not) Alone version on DVD this fall (probably October or November), followed by the Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone version on DVD and BD in spring 2010. These staggered releases of the different versions will mirror how the film was released in Japan. Release dates have not yet been announced.

Viz announced at its Anime Expo panel on Friday that it will publish volumes 24 through 53 of the One Piece manga series between January and June 2010 - about five per month or one volume about every 6 days for 6 months - yikes! Volume 53 only just shipped in Japan in March, and Viz's own Shonen Jump magazine will publish the latest chapters from Japan starting this fall.

Friday, July 03, 2009

First New Announcements Coming In from Expo

Some pre-Expo announcements are already coming in. Here's the roundup so far (via my laptop on the road):

1) Funimation has announced that it has acquired the first season of the Sands of Destruction anime series (also known as World Destruction: Sekai Bokumetsu no Rokunin in Japan) from Sega of America. The 13-episode anime series ties into the story of the Sands of Destruction (World Destruction) role-playing game, which Sega will release for the Nintendo DS in Spring of 2010.

2) Funimation has also announced the English voice cast for its release of El Cazador de la Bruja:

Ellis - Maxey Whitehead
Nadie -Trina Nishimura
Blue-Eyes (AKA Jody Hayward) - Clarine Harp
Douglas Rosenberg - Ian Sinclair
Ricardo - Bob Carter
Lirio - Monica Rial
L.A. - Jamie McGonnigal
Dr. Heinz Schneider - Christopher Bevins

3) Nozomi Entertainment (aka Brand X) has announced that it has acquired the licenses to Aria the Origination (season 3 of Aria), Aria the OVA Arietta, Antique Bakery, and two seasons of the Junjou Romantica anime. Antique Bakery adapts Fumi Yoshinaga's manga about four men who run Antique, a quaint cafe that celebrates the small joys of life such as cake, and Junjo Romantica is based on Shungiku Nakamura's popular boys-love manga of the same name.

4) Just when you thought MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter were vampiring all of your time away, Funimation (who is desperately trying to find creative ways to monetize streaming Anime content - because they 'think' online will solve all of our 'shrinking market' problems) is launching a Social Networking site for Anime fans called, billing the site as a community to offer "1000s of episodes to 1000s of friends". The website is currently in the beta stage, and considering Funi's previous online projects (remember AnimeOnline?), is unlikely to ever emerge from it. -_^

5)ADV has announced that they have aquired "Hokuto no Ken Raoh Gaiden: Ten no Haoh", which is from the Fist of the North Star franchise. John Ledford has licensed the title through his Sentai Filmworks division and then contracted it's release and distribution through his ADV Films division.

6) Central Park Media offered a final farewell message in an ad they placed in the Anime Expo program guide, which read as follows:

To all CPM Fans and Friends:
It has been a wonderful twenty years working to find great anime and manga to bring to the attention of American fandom. As the Bible says: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted... Well, we've done our borning, planting, and plucking up and dying. We've had a ball doing it and getting to know many of you along the way. We thank all of you who have supported us in our endeavors, and we wish everyone all the best. And as one of our other favorite role models once wrote,'Nuff said!

Farewell CPM. We remember nostalgically when we were one of your only accounts who actually paid our bills on time...

...tell you the truth, we probably still are. -_^

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Have a Great Independence Day Weekend!

Reminder - our warehouse and administrative offices will be closed on July 3rd in advance of the Independence Day holiday. All orders placed over the holiday weekend will be processed and filled when we return on Monday, July 6th.

For all of you folks out at Anime Expo this weekend - enjoy the show, and be sure to heckle Kleckner for me a little bit at his 'state of the industry' panel! I think he's out there all by himself this year! -_^

Happy Independence Day everyone!