January 9th, 2010

Ice King, Adventure Time

Funimation's Roll-Out Rant

More rant time, yay! Now most everywhere else I've been keeping a cool head, but on here I am going to be more blunt and punchy. I know a group of people will disagree with me, but I really feel that I need to fully express my disappointment in the week's announcements.

First off, Funimation (shortened hereafter as Funi, because I prefer to type small words) for a few weeks talked big of their announcements for the upcoming year or so. Now Funimation is probably my favorite distributor at the moment because as I look at my anime shelf, well over half of my dvds are from Funimation (with several more coming in. Rightstuf is having their Funi sale right now and I need to complete my Sgt. Frog, Bamboo Blade, Soul Eater and Baccano collections) and are mostly pro-dub. I am a person who defends dubs very much. I think subs not worth my buck, unless the dvds are relatively less in price or have special features (STILL burned about Hayate). So hearing the new acquisitions for me was important because I trust Funimation and know the series will more or less sell better with them distributing them. If Funi doesn't license them, then the chances of it being dubbed are reduced very greatly.

You guys probably remember my wishlist for the Roll-Out Riot, which again has been talked up by the Funi reps on the blog. Guess which ones got picked? C'mon, take a guess. If you guessed ZERO, then you're absolutely correct! Now to be fair, I am a little upset that none of my picks were chosen, but there were a few more that were asked about a LOT on the blog that were neglected as well. One such outcry was for a redubbing of Sailor Moon. Seriously. Every other freakin' comment was for a redub/rerelease of Sailor Moon. Customers are clearly demanding this. On top of that, several of my picks were also mentioned frequently, such as Sayanara Zetsubo Sensei, ToraDora!, and K-ON. These are what people asked for. None of these were mentioned or acknowledged.

Let me break down what was announced.

Day 1 - 15 Shaw Brothers Live Action Films.

Day 2 - Kamui and RoboGeisha, the former looking "meh"-ish at best and the latter is more of a flick to watch while stoned or something.

Day 3 - FLCL rescue. Just one title, but was the first to get a resounding "YAY FUNI!!!!" from the fans. I watched it after announced (its only 6 episodes long) and was less than impressed.

Day 4 - Martial Hearts and Hero Tales, because ecchi sells and anything made by a creator of Fullmetal Alchemist MUST be gold.

Day 5 - Hetalia and Sacred Blacksmith. Hetalia definately has a...urm...passionate fanbase that honestly kind of scares me, and Blacksmith looks like any other pretty girl warrior shonen title. I looked up Hetalia and just could not get interested enough to care. I will need to see some episodes dubbed before I totally throw out the idea, but its definately not sounding like a "purchase" to me.

Now I will go to their defense. First off, Funimation may have still licensed some of these and just could not announce them yet because of their licensor. Just because it wasn't mentioned in the roll-out doesn't mean its not on the way or on their list. This may be true, but you think they would announce it during one of their bigger announcement extravaganzas instead of a few months later. Granted, they may wait to announce bigger titles at a convention, but don't get our hopes up with "RoboGeisha".

Secondly, just because Funi doesn't have the license doesn't mean it won't be dubbed or released at all. Now this is just a rumor, completely unverified, but Zetsubo Senei might possibly be a Media Blasters acquisition as well as Moyashimon, another series I am interested in, and both will probably be dubbed as well. Again, just a rumor I saw mentioned on the Mania forums. Honestly, Media Blasters would probably be my second choice of distributor given my latest grief with Ban Dai, so if some titles go there, I won't be too disappointed other than having to purchase overly expensive volume releases. I'm cheap, ok?

One of the things I think that kind of hurt the most is the fact that Funi has seemingly (not accusing) given a half blind eye to the fandom and just started doing their own thing. I know the fandom isn't always right, but when you announce roughly 22 titles and only 2 are more or less widely approved of, there might be a problem. Now to most of us, Funimation is an anime group, distributing series and dubbing them. They are also into releasing Foreign films. Honestly for some anime fans, the announcement for the movies were great, but there are some of us who just don't care. Given the talk on the ANNCast, they knew there would be backlash when the liveaction was announced, so why announce it, or announce it first two days by themselves. Couldn't you have also announced an anime title a day? There were 4 new seires and 1 "rescue" which could have been announced one a day. Sure, people would undoubtedly complain about the number of series being licensed, but you could have made it a 3 day roll-out instead of 5. Again, no offense to the live action fans out there, but most of us were led to believe that they would announce anime, since it is, as quoted on ANNCast "Very much our bread and butter".

Again, this isn't my slamming because of none of my wishlist was announced, but this event was kind of mishandled. Starting off two days with live action movies that most people had not heard of on a blog that is 95% anime-related is kind of a slap in the face and killed the mood for most people, then announcing several subpar series, even if they instigated some talk, made this event pretty much a "fail" in my book. If they had not mentioned the live action, sure, we would have said something about the quantity, but I don't think we would have been as disappointed or felt like we had been "trolled" by the leading R1 distributor in North America. Sure, if Sailor Moon or ToraDora! had been announced, it would have lessend the sting and probably shortened this entry, but they wern't, and this is a wall of text.

Yeah, the economy is in the crapper, and that sales are probably not where they were two or three years ago. I get that. If Funi doesn't have a lot of money to throw around, I understand why some series got "overlooked" and why they announced some live action. I'm not saying they should say "Ok guys, we don't have as much money so there will be fewer titles this year". That would have caused stock to drop in their company. I get it. I know these titles don't interest me in the slightest. I'm not saying that I want Funimation to fail or anything. I don't harbor a grudge against them for that. All I am saying is that fans have voices and that if you're going to act like something is a big deal and you know you're going to be letting most of the people down, then don't act like its a big deal! I'm sure both Hetalia and FLCL will do well based on the reaction I see. I'm just really disappointed that is was handled the way it was. Its like Nintendo E3 2008 all over again.

Now I want to see ToraDora, Shana 2, Zetsubo Sensei, Hayate, Moyashimon, School Rumble 3rd Semester and Negima OVAs dubbed and released in America. I really do. In fact I just marathoned Shakugan no Shana just to remind myself why I want Shana 2 released so badly. I want to see each one for different reasons, but now I have the feeling that more announcements will be months away and by then I will have lost all patience and just watch them online subbed....not dubbed or...subbed.....

Crap, I'm starting to sound like people who call themselves otaku. CRAP.

The Allengator