FUNimation to Get Some Geneon?

Well, FUNimation appears to be going back into the license-rescue business, having previously done so for Slayers, Love Hina, and One Piece. Of those license rescues, Slayers was just some minor improvements to CPM’s release, Love Hina appears to be something similar over Bandai’s release, and One Piece is getting the good stuff (all new dubs for the original episodes, quality subtitles). With Geneon’s apparnet exit and FUNimation stating that they are in the initial stages of negotiation to acquire at least some of Geneon’s library, what can we fans expect to get?

Clearly, fans like me are hoping for some of Geneon’s hot properties to be brought back. For the canon Tenchi series, I’m hoping that they’ll let Tomato re-translate the thing from scratch for the subtitles. However, I’m afraid that’s going to simply be a pipe dream (though I will lobby for it).

From what I can tell, Geneon is likely to remain in business as a licensor but will have others distribute for them. Thus, if FUNimation says, “We got Tenchi,” they’d be allowed to repackage it and sell it (including digitally most likely), to say nothing of having it on the FUNimation Channel. We canon Tenchi fans would have to continue to put up with Geneon’s mistake-filled subtitles because under a distribution deal, the licensing company does the dubs and subtitles while the distribution company does the marketing and selling.

So, FUNimation will benefit financially from having more titles for the FUNimation Channel and will earn some revenue off other titles, but those looking to buy titles with the FUNimation logo on them will have to be aware of what exactly FUNimation licensed and what exactly they are simply distributing.

Personally, I wish that FUNimation could just get titles free and clear. Based on how they ended up doing the three Slayers TV series, its likely that all they’ll do is retain the original dubbed and subbed materials with maybe the occasional fix here or there (in the case of Slayers, previews were put back in on the Japanese audio side, the Japanese karaoke was left unblocked, and black blocks to remove the Japanese title screens were removed, and the video was cleaned a bit). That said, if they did have a title free and clear, they could at least allow their in-house translators to bring the subtitles up to FUNimation standards, and those can be done without scripts. In my mind, that would increase their double-dip sales, which should pay for the cost of the re-translation of the subtitles.

We’ll see what happens though. While FUNimation is clearly the big dog in the R1 market, I’ve no doubt that Viz or Media Blasters (or maybe even someone else) would also be interested in doing distribution of some of Geneon’s library. So while FUNimation may indeed announce in the next few weeks/months that they have some Geneon titles (in whatever form), it wouldn’t surprise me if other companies do as well.



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