Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vintage 1970

Well, I'm 40 years old today. It's the existential birthday when you finally realize your more than half way. Probably quite a bit more. My hair is starting to thin out along the sides and my size 34 jeans are, well, let just say that's probably never happening again.

Still, I suppose since I'm now so much closer to the warm embrace of death than I was yesterday, I might as well go into hock up to my eyeballs to finally get one of these. :-)

So, 40 aye? I don't feel like I'm 40, but what does 40 feel like anyway? Let see if I can put my finger on what's it's like:

HEH. Yeah, I wish...

No no no no, that's not right... good grief.

Hmmm, closer, but not quite...

Hell Yeahhhhhhhh.... That's It! Right on Target! :-)

Nuff Said. Have a great Sunday everyone!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Media Blasters Delays

I know this is rather old news, but for some reason I thought I had already posted on it. Media Blasters sent over a few schedule changes on Jan 15th, and the release dates on the following pre-order titles were changed:

Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny, Vol #2 - pushed from Jan 26 to Mar 23
Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny, Vol #3 - pushed from Mar 23 to Apr 20
Magic Knight Rayearth Season 1 DVD Box (Remastered) - pushed from Jan 26 to Apr 27

There were several other dates changes in their live action and manga lines, but those did not effect items currently on the store except for the Akihabara @ Deep , Vol #6, Graphic Novel which was finally updated from the old Sept 23rd (2009) street date up to April 14th.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Economics 201 - Keynes vs. Hayek Rap

Before we tune into a state of the union address tonight, here's a refresher for 2 years worth of University economics philosophy in less than 8 minutes. Don't forget to take notes...

Brilliant! No matter if you're a Keynesian or Hayek Austrian Schooler basically the gist is that either way we're all probably screwed in the end. -_^

I'm an Austrian Schooler myself.

Funimation's April 2010 Releases - Now Available for Pre-Order!

Funimation has sent out their April 2010 schedule and we've got it posted to the site! Here's what's now available for pre-order:

Funimation April 2010

Blade of the Phantom Master DVD (S.A.V.E. Edition)
D.Gray-man Season #1 Part #2 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #14-26) (BLURAY)
King of Bandit Jing in Seventh Heaven OVA DVD (S.A.V.E. Edition)
Pumpkin Scissors Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Esp #1-24) (S.A.V.E. Edition)
Strain: Strategic Armored Infantry Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-13) (S.A.V.E. Edition)
When They Cry: Higurashi, Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Viridian Collection)

In addition to this list there will be a small number of pre-scheduled price reductions on about half a dozen existing products which will be made public in April. I've seen the list and trust me, it's nothing really significant there.

The thing about Funi's April schedule that REALLY surprised me is that there is, at least so far, absolutely NO new Anime material, and I keep looking at the release sheets thinking that maybe I'm missing something. Everything is price downs and re-releases of existing series. I'm not sure what that means, if anything. So far Funi's 2010 release strategy loaded up most of their 1st quarter new material to release in March, and perhaps that will become the norm where we only get a significant amount of new stuff out from them 1 out of every 3 months or so. The irony for me is that little Section 23, no longer encumbered by ADV's failed business model and now catering to the sub only customer base, is managing to get several new series out on the street every month, where as Funi seems to be having trouble juggling their existing catalog. Or, perhaps, Funi is targeting their new material into release periods when they deem it most likely to be successful. Will be interesting to see how they handle this going forward.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

When are all the Anime BD Releases Coming?

All things being equal, I'm finding myself wanting to buy most new DVD titles on BluRay these days as long as the price difference is not to much (say 10 or 15% tops). Most of my TV's are now 1080p, and those that are now all have BD players attached to them (including the one that my PS3 is the player for). This leaves me in a bit of a quandary regarding Anime titles, because so much material is not yet being made available on BD, and when it is, the price is usually quite high.

This, I think, is finally going to become a real problem for the R1 industry this year as fans start to want to migrate their new purchases, but the R1 companies face Japanese partners that are so paranoid about re-imports that they will not license HD content unless it's released at comparatively high prices over here, and even then only with a big time lag behind the Japanese BD release. Oricon reported this week that Japanese Anime sales where actually up in Japan by about 6% last quarter thanks to the demand there for BD releases, so that just gives the Japanese even less incentive to try to seek HD revenue over here in the US and Canada. Gonzalo Ferreyra of Viz was really pressed about BD releases in an interview this week, and stumbled around the questions as best as he could while trying to say things that would not piss off their Japanese licensing partners. Here's a portion of that interview:

One of the things that's happening in the DVD or home video business at large is the impact of Blu-ray. Where's Viz on releasing Blu-ray versions of its titles?

Ferreyra - "Again, we're in the early stages of examining it in terms of the U.S. market potential. As you know we're distributed by Warner Brothers. It has a very active and successful Blu-ray program. One of the challenges with Blu-ray is that it's region-free. We really need to do our homework in terms of coordinating releases with Japan, with the licensors to get this right. New conversations are happening."

So is this material not coming out on Blu-ray in Japan either?

Ferreyra - "I'm not sure. It probably is. The issue is simply that any strategy we proceed with on Blu-ray is more than ever tied back to what they are doing and their release strategy. Keep in mind that if we release a Blu-ray disc in the U.S. with with original Japanese with optional sub-titles, that is an attractive disc back in Japan. It opens you up to a gray market back in Japan that creates some problems. The pricing here is actually very competitive versus the Japan pricing. We have a lot to sort out."

Blu-ray's the growing part of the home video business, DVDs are shrinking. Aren't you leaving growth on the table by waiting so long?

Ferreyra - "Perhaps. I'm not saying we're not exploring it. The question is right now in the market it remains to be seen - it is a percentage of the business. It remains to be seen at what point it will dominate and move forward. Trust me. We're having lengthy conversations with Warner who obviously is providing their knowledge of the market and the potential for us to engage Japan with these discussions and make a compelling case for how to proceed."

Ferreyra concluded by admitting that it is unlikely that any Anime will be released on BluRay from Viz this year.

R1 studios are not going to be able to build a future on paid downloads or advertising revenue shares. That strategy caters mostly to the folks who are currently stealing Anime, and is DOA. From my point of view, I only care about the concerns of paying Anime fans. Torrent downloaders and bootleggers have no stake, and therefore no voice, in the Anime industry and their concerns should go entirely ignored by the industry except to the point of what might entice them to become paying customers again. It's getting harder to sell Anime SD DVD releases when high quality HD torrents ripped from Japanese BD releases are available for free everywhere you look. And it's not that BD really brings much to the table as far a regular Anime releases are concerned (well, except maybe this..), but more and more fans who buy DVD's are now wanting to standardize into the new format irregardless and pretty soon SD will be considered a 'downgrade'. My feeling is that BD is a pretty vital component to keeping the R1 Anime industry here viable (but I've also said the same thing about dubs) and if R1 Anime companies do not get their BD strategy together this year, it may be too late because many paying fans will have moved on.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Section 23's April Releases - Now Available for Pre-Order!

We've got Section 23's April release schedule, and they are now available for pre-order on the store site! Here's what we've got coming for you:

Section 23 April:

Gintama DVD Collection #1 (Eps #1-13)
Hidamari Sketch X 365 Complete Collection DVD Box
Living for the Day After Tomorrow
(Asatte no Houkou) Complete Collection DVD Box Set (Eps #1-12)
Petite Cossette Le Portrait De OVA DVD (Re-Release)

GinTama Synopsis: Edo-period at Japan suffers a big cultural shock. First, the aliens invaded the earth, overpowered the nation’s government, disbanded carrying swords for the once proud samurais. moreover; these aliens took the people’ jobs and are currently running a sweatshop using them as laborers. going with the flow, Sakata Gintoki, an enigmatic vagrant samurai whose personal trademark is not only his naturally permed silver hair but also his love of anything sweet and addiction Shounen Jump is making a life out of this chaotic era. He is self employed in a do-it-all shop named Yoruzuya Gin-chan who offers any job for any amount of money. Their jobs range from searching lost kittens and saving the world. Sakata Gintoki is a samurai living in an era when samurais are no longer needed. To add to his troubles, oppressive aliens have moved in to invade. Gintoki lives with Kagura and Shinpachi, taking on odd jobs to make the world a better place...and to pay their rent.

Asatte no Houkou (Living for the Day After Tomorrow) Synopsis: Karada is a young girl who hates being treated like a child and who wishes to be grown up. Shoko is an aloof, unhappy young woman who has just returned from overseas. When they meet by coincidence one night at a local shrine where they both like to make wishes, they exchange ages.

Hidamari Sketch X365 Synopsis: After passing her entrance exam, Yuno enrols at Yamabuki High School as part of an art degree. She stays at the Hidamari Apartments along with best friend Miyako, and seniors Hiro and Sae. Each episode follows a day in her life as she mingles with her friends, close peers, overly hyper teachers and closely follows the mundane lives of the high school girls. (Note: This season also takes place in Yuno's first year at high school, and overlaps with season one of the show)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bandai and Media Blasters April Releases - Now Available for Pre-Order!

We've just completed posting both Bandai's and Media Blasters April 2010 releases to the store site. The following April releases are now available for pre-order:

Bandai April

Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens Complete Collection DVD Box (Eps #1-14)
Lucky Star, Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-24) (Anime Legends)

Media Blasters April

Bludgeoning Angel
Dokuro-Chan DVD (Special Edition)
Doujin Work Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-12)
Genshiken 2 - The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture Premium Collection DVD Box (Eps #1-12)
Go Lion (Beast King Go Lion) Complete Collection DVD Box Set (Eps #1-52)
Kanokon: The Girl Who Cried Wolf, Vol #1, Sexy Like a Fox DVD
Tekkaman Blade Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-49)

The only new material being announced here is Kanokon: The Girl Who Cried Wolf. Kannagi was previously released last summer, though (God know why), it was restricted to only one outlet (we've been selling it through at cost for 8 months), so while I'm glad Bandai will finally be making this title available to all retailers, I doubt there are many fans left that want to see it but don't already have it. Note some significant price reductions for several series being bundled into boxed sets! :-)

We also have Section 23's April schedule in hand, and we'll have that up shortly as well!

Bandai Pushes February Releases Back to March

Bandai sent over their April mailer this morning which included a list of release date changes in which they have bumped their entire slate of scheduled February releases back three weeks from Feb 9th to Mar 2nd.

The release date on the following titles have been changed:

Eureka Seven Movie DVD- Feb 9th to Mar 2nd
Eureka Seven Movie DVD (BLURAY)
- Feb 9th to Mar 2nd
Hayate the Combat Butler DVD #4 (2 Disks) (Eps #22-26)- Feb 9th to Mar 2nd
Kurokami The Animation Part #1 DVD (Eps #1-6)- Feb 9th to Mar 2nd
Kurokami The Animation Part #1 DVD (BLURAY) (Eps #1-4)
- Feb 9th to Mar 2nd

We'll be posting their April releases to the store site a little later today.

Kanokon Now Available for Preorder!

Media Blasters announced a few days ago that they had licensed the notoriously ecchi / lolicon / fanservice / wolfgirl harem anime Kanokon! They have scheduled the first DVD (eps #1-4) for release on April 27th, and we now have it up for pre-order here. We'll be posting the rest of their April release schedule to the store site later today. :-)

Plot Summary: Kanokon's story revolves around Kouta Oyamada, a young first-year high school student who moves from the country to the city and thus transfers to Kunpo High School. On his first day at his new school, a beautiful second-year female student named Chizuru Minamoto asks him to meet her alone in the music room. When he arrives, she reveals that she is in fact a fox deity and from that day on the two hang out together. Nozomu is a first year female student at Kouta's school, she is in fact a wolf deity and in love with Kouta, and a rival of Chizuru for Kouta's affections.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hidamari Sketch Inventory Update

A lot of you are asking today if we have Hidamari Sketch back in stock. The answer is -no- not yet. Due to a little, um, SNAFU at Section 23 we did not get our entire initial shipment. In fact, we only got in 10% of the qnty we ordered, which all went to whatever pre-orders we could fill - so it came and went and we have been working with Section 23 for a couple of week to get in the rest of our shipment. Section 23 has now confirmed that the rest of the order is being sent out to us, so I'm hoping we'll finally have this title in stock deep by the end of the this week. We'll post on the updates page the day the rest of those copies hit the dock.

Nothing really unusual about this for a January except that so far it's only happened to one item. :-) Usually when this happens we are able to get more copies expedited in quickly, but this time there were no copies to be had right away, which is symptomatic of almost everyone's (except for us) desire these days not to actually keep any extra inventory of anything in stock. The rule now is that you order exactly the number of copies be produced that the retailers advance order - no more / no less, and then you re-order more later as needed based on sales performance only after an item or title has proven itself to be sales worthy. I'm seeing this sort of thing duplicated on other Anime retailers sites were they clearly want to maintain a huge catalog of 'item listings' without actually stocking the products behind those listings in their warehouse. Slower moving or low sell through items will be listed on those sites with availability markers like 'we'll get it for you' , meaning we don't stock that item, but we'll see if we can get it after you order it - and if not, too bad - or 'limited availability' , which means we 'might' have some stock left, but either way it's not worth trying to restock once our initial inventory is gone. After all, who can be bothered these days to keep their supply chain well organized to fill the customers needs? etc etc.

We're certainly not perfect, but we work very hard to have an Anime store site were every product behind that site is in stock all the time, and we just don't list a bunch of stuff that we either can't get, or has gone out of stock and won't be replaced. I think that's why our customers enjoy such good fill ratios on their orders, and that we rarely have backorders or stock outs or pre-orders that can't be filled, and that product stock outs here only represent some problem in the supply chain, not some policy decision being made about which products we want to bother to keep on hand.

Anyway, this has always been our thinking here, for better or worse, I suppose, and now you know. :-)

Witch Hunter Robin DVD Boxed Sets Back in Stock!

We managed to lay our hands on a couple of brand new cases of the out of print Witch Hunter Robin Anime Legends boxed sets.

These haven't been available from Bandai since last summer, so get em while they last!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Screw American Idol...

Fellow Otaku (and Narutard) Mere Doyle gives it her all:

Don't you dare give up Mere, you can come sing for us anytime! You go girl! :-)

Meet Komiko...

You have to begin wondering if Anime has 'jumped the cultural shark' when the folks on 30 Rock start making fun of folks who have a dakimakura as their girlfriend...

I mean, does anyone know a real otaku who isn't in a common law marriage with at least one body pillow??!!


By the way, we sell these right here. :-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Taking It Up a Notch

Forget Alien vs. Predator...

Bloody hell, why didn't I think of that??!!... HEH.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Relief

Jamie and I have already made private contributions to the Red Cross and Save the Children in care of Haitian Earthquake Relief, and if you would like to help too, Chuck Simmons rounds up some of the other private organizations responding to the Haitian earthquake here.

From what I've read about the disaster, things are absolutely terrible down there and are going to get much worse over the next few days and weeks. These people are going to need all the help we can give them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Funimation Gets Axis Powers Hetalia & Sacred Blacksmith

Funimation announced today that they have aquired the rights to both Axis Powers Hetalia & Sacred Blacksmith.

Axis Powers Hetalia is a 52 eps comedy about a pasta-loving young soldier in an Italy on the cusp of war. The series is directed by Bob Shirohata and based on the manga by Hikekaz Himayura.

Sacred Blacksmith is a 12 eps series about a young woman taking her role in the family business with a sacred blacksmith, who can forge swords that can beat demons, on her side. It's based on the light novel series by Isao Miura.

In other news, Funimation will not license the second season to the Big Windup! baseball anime. Lance Heiskell (of Funi) cited low sales, saying, "there was not enough of an audience there who bought the series." Heiskell also said the low sales does not warrant Funimation acquiring other titles from the same genre of sports anime. I can certainly confirm that Big Windup was one of our worst selling titles released last year. It's not a bad show, it's just Anime fans don't seem to care much for the sports genre anymore.

Funi has also confirmed on that it's release of the FLCL anime release later this year will include the original English dub done by Synch-Point for the previous release. That's good news because that's the dub we already know and love!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Funimation to Re-Release FLCL

FLCL will be re-released this year!

From IcV2:

Funimation has acquired the rights to the six-OVA anime FLCL from Production I.G., and plans to release them in one DVD set and on Blu-ray late this year. FLCL, despite the limited amount of material, has had a good audience in the U.S., and won two American Anime Awards in connection with the release of the FLCL Ultimate DVD Collection.

Broccoli Books sister company Synch-point was the previous licensee; it ceased operations in late 2008.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Hell yes!

Ummm, English language release? Anyone? Please?...

New Years Availability Reminder

We're starting off a whole new year and I just wanted to post a reminder about availability dates based on a lot of e-mail inquiries that we've been getting lately.

From where we are sitting, this industry is a ragged patchwork of studios, middle men, importers, and direct sources in Japan, and we try to pull it all together for you in one place. That said, please remember that until something is actually physically in my warehouse and under my control, we can't really be responsible for when we're going to be able to ship it to you. Please don't get mad at us when the street date for a manga gets canceled or bumped, or a new figure doesn't hit in the target month we list. We do our best, and sometimes the arrival times we post are our 'best guess' based on what we know (or are being told) at the time.

OK, Nuff said. Now, time to get back to business! :-)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

OK, it's 2010, so where are the Combat Maids...??

My deeps thoughts on 2010...

So it's 2010 - where are the flying cars and robotic combat maids we were all promised back in 1984??!! What ever happended to that manned Mars mission... (oh yeah, I guess we kinda ran out money for that stuff). I'm still buying 'gasoline' every week for my 'ground car' - by now I figured we'd be running them on beer and old banana peels:

But I guess we should just be thankful it hasn't come to this yet: