Monday, March 11, 2013

Media Blasters Confirms Several License Expirations

John Sirabella of Media Blasters has made a statement updating us on the state of several of their licenses. As of now, Media Blasters no longer has the rights to:

Rurouni Kenshin

He also confirmed that while Media Blasters once had optioned to rights to Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei, Squid Girl Season 2, and Moyashimon, they no longer have any planes to release those titles and they are open to be licensed by other companies. Sirabella also said many other licenses they previously had have expired, but did not mention any others by name. We can pretty much guess what those are by what has gone on 'out of produiction' status with their distributor.

Going forward AnimeWorks, Tokyo Shock, and Kitty are the only Media Blasters labels that will continue operations, and that they are going to specifically focus on new Kitty (Adult Only) releases this year. Aside from that they are going to focus on producing and releasing original productions through Fever Dreams, which they have established a studio for in Belleville, New Jersey. He said that previously a "major back accident in Media Blasters warehouse" (WTF is he talking about there?) slowed down the company (oh yeah, that was what it was...), and did admit that he was planning on letting Media Blasters end as a company (umm, we knew that John) to pursue original productions through Fever Dreams, but has now decided to 'rebuild' Media Blasters (apparently around mostly the Kitty label).

Honestly, no surprises here folks. I'm not sure what sort of 'back accident' he's talking about regarding their warehouse, which has been closed for almost 2 years after they sold the distribution operation end of their business to Allegro and outsourced distribution of all the Kitty stuff to the third party warehouse. Since then everytime their active stuff has gone out of stock it has pretty much stayed on the backlist for months at a time. I just figured they were too broke to continue to replicate everything on a regular basis. Last week when we started getting updates on their inventory through Allegro, I thought that might mean some big change was in the works - or a 'going out of business' announcement was going to be forth coming. Apparently not yet. While he does say that they are going to continue to 'aquire and release new titles' I'm not sure what that will add up to outside of Kitty. So as always, we'll have to wait and see what happens.

You know what we say in the biz - Anime studios never die, they just fade away...


Harold said...

Altogether a masterpiece of doubletalk/nonsense that Sirabella should be ashamed of. Just come on out and say what you mean, John, you'll feel better and so will we.
BTW, sitting on licenses and letting them expire is a disservice to everyone!

Ben said...

YAHR! This ship be taking on water!

Not much of what I had read on Media Blasters a few days ago surprises me (save for Squid Girl season 2 officially getting dropped- now how am I going to use my colorful catch phrase, "Get kraken"?).

Looking back over the last three years, I can't think of a single best-seller (save for Queen's Blade, and even that's in Sentai's hands now). The fact that they're letting go of Kenshin and Berserk (two perennial best-sellers) is worrisome. Aside from Voltron, what other top-tier titles are left? (Ah My Goddess? HA! Genshiken? Double-HA! Magic Knight Rayearth? Maybe.)

I agree, Harold- simply holding onto licenses and doing next-to-nothing with them is a big fat waste of time and potential. (See Media Blasters and Fortune Quest- coincidence? Or simply ironic?)

At this point, I can't tell if Sirabella's stealing a page from The Wallflowers and intending to "Reboot The Mission", or if the company's simply circling the drain. (If forced to choose, I'd rather take a slow decline than a sudden implosion- see Geneon, Tokyopop and DC's CMX manga.)

I'm also curious as to which titles ARE still in print as of right now (because at this point, I think a lot of older titles are on their way to Outta-Printsville, which means somebody might finally give Shinesman and Punie-Chan a chance).