Thursday, November 20, 2008

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::11.20.08:: Gettin' Straight, GONZO Haet, Broccoli USA Dissipates

It's been a good while since the last "Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits" posting, so here is a smattering of news emanating from the anime side in recent times.

:Sat.09.27.08: Media Blasters Blasts GONZO
Sure, they've had a big part in boosting the popularity of digital distribution and simultaneous worldwide broadcasts, had a big hit in Strike Witches, and a continual money-maker in Afro Samurai, but things haven't been completely great this year for GONZO. Among the reception over Dragonaut -The Resonance- (though I liked it quite a lot), the buyout of its parent company, its recent corporate restructuring, and the limiting of the number of works to be produced per year, was a little nugget that fell in between the cracks of the news cycle (covered only by "a geek by any other name" and another blog). At the New York Anime Fest in September, during Media Blasters' panel, the company was fielded a question about whether it would be releasing anything from GONZO in the future in a simultaneous fashion like some of the other companies (and the studio itself via digital distro) have been doing. The representative present replied that the studio "apparently,...doesn't like them" and added that some of their employees have quit because they did not like "how they were doing things".

It's one thing to say "no, they won't work with us" or even that "they don't like us", but it's another to bring up something akin to what they said about their employees quiting. The statement reeked of mud-slinging and was largely uncalled-for, regardless of how it was said. It comes off as pretty snide and juvenile, and it doesn't make them any more deserving to carrying any of their work (not like that will happen either way now, but you never know...). I was even bit iffy on Bandai Ent., at the same convention, making a thinly-veiled comment (here, between 4:20 and 4:35)on a certain channel (Adult Swim) not caring to about anime anymore, since they already had Code Geass still showing on there (despite being right about what they said). Business-wise, it can look tacky and those little harmless quips could always come back to bite you in the end (more so in MB's case than BEI's).

Stay classy, Media Blasters...

:Mon.11.17.08: A Certain Video Site Goes Straight
For a long while, I've avoided listing a particular streaming/download-to-own website, much less mention its name, in HD's free/low-cost anime directory or in any related blog post. Despite its popularity, it was well-known that they were profiting off of the fansubs they showed (such as through paid subscriptions) and that, essentially "bootlegging", is a huge "no" in my book. However, ever since its massive investment earlier this year, major American anime distributors and even major Japanese studios and networks have jumped to get their content onto the site. An odd juxtaposition given the anti-fansub/illegal distribution stance from some of the parties involved (GONZO, ADV, and Toei, to name a few), said venue, to their credit, removed any unauthorized work that their new partners or anyone else with a "proper" intellectual property claim. The massive migration of legit videos and companies to their side had many questioning simply "Why?", considering the shadiness and infamy of that particular site, and whether they would "do the right thing" and go completely legit.

On January 8, 2009, it appears that will be the date when it will finally happen. They announced on November 17 that they will no longer accept user-submitted videos by the January date and will only host legit ones from their partners, removing all unauthorized video in the process. While its massive user, and arguably the ones who made them as big as they are and enabled them, is up-in-arms, others such as myself are glad to hear them taking the right steps. Personally, however,...January 8? Why Or by the end of the month? Honestly, they should have removed the videos the moment they finalized their first legit deal, but that probably would have made the transition too tough on both them and their userbase, who don't quite care for the "legal/not legal" discussion.

So where does that leave HardDoor and its directory? I'll be taking a wait-and-see approach and watch how things pan out. I'm not totally enthralled with the site and its business practices, so there will probably be a month's or so time until I decide to list it. Having to use them, begrudgedly, to watch LINEBARRELS OF IRON due to their rather pointless use of the YouTube channel (other than for their own good and to generate more hits), their service isn't too bad and some of their use of technology, such as softsubbing, is interesting. They have great promise if they can straight up quickly and right. For now, though, I'm taking the cautious route with them.

:Thurs.11.20.08: Broccoli International USA To Dissolve
Broccoli International USA, the subsidiary of the Japanese production and distribution company Broccoli (Galaxy Angel, Aquarian Age, Di Gi Charat) and handlers of the Anime Gamers store and its licensing and production arm Synch-Point, is being closed down by its parent company and will cease operations on December 31, 2008. It's a real shame to hear the group, which was once comprised of only eight individuals and now only four, fold due to increased competition and loss of revenue and profit. They may have released things at a snail's pace and was not always the best mangaged or backed company out there, but whatever did come out from them was truly top-notch. For me, FLCL's packaging, booklets, and extras were great, as was its brilliant video quality and "COOLector's" box, whereas Di Gi Charat's "treasure box" release of its original series was very nicely done and the disc was well-produced. Hopefully Bandai Ent., who seemed to be close to Broccoli, will pick up their home-less licenses, since FUNimation already has their hands full and ADV's still in recovery. Also, I do hope for the best for the remaining employees of the company, especially in this erratic market and age.

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