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ANNCast - The Last Days of Bandai Entertainment USA


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angelmcazares
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Joined: 23 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:10 pm Reply with quote
That was a long but great podcast. It was very informative. I hope Robert's final optimistic words hold true, and we continue to have a R1 anime market for many years.

samuelp wrote:


The new overall philosophy is that Bandai should make physical products in Japan, and sell them overseas.

Their new strategy is to treat videogram sales more like gundam kits, and export Japanese made products to the world. For broadcast and internet license to local companies, and for sales export your Japanese products.


This sounds great until you release that Bandai does not seem totally committed to these strategies. Subbing Yamato 2199 and Akito the Exiled was nice. But if Bandai truly want us to buy Japanese products, why in the hell didn't they include the existing dub in the Cowboy Bebop BD box set? The closest thing to this supposed global strategy is Gundam Unicorn.


Last edited by angelmcazares on Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ConanSan



Joined: 13 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:11 pm Reply with quote
So what I take from this is that Japan, by and large, had no godamn clue in the 80's, 90's 2000's and they have no godamn clue now.

Sounds about right.


Last edited by ConanSan on Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DomonX2



Joined: 14 Sep 2012
Posts: 232
Location: Neo Toronto, Neo Canada
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:16 pm Reply with quote
Charred Knight wrote:
GhostOfSide3 wrote:
Very great podcast, guys. I love Bandai Entertainment so much.

Anybody know what's gonna happen to a lot of their titles? I assume they'll eventually get auctioned off or something but It'd be great to know what titles are coming back sooner than later before I pay a ridiculous price for an out of print collection.


Depends on who owns them, the jewels which are mainly Sunrise (Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, Escaflowne, Gundam) will most likely be brought over by Bandai Visual. don't expect to get Cowboy Bebop for under 50 bucks.


Not all Gundam series do so well in the US. Gundam SEED bombed in the US, while SEED did much better over here in Canada. The only Gundams which are popular in the States are W, G and 8th MS Team. I suppose the Gundam released here in 1999 like F91, 0080, those awful GunDAMN dubs and 0083 are well KNOWN, but not to the extent of the former 3.
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bahamut623



Joined: 23 Jun 2005
Posts: 1463
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:36 pm Reply with quote
Wow. Frustrating to hear that Bandai went down sort of arbitrarily. And hearing about that Syd Mead feature makes the lack of Turn A Gundam sting even more. Great interview.
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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 3213
Location: NE Ohio
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:33 pm Reply with quote
v1cious wrote:
Heh, count me among the Texans that liked FLAG. God that series is underrated.

That was a great series. I must be among the Buckeyes who liked the series but it was never high enough on my priority list to buy it as singles.
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:35 pm Reply with quote
Conan-san wrote:
So what I take from this is that Japan, by and large, had no godamn clue in the 80's, 90's 2000's and they have no godamn clue now.

Sounds about right.


Bandai Visual hopped right onto the sales of Gundam Unicorn as some way to say "See we were not wrong when we tried to sell Galaxy Angel Rune, and Super Robot Wars for 50 dollars" while ignoring that Super Robot Wars Divine Wars sold like 4,000 units in Japan while Gundam Unicorn is doing about 100,000 units.
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Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 2544
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:37 pm Reply with quote
I didn't buy the 2nd season of Haruhi because I didn't like it but I might have considered if they went with that dub strategy. I never buy a show for a dub but that would have been an exception.

Also not surprising that Toward the Terra was not a top seller but I am still glad Bandai gave it a chance. So yeah I am happy I own it.

Hearing the interview makes me even sadder we lost Bandai Sad
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RobertNapton



Joined: 28 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:51 pm Reply with quote
I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to listen to the interview. I wanted to do a ONE-TIME ONLY reply to a few of the questions that have been brought to my attention.

It's been pointed out to me that after a 2.5 hour interview session toward the end I made a few factual errors that I would like to clarify.

Firstly, in response to the K-ON! audio question I did in fact transplant the mono issue of HARUHI SEASON 2 into my reply. Since I don't have concreate data on K-ON! I will not reply to that question rather than muddy the waters even more. Apologies for my error.

Secondly, it's been brought to my attention that we might have alluded to the possibility of a HAYATE dub at a panel once, but this was never a serious consideration, so while my answer stands the brief dub mention started a rumor that there was an intended dub when this wasn't ever really on the table.

Thirdly, at the end I mentioned Loy Fruel, formerly of Bandai Entertainment, was now working at Bandai Visual USA when in fact I meant to say Bandai Visual JAPAN. An important distinction. Bandai Visual USA has not been re-opened -- he is now working with the Japanese office.

Fourthly, after a marathon interview session, I really didn't get a chance to thank all my shipmates who made Bandai Entertainment possible in its final incarnation: Ken Iyadomi, Rika Davis, Sam Maseba, Larry Vong, Taku Otsuka, Richard Kekahuna, Loy Fruel, Han Moses, Anthony Foronda, and Nobuo Masuda. A great crew and the finest colleagues I've ever had the pleasure to work with and for.

As for the future, after reading some of the comments, I'd like to make the analogy that President Obama was re-elected because his campaign did a better job on the GROUND in the battleground states. More people knocking on more doors. The R1 US anime market cannot be salvaged without a dedicated ground effort, which cannot be accomplished by manufacturing discs in Japan with subs and dubs and importing them long distance with no one here speaking on their behalf. Aniplex is succeeding at the moment because they have a US based group heading up their North American effort. I would hope in some form or fashion, Bandai Japan realizes that this is the best strategy for the US market because I believe it's the only way to really accomplish the goal of selling more DVD and Blu-ray product in the R1 market, which is the understandable goal of any company.

And finally, thanks for all your support, praise, complaints, cheers and boos over the years – and I am especially grateful for ALL those repeat Gundam questions at the panels;) It was all good fun and I wish the industry health, and its fans the best.

Signing off for GOOD now,
Robert Napton
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ultimatemegax



Joined: 26 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:17 pm Reply with quote
RobertNapton wrote:
Firstly, in response to the K-ON! audio question I did in fact transplant the mono issue of HARUHI SEASON 2 into my reply. Since I don't have concreate data on K-ON! I will not reply to that question rather than muddy the waters even more. Apologies for my error.
Thank you for adding to your response. While I am again curious what happened, I respect that you won't give an incorrect answer. Thank you for replying and again for the wonderful interview. I wish you the best of luck in the future.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:09 pm Reply with quote
RobertNapton wrote:
As for the future, after reading some of the comments, I'd like to make the analogy that President Obama was re-elected because his campaign did a better job on the GROUND in the battleground states. More people knocking on more doors. The R1 US anime market cannot be salvaged without a dedicated ground effort, which cannot be accomplished by manufacturing discs in Japan with subs and dubs and importing them long distance with no one here speaking on their behalf. Aniplex is succeeding at the moment because they have a US based group heading up their North American effort. I would hope in some form or fashion, Bandai Japan realizes that this is the best strategy for the US market because I believe it's the only way to really accomplish the goal of selling more DVD and Blu-ray product in the R1 market, which is the understandable goal of any company.


I'd say Aniplex is succeeding in part because they struck it lucky with severely popular titles like Madoka and the Monogatari series, and will repeat that success shortly with Sword Art Online. BVUSA was never going to move thousands of discs of Galaxy Angel Rune or Super Robot Wars at similar prices.

As far as having a ground effort, isn't everything still up Japan no matter how hard you try or make noise?
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cecilbdemented



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
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Location: Three feet to your left. No, your other left.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:00 pm Reply with quote
I pray that one day Robert's post here will be seen as the call to arms for the resurgence of anime fandom.

On a somewhat different note, at the same SDCC08 I mentioned earlier I got to have a brief chat with Peter Payne (the J-List guy) at his booth about Gundam, We agreed that the market perception of the metaseries was a bit skewed from what drew us to the works. The view in America was that Gundam was a kid's action show (being on Toonami and having toys at Toys R Us) while we saw it as, "what Star Trek is to America and Doctor Who is to Britain, Gundam is to Japan." I felt that, perhaps after the Wing phenomena, it should be pushed as a solid Sci-Fi series with great philosophical undertones, especially about war. (Go ahead and laugh at my mining for philosophy in Gundam, haters gonna hate.) In essence, it was my training wheels to Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica and Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead.

To tie it back to Robert, now that a lot of the companies are gone, we have to be the mouthpiece for anime again. That is a tall order, but the bright side is that now we can define the message. We are beholden to no one in terms of how many act upon our message and that gives us freedom to go for quality over quantity. A coworker of mine [I work at a bookstore] heard me talking to a customer about what anime would be a good way to "start into" the genre. She also listened as I recommended some Avatar: The Last Airbender to see if she really wanted in, then maybe some Bleach or Naruto, followed by FMA (and profusely warned them from getting anywhere close to Eva until they were fully acclimated). Another time, at a different job, I did a "cultural exchange" with a guy after we talked about Dexter and I got him to watch Death Note.

Unfortunately, with the fall of the American anime giants, we cannot take knowledge of quality anime among the masses as a given anymore. More power to us.
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PurpleWarrior13



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:52 pm Reply with quote
I find it... interesting that the English dub of Gundam Unicorn is still being continued (at NYAV Post) for the Japanese Blu-ray release. At least they're not IGNORING the American market, but they are encouraging piracy by not making the title readily available. Aniplex might be the same way. A lot of this stuff has to do with reverse importation (that's worse now that we share a Blu-ray region with Japan), which is why Aniplex has their titles under a tight magnifying glass... and is also why the Persona 4 Blu-ray omitted the Japanese audio and why the FMA Brotherhood Blu-rays had locked subtitles, both of which might be more common with future Sunrise and Aniplex releases (not done by the Japanese company...).

Though Bandai and Sunrise do still license new stuff for the American and UK markets. It's not like they're completely cutting us off. I should point out that the other non-Asian markets are in just as bad shape (if not worse in some cases) as us, especially in Latin America, Brazil, and Portugal (from what I've observed).
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:33 pm Reply with quote
I'm like a good two years behind on catching up on ANNCast, but this is a must-listen for me right now. Bandai Entertainment released most of my all-time favorite anime series, and with the mad-dash scrambles I attempted over the past few months to pick up their titles, I swear I must own north of 75% of everything they ever released on DVD at this point. You guys were awesome for bringing over so much good stuff to watch, and for making my wallet that much lighter. Smile
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bemused Bohemian



Joined: 09 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:30 am Reply with quote
Not one to make it a habit to laud superlatives lavishly toward ANNCast but guys, this is 1 of the best shows I think you've ever done. Thanks for giving those of us out in the audience a first-hand thumbnail sketch of anime's future here in the states as well as insight into Bandai's decision to drop the US as a marketplace.

Thank you, Mr. Napton, for taking the time to answer these questions and share with us your thoughts and experiences from an industry perspective few of us will ever witness firsthand. This interview was very illuminating.

Kudos to you all.
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ZeetherKID77



Joined: 17 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:39 am Reply with quote
RobertNapton wrote:

As for the future, after reading some of the comments, I'd like to make the analogy that President Obama was re-elected because his campaign did a better job on the GROUND in the battleground states. More people knocking on more doors. The R1 US anime market cannot be salvaged without a dedicated ground effort, which cannot be accomplished by manufacturing discs in Japan with subs and dubs and importing them long distance with no one here speaking on their behalf. Aniplex is succeeding at the moment because they have a US based group heading up their North American effort. I would hope in some form or fashion, Bandai Japan realizes that this is the best strategy for the US market because I believe it's the only way to really accomplish the goal of selling more DVD and Blu-ray product in the R1 market, which is the understandable goal of any company.

I hope to GOD so. I hate having Gundam, Big O, Cowboy Bebop, etc. being OOP and costing so much. Bebop will more than likely find a home soon enough (I heard Funimation is interested but this may just be some rumor, do not quote me on this) and maybe Big O too (oh and I hope you lucky UK people enjoy drinking our tears thanks to All The Anime rescuing Bebop and Outlaw Star), but Bandai Japan/Sunrise seems to not know jack about what to do with Gundam and this annoys me greatly because the series that are well known to Toonami viewers (G, Wing, 08th MS Team) are gone forever from the market, unless you wish to commit illegal acts to get them.

And if Bandai wants to break into the US market with their Japan division, they CANNOT pull an Aniplex and expect us to pay premium. I don't want G Gundam to cost $80-400. I don't care about extras or fancy boxes, I just want the anime at a price that won't make my head explode. Leave series like 0079 or Turn A to the people who will pay $400 for anime if anything.

If this supposed streaming service "Daisuki" is planning on streaming Gundam series then I'll watch and give it views (except that stupid episode they cut out from every DVD release that everyone complains about yet shouldn't because even Tomino himself hates it, or if the subs are absolute trash on par with TV-Nihon's worst efforts), but ONLY if it shows companies or Bandai Japan that we deserve Gundam on DVD and Blu-ray here again. Because by god we do. ESPECIALLY G Gundam. I told my friend to go watch it, and because they took the legal streams off Youtube he now has to torrent for it because the DVDs cost a fortune.

Also, if the recent Bandai Visual survey is them trying this, then they better realize a chunk of people will not buy anime for premium because the economy in the US is in such a sad state. BVUSA market this is not, and I bought their Patlabor movie releases for CHEAPER than I could have paid for them back in 2006-2007 ($90 each? I paid $49 for BOTH MOVIES)

Oh, and finally: I'd kill for someone to rescue Galaxy Angel, doubly so if they dub the rest of X (which may never happen but I can dream) because that show is a sleeper and is like Star Trek + Red Dwarf in anime form. Remember when Broccoli USA was supposedly releasing the games here?


Last edited by ZeetherKID77 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:54 am; edited 2 times in total
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