I Get Busy and Look What Happens!

I’ve been VERY busy of late what with work, Japanese classes, home projects, etc. and so I haven’t been as active as I once was. So I appreciate all of you guys who have alerted me to some news developments so that I could comment on them. ^_^

Item 1: ADV is no more.

On one hand, this is a bit surprising but then on the other hand, ADV has been in trouble for a very long time and this is the ultimate end to companies who are in big trouble, short of a government bailout for political means. The thing is, I had thought that ADV had pretty much turned the corner and though they were licensing new titles through alternate means, they were licensing again once the dissolution of the partnership with Sojitz concluded. I guess not.

With ADV’s assets split over so many other companies, I wonder if any of them will continue to license new titles or are just taking what ADV had and pressing forward with ob
ligations until licensing agreements expire.

As to ADV now exiting the anime market, it means little to me. My library does contain a number of older ADV titles and since current ADV titles will simply be distrusted by someone else, there’s no loss to the market (unlike Geneon’s departure, where only the stuff others have manages to pick up is now being distributed again). Sure, ADV has been around for a long, long time and their departure from the anime market will seem a bit strange. However, after the loss of Central Park Media and then Geneon, I’m pretty much numb to the whole idea of these anime companies who could not keep up with the changing times going under.

In the end, it seems like FUNimation and Viz will be the big dogs with Bandai in the number three slot.

Azumanga Daioh

Item 2: TokyoPop Loses Kodansha Licenses

Here’s another company I see heading down the road to bankruptcy or a selling off of assets. At one point in time, I thought that if TokyoPop lost its Kodansha licenses, Del Rey would stand to gain advantage because they have this deal where they only license Kodansha properties. My thoughts changed when Dark Horse scored the “omnibus” (bunkobon?) editions of various CLAMP titles such as Card Captor Sakura, Chobits, and more. My money would have been on Del Rey licensing those titles to corner the CLAMP market.

So when asked about my thoughts regarding Del Rey license-rescuing Akamatsu-sensei’s Love Hina or A.I. Love You, I do think they have a good chance at doing so and I think they’d certainly try to do so. However, one never knows how things will go in this business. I hope that we’ll here something regarding those two licenses in the near future though. I’d like to see both titles rescued with Love Hina scoring a complete re-translation from scratch and brought up to Del Rey’s normal standards.

The one thing we all have to realize is that over time, things change. I went back to my many old stomping grounds recently and was amazed at how much has changed over the last 20-years. The same thing is happening with the anime and manga markets and in 10-years, who knows how things will look. What I do believe I can safely say is that assuming our country survives over the next few years, there will still be anime and manga for us to purchase. ^_^

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7 Responses to “I Get Busy and Look What Happens!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The new ADV has YUA2, just so you know.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hm. I always enjoyed the Love Hina official translation it wasn’t too far from the original and was just as (or occasionally more so) raunchy. I don’t see a new translation being better when so many are changed from the original. Or, in better words, a close-to-original translation has a high chance of being changed if translated again.

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    One word — honorifics. ^_~

    Plus, there were a few times where the adaptation opted for a western joke over the original Japanese one (or so I’m informed) and that’s the kind of stuff I also want corrected.

    I only read A.I. Love You once (save for volume 8, which I now own again) but it was adapted more to my liking.

  4. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Anon1 — I forgot to mention this, but thanks for the heads up on YUA2.

  5. Cid Evil says:

    I loved the Love Hina series just the way it was. I don’t want it to be translated different from what I know! I had no problem with them changing the Japanese joke to a western one that’s the kinda stuff that kept me entertained. I’m scared of change D:

  6. Snark says:

    I’ve heard that the Western anime and manga industry wasn’t in great shape, but I really didn’t see ADV shutting it’s doors. O.o

  7. ADV isn’t so much disappearing as it is being split into several independent entities, one or two which, from what I understand, are vaguely connected to ADV. All of ADVs licenses are safe and will continue being released by one company, while The Anime Network will be handled by another company and continue airing (as an aside, Comcast, who provides cable in my area, dropped for now in favor of the Funimation Channel a few months back >:( ).

    So, the only thing that’s really up in the air now is the ADV name. No word yet on whether it will continue to be used on future printings of its releases. Of course, if the ADV brand goes away, it will feel wierd considering they were around for so long.

    As for Tokyopop, I don’t really see it going anywhere soon despite the loss of Kodansha properties. Though Viz still dominates the best-selling manga lists, Tokyopop still has very popular series like Fruits Basket and DN Angel. Also, while they’ve contracted their rate of licensing, they still seem to be going strong. Manga publishers generally seem to be doing better than anime distributors. The only notable losses have been ADV’s manga division (published only a couple of titles after cancelling most of its library several years ago) and Broccoli Books (stopped releasing in N. America last December). Of course, manga is presumably more profitable than anime in the US & Canada, and most domestic distributors are owned by larger book publishers (Random House for Del Rey, Shueisha & Shogakukan for Viz) or were already in the business of selling Western comics (Dark Horse, DC’s CMX imprint). Manga sales in 2007 were pegged at around $220 million (they were down 17% in 2008, though), while anime sales were at $316 million, though factoring in anime’s higher price point (individual DVDs cost 2 to 3 times that of a single manga volume), manga sells more units than anime and is probably more profitable.

    Of course, the market abhors a vacuum, and should one company lose the rights to distrubute a licensed product or go under entirely, another will pick up where it left off. People still demand the products, after all, so someone’s gotta supply it, preferably a legit outfit. Licenses that lapse for whatever reason are quite often rescued as it’s good for the industry and fans. The licenses recently lost by Tokyopop are being rescued by Dark Horse and Del Rey, several old ADV Manga titles have been picked up by others. Funimation rescued a fair number of Geneon’s licenses (though some big-name titles have not, like Tenchi, El Hazard, Hellsing TV, and Fushigi Yugi remain expired licenses), and ADVs anime licenses (those that weren’t already transferred to Funimation, anyway) are being handled by its successor companies.

    I wanted to go further into the state of the anime & manga industry in N. America, but I have to get up early, so I’ll get to it later.

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