For the longest time I thought that one of the reasons that US kit was so expensive is because we insisted on producing the components here where its much more expensive rather than overseas.
Sentai Filmworks is confirmed as the licensor for Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works
Aniplex will take pre-orders for the second volume of Fate/zero on
Blu-Ray starting June 1st for release on September 9th simultaneously
with the Japanese release
Bakemonogatari will be receiving a new sub only boxset release this
Fall on Blu-Ray with no plans to dub either it or the sequel series
Nisemonogatari. Unfortunately, there are also no plans to stream
Aniplex does not have plans to go back and dub either Blue Exorcist or Fate/Zero
OreImo will be re-released later this summer in a lower-priced DVD edition
Baccano will be re-released following its previous limited Blu-Ray box release
Kara no Kyoukai/Garden of Sinners will be released in a new limited edition DVD boxset this Fa
There is a bit of good news in that Sentai did indeed get UlBW. They have announced a Bang Zoom dub which speaks well of their finances and confidence in the market.
However, In the rest of the announcements I note the continued trend in avoiding dubs. While this is of little direct concern to many of our readers it means that the current plan does seem to be to skip the US Distributors and simply release Subtitled Japanese Blue Rays at... Japanese prices.
US Anime is doomed!...must..tweet...everybody!
Ubu saw this coming a while back, and while it is indeed a big FU to the US fans it is not entirely out of the blue.
The Japanese prices are insane and, I believe, counter-productive even to their domestic market in the
long term, but they are, in part, a response to the huge piracy issue, the
shrinking domestic market (which the prices help to shrink) and the fact
that the Japanese companies have the additional overhead of producing
the product (US and other overseas distributors just have licensing, distribution and occasionally dubbing ).
I would be very surprised if a lot of
the licensing was not discontinued in favor of just the subtitle track.
The total sales would drop but a few hundred or a couple of thousand
sales total would make what they'd get from licensing with an option for
more if it was a runaway hit. If there is licensing in the future it
might well be restricted to dub only in the future to kill re-imports.
Of course they'll also kill off most of the legit market here because 700 dollars (350 per season) for a series is stark raving cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
The Japanese prices also make clear one reason why collector Otaku are
thought of poorly in Japan. The hobby there takes as much money as a
heroin habit. Someone who indulges in it there is either rich beyond the
dreams of Avarice or has some seriously screwed up priorities.
The Japanese prices predate widespread piracy, and are more cause than effect. It's the same model the US had when home video started; their distributors and retailers just successfully lobbied to preserve it.
The good news is that attempts to sell sub-only BDs at Japanese prices will bomb miserably, with all of those overpriced discs ending up heavily discounted at Amazon (something that Amazon Japan can't do, another piece of the puzzle...).
I just checked, and most of the Japanese DVDs of G-on Riders are still selling for Â¥6000 new at Amazon. Used ones are Â¥1 plus shipping, and Marketplace dealers can call them "new" at Â¥500, but if it's in stock at Amazon, they can't sell it for a realistic price.
Posted by: J Greely at Mon May 28 13:05:16 2012 (2XtN5)
True about them always being expensive but it is my understanding that this got a lot worse in the last decade or so. That may be whining on the part of fans though.
It's true too that in the US VHS and Beta were initially very high
(60-100 dollars a pop) at the insistence of the studios but in the US
prices came down rather quickly. In Japan, not so much.
I bought 3 of the Yamato movies on VHS back around 1985. IIRC, they were about $150 apiece. Current prices, seem to be about about the same or actually a little cheaper. Taking inflation into account, prices definitely seem to have dropped. Which just means prices are slightly less outrageous.
Now that subs on Japanese disks are beginning to appear more frequently, I'll CONSIDER buying them, but ONLY where I already know it's something I'm going to enjoy & watch more than once. Not many people are going to sample anything at those prices.
I've seen over & over that (for the most part) Japanese execs just don't understand the US market. They keep expecting it to behave like the Japanese market & keep being surprised when it doesn't.
Posted by: Uncle Willie at Mon May 28 19:40:51 2012 (xZueN)
UW, that's not the issue. The issue is that they don't really care about the US market. They can't afford to care about it.
Their great fear is reimportation. If they sell BDs at high price in Japan, and essentially-identical BDs much more cheaply here, then Japanese fans will buy North American BDs instead. The result would be less income for the studios.
Their financial model is a mess, and in the long run is probably unsustainable. But trying to move to a more rational one would result in lower income in the short run, and studios going under.
For what it's worth, most of the Aniplex releases mentioned in the news story you quoted are not (or almost certainly will not be) Japanese priced. The only one fitting that description is Fate/zero. OreImo, Baccano, and Blue Exorcist have already been released at prices which, while somewhat higher than the current R1 standard, do not remotely approach what you'd pay for the equivalent Japanese release. Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari will likely get similar treatment; the fact that the Japanese boxset for Bake has no English subs precludes a Fate/zero-style release, and I'd expect Nise to follow suit.
Kara no Kyoukai is interesting because the Blu-ray boxset released in early 2011 was Aniplex's first attempt at the sort of release you're deriding here--$400 for an imported Japanese boxset of all seven movies with English subs. It sold out on both sides of the Pacific in a matter of weeks, and now they're re-releasing it on DVD at a lower price point. Perhaps they'll do the same for Fate/zero a year or so from now?
Posted by: Andrew F. at Mon May 28 21:37:33 2012 (975Ae)
@ Uncle Willie: Yeah, back in the '80s the prices were hideous. They were only a little better in the early '90s.
However, I was told by Japanese fans in '09 and '10 that the prices went up quite a bit recently. I'm not sure how much they meant and my sample size was small... It could also just be fans kibitzing.
You'r points about re-importation are absolutely valid but Uncle Willie is right. They don't grok how the US market can possibly work, which is part of the reason they are in a mess.
@ Andrew F: Good info on the other prices. Thanks! Though upon reflection Kara no Kyoukai selling out does not bode well for us.
"Selling out" in the US means what, I wonder? My feeling was they put somewhere between 50 and 300 units into the hands of their North American distributor, but I don't have the hard numbers on that. There is a small group of American fanboys for whom money literally means nothing; apparently there's enough of them to clear the market at that level of inventory.
Nobody can be making much money at that sort of volume, it's basically the same sort of business that they'd normally do with importers. The people buying those Kara no Kyoukai sets are the same people who pay Japanese prices along with the actual in-country otaku, via pre-order, ahead of time. I'd guess that a plurality of these doofs hang out on the R2 forums at Fandom Post and Mania.com.
My feeling is that the Aniplex/NIS America model is deeply unhealthy - it's a pact between obsessives willing to overpay, and companies uninterested in doing the marketing work to deal with non-obsessive fans and the general public.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Tue May 29 09:17:39 2012 (jwKxK)
I may be the only human being for whom that is true.
Allow me to defend this most indefensible of opinions.
First, it must be acknowledged that most of the criticisms of this show have valid points. The fan service is a bit over the top. I sure as hell could have done without the damned panty shots. It is a grim show. It is aggressively and flamboyantly excessive. It is disrespectful to physics.
Physics and her friend Anatomy called...They're pissed!#
All that being said this show has some real strengths.
The early episodes in particular do a better job than many zombie movies (even Romero's own) of conveying the actual horror of the whole zombie apocalypse situation. They handle that bit really well. This is all the more remarkable because of the breakneck pacing of the early episodes. The show manages to combine non-stop action with a sense of genuine dread as the characters realize just what is going on and the implications of it.
It is a horrific show, and at times hard to watch, but the admittedly excessive fan service actually mitigates this somewhat. It is sufficiently silly to act as comic relief and thereby break some of the tension.
In fact, the two most gratuitous episodes regards cheesecake, 6 and 7, (where
the show managed to work in sort of a bathhouse episode), were in some ways the saving grace of the series. Both actually had some neat, even thoughtful, character bits. They also added a bit of humanity and decency that saved the
show from becoming the nihilistic exercise so many stories in this genre are.
The girls take a bath and end up trying out some alcohol..it turned out to be really high octane hard stuff and they get plastered. The boys, despite ample opportunity, do not take
advantage of this.
Hirano, the geek, who started out as inert vegetable matter, then went somewhat to the other extreme of nerd macho wish fulfillment has a neat bit of development here. He grows as a character during the conversation where he and Takeshi discuss the full gravity of the situation. He also is the person who demands that they save the child. "For God sake it's a little girl!"He also realizes at the same time that he is incapable of doing it himself (though he is absolutely vital to the little girls salvation).
They also establish that the show is not actually a harem show with a survivalist theme.
*Takagi is explicity shown to have dropped any torch she might have had for Takeshi and picked up one for ....Hirano(!?)
*The Nurse is not interested in men (this is her girlfriends house).
*The only tension might be between Saeko and Rei, which is unlikely but would lead to the inscrutable question of why bug girl had a chance.
And of course the cheesecake episode ends with the rescue of the little girl. This after much discussion of how things are going to have to be different from this point on and they have to harden themselves and focus on survival and not operate under the same rules anymore.
...all shot to hell by Hirano." But IT'S A LITTLE GIRL GODDAMMIT!"
...who saves everybody's souls right there.
The writers could probably have still accomplished the rescue with the girls taking a moment to get dressed and without the terrified child peeing all over Takeshi...but the little girl is safe so we are happy.
From that point the show becomes not so much a horror show as a show about retaining ones humanity in the midst of a societies collapse. The cheesecake is somewhat toned down in later episodes as well.
In any event the show is never boring.
For all that, I probably would not have liked it had I not first seen the dub, which is superb, and is delivered with the staccato pacing of a Howard Hawks film and with just a bit of snark. The voice acting is really well done Mark Laskowski and Maggie Flecknoe in particular do a superb job. The nurse in the dub has a voice that can grate cheese...but that actually fits. As I type this there's a 12 minute spoileriffic excerpt from ep2 of the dub here which gives a good overview of the pacing of the early episodes.
The show is indeed aggressively and flamboyantly excessive.
It is also, despite it's exceedingly grim nature, a show that manages to be surprisingly upbeat and I frankly found it rather fun.
Well, now you know that about me.
#Regards...that .gif The bullet is traveling in the vicinity of 2700 feet per second.
The bosoms in question transit back and forth during the time that the projectile passes through the area of
interest and thus are moving at least twice as fast as the bullet
itself. This gives a breast speed of at least 5400fps.
The speed of sound at sea level is roughly 1100fps. 5400 fps is just
under 5 times that or approximately Mach 4.8-Mach 4.9 so a conservative
reading of the available evidence would indicate that in addition to
her levelheadedness, well developed sense of ethics, athleticism and
general competence, Saeko possesses hypersonic tits.
The above analysis was originally posted here....where spoilers and snark dance the tango together.
It muddled along as a moderately enjoyable collection of random events until suddenly...
It all began to come together.
Why is she wearing her pirate hat in the dingy?.Oh never mind..
Every random bit is there for a reason, either to ad to the plot, or distract from it or provide nice character continuity.
This episode is a rollicking good time but it is has a much darker edge than earlier ones. This is a real battle and in the worst possible circumstances.
I like the fact that they understand that each system has its own constellations...and I really liked how Ai had her crowning moment of awesome.
The bit with Gruier firing the starting shot was a nice touch too.
The confusion in the early part of the episode was a nice distraction.
In the previous episode the insurance company got that something worrying but vague was up with security at the race. Show offered them the BentenMaru which they took. However, the security worries caused the race organizers to think of and focus on the Hanakoh Acadamy girls which is somewhat understandable given the total screw up the school had been 5 years prior....which nicely dovetailed into Lynns past too.
Of course the security issue turned out to be the fact that a criminal organization had got wind of Marika being at the race and had sent assassins to kill her. Between the confusion revolving around the blinkered chairwoman and the Coronal Mass Ejection the plot was missed until Kane uncovered it...just too late.
Or it would have been if the CME had not screwed with the goons fire control system too preventing them from killing dozens of school girls.
(The thug has to make adjustments after he fired wildly into nothing... but by that time Marika and the crazywoman were buzzing him and Chikaki was herding the others out. )
Oh and the VILLAINY!
"We don't no WHAT our target is so...screw it, we'll just kill all the school girls."
Next episode looks really interesting but darker still.
This show really exemplifies why Japanese kids shows are sometimes more satisfying than many American live action dramas. These kids are striving to be adults. They don't always succeed at that (they are kids) but they have goals and dreams and they generally behave as young adults. They take their responsibilities seriously. In a lot of contemporary shows here the adults are trying desperately to avoid responsibility, whine a lot and generally act like kids.
Also this show has space battles, dogfights...and silly pirate hats that make perfect sense in context.
Why it Matters
Yesterday was BLOG ABOUT BRETT KIMBERLIN DAY! . However, my schedule has not permitted any blogging from here since the last Kimberlin post.
This is of little concern as...well, that is one impressive gaggle of bloggers there!
Nevertheless, I do think it is important to talk a bit about WHY this is a big deal.
Emphatically apolitical girl is the generally calm Mio from the generally hilarious Nichijou.
This really isn't politics...it's domestic terrorism.
Nevertheless, below the fold we go....
I don't do politics much anymore and out of respect for my readers I
usually put it below the fold when I do, but this has jumped the line from politics to something much more worrisome and needs
to be out in the open.
I've been busy, but I've caught a little of this creepy story. However, while I was distracted it's gotten really serious.
Due to a variety of issues (Hospitalization, taking care of my mom after her stokes, kidney stones ) I had to drop most classes last semester. In order to catch up, I'm taking 9 credits in the first summer session at ODU, since this is one of the two short sessions this means 3x2.5 hour classes a day plus getting up at 3AM for work. I'm also studying for a placement test in July and working towards my online TESOL certificate on weekends.
Posting will be light and largely restricted to weekends for at least the next month.
As partial compensation here is Rin...
Full Disclosure: It's actually super talented cosplayer Midori Kanda
Oh..So There's a Fetish for That
I probably could have led a happy, prosperous and productive life and never known that....but didn't so I do.
Mysterious Girlfriend X is a perversely engaging show. I'm not sure I'll be able to get past the squick factor, but I laughed out loud several times.
Certainly it delivers at least part of what it promises in that there is a girlfriend and she is sure as hell mysterious.
Not Pictured: Her exceedingly sexy voice.
Urabe is the quintessential mysterious transfer student and seems to have a rather traumatic past...
What the hell? Is he dating Nevada Tan?
She's a bit odd; not a typical space cadet in that she seems to be aware and a decent student, just not very sociable, a little awkward and apparently sleep deprived. She's really kind of interesting in the same way our hero protagonist is not...
Souvlaki here is well named as he appears to be just a random piece of animated meat whose job is to be enough of a cypher that salivapheliacs of all walks of life will be able to relate to him.
"Excuse me. My name is Tsubaki."
The two end up sitting next to each other and after a while romance blossoms oozes between them.
It is a very off-beat and rather cute show.
There is also drool...rather a LOT of drool.
I nearly wretched twice.
I laughed out loud 4 times..once while almost wretching.
Thus I find myself conflicted but holding at 2 to 1 in favor of continuing the series.
This is essentially a reverse nor'easter and we'll be in the happy quadrant so it's not a worrisome wind/surge problem at all, but it might be a major rain event depending on its actual track. I just gassed the car and made sure SQUID-UNIT 1 was in there.
Sounds like all it did was chip a bit at the ongoing southeastern US's ongoing lack-of-hurricanes drought, and that only around Savannah. About an inch, barely much of anything, really. And the northeastern track means there won't be a northern encore.
Huh, the Gulf Stream is unusually distinct-looking right now in the temperature maps. Must be the combination of high SST anomalies in the Gulf and low anomalies in the North Atlantic.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Mon May 21 12:33:27 2012 (jwKxK)
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Sooner or later, whoever owns that weather modification device is going to dial-in your location...
Posted by: Siergen at Sat May 26 15:21:46 2012 (PuIGa)
For Those Days When .308 Just Doesn't Cut it
General Dynamics has announced a new machine gun at the current NDIA conference. It's an interesting weapon, weighing in at just over 3 pounds less than the army's current 7.62 mm machine gun the M-240B. However, it's about a pound heavier than the recently fielded M-240 L (lightweight). Its overall length is slightly longer and it's rate of fire is slower.
Oh, and it's chambered for .338 caliber (8.58mm).
The .338 Lapua Magnum, an exceedingly powerful round of Finnish origin, has gained a fearsome reputation in the current unpleasantness. The new machine gun is actually chambered for the .338 Norma a new round that is slightly shorter and fatter so that it can accommodate an even longer, more aerodynamic bullet. It's also optimized for belt feed. One interesting feature of the round is that the high ballistic coefficient means that at very long ranges its ballistics approach that of the .50 caliber BMG round. Reportedly, current weapons chambered for .338 Lapua can be adapted to fire this weapon via a barrel change.1
Iâ€™ve just been
examing the gun at NDIA and talking to the GD people there (including
the ammo designer, Jimmie Sloan). The gun isnâ€™t based on the FN MAG /
M240, itâ€™s actually based on the .50 cal XM806. It uses the same
soft-recoil technology, in that the gun fires as the barrel group is
moving forwards. This smoothes out the recoil dramatically, allowing the
gun to weigh about the same as the M240 (24 lbs) and to use a
lightweight tripod. Iâ€™ve been watching a video of it firing and it
doesnâ€™t move â€“ most impressive.
The 338NM was chosen to keep the length down with long, heavy
bullets. The loading used for the MG is a 300 grain FMJ at 2,650 fps.
Friday night, for some reason, I went to 4-chan.
I noted that they had a new board. I clicked to see what it's topic was and to my utter astonishment and not inconsiderable dismay it was devoted entirely to...
One of THOSE Weeks.
I recently discovered when trying to add a course to the second summer session that that there is a 14 credit per semester limit on what I can take at ODU now. There is a 6 credit limit on summer classes. As I had already signed up for 9 summer credits this left me worried that I would be dumped out of the classes I had enrolled in. Additionally this complicates my plan to graduate next spring. My own illnesses as well as the time I took off to deal with Mom's strokes caused me to drop multiple classes and the summer sessions were key to my making good on part of that.
My ODU G-mail account soon provided me with some clarification on this matter. It seems that the limit was imposed because of the fact that I'm on academic probation.
Well this is logical. It makes sense to limit the number of...
Actually, in my experience young children are very good memorizing anything that interests them, including (but not limited to) long scenes from cartoons they like. For example, back in the 80's one of my friends asked a co-worker to baby-sit his pre-school son. She dozed off on the couch, and woke up late at night to see the boy standing next to her with his arms raised, emphatically re-enacting a scene from Thundercats.
Posted by: Siergen at Tue May 8 21:40:50 2012 (3/gGt)
Servants of Moloch
Browsing through the Green Room I encountered a link to this....
Health authorities in Asia are concerned
that if the powdered foetus tradeis allowed to continue the capsules
will find their way onto the internet and be sold to gullible or sick
desperate people in other parts of the world.
"Obviously.."I thought to myself "This headline must be somewhat misleading."
Man, the Chinese have always been kind of goofy with their folk-Daoist remedies and snake oil "medicines" - one could only *wish* they simply stuck to actual snake oil - but that's just right over the line and into Ed Gein/Jeffrey Dahmer country right there.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Tue May 8 12:46:02 2012 (jwKxK)
Earnestly Paving The Road to Hell
Magical girl shows:
Someone has given ENTIRELY too much thought to the concept.
I'd long heard that Puella Magi Madoka Magica was good.
It's a magical girl show
I'm a dude.
To say I have little interest in the genre is an understatement. It was, therefore, rather far down on my to watch list.
I was particularly afraid that it was going to be a creepy underage cheesecake vehicle.
It's not. It's creepy in an entirely different way! Six episodes in I'm finding this to be an an intelligent, albeit rather disturbing show that raises a lot of questions. Those include hard questions about ethics as well as questions about who the HELL the target audience is.
The character designs and animation are nothing to write home about but the art direction and writing is really inspired. Set in the near future (as envisioned by Corning it would seem) the backgrounds are gorgeous and imaginative. This contrasts jarringly with moments of frightening otherworldlieness that come off as downright Lovecraftian.
The story is excellent thus far and is consistently surprising. This show has quite important things to say....Be advised though, it goes to some very dark places.
I'm hoping against hope that they can keep this up for the last half of the show. At the midway point I'm inclined to recommend it highly.
Can you elaborate on that, Steven, or is it tied up in spoilers? I've seen the show, but I can't say I remember anything explicit which might explain the high-tech, ultra-Bauhaus futurism of the architecture. Aside from "it's the near-future, and Japan". If anything, I find the glass-birdhouse architecture creepier than the witches' labyrinths. Especially that whitened-sepulcher ziggurat of a rooftop that Kyubey uses for his please-become-a-magical-girl seduction scenes.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Sat May 5 08:16:37 2012 (j/OI0)
Never send to know for whom the show is targeted...
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sat May 5 11:40:51 2012 (PiXy!)
Well, it's a huge spoiler. Brickmuppet, don't read this until you've finished the show.
The world as it is in this show is the cumulative result of the wishes of many magical girls over millenia. Most of the wishes made by magical girls were local or otherwise inconsequential, but some of them changed the course of history, helping to advance the human race technologically or culturally.
But because it was girls making those wishes, the resulting path isn't really what you would expect without that interference. So the architecture is a lot different, because it's the result of what some girls wished for.
And this has been happening for so long, in so many ways, that essentially everything has been changed. That's why things like the character designs look unreal: they are unreal. It's a consensus fantasy created by magical girls over the centuries.
RE: Steven in comments 1 and 4.
Yes. That was subtle and it does follow perfectly. I'm not sure I'd extend to to the character designs though.
1: I generally HAET time travel cop outs but Honami's Groundhog Day gambit completely worked and tied everything together. Given the concentration of timelines evident in Madoka I'm not sure why she was not superpowerful at the end too.
2: What the hell Sayaka?
3: Strict Utilitarianism is a surer path to hell than the good intentions it twists to its own ends.
Honami doesn't develop any real ranged attacks aside from firearms and light artillery so they would not improve. Also the time travel ability seems to improve over time so that explains that.
No show is an island, entire of itself; every one is a piece of the medium, a part of the main. If an episode be washed away by the censors, Anime is the less, as well as if a season were, as well as if a DVD of thy friend's or of thine own were: any show's cancellation diminishes me, because I am involved in otakudom, and therefore never send to know for whom the show is targeted; it is targeted for thee.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun May 6 12:35:27 2012 (PiXy!)
This article was the tipping point, off to Baka BT I went...
...ok, yeah, that was creepy. I suspect my daughter is going to love this.