Monday, September 30, 2013

Funimation to Replace Edited Sankarea Discs on Request

Ahhh, a little SNAFU to report this fine Monday morning...

Apparently all of the Sankarea: Undying Love DVD/BD sets were done from masters that contained the Japanese edited broadcast version instead of the uncensored home video release version. This applies to both the DVD and BD disks in both the Limited and Standard edition boxes.

Funimation will replace the disks for any customers who want the uncensored home video version - which I imagine will be around 100% of us:

In regard to the release of the Sankarea DVD and Blu-ray content, FUNimation had originally released this set with the materials provided to us. We will be receiving additional home video masters. Customers who wish to receive the unedited version may do so by emailing along with a copy of your original receipt, and a physical mailing address (no PO Boxes please). Once the replacement discs are authored we will begin to process your request. Thank You.

Please don't ask me how something like this can happen. I assume the masters they got from Japan were the edited versions and no one at Funi noticed during the mastering process for the English release. Truly a face/palm moment for them I think.Also, at this point it looks as if we are supposed to continue to ship the version we have, and that anyone who wants the other will have to request it. I'm on with them now for clarification on that.

I'm not sure how long it will take for them to start shipping replacements , but if you have bought a set go ahead and shoot them your info so they can get you new disks out once they are ready.

UPDATE: As of Oct 1st, Funimation has officially recalled all remaining retailer copies of the Sankarea: Undying Love DVD/BD sets. We have pulled the title and it will be unavailable for order until further notice. If you have already gotten a set, please use the email above to request replacement disks from Funimation directly.

UPDATE 2: OK, today (Oct 2nd) our rep at Funi sent me an e-mail telling us that Funi is NOT handling the replacements for Sankarea: Undying Love DVD/BD sets directly and that customers will need to go to the retailer they purchased the set from to obtain replacement disks. So, if you already have a set from RACS and want your disks replaced, PLEASE E-MAIL US directly. We do not know at this point when the new disks will be available, only that a fixed version of Sankarea will be rescheduled for release later this year.

And yes, I think them laying off the time, effort, and customer service overhead onto the retailers for doing the replacements is pretty crappy, even if they do reimburse us for the costs. ~sigh~

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Recycled & Environmentally Friendly Packaging Materials Used at RACS

I know most of you will find this incredibly boring, but I wanted to post a little about something we think about everyday - the recycled packaging materials we use for your orders here at RACS.

Shipping Cartons

We source shipping cartons and mailers from 3 different vendors out here on the East coast, and we always make sure we buy cartons that are made of at least 20% post consumer recycled materials - higher if possible. Something that might surprise you is that the more 'recycled' cartons are, the more costly they usually become (strange how that is), but we always source the cartons with the most recycled content available that still meets our budget at the time of the purchase. As a side note, a factor that directly impacts how much we can spent a quarter on packaging materials is directly related to how much shipping revenue we capture during the previous quarter (in other words: how  many of our customers choose our free vs. paid shipping methods), so in that respect our customers (you) have a say in how much 'recycled' content your shipping cartons contain.

Loose Fill

Last fall we switched our primary packaging material away from the white cornstarch loose-fill to FP's new, environmentally friendly, green Flow-Pac Super 8 loose fill. This is the green stuff that a lot of you now get in your larger Anime parcels. The cornstarch stuff, while very nice and also environmentally friendly, was just a little too dusty and had a tendency to settle more in transit than we would like. Mostly though, it's just too heavy and with shipping rates skyrocketing, we had to make a change. We tested the new Milex grain protein loose fill, but ran into the same problems of settlement, weight, and cost. The FP Super 8 costs about the same, but saves us several hundred dollars in shipping costs over the course of a year due to the lighter weight. Plus, it's 100% biodegradable - something that standard Styrofoam loose fill isn't.

Now I know the 'weight' of loose fill seems irrelevant, but what happens is that most of the major carriers charge us as a formula of per pound (or dimensional pounds for larger packages) rounded up to the nearest pound. So where the extra cost savings comes in is the percentage of parcels that don't get rounded up to the next pound because of an extra once of loose fill weight, like from 2.95 ( = 3.0 lbs shipping weight) to 3.05 ( = 4.0 lbs shipping weight).

And before anyone starts firing off an e-mail about the merit of airbags or craft paper  - after shipping over 400,000 packages I can tell you that loose fill / flow-pak is the absolute best type of packaging material for Anime type shipments - especially manga, figurines, and mixed item shipments. I hate airbags for a number of reasons (key words - plastic and expensive and suck) and if you ever get a parcel from us with airbags in it it's only because we are recycling bags someone else sent us. Craft (or butcher) paper is just a cheap alternative to real packaging material for companies that don't want to allocate the storage space in their warehouse to loose fill or don't want to invest in professional dispensing equipment. As far as a packing material, craft paper is just a terrible option. Anytime I get a parcel from someone that just wraps the product in crinkled up craft or butcher paper, I know they really don't care what condition it gets to me in.

Padding Materials

We added an HSM Cardboard Shredder to our shipping operation back in February and it's been put into good use. One thing we have always had a problem with is that our receiving operation creates several hundred pounds of scrap cardboard every month, mostly from incoming vendor shipments, and for years we have had (and paid extra for) a separate dumpster to recycle our cardboard waste. Not a great option but better than nothing. With the ever raising cost of shipping supplies, we decided to look for an alternative to pre-packaged packing materials that we have to truck in, preferring a product that we can make right here in our own warehouse. Shredded cardboard has long been in use as a packaging material in Europe, but has not really caught on widely here in the US - yet.

The new machine (which is made in Germany and built like a tank) allows us to make our piles of scrap cardboard into excellent quality flexible, reusable, biodegradable packaging material which reduces our recycling costs and also allows us to reduce our usage of prepackaged packing material - especially things like plastic bubble wrapping and airbags. We already had a big HSM industrial paper shredder in our office (which we use for all customer and order related paperwork that doesn't get filed), so the cardboard shredder was a perfect choice. The new machine is currently saving us on the order of four to five thousand dollars per year, and reduces our plastic packaging material usage and cardboard waste we send to recycle by around 25-30%.

So when you see some of this packaging material in your next RACS parcel, you'll know our commitment to the environment is not just a dog and pony show. :-)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

NIS Announces Yuruyuri Season 2 Collection Premium Edition!

NIS has sent over the paperwork for their Yuruyuri Season 2 Complete Series Premium Edition, and we now have it up on the store site for pre-order:

Yuruyuri: Happy Go Lily Season 2 Complete Collection BLURAY Set (Premium Edition)

This premium edition includes a hardcover art book (full color, 36 pages) complete with episode guide, character art, sketches, promotional art, and more. Other extra's include clean opening and ending, B-side episode previews, and video art book featurettes.

Release date is set for January 7th.

Synopsis: With the Amusement club no longer in danger of being broken up by the student council, its members, Akari Akaza, Kyoko Toshino, Yui Funami, and Chinatsu Yoshikawa, can finally focus on amusing themselves. More or less allied with the student council, the members of both organizations embark on wacky antics together! Plus, we finally meet the siblings of all these girls as they make the most of their days in middle school!

You Won't Like It, and We Made Sure There is No Other Option...

This could just as easily be a commercial about 'our favorite Anime company' - you know the one...

"Looking for a better deal? You can olig-gobble down our balls..." - priceless.