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ANNCast - The Life and Kime of Geneon, USA


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jgreen



Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 1324
Location: St. Louis, MO
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:20 pm Reply with quote
The most informative show you've ever done? Definitely. It's very rare to get this amount of inside baseball for any niche industry (comic books, I'm looking at you!), so thank you to Justin, Zac, and especially Chad Kime. Some scattered thoughts on the show:

- Regarding Baccano's bad first episode, I would actually say that I find a LOT of anime have really bad first episodes, which is one reason why I loved when the industry switched from 2-episode VHS tapes to 4-episode DVDs. Just as an example, the first episode of Tenchi-Muyo is interminably dull (kind of amazing the show ever managed to catch on in America considering how much it cost to get your hands on that one episode) and the first episode of Gasaraki is one of the worst episodes of any anime I've ever seen (even though I really liked the rest of the show). More recently, the first episode of Blassreiter is noticeably worse than the rest of the show is.

- Forget the deluxe first volume of Aura Battler Dunbine, do they have volumes 10-12? Because I will send you a check right now.

- I never expected Kime's expertise to go back to the US Renditions/LA Hero days...whoa. I think he may be misremembering the release of Gunbuster, though, as I could have sworn that the US Renditions version, like Manga's later version, was 2-episodes per tape.

- Probably the bit that dropped my jaw open the widest of the whole podcast was how Geneon floated the founding of Anime Insider. WHOA. I had no idea. It's kind of surprising to hear how much animosity there was towards Animerica, though, considering their coverage was pretty even-handed as long as there wasn't a new Viz property to push (which was pretty rare).

- Those sales numbers on the Rumiko Takahashi Anthology are just...heart-breaking. Damn. I was one of the proud few who bought that show, although that wasn't until it was in deep discount at Right Stuf.

- These sales numbers he was giving, were these total final sales on these series, or initial numbers? It seemed to switch back and forth. The one that took me aback was A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, because if it sold that poorly, I'm wondering why they're pushing it so hard on the Anime Network ads on my cable's On Demand channel. Then again, maybe they're chasing that Nickelodeon/little girl demo.

- Good to hear Geneon's CD business did well, and I'd request that anyone who read that and has some money to throw behind it to please, please, PLEASE get the rights to the Pillows' catalog.

- Mao-Chan...ouch! Laughing

- Some of the titles Kime mentioned as mega-bombs, like Submarine 707R, aired on cable for several years. Is that factored into them being a "mega-bomb" by Kime's standards? Because it sounds like he was really only considering the DVD revenue stream.

Again, fascinating, fascinating stuff...this could have gone on for another half hour and I wouldn't have minded. Have him back again some time!
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jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 1679
Location: Los Angeles, CA
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:27 pm Reply with quote
Not trying to put words in Chad's mouth here, but I know the answers to a few of these, since I worked with Geneon on broadcast for iaTV.

jgreen wrote:
- These sales numbers he was giving, were these total final sales on these series, or initial numbers? It seemed to switch back and forth. The one that took me aback was A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, because if it sold that poorly, I'm wondering why they're pushing it so hard on the Anime Network ads on my cable's On Demand channel. Then again, maybe they're chasing that Nickelodeon/little girl demo.

- Some of the titles Kime mentioned as mega-bombs, like Submarine 707R, aired on cable for several years. Is that factored into them being a "mega-bomb" by Kime's standards? Because it sounds like he was really only considering the DVD revenue stream.


TV broadcast was never a big revenue stream for anime, ever. The entire block of programming I got from Geneon as a branded block (which included then-new releases like Ueki, Gankutsuou, Paradise Kiss and quite a few others) was seen more or less for marketing the DVD. I got lots of other anime from pretty much every company but Funi, and I never, ever paid more than $400 per episode.

Once on TV, all the marketing for the broadcast was up to the TV network, not Geneon (though they may have gotten approval over the promos). So just how much it was "pushed" was really nothing to do with Geneon.
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Shale



Joined: 04 Dec 2002
Posts: 337
Location: The Middle of Nowhere, DE
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:29 pm Reply with quote
jgreen wrote:

- I never expected Kime's expertise to go back to the US Renditions/LA Hero days...whoa. I think he may be misremembering the release of Gunbuster, though, as I could have sworn that the US Renditions version, like Manga's later version, was 2-episodes per tape.


I'm looking at the US Renditions tapes right now and they're two episodes each.
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Fargo622



Joined: 15 May 2009
Posts: 6
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:34 pm Reply with quote
Defiantly one of the best and most informative podcasts you've done.

You guys should get more company reps to come on the show and talk about stuff like this. I'd love to hear more interesting stories like the ones Chad Klime shared with you guys.
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jgreen



Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 1324
Location: St. Louis, MO
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:34 pm Reply with quote
jsevakis wrote:
TV broadcast was never a big revenue stream for anime, ever. The entire block of programming I got from Geneon as a branded block (which included then-new releases like Ueki, Gankutsuou, Paradise Kiss and quite a few others) was seen more or less for marketing the DVD. I got lots of other anime from pretty much every company but Funi, and I never, ever paid more than $400 per episode.


Huh...interesting. Kind of makes you wonder why Adult Swim seems so hesitant to air anime on weeknights considering making new episodes or Squidbillies of whatever has to cost a lot more than $400.

Justin wrote:
Once on TV, all the marketing for the broadcast was up to the TV network, not Geneon (though they may have gotten approval over the promos). So just how much it was "pushed" was really nothing to do with Geneon.


I meant "pushing" as in right now, as in every time I've gone to On Demand in the last two weeks, I see an ad for Sugar within about 2 minutes. It just surprised me that they'd push it that hard if history says the show was a loser, but again, it might be that they're trying to get that demo that Geneon never managed to grab the first time.

Shale wrote:
I'm looking at the US Renditions tapes right now and they're two episodes each.


I thought so! Thanks for checking. Smile
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Tenchi



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 4311
Location: Ottawa... now I'm an ex-Anglo Montrealer.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:39 pm Reply with quote
Maybe I missed it but I don't recall hearing how well Strawberry Marshmallow, one of my top 2 anime series of the decade (along with Azumanga Daioh), sold. I'm guessing... not exactly five digits per SKU. Low four digits at best, and three digits wouldn't surprise me.

Which would be a shame, because I'm still hoping, probably in vain, that Geneon/FUNi will license the Strawberry Marshmallow OVA's as well as the somewhat similar Minami-ke (though I suspect if anyone licenses that one, it'll be Nozomi).


What about Sailor Moon S and SuperS? Those must have been reasonably good sellers for Pioneer/Geneon. And weren't the 2003 boxsets something they actually did do in Thinpacks?
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lord_darkseid



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 57
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:47 pm Reply with quote
Great show. My only complaint: I was hoping you'd ask how Captain Herlock did in the word association bit at the end. Though the show did remind me how depressed I was at the sales of Master Keaton and Fighting Spirit.

The Toei deal... not surprised here. Both it and the Bandai Visual pretty much sum up the Japanese mentality for dealing with American consumers.

There's one interesting aspect that I noticed never got touched and I'm actually glad about this: the fansub issues. Usually, interviews make a point to note how bad they are and spend 5-10 minutes of interview about it. Not so here (though maybe in a way they did contribute since it's noted fans know exactly what they want and will largely buy on foreknowledge if not artwork appealing to the lowest common denominator). The primary focus was on how exec decisions contributed to one company's downfall.

The bit about budgeting for unlicensed titles is the most astounding however. What. The. F(BLEEEEEP!) It'd have been safer to buy a house in this decade than invest in Geneon.... oh wait...

Anyways, like I said, great show. Like to see one about CPM in the future or other departed companies.
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Case



Joined: 09 Apr 2002
Posts: 1016
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:56 pm Reply with quote
jgreen wrote:
I meant "pushing" as in right now, as in every time I've gone to On Demand in the last two weeks, I see an ad for Sugar within about 2 minutes. It just surprised me that they'd push it that hard if history says the show was a loser, but again, it might be that they're trying to get that demo that Geneon never managed to grab the first time.


Ah, that'd be because it was part of a recent batch of license rescues by Sentai Filmworks. Set 2 of 2 came out two weeks ago. All Sentai has to do is press new DVD's from Geneon's masters, so overhead is practically nothing.

Tenchi wrote:
What about Sailor Moon S and SuperS? Those must have been reasonably good sellers for Pioneer/Geneon. And weren't the 2003 boxsets something they actually did do in Thinpacks?


As recently as early this year there has been an ongoing copyright dispute between different Japanese copyright holders. I wouldn't really expect to see Sailor Moon back in print until we see something on ANN about the series copyright status...

lord_darkseid wrote:
There's one interesting aspect that I noticed never got touched and I'm actually glad about this: the fansub issues. Usually, interviews make a point to note how bad they are and spend 5-10 minutes of interview about it. Not so here (though maybe in a way they did contribute since it's noted fans know exactly what they want and will largely buy on foreknowledge if not artwork appealing to the lowest common denominator). The primary focus was on how exec decisions contributed to one company's downfall.


Umm... Am I reading you right? You're glad because the fansub topic was skirted while executive decision making was explained in detail? (Ignoring for a moment that as you point out, they're linked without a doubt.) You realize you're being defensive about it?


Last edited by Case on Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tenchi



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 4311
Location: Ottawa... now I'm an ex-Anglo Montrealer.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:58 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, I know about the difficulties in re-releasing Sailor Moon now, I was just curious as to how well the two seasons Pioneer/Geneon had sold back in the day.
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Case



Joined: 09 Apr 2002
Posts: 1016
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:07 pm Reply with quote
Ah, yes, interesting question. Although I can say for certain that the sales figures are a lot lower than they could have been, without a doubt. Nowadays those sets are extraordinarily hard to find, and the market has become inundated with bootlegs. Even Amazon sells the bootlegs.

Oh, and in the process of writing my comments I neglected to answer your question which I'd intended to do: Yes, the S and SuperS sets were a few of the only thinpack releases Geneon did. I was lucky enough to snag a copy of all four season sets in that slim window where they were all still in print. Smile
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jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 1679
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:09 pm Reply with quote
Case wrote:
Umm... Am I reading you right? You're glad because the fansub topic was skirted while executive decision making was explained in detail? (Ignoring for a moment that as you point out, they're linked without a doubt.) You realize you're being defensive about it?

Is there even a point in further discussing the amount of destruction fansubs have wrought? I mean, it seems like nearly every single discussion thread turns into one, everyone already has their mind made up, and among industry there's been a pretty public consensus that "they are bad, they hurt sales, they need to stop but we should have done something years ago and we still don't what we could do without pissing off the world"

Is there really ANYTHING new that could be said at this point? Even without fansubs there were plenty of stupid things that killed the industry. Those bear discussion too.
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einhorn303



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 1180
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:14 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, it is disappointing that Strawberry Marshmallow/Ichigo Mashimaro wasn't mentioned at the end. Or Kamichu.
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kawaiibunny3



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 520
Location: Houston, Texas
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:14 pm Reply with quote
oh my goodness was this ever an enlightening show. Thank you Kime for coming on the show.
I mean, I assumed it was bad, but never...wow.

I'm also interested in how well the Sailor Moon sets did, as those were the only 130$ box sets my cheap-15 year old self was willing to save money for. Although, since it was the 3rd and 4th seasons, it probably had some kind of influence on it

and wow your Fry's still has stuff from the 2000s? lucky. The Fry's by my house is all caught up (well, ok, there's still old stuff, but like from 2006 or 2007)
and I don't know much about how the holiday DVD market is now, but I know I always wait to buy new stuff till January now since I usually have lots of gift cards to spend from Christmas. so maybe gift card spending is being taken into account now? I dunno.


Last edited by kawaiibunny3 on Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Case



Joined: 09 Apr 2002
Posts: 1016
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:15 pm Reply with quote
jsevakis wrote:
...and among industry there's been a pretty public consensus that "they are bad, they hurt sales, they need to stop but we should have done something years ago and we still don't what we could do without pissing off the world" Is there really ANYTHING new that could be said at this point?


From a person this steeped in the inner workings of the business? Maybe. I honestly don't know, that's why I wish the question has been asked.

"They need to stop but we don't know what to do" is the logical big-picture thought process that anyone who's watched the business over the years can surmise; but yes, I do think someone who's actually had to manage the effects on a daily basis and make changes in terms of actual business plans to react to the effects may still have a valuable perspective on where things go from here. Your reluctance surprises me, actually. I understand the inconclusive nature of the discussion, and on a certain level I share your weariness of discussions of the subject. But it's a big deal, and when you have someone like Chad in the hotseat talking about industry decline, I'm not sure how one manages to sidestep the question entirely.

/1000 GET ftw
// C:
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asimpson2006



Joined: 13 May 2008
Posts: 3151
Location: USA
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:54 pm Reply with quote
Another good ANNCast to listen to. I must be one of the few people left who hasn't seen Baccano yet. I will probably give it a rent once I start my netflix account next week. It was interesting to listen about how stuff that bombed that I would have though at least broke even or very close to breaking even.
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