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Answerman - Why Does Anime Go Unlicensed?


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Ashtur



Joined: 04 Dec 2015
Posts: 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:08 pm Reply with quote
I'd be curious to know what shows he has in mind with what categories.

I can take a guess at some

For instance, for a long time, #4 was Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I remember that they wanted an insane prepay before they'd even consider licensing it.
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Nyren



Joined: 07 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:08 pm Reply with quote
Hyouka is one of those series that I've been meaning to get around to watching, but never did. I've never heard anything bad about it, so I too wonder why it hasn't been licensed yet. Maybe merchandise sales didn't do too well?
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prime_pm



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:15 pm Reply with quote
Once again, another situation to bring up Nichijou and Carnival Phantasm. What categories would they fall under, I wonder?

Actually Nichijou wouldn't technically count, since Bandai originally had the license right before they bellied up. But still, I've missed out on so many AMV's being made without this title.
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invalidname
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 11 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:18 pm Reply with quote
It seems like there ought to be a sixth entry for "honestly, this is just too obscure, too unpopular, to even justify the cost of subtitling it and hosting files that nobody is ever going to want to stream, even if the license were basically free".

Personally, I'm willing to accept this as the reason for a lot of stuff I'd like to see licensed, although I've never posted them on Crunchyroll's "hey, what catalog stuff should we license" forum, so maybe it's worth a shot.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:29 pm Reply with quote
invalid name wrote:
Personally, I'm willing to accept this as the reason for a lot of stuff I'd like to see licensed, although I've never posted them on Crunchyroll's "hey, what catalog stuff should we license" forum, so maybe it's worth a shot.


Anybody who had to live through the years when the only things small VHS companies could license were ancient features and weirdo limited-OVA series, and then struggle through AnimEigo's years of trying to finish Urusei Yatsura, only to see their other shows expire, already KNOWS how messy a situation it is to license anything, for a big or small company.
(For ex., if Viz wanted to follow Ranma 1/2 and pick up UY again, as hinted, they'd face #3.5, "The owner isn't embarrassed, but the show is considered so ancient in Japan, they don't know why anyone in the US would bother", and when they found out it was wanted, up would go the #4 price for the "classic".)

The reason anything vintage does show up on Crunchyroll is because Discotek or Nozomi managed to snag the license for disk, and while they've been digging up some ancient unlikely stuff, the key word is "unlikely", since there can be a dozen different reasons why it happened to be available at that time.
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Hameyadea



Joined: 23 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:30 pm Reply with quote
Answerman wrote:
Some of them, such as Madhouse, have opted to hire an outside sales agent to take care of these things


With the studio being a subsidiary owned by NTV, I thought that publishers had to go to NTV. An interesting tidbit.
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jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:37 pm Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:
It seems like there ought to be a sixth entry for "honestly, this is just too obscure, too unpopular, to even justify the cost of subtitling it and hosting files that nobody is ever going to want to stream, even if the license were basically free".

"Nobody wants this stupid show" is so obvious a reason it didn't really bear mentioning. And honestly, given what's been licensed in the past few years, there's surprisingly little in that category!
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Apterous



Joined: 20 Mar 2005
Posts: 71
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:48 pm Reply with quote
jsevakis wrote:
invalidname wrote:
It seems like there ought to be a sixth entry for "honestly, this is just too obscure, too unpopular, to even justify the cost of subtitling it and hosting files that nobody is ever going to want to stream, even if the license were basically free".

"Nobody wants this stupid show" is so obvious a reason it didn't really bear mentioning. And honestly, given what's been licensed in the past few years, there's surprisingly little in that category!


Honestly, there's no reason not to post the obvious. In this case, adding that "this doesn't happen as much anymore because of so many streaming providers" is actually interesting context!

Are there any interesting stories recently behind things that you never thought would get licensed that did anyway? And maybe did relatively well despite themselves?
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Gasero



Joined: 24 Jul 2009
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Location: MI, USA
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:50 pm Reply with quote
...and then there is Dragon Ball Super
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BigOnAnime



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:59 pm Reply with quote
Gasero wrote:
...and then there is Dragon Ball Super
Apparently Toei won't allow anyone to license it without getting a TV deal first. Heck, look at why it took so long to get the original DBZ licensed in the UK.
http://www.fandompost.com/oldforums/showthread.php?5235-Manga-submits-Dragonball-Z-material-to-the-BBFC&p=320883&viewfull=1#post320883

Anyway, in the case of Hyouka, the problem I've heard is Kadokawa wants more than anyone is willing to pay (which is why it failed to hit even CR), and it might struggle to do that well here despite its popularity (it's been in MAL's top 100 most watched shows list for how long?). As the show gets older, the sales potential just decreases. Maybe in a few decades Discotek will be able to grab it for way less when Kadokawa stops caring as much.
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:24 pm Reply with quote
BigOnAnime wrote:

Anyway, in the case of Hyouka, the problem I've heard is Kadokawa wants more than anyone is willing to pay (which is why it failed to hit even CR), and it might struggle to do that well here despite its popularity (it's been in MAL's top 100 most watched shows list for how long?). As the show gets older, the sales potential just decreases. Maybe in a few decades Discotek will be able to grab it for way less when Kadokawa stops caring as much.


That is my only hope at this point. It does seem pretty likely that they have a pretty inflated idea of what it's worth. Not super surprising given it's success in Japan. I think the time that it hit -sort of just after the market was just beginning to recover, but before Crunchyroll and legal streaming had really taken off- probably allowed it to fall through the cracks a bit more too. And I wouldn't be surprised if Sentai and other NA publishers are worried it won't hit much with western fans due to how much Japanese specific cultural stuff is in it. There are entire episodes and mysteries based around kanji wordplay and puns, after all. Considering what else has been licensed these days though, yeah, the price point seems to be most likely.

Hyouka is one of the shows where I just said "F*** it" and bought the Import regardless of the lack of subs. Others being Tatami Galaxy, Kemonozume, and Kaiba. Though I'm sure the lack of a license for those latter 3 falls much more into the sixth category, "honestly, this is just too obscure, too unpopular, to even justify the cost of subtitling it and hosting files that nobody is ever going to want to stream, even if the license were basically free" that invalidname mentioned. Though I think there is some value to them. All are critical darlings to some extent, and Yuasa is quite well known among artistic types. I'm very curious how Ping Pong did for Funimation. Not super great, would be my guess.

Nyren wrote:
Hyouka is one of those series that I've been meaning to get around to watching, but never did. I've never heard anything bad about it, so I too wonder why it hasn't been licensed yet. Maybe merchandise sales didn't do too well?


It was a pretty big hit in Japan, so it certainly wasn't anything like that.
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BJWanlund



Joined: 26 May 2014
Posts: 9
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:32 pm Reply with quote
Aaaaaaand yet another reason to bring up Game Center CX, the most tangled web of rights issues in recent history. I love the show, and want very much to support an official stream with English subtitles, but I understand if a company doesn't think it would sell given the dreadful "dub" it got in "Retro Game Master".
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AtoMan



Joined: 17 Sep 2012
Posts: 102
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:33 pm Reply with quote
Author forgot about the "Licensor is constantly ignoring any attempts of making contact because they think it's unimportant". For smaller than US markets this is pretty much a default situation.

Not to mention that TV licensing costs for anime are higher than non-JP properties, yet still niche, so TV stations understandably may opt to not bother.
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Greed1914



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 2555
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:44 pm Reply with quote
BigOnAnime wrote:
Gasero wrote:
...and then there is Dragon Ball Super
Apparently Toei won't allow anyone to license it without getting a TV deal first. Heck, look at why it took so long to get the original DBZ licensed in the UK.
http://www.fandompost.com/oldforums/showthread.php?5235-Manga-submits-Dragonball-Z-material-to-the-BBFC&p=320883&viewfull=1#post320883


If true, that would certainly present a problem. I can't imagine too many TV networks would be eager to make deals with companies that don't have the license. Even then, they wouldn't have a firm grasp on when the show could actually be made available. Shows like Space Dandy certainly prove that a network wouldn't have to wait long, but they would still be dealing with people who only might acquire the license.


I do have to agree with another earlier post that a big reason, and I'd argue perhaps the biggest reason, is that the show comes off as enough of a sales dud that it simply isn't worth it. Streaming has changed this somewhat since now there is a scramble to license shows before episode one, regardless of quality, but at least they can still take the time to figure out if something is worth a physical release.
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king 47



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 257
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:50 pm Reply with quote
The Hyouka picture gave a quick feeling of hope and happiness, followed by the usual disappointment.
It's beyond me why a great show like that doesn't get licensed, but lots of crap does.
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