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ANNCast - The Last Days of Bandai Entertainment USA


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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 3213
Location: NE Ohio
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:48 pm Reply with quote
Zac wrote:
The attitude that there are always two sides, those two sides are always equal, and equally trustworthy and that the "truth literally always lies in the middle between these two viewpoints" is why our news media sucks so hard and is so bad at actually finding the truth.

This is oh so true ... indeed, sometimes the truth is not between the two but entirely outside the boundaries on the discussion agreed on by the two.

But kudos on an excellent interview. What's brilliant about ANNcast for these kinds of interviews especially is the willingness to let an interview go on for two and a half freaking hours, without severely editing it down or pressing the subject of the interview to wrap it up.

Zump wrote:
Great podcast. To say that Bandai Entertainment USA will be missed is an understatement. While it was active, it released some of the best titles ever to reach US shores:

I haven't seen as much anime as many of the commentariat here assembled, but every one I've seen in this edited down list was a personal favorite:
Quote:
Cowboy Bebop, ... Escaflowne, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Planetes, Wolf's Rain, ... and FLAG.

... and includes the Top Three of the 2007 Signal Magazine Top Ten SF anime list.
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Shiratori1



Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 300
Location: Los Angeles
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:30 pm Reply with quote
Zac wrote:

If Napton's commentary - which he couched firmly as his opinion as a first-hand source on the issue - isn't enough for you, you're welcome to dismiss it as "biased and one-sided" but saying that somehow this is being pushed on you as "the absolute truth", as though Bob never said "this is my opinion" over and over again, is mischaracterizing the tone of the interview entirely. If you can't trust a first-hand source who was literally there during the entire ordeal and absolutely need Bandai Japan's take on it to trust any of the information, then I can't meet whatever your personal standards are.


You can't have it both ways. You can't say that Napton's commentary was his opinion and should be taken as such and In the same breath say that his account of what happened with Bandai Entertainment USA should be trusted 100% (translation: should be regarded as the ultimate truth). Do you really think that Napton does not have any bias in favor of the U.S. staff and what they did over the staff in Japan?Rolling Eyes

Quote:
The attitude that there are always two sides, those two sides are always equal, and equally trustworthy and that the "truth literally always lies in the middle between these two viewpoints" is why our news media sucks so hard and is so bad at actually finding the truth. This is how CNN reports on things - "man says sky is blue, but others say sky is neon yellow. Who's right? Well, the truth could be somewhere in the middle!" It's of no value to anyone.


I don't like CNN's reporting either, or any other corporation-owned news organization for that matter. The difference between my opinion and yours is that I despise them because they are controlled by for-profit entities, and as such, are obligated to make money, not provide the news and investigative journalism that people should have access to. One thing that this episode does have in common with the reporting style of organizations like CNN (an aspect that I also hate) is that it is biased, not just with regards to opinion, but also with regards to nationality (i.e.:Americans are right, foreigners and those of other nationalities are wrong), which only reinforces the misconception and falsehoods that some fans in the U.S. have about the Japanese side of the Anime industry (money hungry bastards that don't make any attempt to understand our market). I agree with the idea of truly investigative journalism and "getting into the pits", but the reports that come out of that are only valid if they have exhausted all the channels of information and take into account all of the commentary of the parties involved with the subject in question (This is why having Bandai Japan's side of the story is vital to me and others who want to know the full account, and why I can only put so much stock into this report with concern to what really happened with Bandai Entertainment USA).

Quote:
It isn't being billed as the definitive version of events, but Robert has given me zero reason (and any reasonable person zero reason) to think he's wildly spinning things in his favor, or not telling the truth, or otherwise not a reliable source. I stand by the interview as a perfectly valid account of what happened.


Again, you can't have it both ways. You can not say that Napton's account is not the absolute version of what happened with the company and then turn around and say that its a "perfectly valid account of what happened." Ultimately, we may never get Bandai Japan's account of what happened with Bandai Entertainment USA, but the idea of you expecting people to wholeheartedly take Napton's account of what happened and why things ended the way they did as the truth and criticizing those who want information from all sides of the subject before making a decision on it is ridiculous.
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Surrender Artist



Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 3258
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:50 pm Reply with quote
Your intensity and seriousness seem out of proportion to the stakes here.

Do you have some reasonable, well-grounded factual cause to doubt Robert Napton? Do you know from some other source that he's unreliable or that the Japanese have a significantly different account? Otherwise, your complaint seems like mostly a work of paranoid imagination. Your thinking is just a hop, skip and a jump away from asserting from your fortified mountain bunker that the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the Saucer People, under the supervision of the Reverse Vampires are forcing ANN to conceal the truth about Bandai Entertainment USA.

I've read your posts and the best I gather is that because he suggested that the Japanese made mistakes in and did not fully understand the American market, his account is colored by some kind of prejudice against the Japanese.

I don't see anything remotely prejudicial about his account that generally, people in one country had rather unrealistic hopes and inaccurate knowledge about the market for their product in distant, culturally and historically very different country. Given that the United States is such a large market and the Japanese one was probably contracting or stagnant in the long aftermath of the bubble bursting, eagerly misjudging the prospects for their product there is a very plausibly human error for them to have made. I do not see anything damning or indicative of skullduggery in this.
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tuxedocat



Joined: 14 Dec 2009
Posts: 2183
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:51 pm Reply with quote
Shiratori1 wrote:

Again, you can't have it both ways. You can not say that Napton's account is not the absolute version of what happened with the company and then turn around and say that its a "perfectly valid account of what happened."


These things (above in boldface), are not mutually exclusive.
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Galap
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Joined: 07 Apr 2012
Posts: 2344
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:47 pm Reply with quote
Guys, you're conflating uncertainty with doubt.

Just because you can't know anything for absolute certain doesn't mean that it's a bottomless pit to a place where anything goes.

We can reasonably conclude that for all intents and purposes the stuff he was saying was valid. If you're saying otherwise you have no evidence that he's wrong.
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Stealth00



Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 65
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:34 am Reply with quote
animehermit wrote:

Good point, but you could also argue that the Japanese gaming market is much different today than it was in the 1980s. A lot of games released over there never see the light of day over here.

You could also say that, besides a few exceptions western games in generally do better over here than Japanese ones do.


I'm not sure about the 80's, but many games weren't released here in the 90's. I doubt we got everything from the 80's either.

Shiratori1 wrote:

You can't have it both ways. You can't say that Napton's commentary was his opinion and should be taken as such and In the same breath say that his account of what happened with Bandai Entertainment USA should be trusted 100% (translation: should be regarded as the ultimate truth). Do you really think that Napton does not have any bias in favor of the U.S. staff and what they did over the staff in Japan?Rolling Eyes


So all the people in the industry who have stated that the reason something was done a particular way because the licensor had that in the contract are lying and trying to cover their own asses?

Shiratori1 wrote:
In my opinion, like in all debates, the truth within the debate over what happened to Bandai Entertainment USA and why it didn't do well


What do you mean didn't do well, the company was profitable?
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yu_samson



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 43
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:23 am Reply with quote
Wow, wasn't that a great podcast?

Thank you Jason and the folks at ANN for this wonderful interview!

Besides enjoying the anime titles themselves, it's always interesting and insightful to hear about what goes on behind selling and creating anime. Sometimes, it almost sounds more interesting to hear about this than the actual shows they produce! The interview left me feeling a great deal of respect and sympathy for Jason and many others from Bandai Entertainment USA. I'm in agreement with Jason that the loss Bandai Ent. USA seems premature. However, I can understand that the current anime industry in the US is still in uncertain territory and, in the end, it can be a numbers game when it comes downright to a meeting with executives in the boardroom.

I wish I knew about this interview earlier, because I am dying to ask Robert a question about the ADR production for Macross 2. I thought Macross 2 from U.S. Renditions at the time had a great English dubbing cast; one of the best that I've ever seen even to this day. However, I wonder why the ADR producers thought it was a great idea to re-do Ishtar's song in the last act in English instead of leaving it in Japanese like the rest of the song performances in the show. Was it just an attempt think out of the box and do something brave? In the end, I thought it seemed out of place. Although not exactly related, I noticed the animation quality started dropping in the last 2 episodes, when the episodes prior were getting much better. Perhaps it wasn't selling very well in Japan, but that's my guess. I still enjoyed the show nonetheless.

My best wishes to Jason! Thank you for your contributions and hard work at Bandai Entertainment USA!

Regards,
Samson
(Now living and working in Japan thanks to anime)
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FLEABttn



Joined: 10 Aug 2003
Posts: 106
Location: ABQ
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:31 am Reply with quote
Zac wrote:
This is how CNN reports on things - "man says sky is blue, but others say sky is neon yellow. Who's right? Well, the truth could be somewhere in the middle!" It's of no value to anyone.


Agreed and that ANN having higher journalistic standards than a good bit of new media speaks volumes to the quality of journalism these days.
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HeeroTX



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 2046
Location: Austin, TX
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:31 am Reply with quote
Charred Knight wrote:
HeeroTX wrote:

Name ANY foreign entertainment market that has so far SUCCESSFULLY sustained "mainstream" popularity (in the US) outside of a "niche" audience.
Nintendo

I think there are some gaming companies that could give it a shot, BUT for most of them, they have an established arm IN America and are not just in Japan (unlike the anime production companies). But even ignoring that, Nintendo is not really a valid comparison because their hardware helped maintain any sort of software advantage. They're more like the "Apple" of the gaming market of the last 2 decades. To whit, I refer to:
-Sega was ALSO a major content producer... until they lost the platform wars
-A few of Nintendo's biggest hits were packaged WITH the system (Super Mario Bros for example)
-It will be interesting to see if the Mario and Zelda franchise's continue if Nintendo does not manage to make a new system break-through since the xBox seems to have taken the platform throne (and smartphones are becoming the new portable gaming platform) and the core Nintendo titles haven't been on there AFAIK

Don't get me wrong, Nintendo HAS done a remarkable job with content, but that's somewhat of an apples to oranges comparison with movies/tv for a variety of factors. Capcom or SquareEnix would be a better gaming comparison, but both of them (and Nintendo for that matter) have direct links (including dev talent) in America. To my knowledge (anyone have a correction?) zero anime/manga companies have a PRODUCTION arm (aside from just income) in America. There have been some "one-offs" (like Witchblade) but I don't think there's any sustained production links.
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Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 7475
Location: Wales
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:11 pm Reply with quote
PurpleWarrior13 wrote:
they are encouraging piracy by not making the title readily available

I'm not sure that is quite the same thing as "encouraging". I am very sure that piracy doesn't actually need encouraging anyway.

Quote:
Aniplex might be the same way.

Pirates will pirate whatever they do. They are presumably making a profit despite (or perhaps because of, at least in part) their limited distribution chain.

agila61 wrote:
Echo_City wrote:
Say, what is the "legal status" of the ADV audio? ....

You'd have to have a lawyer read the contract to know for sure, but derivative works in localizations often revert to the original rights owner when the licensees license lapses, if they weren't handed over earlier and used under the license.

A lot of the time, at least post bubble, I think the dub is owned by the licencor in the first place (i.e. the dub is usually provided to the UK via Japan, not America, and all the occasions where Japanese BD re-releases include the US dub as an extra).
The exception I'm sure about is 5cm/s where Comix Wave had to commission a new dub.

PurpleWarrior13 wrote:
For the more niche titles, Manufacture-on-Demand is your friend. It's worked very well for Warner Bros, Sony, MGM, Nickelodeon, and others. It's the reason so many movies and shows have had a chance to come to DVD here. I'm not sure how well Tokyopop did with releasing Rave Master this way (dub only didn't help, and that was not a good dub either, but I'm mostly talking about how the discs physically came out), but Sony's been able to get some of their anime catalog out this way too (prays for Cyborg 009 to come next).

Justin tried this when he was with ImaginAsia and has gone on record as saying it didn't work. I believe it was something to the effect of, even if you're only expecting to sell a few hundred copies, it is still more economical to run off 1000 and skip the rest.
It is possible things have changed since, with burn on demand getting more mainstream.
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ittoujuu



Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 159
Location: SoCal
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:45 pm Reply with quote
Finally getting to this episode now, and I just got to the part where Bandai shut down production right before Turn-A Gundam was ready to be released, and there was a whole interview lined up with Syd Mead and everything, and I was overcome with that "aaaaaaah...almost got 'im..." sadness. Turn-A and Nichijou were both series I had set aside money for, before Bandai went bust.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to buy Turn-A Gundam someday, but just knowing it was really that close to U.S. release makes me feel like missing a fated rendezvous by a mere minute. And I would still totally read that Syd Mead interview.
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MeggieMay



Joined: 08 Jun 2004
Posts: 607
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:58 pm Reply with quote
I finally got the episode listened to and I want to thank Zac for using my question and Robert for answering it. ::big hug:: to Robert - I'm sorry to bring up the bad memories about the replication problems Sad You did shed more light on to the subject, though, so I guess it wasn't all bad that I asked about it. The explanation about the need to turn the disks around so fast because of delays is the one part of the puzzle I had not heard about and it makes more sense of what happened, in retrospect (I should have put that together before now but I just hadn't).

Anyway, take care I hope you have good luck in your future endeavors!
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Echo_City



Joined: 03 Apr 2011
Posts: 1236
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:05 pm Reply with quote
Shiroi Hane wrote:

agila61 wrote:
Echo_City wrote:
Say, what is the "legal status" of the ADV audio? ....

You'd have to have a lawyer read the contract to know for sure, but derivative works in localizations often revert to the original rights owner when the licensees license lapses, if they weren't handed over earlier and used under the license.

A lot of the time, at least post bubble, I think the dub is owned by the licencor in the first place (i.e. the dub is usually provided to the UK via Japan, not America, and all the occasions where Japanese BD re-releases include the US dub as an extra).
The exception I'm sure about is 5cm/s where Comix Wave had to commission a new dub.
Could perhaps Bandai then release this long-hidden ADV dub of Gurren Lagaan to the world, show us what could have been? I wanted to like the Bandai dub of GL, but my ears just couldn't.

I've heard that when the Japanese confiscated Ghost Stories they kept the dub & subsequently released it with the ADV dub. I wouldn't stake my life on the veracity of that, but if Bandai could release the ADV dub on a release of GL, even if it weren't a US domestic release, I'd buy it.

Alternatively, if these "noble" options don't work for Bandai, well, perhaps they could release the dub just to spite ADV...again?

Someone at ADV has to have a copy of this, and I'm sure they could release it. Before its demise, a demise supposedly hastened greatly by Bandai shafting them on the GL dub, ADV was trying to break into the "torrent scene". Releasing their GL dub via torrent could finally get them that "presence" on the "torrent scene" that they sought all those years ago. C'mon guys.
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guildmaster



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 348
Location: Hot & Humid FL
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:09 am Reply with quote
I'm actually reading through this thread, because it is yet another large source of anime in my native language (English) that appears to be going into oblivion. I'm busy so I'll just edit in remarks as I deem appropriate.

First:
_V_ wrote:
Hitler is informed that Bandai and Media Blasters are shutting down their anime releases:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NduAtcWpnO0&list=PL7D09BD50935DAC83

(I finally managed to re-upload this)

followed by, "Hitler hears that FUNimation and ADV are suing each other"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bagaUNWz8Sc

Also, "Hitler is informed of the Tokyopop shutdown ending the Hetalia manga."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qyNzoN9G_Y


These are Too funny! Was that a real film that was used as a parody? What was it? Was it downfall or the bunker?A really bad casting for der fuhrer, but if i'm guessing correctly the speer character was a good casting. I'll have to try and save the clips, they are hilarious.


Second:
Charred Knight wrote:
The problem is that the Japanese don't understand the American market... ...The Japanese still think that by doing things the Japanese way then the rest of the world will just become like Japan and all of a sudden you are going to get a flood of new anime fans all wanting the latest sub only Blu-ray 2 episodes for 70 dollars. They are going to buy hug pillows and action figures of the cutest giant headed anime girl...

...The thing getting in the way of Japan's expansion as a global (Anime) market isn't having American branches,.. ...the problem is that you can't have 4 million customers worldwide when your product is exclusively aimed at 100,000 Japanese people.


While the Japanese have obviously figured out how to sell gazillions of autos in the US market, the same does not hold true in the amine market.

And, as i have stated before, if they can't be bothered to put it in English, I'm not parting with my money for it.

Third:
@JacobYBM & GWOtaku:
A company is not going to succeed in today's age with "collector" level only quantities of product. Unless of course that product sells for over $100,000 an item and has a 50% or greater GPM.

4th:
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.


This is a cultural perception problem. They do not understand the rest of the world's tastes, and requirements WRT something like anime. Conversely, the Japanese have no problem with large industries like appliances, electronics and the automotive industry, where every major Japanese mfr has plants in the US.

5th:
invalidname wrote:
I'm sure Bob wasn't intentionally trying to make "Starblazers Mountain" happen, but if that were to become the title of a new TV Tropes entry for "massive overproduction of a media product that goes unsold and must eventually be disposed of", I would really enjoy it.

The Atari 2600 E.T. The Extraterrestrial cartridge and the Apple Lisa computer — massive quantities of which were both reputedly buried in the desert — would be two examples to seed such an entry.


So that's what was meant by "StarBlazers Mountain" We made a few "iron mountains" in the desert. I'm still trying to reduce one here. disclosure: I have all 3 full box sets of Star Blazers - I had seen lots of it on broadacst UHF TV way back, but never saw all of it.

Even though the Lisa bombed, it was a better machine the the initial versions of the Mac that came afterwards.

6th:
angelmcazares wrote:
Wouldn't it be easier if the current (R1) fanbase instead paid more for anime ($100 per 12 episodes, instead of $40)? The fanbase WILL NEVER multiply by 10 (not even by 2). To me the best way to have a bigger economic presence in the anime industry is to pay top dollar.


You just made NOMAD explode again with that dazzling display of illogic.

YOU can pay 10x the current price for anime that is in a language that you can't understand. I'll get an FD 55mm F1.2 AL lens instead. The latter I can use and resell for more later.

7th:
@agila61: That's a long winded way of stating there is a price demand curve, AKA Econ 101.

8th:
Galap wrote:
Guys, you're conflating uncertainty with doubt...


Just add the Fear factor and you have the ubiquitous FUD! Wink

From what my cloudy crystal ball tells me we're going to have plenty of FUD WRT the US anime market and market offerings in the future...

So, the big question is: "Who's next"?
And I don't mean the classic rock album of the same name either.


Last edited by guildmaster on Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:26 pm Reply with quote
Echo_City wrote:
Could perhaps Bandai then release this long-hidden ADV dub of Gurren Lagaan to the world, show us what could have been? I wanted to like the Bandai dub of GL, but my ears just couldn't.

I've heard that when the Japanese confiscated Ghost Stories they kept the dub & subsequently released it with the ADV dub. I wouldn't stake my life on the veracity of that, but if Bandai could release the ADV dub on a release of GL, even if it weren't a US domestic release, I'd buy it.

Alternatively, if these "noble" options don't work for Bandai, well, perhaps they could release the dub just to spite ADV...again?

Someone at ADV has to have a copy of this, and I'm sure they could release it. Before its demise, a demise supposedly hastened greatly by Bandai shafting them on the GL dub, ADV was trying to break into the "torrent scene". Releasing their GL dub via torrent could finally get them that "presence" on the "torrent scene" that they sought all those years ago. C'mon guys.

ADV wouldn't be allowed to release their dub since they don't hold a distribution license for the series. It is from the same era as the "lost" 5cm/s dub so may be in the same state, although all the Sojitz-funded titles that went FUNimation's way went lock stock and dub so it is impossible from the outside to say who owns it (and there are cases where people on the inside have no idea who owns what...)

Even if Bandai could have had access to it - there's little point in confusing things by including a second dub, even as an extra, for just a few episodes. Of the top of my head I can't think of any time when a company has created their own dub and also included a "competing" earlier dub on the same disc (although I think there may have been some special edition Akira discs with both dubs?)
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