Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Hey there, just checking in.

After a rather typical and routine Thanksgiving weekend, including Black Friday, we got SLAMMED starting around Sunday afternoon. Order volume increased somewhere around 300% between Sunday evening, and this morning, and continues to increase - right on schedule.

We are ready of course, and orders are being processed quickly and efficiently in our warehouse. I'm just glad we worked over the holiday weekend, otherwise we'd be behind today.

Just a couple of quick reminders for between now and Dec 17th:

1) We'll be working processing orders 7 days a week through Dec 17th. Plenty of time to sleep later.

2) 'Super Saver' or free ship orders will get the LOWEST fill priority in our warehouse through Dec 23rd. This is typical of what we do during the holidays and allows us to better balance our daily fulfillment load - that's why we offer a free shipping option. So during this period don't get mad at us if your Super Saver order doesn't fill for 2-4 business days after you place it. Air Freight, Pri Mail, and Ground orders will fill first since those folks are paying for shipping, and I think that's only fair.

3) We will attempt as many 100% fills as possible during this period, so we reserve the option to hold a ticket for a day or two if it means mating it up with incoming inventory that will allow us to ship you 100% of your order all together, but we won't hold tickets any longer than that. This year the big problem child will be the thing with Media Blasters moving their distribution right in the middle of the holidays is going to cause plenty of shortages on their stuff (as you well know), and we won't be holding tickets for any backordered MB items, even if you request it. I doubt they will get their operations back up and running 100% until January anyway. Everything else should go pretty smoothly.

4) I'm going to try to answer every e-mail that comes the same day, so some of my answers may be short and to the point - expect it. Inquiries regarding orders will take priority over 'can you get this?' or 'when is this coming out?' e-mails.

BTW - our Cyber Monday sales items are still up, and will be until we have time to take them down today. Take advantage!

That's it for now, keep those orders coming and we'll do the rest! :-)

Monday, November 29, 2010


Cash in with savings up to 50% off MSRP on some of our best selling Anime DVD's, BluRay's, Figures, and Manga with our Black Friday 2010 Holiday Specials!

These prices will be good through midnight on Cyber Monday (Nov 29th), but only while our existing supplies last so don't miss out - get your orders in today!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


A clear case of Yui over indulgence...

Still, not quite as creepy as the obligatory 2D sleep over:

OMG! (Hat tip to Sean for sending!)

The Guild - Do You Wanna Date My Avatar


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Just wanted to post a reminder that we will be closed for business tomorrow, Thursday, November 25th for the Thanksgiving holiday, but we will be back at it on Friday filling and shipping all of your holiday orders and answering e-mails. Most of the other online Anime stores will be closed on Friday, so if there is anything you need we can take care of it for you.

While you are giving thanks this holiday season, and taking advantage of all the big box mover excess inventory giveaways, try to take a moment and think about all the small business people in America trying to hang on to their dreams during this resession. It's been another tough year, but we still have each other, and that's a lot to give thanks for. Stay safe this weekend, and enjoy your Anime!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Customer Comment

Comment sent in yesterday by Chris in regards to our fix to his Birdy set problem:

"Thanks Bob!

I'll be looking forward to getting the fixed version so we can continue watching Birdy the Mighty.

For what its worth what distinguishes a Great Company from an average company is not whether they encounter problems, but in how they handle and resolve problems as they arise.

I submitted my problem and you provided me with the solution in the same day and to me thats more than outstanding! So should the subject ever come up whether your company is so-so or a Great One you have my highest endorsement and future business.

Hope everyone at RAC has a wonderful Holiday spent with family and friends.

Chris P."

Thank YOU Chris! :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010


With the holidays closing in, we know that time is of the essence for the delivery of your Anime orders. So from now until Wednesday, November 24th you can get free 2nd Day air shipping of any order over $100 of IN STOCK items listed on the store!

To get free 2nd Day air shipping on any IN STOCK order over $100, just select our FedEx 2nd Day Air shipping option and use the following coupon during checkout:


As with all special shipping offers, this offer has a few restrictions:

1) Applies only to US customers shipping to a Street address within the continental US.
2) Applies only to orders in which your IN STOCK total = $100 or more.
3) Can only be used in conjunction with our FedEx 2nd Day Air shipping option.

This offer not valid for shipments going to APO/FPO, PO box, or any other addresses that we cannot use FedEx Air service to deliver to. Also not valid for shipments to AK, HI, or PR. Orders placed choosing FedEx Air service are usually shipped next business day.

Note: Valid for new orders of IN STOCK items only. Coupon code expires at midnight EST on November 24th so get your orders in ASAP!

Rules of Anime

1. Music foreshadows plot.
2. The less you care about sex, the more opportunities you'll get.
3. (Inversely, the harder you try, the less you'll get.)
4. When you die, make a long speech, and don't finish the last sentence.
5. Snow means love.
6. The best teams come in fives.
7. In space, you can hear everything.
8. There's always room for flashbacks!
9. When in China, listen to your tour guide.
10. The good guy always has the BLUE glow.
11. Speak quietly, pilot a big mech.
12. Believe in goddesses.
13. Teachers have excellent aim with small objects.
14. Vengeance with a mallet is the sweetest revenge of all.
15. Honor is sexy; villainy is irresistible.
16. Women are attracted to losers; men are attracted to ANYTHING.
17. The coolest weapon is still the sword.
18. The hero is never really mad until they hurt his girlfriend.
19. Female androids are sexy; male androids are….male androids.
20. The green-haired alien girl will always betray her people for the man she loves.
21. School uniforms are cool only when the collar is open.
22. A show without sexual tension isn't worth watching.
23. Love knows no race, species, or logic.
24. If it's homemade but tastes bad, grin and bury it (discreetly).
25. Never trust a huge corporation.
26. Romance never comes simpler than in a triangle.
27. Never fall for the girl who names her mech with a French name.
28. Never fall in love with a psychic.
29. You can never have too much hair.
30. Sweating is a sure sign of stress.
31. Daydreaming leads to accidents.
32. Everyone wants to conquer Japan.
33. The cute, fuzzy creature isn't what it seems.
34. Cherry blossoms mean nostalgia.
35. Always take gravity into account.
36. Settings and faces are self-generating.
37. Losing your temper can be therapeutic.
38. There's nothing sexier than high heels on a mech.
39. You can never have too many subplots.
40. If she sings, she's doomed.
41. You always remember the sad endings.
42. Double suicide is romantic.
43. Outrageous vehicles only make the hero cooler.
44. Nothing delays romance like unruly neighbors.
45. Fancy ice cream is for girls only.
46. The most virtuous character will die.
47. Hot water has innumerable benefits.
48. No matter how much blood is lost, no one can die by a nosebleed.
49. The girl with the curly hair is always the seductress.
50. If a sister falls in love with her brother, somewhere down the line you will discover that they're not blood related.
51. The guy in the baseball cap is always more powerful than he seems.
52. All demons/monsters have enormous genitalia.
53. All young children can pilot mecha, you just need to give them a few days.
54. It is possible to incorporate martial arts into any aspect of life.
55. All high school kids in Japan have parents that are away on extended business trips.
56. The oldest sister is the nice one, the youngest sister is the brash one.
57. You can do anything to the human body as long as you hit the right pressure point.
58. Consuming enormous amounts of alcohol daily will never have ill effects.
59. All major villains either want to take over the world or blow it up.
60. When someone paints up their face, they mean business.
61. Everyone in Japan has excellent singing voices.
62. No matter how many times you rebuild, Tokyo keeps getting destroyed in a massive fireball.
63. The martial arts expert is always defenseless against a slap from the girl who loves him.
64. TAKAHASHI'S LAW 1: Food is a powerful motivator.
65. When women are sent out to fight the bad guys, there's always a hunk busily watching over them, often in secret.
66. The longer it takes to say what your punch is called, the less effective it is.
67. "Baka" does not mean a student going for his baccalaureate degree.
68. The more possessive a woman gets, the less likely she will end up with the man of her dreams.
69. TAKAHASHI'S LAW 2: The two-foot-tall old geezer is someone to be feared.
70. The fate of the planet rests in the hands of the seemingly normal high school student.
71. The heroine must shred her clothes while transforming into something to fight the bad guys.
72. True evil can never be destroyed, only banished to some nether realm where it awakes after a few hundred years.
73. TAKAHASHI'S LAW 3: When being hit on the head, it's the most natural thing in the world to tuck your third and fourth fingers in while keeping the others extended.
74. Even the bravest souls can be made weak and helpless by the sight of a cute little puppy or kitten.
75. Never love a Gundam pilot : you're just destined for disappointment (or a funeral).
76. All persons under the age of 50 can do a ten foot vertical jump from a standing position.
77. Never trust a guy with shiny teeth.
78. ESP causes more trouble than it solves.
79. The vampire isn't always the bad guy.
80. Nice things can come out of video stores that appear from nowhere.
81. Idiot captains win battles against impossible odds.
82. Order takeout at every opportunity–you might get lucky with a wrong number.
83. The police are never anywhere there is a large amount of property damage.
84. All high school principals in Japan are clinically insane.
85. All people with esper powers give off multicolored auras.
86. Just about any outer space villain has his sights set on destroying the Earth.
87. No other planet in the universe will be able to stop said villain except the Earth.
88. Any character can make a leap of 300 ft or more if given a good running start.
89. A samurai sword can cut through anything.
90. All characters over the age of 60 shrink in height in direct proportion to their age.
91. When uncovering a fabulous treasure, the thing will be large enough to completely destroy any surrounding structures.
92. TAKAHASHI'S LAW #4: An anti-climax is a good climax.
93. Anime villians have the best deaths.
94. Any love interest will always be possesed by a demon.
95. Mallets can be stored anywhere on anybody.
96. If the anime has the word "idol" in the title, then you know that it has to be good.
97. Takada Yumi really does sing that bad, and people still buy her CDs.
98. If you make enough porno movies, eventually you can get famous enough to star in commercials. "Iijima Ai desu! 'Manga manga no mori mori!!'"
99. There is no such thing as a public anime showing without heckling.
100. You can spot how popular a show is by looking at the number of H doujinshi it has.
101. If the lyrics to the song are printed on the screen, then you're watching a show that's not for your age group.
102. The sexiest girls are drawn by artists whose last names start with "U".
103. The English words in Jpop songs are put there only because they sound good, since they don't make any sense with the rest of the lyrics.
104. The hero always loses the first fight with a new enemy.
105. The guys with two earrings are from the Negaverse.
106. Don't trust the guys with two earrings.
107. Any truly evil person who changes sides for the woman he loves will die in that episode.
108. You CAN do it, but only when it's funny or REALLY important.
109. You can never have too many carrots.
110. Hair comes in every shade of the rainbow – and we do mean pink, purple, blue, green.

Taken from a recent Hobbyfanatics forum post. Feel free to add if you like. :-)

Customer Comment

From Frank today:

"I want to thank you and your staff for delivering exceptional and personalized customer service, it's always a pleasure doing business with you folks and I'm especially happy that I receive my orders within two business days. It pays to live close to your warehouse. Most importantly, I love the fact that you have a flat rate for UPS deliveries. There's quite a few times that I can find a number of items whose unit price is cheaper than your prices, but when factoring in S&H, I end up saving some bucks. You can put this into your customer comments if you like. Thank you."

Thanks Frank! VERY much appreciated!

NIS America Licenses Working!! (Wagnaria) Anime

NIS America has announced that they have licensed the Working!! anime series. They are going to release the entire 13-episode series in an English-subtitled DVD set under the title 'Wagnaria!!' next March. The set will include hardcover art book and a collector's case.

In the anime and Karino Takatsu's original four-panel manga that inspired it, a high school freshman named Sōta Takanashi (Jun Fukuyama) works part-time among a restaurant's high-spirited, eccentric, yet cool staffers.

We'll have it up for pre-order soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

K-ON! School Anime Pilgrimage

From Moe Passion: Part 1 and Part 2

VERY cool!

Funimation Announces February / March 2011 Releases

Funimation has given us BOTH their February AND March 2011 release schedules together, and we now have them both posted and available on the store site for pre-order.

Make sure you're sitting down before reading further...

Here's what's coming:

Funimation February 2011

Chobits Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-24) (Classic Anime)
Chobits Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-24) (Classic Anime) (BLURAY)
Chrome Shelled Regios Part 1 DVD Collection (Eps #1-12)
Chrome Shelled Regios Part 2 DVD Collection (Eps #13-24)
Chrono Crusade Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set
Dragon Ball Z Dragonbox DVD Set #5 (Eps #169-199)
Dragon Ball Movie 4-Pack DVD (Remastered)
Ga-Rei Zero Complete Colelction DVD (Eps #1-12)
Ga-Rei Zero Complete Colelction DVD (Eps #1-12) (BLURAY)
Gungrave Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Classic Collection)
Initial D Second Stage DVD Boxed Set (Eps #27-39)
One Piece Season 3 Part 5 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #192-201) (Uncut)
Sgt Frog (Keroro Gunso) Season 1 Complete DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26)
Summer Wars Movie DVD
Summer Wars Movie DVD (BLURAY)

Funimation March 2011

Black Butler Season 1 Part 2 DVD Collection (Eps #13-24)
D.Gray-man Season #2 Complete DVD Boxed Set (Eps #27-52)
Darker Than Black Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps # 1-26) (Classics Collection)
Dragonball Z Kai Season 1 Part 4 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #40-52)
Dragonball Z Kai Season 1 Part 4 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #40-52) (BLURAY)
Eden of the East Movie 1: King of Eden DVD
Eden of the East Movie 1: King of Eden DVD (BLURAY)

El Cazador de la Bruja TV Series Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26)
Excel Saga Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Thin-Pak)
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Part 4 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #40-52)
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Part 4 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #40-52) (BLURAY)
Gunslinger Girl Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set + OVA (Classics Collection)
Hero Tales (Jyûshin Enbu) Part #1 DVD Collection (Eps #1-13)
Hero Tales (Jyûshin Enbu) Part #2 DVD Collection (Eps #14-26)
Heroic Age Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26) (BLURAY) (S.A.V.E. Edition)
Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple Season #2 Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #27-50)
Linebarrels of Iron Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-24)
Neon Genesis Evangelion 2.22 You Can [Not] Advance Movie DVD
Neon Genesis Evangelion 2.22 You Can [Not] Advance Movie DVD (BLURAY)

Rideback Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #-1-13)
Rin: Daughter of Mnemosyne DVD Complete Series DVD Boxed Set (Eps 1-6) (Viridian Collection)
Rosario+Vampire Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-13)
Rosario+Vampire Capu2 (Season 2) Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #14-26)
Samurai Champloo Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26) (Classics Collection)
Samurai Champloo Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26) (BLURAY) (Classics Collection)
Sgt Frog (Keroro Gunso) Season 2 Complete DVD Boxed Set (Eps #27-51)
Shigurui: Death Frenzy Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-12) (Classics Collection)
Shigurui: Death Frenzy Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-12) (Classics Collection) (BLURAY)
Soul Eater Collection Season 1 Complete DVD Box (Eps #1-26)
Soul Eater Collection Season 1 Complete DVD Box (Eps #1-26) (BLURAY)
Speedgrapher Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (S.A.V.E. Edition)
XXXHolic TV Series Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (S.A.V.E. Edition)
Yu Yu Hakusho Season 1 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-28) (BLURAY) (Classic Collection)

Take a deep breath and read it again if you have to. It's OK, I about fell out of my chair too... -_^

Comments coming shortly. Sleep first.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Japan Post Suspends Air Parcel Shipments to the US - Sort of...

There has been a lot of talk over the last couple of days about Japan Post suspending all Airmail and EMS shipments between Japan and the US that are over 16oz (1lb). Frankly, the press releases made by Japan Post have been somewhat contradictory regarding this, but as of this time the reports coming out of Japan look like this:

The Japan Post Office announced November 12 that from November 17 it would indefinitely stop accepting mail parcels to the United States weighing more than 453 grams. The Post Office has at this time given no indication of how long this suspension will last only saying that it is “for the time being.” This suspension includes all regular international airmail parcels, as well as EMS. The Japan Post Office (JPO) has cut Japan off from the US entirely, at least as far as airmail parcels over a pound in weight go. The reason the JPO gives for this action is that following attempts to send explosives through air cargo from Yemen to the US, American security measures for air cargo have become increasingly severe. America and Guam are included in this provision, raising the strong possibility that Christmas and year end parcels will not be able to be sent from Japan to the US, which is likely to cause massive confusion.

Another reports says this:

The Japan Post Office announced November 12 that from November 17 it would indefinitely stop accepting mail parcels to the United States weighing more than 453 grams. The Post Office has at this time given no indication of how long this suspension will last only saying that it is “for the time being.” This suspension includes all regular international airmail parcels, as well as EMS. The Japan Post Office (JPO) has cut Japan off from the US entirely, at least as far as airmail parcels over a pound in weight go. The reason the JPO gives for this action is that following attempts to send explosives through air cargo from Yemen to the US, American security measures for air cargo have become increasingly severe. America and Guam are included in this provision, raising the strong possibility that Christmas and year end parcels will not be able to be sent from Japan to the US, which is likely to cause massive confusion. According to the Asahi Shinbun, parcels to the US from Japan now account for over 15% of international mail, and approximately 200,000 parcels are sent monthly from Japan to the US. Private consumers will be affected by this ban, however individuals and businesses with JPO commercial accounts will not be affected. As of this writing, no other post services has announced similar measures, and the United States Post Office has not reported plans to limit the weight or shipment of air mail parcels to Japan. At the beginning of November when Greece had several bombs sent through the mail, airmail was stopped in Greece for two days. No other major postal service in the world has ever announced an “indefinite” ban on airmail packages. Since privatization the JPO has been the object of a political tug of war between those who want to entirely or partially end its privatization and those who support continued privatization. The management at top levels of the JPO has drawn censure across the political spectrum, with the problems of the Japan Post’s 'Yu-pack”'deliver system drawing particularly harsh criticism. Foreign users have complained about the proliferation of required documentation for mail and packages to and from foreign countries that did not previously exist and question their necessity. Banning all airmail packages over 453 grams to the US from November 17 will cause wide spread inconvenience and resentment, particularly among smaller business and individuals.

If this is true, and it's hard to believe that it is, the Japanese Postal Service has effectively cut off all small parcel business from Japan to the United states.

And while this will not effect us (as a business we have an import license and use commercial carriers for all of our import shipments), it will most certainly ruin the day of anyone who likes to order character figures or other Japanese goods, or even manga and large DVD or BD shipments directly from Japanese vendors. Japanese vendors will have to use FedEx, DHL, or UPS for small parcel shipments, and that will be quite a bit more expensive. This would also totally screw most of the small US shops that sell Japanese character figures as they tend to import directly from Japanese retail stores in small lots.

This story is still developing, so I'm hoping to have an update later today.

UPDATE: More here.

UPDATE 2: I have now heard from several vendors in Japan who have confirmed that the new restrictions will not effect shipments from Japanese businesses that have commercial mailing accounts, though they all did agree that Airmail and EMS deliveries from Japan will now take longer now that US Customs is going to step up inspections of inbound parcels from Japan.

None of the new rules will effect our business operations or RACS customers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Clannad After Story to get a Dub / Sentai Licenses the Clannad Movie

David Williams at Sentai Filmworks confirmed at Izumicon over the weekend that they will be doing a Dub for Clannad After Story, and that it will probably be released in April. He also said they will probably allow us to run another exchange program for those who want to trade in their old subtitled only version.

And as a plus, he also said that Sentai has picked up the license for the Clannad movie and will be releasing it dubbed and subtitled in March.

So rest your minds Clannad fans - your dub is coming. :-)

I wish they had told us this 3 months ago, it would have saved us like 2,000 e-mails about it...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hoshi o Ou Kodomo: Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below - Teaser

Checkout the teaser footage from Makoto Shinkai's 'Hoshi o Ou Kodomo: Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below' film. This film will be the latest from the creator of Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, and 5 Centimeters Per Second:

Coming to Japan in May 2011. It looks amazing! :-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

Honoring a Marine on Veterans Day...

Funimation Reduces the Price of Case Closed Movie 4 & Tsubasa!

Funimation has reduced the MSRP on the Case Closed Movie #4 Captured in Her Eyes DVD from $19.98 to $14.98, and on the Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE 'Collected Memories' Complete Collection DVD Box Set to $69.98 (DVD) and $74.98 (BluRay).

Case Closed Movie #4 Captured in Her Eyes DVD
Tsubasa 'Collected Memories' Complete Set (Ep 1-52 + Movie)
Tsubasa 'Collected Memories' Complete Set (Ep 1-52 + Movie)(BLURAY)

We have lowered our regular price of the Case Closed movie from $14.98 to $10.98, and the regular and BD version of the Tsubasa collection all the way down to only $48.98 each!

They are all in stock and shipping at the new price today!

Encoding Error Notice - DBZ Uncut Set #3

Funi has informed us of an encoding error in most recent production run of the Dragon Ball Z Season 3 Uncut DVD Set. (The second disc contains episodes from the fifth disc.)

Now, I do not think RACS had actually shipped any of the defective boxes to our customers before we were able to pull the defective inventory. We use first in / first out inventory, so boxes from the last batch shipped to us probably hadn't yet made it up front in the pick cycle.

Never the less, if you have purchased this box set in the last few weeks and are effected by the issue, just contact Funimation directly at 972-537-0871 or email them to have a replacement disc sent to you.

Have you noticed there are a lot of QC issues coming out of Funi lately? Not sure what's going on with that.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Section 23 Feb 2011 Releases - Now Available for Pre-Order!

Section 23 has sent over their February 2011 release schedule and we've got it posted to the store site.

Here's what's coming:

You're Under Arrest TV Fast & Furious (Season 2) Complete Collection DVD (Eps #1-26)
Eyeshield 21 Collection #4 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #40-52)
Needless Collection 1 DVD (Eps #1-12)
Needless Collection 1 DVD (BLURAY) (Eps #1-12)
Gintama DVD Collection #4 (Eps #40-52)

Along with complete collections and follow on episodes of ongoing series, Needless is coming and will be getting a Dub (and will be published in both DVD and BD formats). It will be Section 23's first dubbed release since Xam'd!

They're called Needless-mutants who wield amazing powers such as super speed, the ability to change form, and some, like Blade, the power to "learn" other opponent's powers. It's Blade's greatest ability. But is it powerful enough to overcome his weakness for cute young girls in revealing little skirts? Find out in the craziest action comedy anime of the year!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Customer Comment

In retail, the usual daily line of communication with customers can be skewed a little bit negative. The reason is that when you are doing a good job, you almost never hear from anyone. Many times only when someone has a problem or complaint do they usually write in, so a larger percentage of the daily e-mails that come in are geared in that direction.

But sometimes it's different.

Today Hiromichi writes:

Hello Robert and the rest of the Anime Corner Store crew. This is one of your long time customers, Hiromichi Mori. I thought I would just send you an e-mail to personally thank you for the many years of amazing customer service I have received from you. Honestly, I should have done this a long time ago, but I somehow never got around to it. Anyway, I always enjoy purchasing my anime from you, since I know the prices are always great, the selection is plentiful, fast shipping, and top notch customer service. I honestly can't remember exactly how many years I have been purchasing from your store, but it has been a very long time(probably like 9 - 10 years or so). This is a testament to how much I value your store and the service you give. As far as I can remember, I've only ever had several issues with products I had purchased from you. You guys promptly answered my e-mails and fixed the issues ASAP, which really makes me happy. It shows me that you truly value me as a customer and actually care. I really appreciate it. Whenever a friend or acquaintance asks me where they should buy anime online, I always mention your store. I might as well lead them to the right place, right? They always tell me later that your store is great and are glad I told them about it. I don't blame them one bit because it's honestly true. By the way, I noticed you don't really post random customer feedback on your newsletters anymore. Not that I'm asking you to put my feedback on one of them. I'm not sending you this e-mail to "gain attention" or etc in any way. ^_~ Well, I guess I'll end my rant here. Once again, thank you for your continued excellent customer service and allowing me to have an awesome place to get my anime fix. I will continue to buy from your store for years to come and also keep recommending you to people that ask. I truly, from the bottom of my heart, appreciate what you do for me and the rest of the anime fans out there. You guys are great! Take it easy.

Thank you VERY much Hiromichi, we needed that today! :-)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Steven Den Beste Offers a Challenge

Steven Den Beste offers, via his blog, a challenge to identify some of the guns of Asobi ni Iku Yo.

OK, here's my guesses (click here to see his post):

1) In the guitar case:

-Beretta 93R 9mm w/ folding stock and extended magazines (Burst Fire)
-Dragunov SVD sniper rifle with folding stock and PSO-1 Optic
-Browning High Power 9mm

Note: I'm assuming the Beretta is not a 92FS converted to fire full auto. The Raffica version is a much more practical weapon.

2) The small revolver is a:

-Smith and Wesson Model 60 J-Frame .38 (5 shot)

Note: I don't think it's a 637. No locking mechanism, and the butt is too long. The 637 is an Airweight also. I think it's a Chiefs Special (Model 60). My wife carries one of these as her CCP whenever she uses her small purse.

3) The weird looking revolver is a:

-Rhino 20DS .357 Magnum made by Chiappa.

Note: I'm old fashioned, so I think the Rhino is only a slightly more stupid gun than the Judge. Rather than a Rhino, a nice solid 20 year old S&W Model 19 would be my choice, but certainly doesn't have the same sort of 'screen presence'.

4) The Automatic that Aoi identifies as the fictional Colt 1916 is actually a:

-Russion TT-33 (Tokarev) pistol in 7.62x25mm

Note: It is not an FN 1903 or a Colt 1908 due to the lack of a slide release button. Also, the way the gun is drawn doesn't match a TT either, but it's definitely that type of design. There seems to be some favor for Russian equipment here (hence the Dragonov). There is an annoying artistic license some Japanese animators use when drawing firearms, perhaps when the design is not well researched, or when they only have an airsoft version to use as a visual reference.

So, how did I do?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Manga Mad

Candid interviews with artists, animators, publishers, historians, retailers and otaku fans in Japan. This is an hour long, so make sure you have time to watch the whole thing!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Navarre May End Up Keeping Funimation

Navarre's 3rd quarter (Q2 fiscal) earnings call earlier this week was quite revealing. They reported a quarterly profit of $1.7 million for the FUNimation division (now reported as “'discontinued operations'), vs. $435,000 in the year ago period. Now while that looks pretty good, keep in mind the year over year is up against the truly abysmal Q3 numbers everyone was turning in last year, and that during the 3rd quarter Funi has been doing everything possible, like liquidating a lot of surplus inventory, to help make their short term numbers look better in advance of a potential sale. Still, not too shabby.

Anyway, after going over the numbers, most of the questions asked during the Q&A were about Funi and how things are coming along with the proposed sale. Cary Deacon (CEO of Navarre) when asked about progress, said this:

"Yes we have had offers and indications of interest. We have gone through management presentations with those parties and some of those parties have come back with further rebids. At this point we’re analyzing those rebids and expanding our look at it."

After listening to him, it's clear to me that they are really not too far along with the sales process. Cary went on to say:

"The predesigned strategy that we’ve talked about earlier was to sell that asset and move forward with our distribution expansion strategy. However, we’re analyzing the value of selling that asset and whether that makes sense at this time based on the price levels and the indications of interest that we have. We’re not final in that process but we will very shortly decide whether the indications of interest and the ability to close a transaction is valid or whether we should continue to run FUNimation.

I’m pleased to tell you that (I think you’ve seen in the quarter) FUNimation continues to be run as if we’re going to own it. We’ve said from the get go that nothing is certain in life and we can’t just let FUNimation slide so we’ve done a good job of running FUNimation.

Would we like to sell it? That answer is yes, it’s part of our strategic plan; but we’re going to be very selective in that decision and decide whether it’s best to keep it or to sell it at the current levels of indication."

Cary said that by the end of December there would probably be an indication of whether or not Navarre will (or rather can) sell Funimation .

I don't think they are having much luck finding someone willing to make a big investment in this industry, and I repudiated the whole 'strategic plan' thing last May. The economy is still terrible, and raising money to fund a purchase like this has got to be next to impossible. Taken as part of the whole, Funi has gained truly impressive market share carving out about a 50% slice of the US Anime market. If you count only dubs, Funi is probably 85% of that market. But the days of the DVD business are waning, and when you ask someone in the industry how they plan to monetize their licensed content digitally - in a way that will show similar results to former DVD sales - well, no one has a clue. There are some bright ideas about how it 'might' be done, but it's going to cost a lot of money testing markets and delivery methods in order to figure it out. In fact, a lot of us (including me) are rather doubtful that it can ever be done. Right now, everyone's digital strategy seems to be to give the content away for free, hoping that the audience they are building will someday be converted into paying customers. Don't count on it.

So unless they find themselves willing to give Funimation away for a song, I think Navarre is going to be stuck with them, whether it plays into their 'strategic objectives' or not. Frankly, I still question to original premise for trying to separate the company. Rates are at 50 years lows, so Navarre should be able to refi it's debt through the market and let Funi keep adding to the bottom line.

And as a final thought, if they do end up keeping Funi, I want to just thank Cary for creating an incredible atmosphere of uncertainty in our business. As Funi goes, so goes the industry. We have been keenly aware of that more than ever in recent months, and so has the fan base.

Hobby Search Gives Away Customers Credit Card Numbers

One of our competitors in Japan (Hobby Search) sent this notice out to their customers recently, forcing thousands of people to cancel and have reissued their credit cards used to purchase Anime figures and merchandise directly from them in Japan:

Dear Hobby Search customer:

We are writing to let you know of a hacker or hackers that penetrated our computer system and accessed customer data including credit card information.

At the time of writing, we do not know of any of this information being available publicly. It is important to us that you, the customer, do not experience any monetary damages because of this incident, and have provided the information of all the cards that may have been involved in this incident to each of the credit card companies so that they may monitor the activity on these cards. If you have any concerns about the security of your card, please contact the card company (via the number on the back of your credit card).

Also, although we have switched to a more secure credit card transaction system that only stores the last four digits of your card on our databases on July 7, 2010, we have disabled credit card payments indefinitely.

The credit cards involved in this incident are those used in orders prior to July 7, 2010 (a maximum of 23,526 cards), and we are notifying those affected with this email.

The information that may have been accessed - Credit card numbers, expiration dates, cardholder names

We do not store personal verification passwords or security codes on our databases, so these have not been accessed. Again, we have switched to a more secure credit transaction system on July 7 that only stored the last four digits of those cards and cannot be abused by a third party. We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience or concern that this incident may have caused.

Toshiyuki Suzuki, my opposite number over at Hobby Search, cannot be pleased.

Now you all know it's a bit of a pain to re-enter your order data on our store site everytime you place an order with us - in fact, I write about it here on our FAQ - but when you do you can rest assured that because we don't maintain a public server that stores customer address and payment transaction data, the information that you give us can never be stolen or accessed by outside parties.

Anyone can tell you their public servers and/or payment platforms are secure, but are they really? How can they ever be sure? We'll, we're sure here, because we don't ever give hackers a chance.

Namco Bandai of America Lays off 90 Employees

Via ANN,

"The game company Namco Bandai of America is laying off 90 staff members and relocating a part of game development from San Jose, California to Japan. The cuts are a result of the merger between the company's mobile and online game businesses into a single division. "We are partnering with external development studios out there because that is where the game business is going," Namco Bandai Vice President of Marketing Carlson Choi said to the VentureBeat website. As the industry shifts away from traditional game consoles only to developing for phones and other devices, Choi added, "our goal is to move into digital games and broaden to different platforms."

The only thing that surprises me about this statement is that Namco Bandai (not directly related to Bandai USA (anime)) ever had 90 employees to lay off. I hope those folks are able to find new jobs quickly.

Funimation Reduces the Price of the Fullmetal Alchemist Movie LE!

Funimation has reduced the MSRP today on the Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie, the Conquerer of Shambala DVD (Special Edition) from $29.98 to $24.98:

Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie, the Conquerer of Shambala DVD (Special Edition) (FN-08163)

We have lowered our regular price from $22.98 to just $16.98, and the movie is in stock and shipping at the new price today!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Authentic vs Counterfeit Figures & Holo Stickers

Everyone who's been around here for awhile knows I HATE bootlegs. Well, I've been reading a lot of forum comments lately posted by so called 'expert' collectors regarding how to tell authentic Japanese Anime figures from counterfeits made in Hong Kong or China. Some folks seem to think that all Japanese figures without the little foil Holo stickers are counterfeits, but this is just not true - it's a little more complicated than that.

The foil holo stickers are not affixed to a figure as a certificate of authenticity, they are actually little Japanese tax stamps. You see, virtually no Japanese figures are actually made in Japan anymore, their manufacture is usually outsourced to China by the Japanese marketing companies (like Good Smile or Alter for instance - and no, the irony does not escape me), and then they are shipped into Japan often via Hong Kong. When they enter Japan they need to have the foil sticker affixed to show that the Japanese taxes have been paid, but this only applies to units originally destined to be sold on the Japanese market.

Figures that are allocated to the export market (i.e. - to us) can come two ways. First, we may get inventory that was left over or part of a batch originally intended to go to Japan (in which case they will almost always have the stickers), or we may get inventory that is specifically allocated to ship directly to the United States from the factory. These figure usually will not have the foil stickers, but are no less authentic than the ones that go to the Japanese market. In fact, they are exactly the same unless they are a specific series or variant exclusive to the export market.

So the manufacturer stickers or stamps depends on the point of origination, primary destination, and varies by manufacturer. For instance, Good Smile usually ships us inventory left over from Japanese destined production runs, while Megahouse usually allocates inventory directly into the export market that bypasses Japan. This explains, for example, why few of the One Piece figures we get have the foil stickers (well, at least the EX versions, the Bandai ones usually do). No matter if they do or don't, it's only a result of the where a particular product batch gets sourced by the manufacturer.

So the theory that the foil stickers automatically represent authenticity is a fallacy. Not only do many of the good counterfeits out there have the holo stickers (I've seen them), the presence of the stickers does not in any way influence the value or 'collectability' of an authentic release.

Remember, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. The best way to ensure that you are always getting a 100% authentic product, and not getting ripped off, is to only source your figures from a dealer that offers a 100% authentic guarantee. Someone like us for instance. :-)