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Hey, Answerman! - Mo' Money Mo' Problems


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Reaper gI



Joined: 05 Oct 2009
Posts: 299
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 12:51 pm Reply with quote
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Honestly, though, I think a similar idea to this was just done recently - and to surprising success. Garden of Sinners says hello! Aniplex knew that property wasn't going to sell in droves, but they knew it had an adoring fanbase; so they kept the print run low, sold it at an incredibly high premium, and sold it directly to customers themselves, forgoing the usual retail channels like brick-and-mortar stores and Amazon. And, hey, it sold out!

You make it sound like Aniplex licensed it or something. The only part of that relase done for the US was the booklet translation. The same as what Bandai Visual USA did, but without trying to do store distribution.

If they hadn't those 100 copies would still have been bought by English fans for the same price (was the same as Amazon were charging), just they'd pay slighly more shipping and the Artbook would probably be unreadable to them.
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samuelp



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1551
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 1:35 pm Reply with quote
Reaper gI wrote:

If they hadn't those 100 copies would still have been bought by English fans for the same price (was the same as Amazon were charging), just they'd pay slighly more shipping and the Artbook would probably be unreadable to them.

I think you underestimate the bump in sales that just _acting_ like you are selling direct to the west gives.

The mental barrier of ordering an import from say, yesasia or amazon.co.jp and ordering from rightstuf is pretty big.

I wouldn't be surprised if aniplex marketing it directly in the US, even at near Japan prices, doubled the sales they would have made to foreigners by just sticking the subs on the discs sold in Japan. And 200 extra copies of this sold is... ~$40,000 or so.
It was a good marketing strategy.
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utawoutau



Joined: 27 Feb 2004
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 2:32 pm Reply with quote
I like Sam's Plan A for the Salior Moon Revival.

Is it just me, or do the classic Sailor Moon episodes look really dated?
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Dudley



Joined: 07 Jul 2008
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 2:53 pm Reply with quote
"are there men out there making famous shojo series? I know that the original shojo manga were created by men"

And you answer this with Osamu Tezuka? He virtually got all these men into creating shojo manga in the first place!

True, there aren't that many guys openly drawing shoujo manga (most of them use female pennames), but among those that did are frikkin' Mitsuru Adachi and Kazuo Umezu! And they had big hits with their shojo manga!
Also, there are Mineo Maya (Pataliro!), Masahiro Shibata (Blue Sonnet), Shinji Wada (Sukeban Deka) and Shinichiro Koga (Karura Mau). They might not be that well known overseas, but in Japan all of these series are bestsellers. Pataliro! even is the longest shojo manga ever, in terms of volumes. I think it's at volume 90. Plus one or two spin off series.

Sorry, but that answer was extremely lazy. :\
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Saturn



Joined: 08 Aug 2002
Posts: 418

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 2:54 pm Reply with quote
samuelp wrote:

The mental barrier of ordering an import from say, yesasia or amazon.co.jp and ordering from rightstuf is pretty big.

I wouldn't be surprised if aniplex marketing it directly in the US, even at near Japan prices, doubled the sales they would have made to foreigners by just sticking the subs on the discs sold in Japan. And 200 extra copies of this sold is... ~$40,000 or so.
It was a good marketing strategy.


Agreed. Even for pretty serious fans, importing can be tricky business that they don't necessarily want to get into (and in some cases, especially concerning anime, with good reason: if your disc is damaged, it might be a huge pain to get it replaced).

@utawoutau-- it's not just you. In a fit of nostalgia the other day I popped in one of my old Sailor Moon vhs tapes, and MAN. The years have not been good to that series. But then again, I can't think of many shows that old that have aged well. In 20 years we'll be saying the same thing about Fullmetal Alchemist, though. Preferably using telepathy while flying around with our jetpacks.

Also, Brian, I'm not sure CLAMP's recent stuff is even considered shoujo-- they probably fit better in the "women making shounen" camp with Tsubasa and XXXholic and whatnot.
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Wrial Huden



Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 61
Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 3:58 pm Reply with quote
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Unfortunately, a "commit to buy" model for anime just doesn't seem feasible. Honestly, the upfront costs of licensing alone are far too big to spend on the idea of potentially releasing a series, and then backing out of it if they don't get enough pre-orders or whatever.


It has been attempted in the past by others besides Aniplex.

Animeigo offered pre-orders, but they had already acquired the licenses to series like Urusei Yatsura, Macross, and Kimagure Orange Road. Like Aniplex, they were trying to gauge how many box sets to produce plus a few more to offer to retailers (primarily dealing in anime like Rightstuf) as well as individual volumes. Of course these days Animeigo seems to be leaving anime behind to focus on other Asian cinema.
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nhat



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 692

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 4:03 pm Reply with quote
Reaper gI wrote:
Quote:
Honestly, though, I think a similar idea to this was just done recently - and to surprising success. Garden of Sinners says hello! Aniplex knew that property wasn't going to sell in droves, but they knew it had an adoring fanbase; so they kept the print run low, sold it at an incredibly high premium, and sold it directly to customers themselves, forgoing the usual retail channels like brick-and-mortar stores and Amazon. And, hey, it sold out!

You make it sound like Aniplex licensed it or something. The only part of that relase done for the US was the booklet translation. The same as what Bandai Visual USA did, but without trying to do store distribution.

If they hadn't those 100 copies would still have been bought by English fans for the same price (was the same as Amazon were charging), just they'd pay slighly more shipping and the Artbook would probably be unreadable to them.


They know theres people who would like the series but don't want to deal with the process of importing something and the cost of shipping. I'm one of those people but in the end didn't get the series because it sold out so fast, lol.
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ikillchicken
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 6948
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 5:52 pm Reply with quote
It's very odd to say the least that you're bringing up Aniplex in reference to why commit to buy apparently can't work. Aniplex USA is one of the cases (admittedly an exception) where the licensing problem isn't an issue. I mean, Aniplex could hedge on releasing a show couldn't they? Because they're a branch of the company that produces them. There's no licensing there. It's just the company that produces the show deciding to put out a DVD/BD in North America. So, if they want to change their mind due to lack of interest...well what's stopping them?

As for the whole KnK situation, I'm not going to beat that dead horse. I'll just say that the way people bandy about that KnK "Sold Out" is a real misnomer. Selling out is really just a product of the units produced.

Quality over the last five years? Definitely down. (Especially the last four years). Too little talent in the industry and way to little money. No room for experimentation. You can pretty much just write off 8/10 shows these days. Of course, there's still great shows out there but there's no question to me that whatever way you look at it, as a percentage of total shows or as a total number of quality shows, we're seeing less quality in the industry.

Summer movies: Not much. This definitely feels like an off year. I have a strong suspicion that Green Lantern will suck. The whole Avengers project seems like a big spiralling mess. First Class...eh, could be good but there have been too many bad X-Men movies for me to get excited here.
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Melanchthon



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 545
Location: Northwest from Here

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 6:01 pm Reply with quote
I have a much different view of Sailor Moon than most. You see, I saw my first anime in college: Fullmetal Alchemist (the good version). So I have none of the nostalgia for the franchise that so many of my peers too. By everyone seemed to heap loads of love on this series, so I went and, uh, obtained, the first two seasons and watched them. I wasn't expecting much, but frankly, they were absolutely horrible. Being dated wasn't the problem for me -- the animation quality was disgustingly bad, even for a early nineties show. The plot itself was overly complex and twisted in on itself, and it wasn't that the second season, 'R' had plot holes as much as it was a plot singularity. Now, for someone under the age of 14, things like plots and animation aren't big concerns, and I can understand why so many people love it. Hell, if I saw it when I was 10, I'd probably love it too. But I wonder if kids today would watch it. A DVD release would sell like hotcakes (never underestimate the power of nostalgia), but I don't think the classic Sailor Moon really would appeal to kids today, mostly for fact that it is old. However, the themes and ideas are still strong, and I think a complete remake would have a fighting chance.

On the subject of manga-ka gender, you'd be surprised at how many female artist make their living at manga. Even things generally considered for a 'male audience' like moeblob and ecchi manga seem to have a preponderance of women artists. In fact, I tend to assume that an unknown manga-ka is female until proven otherwise.
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maaya



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 976

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 6:15 pm Reply with quote
Saturn wrote:
Also, Brian, I'm not sure CLAMP's recent stuff is even considered shoujo-- they probably fit better in the "women making shounen" camp with Tsubasa and XXXholic and whatnot.


CLAMP's last shojo series were: Suki: A love story and Clover, and most recently Lawful Drug, which started in 2000. Since then xxxholic, Tsubasa, Kobato and the newest series Gate 7 are all Shonen or Seinen series.

Sankaku complex recently collected a whole list (3 parts i think) of "manga you would never guess to be drawn by a woman". The site is not sfw, because of the publicity, but the list is quite interesting - and it is long.
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here-and-faraway



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1147
Location: Sunny California

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 6:26 pm Reply with quote
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So at that point, even if they did't get enough pre-orders, yhey might as well release something if they have the license to it.


A few typos there. Otherwise, great column (as always).
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batou37
Bargain HunterBargain Hunter


Joined: 26 Aug 2009
Posts: 452

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 6:35 pm Reply with quote
It seems I'm reading a disconnect between the first question and the answer. It looks like to me that the question was more putting forward a situation where funimation knows that the license for a new series will cost them $60,000 an episode....yes I'm pulling the number out of thin air as I do not know the pricing structure of licensing, but the numbers are immaterial in this example. So Funi puts up on their website that they are considering licensing it, depending on how many customers commit to buy it and they say they need at least 50,000 commitments before licensing.... so they allow basically $39.99 placeholders to be purchased during a set time period (say 6 months like in the question) . You buy a spot and if they do license it you get set 1 for $39.99 where everyone else will pay $49.99. If at the end of 6 months the limit of 50,000 is not reached or if it is licensed by another firm before the limit is reached, you can either use that credit towards any other catalog title of theirs or receive a full refund. This whole time they still have not licensed it, are not selling the DVDs, but merely selling futures. Like a fully refundable lottery ticket, where your money is held in escrow until it is found out if you either win (title gets licensed), or lose (not licensed or licensed by another company) in which case you get all your money back (could even toss in a minus a $2 processing fee....that'd be fine with me) . This seems like a viable option to me (depending on whether or not the title owners are forthcoming with pricing and release that info to prospective buyers before they enter into serious negotiation.) But it seemed as if the question was answered with Funi already buying the license before doing the whole pre-buy commitment thing. in this paragraph..."Honestly, the upfront costs of licensing alone are far too big to spend on the idea of potentially releasing a series, and then backing out of it if they don't get enough pre-orders or whatever. Because it's not like companies can be refunded for their licensing fee;..." So am I missing something?
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Lapin noir



Joined: 20 Dec 2008
Posts: 35
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 6:56 pm Reply with quote
You forgot Zakka Films' [url]The Roots of Japanese Anime[/url]! That includes one of Mitsuyo Seo's predecessors to Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors, Momotaro's Sea Eagle and other films – different ones from those in the Digital Meme collection, and for a much more affordable price to put it mildly. The Kenzo Masaoka Benkei and Ushiwaka film in particular is a stunning revelation.

And following on from that, the next stops in the scattershot English-subbed coverage of pre-1970s or even 1980s anime that I know of would be Discotek Media's discs of a few of the Tôei Dôga features which followed The Tale of the White Serpent and the Mushi Pro. short and mid-length modernist films in KimStim's The Astonishing Work of Tezuka Osamu (though were conceived and hands-on produced by him). Not quite as strongly recommend are Optimum Releasing in the UK's The Little Norse Prince and, back in the US, Hen's Tooth Video's disc of the Gisaburō Sugii Jack and the Beanstalk, neither of which are excellently subtitled (the former missing out the songs and getting some things plain wrong and the later at least having the original audio but only dubtitling it) but are at least some recognition of some landmark films.

I find the likes of Sailor Moon and City Hunter feel extremely dated, but because they feel so extremely, mind-blowingly awesome in their rough physicality and supposedly counter-intuitive pairings of sinister imagery and muzak which work so well compared to the refined neutral pallets, digital ink and paint and general "good"ness of today.


Last edited by Lapin noir on Fri May 06, 2011 7:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Spotlesseden



Joined: 09 Sep 2004
Posts: 2896
Location: earth

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 7:05 pm Reply with quote
ikillchicken wrote:
It's very odd to say the least that you're bringing up Aniplex in reference to why commit to buy apparently can't work. Aniplex USA is one of the cases (admittedly an exception) where the licensing problem isn't an issue. I mean, Aniplex could hedge on releasing a show couldn't they? Because they're a branch of the company that produces them. There's no licensing there. It's just the company that produces the show deciding to put out a DVD/BD in North America. So, if they want to change their mind due to lack of interest...well what's stopping them?

As for the whole KnK situation, I'm not going to beat that dead horse. I'll just say that the way people bandy about that KnK "Sold Out" is a real misnomer. Selling out is really just a product of the units produced.



Good point on the ' commit to buy'. I guess you can do ' commit to buy' if you are a Japanese company that already have all the right to the anime. If there are enough orders for them to make money, they will release in US. Otherwise, forget it.
Maybe Aniplex should try it with Madoka. $200 for the entire series and they will release it in American once they get certain number of orders.


The "Sold out" on knk is important. It means they reached their goal on how much money that they want to make on the anime.
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egoist
Pirate KingPirate King


Joined: 20 Jun 2008
Posts: 7670

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 7:24 pm Reply with quote
ikillchicken wrote:
As for the whole KnK situation, I'm not going to beat that dead horse. I'll just say that the way people bandy about that KnK "Sold Out" is a real misnomer. Selling out is really just a product of the units produced.

I have to wonder about that. People said it wouldn't sell, which is why some bragged about the fact that it sold out. Some people took the criticism to extremes, so that claim is understandable. So, claiming only one extreme of both sides seems fairly unreasonable in a discussion.

To be fair, I don't really care about the situation as a whole. If we could use the whole international market to reproduced at least a single equal to the Japanese market anime would be much better off. Sure, $40 for a 12 episodes series on BD is a fair price that a lot of people would pay, but how about grabbing a thousand or so willing to pay Japanese price on an early release and one or two years later selling it for the average overseas price? It does sound like a good marketing strategy to me. It's been only a few months since the KnK set came out, so I'm guessing a definitive answer awaits us one or two years ahead.


Last edited by egoist on Fri May 06, 2011 8:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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