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Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Old 01-02-12, 09:19 AM
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Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

via ANN
Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga
posted on 2012-01-02 10:00 EST

N. American firm to still offer existing releases, shift focus to licensing in February

Bandai Entertainment, the subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings (USA) that handles anime and manga in North America, will stop offering new DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and manga releases next month. It will continue to distribute in its existing catalog lineup, but it will no longer produce and distribute new releases as of this February.

Instead, Bandai Entertainment will focus on licensing rights to other companies, particularly in digital distribution, broadcast, and merchandising. The company will be restructured as a result, and most of its contractors and three of its five fulltime staff members will be laid off. ANN will publish an interview with Bandai Entertainment President and CEO Ken Iyadomi on Tuesday.

The following releases have been cancelled:

Anime DVD/Blu-ray Disc
Gosick
Nichijō
Turn A Gundam

Manga
Code Geass: Renya (Code Geass: Shikkoku no Renya)
Gurren Lagann volume 7
Kannagi volumes 4-6
Lucky Star Boo Boo Kagaboo (spinoff by Eretto)
Mobile Suit Gundam 00I
Tales of the Abyss: Jade's Secret Memories volumes 1 and 2

Releases in Bandai Entertainment's current catalog will still be available after February, and Bandai Entertainment plans to produce new stock on these existing releases, if needed, until their respective licenses expire.

Bandai Entertainment closed its own online store in December, but other retailers can still order and carry Bandai Entertainment's current releases as before.

Last edited by WTK; 01-02-12 at 09:59 AM.
Old 01-02-12, 09:57 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

So that's how bad this slump is.
Old 01-02-12, 11:40 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

The problem with Bandai Entertainment was they didn't distribute enough titles to warrant their continued existence. They're not like FUNimation or Sentai Filmworks with their wide selection of titles from many different sources.
Old 01-02-12, 11:56 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

If Sentai Filmworks or Funimation goes out of business anime fans are in trouble.

So much for K-ON season 2, Sentai Filmworks might license it but I wouldn't count on it.
Old 01-02-12, 11:58 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

And Bandai always did the best Blu-Ray releases too. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya were all perfect mastered-from-1080p-sources releases.

(Well, Haruhi had some color banding issues. But it was still better than most of the competition).
Old 01-02-12, 12:06 PM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Summer Wars was released by Funimation. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya was awesome.
Old 01-02-12, 12:34 PM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Originally Posted by chrisc31 View Post
If Sentai Filmworks or Funimation goes out of business anime fans are in trouble.
Fortunately, not--both have done better because of the consolidation of companies licensing anime for the US market since 2007. I like the quality of the FUNi releases lately.
Old 01-03-12, 12:22 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Bad news. But VIZ is still going, isn't it?
Old 01-03-12, 01:15 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Bandai titles are being blown out on Buy.com right now.
Old 01-03-12, 02:08 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

What are the chances the rights to COWBOY BEBOP and/or AKIRA show up somewhere else?

The latter is already overpriced for the Blu-Ray.
Old 01-03-12, 03:25 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

I'm sorry to see this happen. But they really have themselves to blame by overpricing their products. I've had The Girl Who Leapt Through Time blu-ray on my Amazon Wish List since it was announced. But I never saw the price drop below $30. Likewise with K-On. Spreading 12 episodes across 4 blu-rays at $25 each. Forget it.
Old 01-03-12, 09:19 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Ken Iyadomi on Bandai's Downsizing
Ken Iyadomi on Bandai's Downsizing
by Justin Sevakis and Christopher Macdonald, Jan 3rd 2012

Ken Iyadomi is no stranger to the American anime business. Having been at Bandai Entertainment since its inception in 1996, and VHS anime publishers LA Hero and Manga Entertainment before that, he's seen a lot of changes in the business.

Unfortunately, his latest announcement is one he'd rather not be making. On January 3rd, the publisher is announcing that it will cease to release new DVD and Blu-ray releases in North America, effectively ending its 13-year run in the market. The majority of the division's contractors and three of their five full-time staff members will be laid off, and all releases scheduled after the first week of February have been cancelled.

In a decision made last October, but only now becoming public knowledge, Bandai Entertainment's corporate parent at Namco Bandai Holdings made the decision to exit the American home video business. Iyadomi says he wasn't privy to the fine details. "The decision was made in Japan by the contents SBU (Strategic Business Unit)." That business unit originally included the video games division, but recently was merged with all of the company's audio visual businesses, including Sunrise, Bandai Visual and Bandai Channel.
But the broader reasons are quite clear from the outside. The physical anime business in North America has shrunk substantially over the last five years, and shows no sign of returning to its former glory. "A couple of times we were hit with huge returns, and the financial result was pretty bad," Iyadomi admits. Still, he believes the division might have been able to keep going for a few more years, had the SBU allowed it.

"The pricing range for our products kept dropping in Western countries, and people tended only to buy sets with very reasonable prices, which we understand is what fans want, but it lead us to a different strategy than what Japanese licensors wanted," he remarked. "So we always had a problem [with licensors wanting something different than what consumers wanted]."

For now, nothing is going out of print. Iyadomi is careful to point out that, while new releases will cease and three of Bandai Entertainment's five employees will be let go (as well as most remaining contractors), the company currently plans to keep its existing catalog in print and available until their respective licenses expire. (No new re-releases or re-packagings will occur, however.) Retailers can continue to order those discs the way they always have, and when stock is depleted, new product will continue to be manufactured.

The timing of the near-shutdown coincides with the final releases of Star Driver, Tales of the Abyss, The Girl Who Leapt Through Space and Mobile Suit Gundam (the new release of 0079 with Japanese audio), which means that they will all be released in their entirety. However, all releases after February 2012 have been cancelled. Three series that were announced last year, including Turn A Gundam, My Ordinary Life (Nichijō) and Gosick, will not be released and their rights will revert back to their licensors.

The third volume of Gundam UC's DVD re-release, which would have comprised episodes five and six has been cancelled; the fifth episode is not scheduled for release in Japan until May. However, this news does not affect the availability of imported Japanese Blu-rays of the series through amazon.jp, which have included English audio and subtitles produced by Sunrise directly. Also unaffected by the announcement is the Ghost in the Shell franchise: the Stand Alone Complex series is distributed entirely by Starz Entertainment's Anchor Bay line (bearing the "Manga Video" brand), while the feature film Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence was a short-term sublicense from Paramount Pictures (current owner of the Dreamworks back catalog), and has already expired.

The manga division, unfortunately, will not be so lucky. Kannagi, Gurren Lagann, Code Geass: Renya of Darkness, Mobile Suit Gundam OOI, Lucky Star Boo Boo Kabagoo and Tales of the Abyss: Jade in My Memories will all see their releases cut short. Their fate had not yet been determined at press time. "All we can confirm for sure is that those series are not going to be finished by us," Iyadomi says.

As a corporate entity, Bandai Entertainment will stick around, albeit in a very different form. The company will continue to sublicense its shows to internet and TV broadcasters, as well as for merchandising. "The function of Bandai Entertainment will change towards helping group companies as opposed to making profit ourselves. We will continue handling licensing and sub-licensing for digital, tv and merchandise for group company properties," says Iyadomi, adding that this new role might even involve shows that Bandai Entertainment never had access to. "Whatever group companies want us to handle, we will help them. Our purpose going forward will be like it was in 1996-1998, before we started doing physical distribution."

But at this point, little is set in stone. Only one thing is clear: the role of a distributor for anime in North America is changing, and some well-equipped licensors can now cut them out of the process entirely, if they choose. Japanese publishers can now create Blu-rays with English subtitles, ready to import to English speakers worldwide. While those won't sell as many copies as American-produced discs, the higher price point and lack of middleman can still result in a decent amount of revenue with little additional cost. Bandai Visual Japan recently discovered this for themselves with their release of Gundam Unicorn. "They found the results pretty good, and that's how I think they would like to move forwards," Iyadomi says.

And so, for Bandai Entertainment, its days as a publisher are drawing to a close. Facing a massive restructuring, Iyadomi remains grateful to the fanbase. "I would like to say thank you to all the fans that have supported us. Although we no longer have new releases coming up, we will still have the catalog, so we appreciate your continued support."

Bandai Entertainment's Most Successful Anime (in no order)
Bandai Entertainment's Most Successful Manga (in no order)
Bandai Entertainment Will Not Release Nichijō Manga Also
Bandai Entertainment Will Not Release Nichijō Manga Also
posted on 2012-01-03 10:00 EST

Code Geass R2 novels will not be released as well

Bandai Entertainment, the subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings (USA) that handles anime and manga in North America, confirmed with ANN on Monday that it will not release either the Nichijō manga or the Code Geass R2 novels. Bandai Entertainment had announced in July that it acquired Keiichi Arawi's original Nichijō manga along its television anime adaptation, but both releases are now cancelled.

Bandai Entertainment President and CEO Ken Iyadomi provides more details on his company's restructuring in an interview with ANN today.

Last edited by WTK; 01-03-12 at 12:28 PM.
Old 01-03-12, 11:45 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

via TRSI...
Availability of Bandai Entertainment Titles at RightStuf.com
Posted on: Tuesday, January 3, 2012

As officially announced yesterday and detailed today at Anime News Network, Bandai Entertainment announced they will no longer be licensing or actively distributing titles in DVD, Blu-ray or print formats to the United States and Canada market. However, they do plan to keep titles in print until individual licenses expire. What does this mean, practically speaking, to fans who shop at RightStuf.com?
- As long we can acquire units for individual titles on the wholesale level, we will continue to offer, sell and ship them via RightStuf.com. That said, we can not guarantee future availability of any of these titles, and we suggest you place orders for must-have titles earlier, rather than later.

- At this moment, we are expecting to receive Bandai Entertainment's previously announced January and February 2012 DVD, Blu-ray and manga titles.

- However, Bandai Entertainment has outright cancelled the following manga releases: Code Geass: Renya, Gurren Lagann Graphic Novel 7, Kannagi Graphic Novels 4-7, future Lucky Star graphic novels, Mobile Suit Gundam 00I, Tales of the Abyss: Jade's Secret Memories Graphic Novels 1 and 2.

- We know there is a sizeable contingent of fans who are interested in the upcoming Japanese Blu-ray releases Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, and we will keep you posted on that front, as we have more information.
This is a developing situation, and more information will be provided, as it is provided to us. Please keep an eye on the RightStuf.com news, Facebook and Twitter feeds for future updates.

Last edited by WTK; 01-03-12 at 11:56 AM.
Old 01-03-12, 04:08 PM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

"The pricing range for our products kept dropping in Western countries, and people tended only to buy sets with very reasonable prices, which we understand is what fans want, but it lead us to a different strategy than what Japanese licensors wanted,"
That stuck out at me and I had to quote it.

I think Kannagi and Code Geass season 2 are the only animes I have been putting off. I would buy Kurokami: The Animation Blu-ray if I can buy all 6 vol. for under $70.

Will Code Geass season 2 still get a complete collection release?
Old 01-03-12, 05:41 PM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Originally Posted by dugan View Post
And Bandai always did the best Blu-Ray releases too. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya were all perfect mastered-from-1080p-sources releases.

(Well, Haruhi had some color banding issues. But it was still better than most of the competition).
I thought there were a lot of complaints about K-on, though, and not all of it was about the release-method and pricing.

This makes me sad... I still remember how excited I was when they first started Anime Village and releaesd those DVD boxsets of Escaflowne and Gundam 0080/0083 in clamshell cases. Of course, I'm a Gundam/mecha fanatic. Is the original Gundam TV series release affected by this? And I guess I don't have to go out and buy Unicorn 2 and 3. And no Turn A, or Victory, or ZZ, at least from them. Argh.

They tried to go the premium route with Honneamise but I think even the most ardent anime fan is hard pressed to buy the premium releases when everything is or becomes dirt cheap (and I do wish they re-released Super Robot Wars). The mindset has changed. For years I would buy individual releases only to see much cheaper sets come out shortly thereafter, and it just doesn't make sense to do so anymore (though I did get K-on). Well, that and the whole fansub thing being pretty much freely available...

Viz is still around, mainly because of their Shonen Jump titles, but the collections have been shrinking and shrinking with the prices staying about the same.
Old 01-07-12, 09:17 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
This makes me sad... I still remember how excited I was when they first started Anime Village and releaesd those DVD boxsets of Escaflowne and Gundam 0080/0083 in clamshell cases. Of course, I'm a Gundam/mecha fanatic. Is the original Gundam TV series release affected by this? And I guess I don't have to go out and buy Unicorn 2 and 3. And no Turn A, or Victory, or ZZ, at least from them. Argh.
I, too, was quite the Gundam fanatic back in the day (I even bought the PS2 games) and ever since reading Bandai's announcement, I've been wondering what's going to happen to the franchise over here. I know Bandai stated they were going to bring all the Gundam series to North America, but, if I recall correctly, that was when Gundam Wing was popular. Since then, hasn't Gundam pretty much been a flop over here?
Old 01-09-12, 01:23 PM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

I thought they reiterated that promise after Wing went off the air, even after the Zeta box came and went I think Gundam did sustain some measure of popularity up until Seed (with 0080, 0083, 08th MS team, even G Gundam), but I think after Cartoon Network pulled the plug it was over. I would've thought that 00 would've been somewhat popular, but I didn't even realize it was airing on SciFi.

I think new Gundam shows would still get picked up by someone (maybe once Unicorn comes closer to a conclusion, for instance), but I don't see it happening for the older shows. In fact, now that the boom is gone I don't think we'll see many older shows, especially mecha shows, at all.

Wait, is Star Driver going to be completed before they shut down?
Old 01-09-12, 07:13 PM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I thought they reiterated that promise after Wing went off the air, even after the Zeta box came and went I think Gundam did sustain some measure of popularity up until Seed (with 0080, 0083, 08th MS team, even G Gundam), but I think after Cartoon Network pulled the plug it was over. I would've thought that 00 would've been somewhat popular, but I didn't even realize it was airing on SciFi.
The only way I knew it was airing was I saw an announcement for it on animenation's news page. If not for that, I would have had no idea it was airing. I don't think it did very well; I recall reading on forums the ratings for it weren't very good (I personally didn't care for it, but thought younger fans might've liked it).
Old 01-10-12, 11:43 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Speaking of Gundam series on tv, the only ones they aired after Wing (not counting the OVAs or 00) were G-Gundam, Seed, and Gundam 0079, right? Didn't Seed and Gundam 0079 both get pulled after a couple weeks? Maybe after the enthusiasm for Wing died down, Bandai realized Gundam wasn't going to be a cash cow for them and held back releasing the older series. This could be why they held off releasing Zeta for two years.
Old 02-28-13, 12:31 AM
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Re: Bandai Entertainment to Stop Releasing New DVDs, BDs, Manga

Huge thread bump...

The latest ANNCast is with Robert Napton. I highly recommend listening to this (in chunks if you have to since it's approaching 3 hours long). There are some really insightful stuff here from a former anime industry rep.

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