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Answerman Special - The Sad Tale of Anime Crash


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xchampion



Joined: 21 Jan 2009
Posts: 370
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 12:45 pm Reply with quote
I enjoyed this Answerman and it was very informative. I actually heard of this company before reading this and always wondered what happened to them. Its a very sad story of a company trying too hard to stay relevant and afloat as a business. They probably should have just cut there losses before it got out of hand. I think this is a good lesson to be learned for any type of business to be quite frank. Lets just hope this doesn't happen to any other anime company in the future. Its very sad indeed.
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Zalis116
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 6767
Location: Kazune City
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:06 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
But more than anything, I think it's indicative of that era, when anime was growing out of control, and fans with no real expertise or knowledge could enter the business and get taken seriously for just long enough for all of their dreams to blow up in their faces. That sort of thing doesn't really happen anymore, and the fact that it doesn't probably means we have a mature, and hopefully, a more stable market. Or so I hope.
There was that whole Crimson Star Media fiasco, which thankfully has been an exception to the rule. I can't think of any other convention licensing announcement that resulted in probation violations for the licensee, anyway.

EDIT: mistaken company name.


Last edited by Zalis116 on Fri May 30, 2014 6:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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nekedo



Joined: 16 Nov 2006
Posts: 94
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:13 pm Reply with quote
*falls over from nostalgia*
I remember stumbling across Anime Crash during one of my Boston treks with my aunt (I must have been, what? 14? AUGH). I bought two CDs there, The CCS "original" soundtrack (which ended up being a bootleg version of the Christmas Concert CD. I'm confused on that one), and the Serial Experiments: Lain OST (still bootleg). I think I bought a CCS figure, too.

I also remember the VHS's (...maybe in Japanese?), and being astonished that they were stocking them. I was so confused and disappointed the next time I went to the building and it wasn't there anymore (I put up with my aunt for nothing!).

Thanks for this. It's nice to know what happened to it.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 10455
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:15 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Large retail chains would regularly buy tens of thousands of units strictly for accounting purposes, let the stock sit in their distribution warehouse, and then return them by the truckload.

Could you elaborate on this a bit? How does buying something they don't intend to try to sell benefit the buyer, even if they can return the unsold merchandise? And which side pays for all that useless shipping?


Last edited by Gina Szanboti on Fri May 30, 2014 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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thenix



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 265
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:15 pm Reply with quote
So the deal used to be that distributors could demand so many copies of a show and that demand had to be filled, but then the distributors could return them for a refund? That doesn't seem right.
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Paiprince



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 593
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:37 pm Reply with quote
So Apollo Smile was the Jessica Nigri of the 90's eh? Interesting. Seems to be a shame she just went under the radar though I guess she just had it up with showbiz after her stint doing minor roles in mainstream entertainment. Wonder if she's still into anime.
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mdo7



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 6020
Location: Katy, Texas, USA
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:54 pm Reply with quote
Wow, this week Answerman was very interesting, I never heard of Anime Crash until just now Shocked . Thanks for doing this Justin. Smile
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Blood-
Bargain Hunter



Joined: 07 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:56 pm Reply with quote
In retrospect, perhaps naming the company Anime Crash was not the best of omens.
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Sakura Shinguji



Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 182
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:58 pm Reply with quote
As someone who was well into his own anime fandom by that point, I remember following the whole Anime Crash saga closely. I never felt like they were worth taking seriously, from either a fan's or customer's point of view. That's not to say that I felt like they were deserving of scorn, just that it was all empty promises and vaporware (three DVDs of Geisters aside), whether it was the bizarre idea of using T-ink for manga, or the licensing of shows that no one cared about. There just wasn't any reason to support the company's home media release efforts. Maybe they could have succeeded, and were at least partially victims of circumstance, but they weren't doing much of anything to help themselves gain fans either.

Certainly, the name was unfortunately prophetic, and the butt of many a joke during their brief time in the sun.

And Good Lord, I haven't seen or thought of Apollo Smile's name in years. Something else I was never quite sure I was supposed to take seriously or not, when she would show up at events or in the pages of Animerica.

Zalis116 wrote:
Quote:
But more than anything, I think it's indicative of that era, when anime was growing out of control, and fans with no real expertise or knowledge could enter the business and get taken seriously for just long enough for all of their dreams to blow up in their faces. That sort of thing doesn't really happen anymore, and the fact that it doesn't probably means we have a mature, and hopefully, a more stable market. Or so I hope.
There was that whole Eastern Star Media fiasco, which thankfully has been an exception to the rule. I can't think of any other convention licensing announcement that resulted in probation violations for the licensee, anyway.


Crimson Star Media, you mean. Eastern Star is the label that Discotek uses for anime, which thankfully has not been connected to any fiascos.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 4016
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:59 pm Reply with quote
I actually REMEMBER the Anime Crash and Tokyo Kid on Harvard Square:
Was also one of the few places where you could actually rent anime on VHS--apart from Ninja Scroll and Streamline Pictures at your local Blockbuster--and I used to make a 40-minute train ride in and out of the city twice a month, to rent one or two ADV titles on tape, or the then $29.95-for-2-episodes Viz Maison Ikkoku tapes.
(Up until then, legendary Harvard comic-book store The Million-Year Picnic was the only place where you could find the Animag issues with synopses in them, or the domestic Streamline/Akira tapes that usually showed at comic-book stores.)

Yes, we were that desperate back then. It was a niche clinging to itself for protection.

Sakura Shinguji wrote:
And Good Lord, I haven't seen or thought of Apollo Smile's name in years. Something else I was never quite sure I was supposed to take seriously or not, when she would show up at events or in the pages of Animerica.


Remember the reaction when we heard Lady Gaga wanted to put Hatsune Miku in her show, because it was so new and J-pop neat?
Smiley was the physical embodiment of that "J-culture carpetbagger" sentiment. I remember referring to her as "the Minstrel Show of Anime".


Last edited by EricJ2 on Fri May 30, 2014 2:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Angel M Cazares
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Joined: 23 Sep 2010
Posts: 5056
Location: Iscandar
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 2:05 pm Reply with quote
Very interesting read Justin. You have previously discussed the many potential pitfalls of licensing and distributing anime in North America. But I would like to know if it would be possible for anybody to start a anime distribution company with an initial investment of, say, $100,000 and eventually turn it into a profitable venture?

I would appreciate it if you could gives us a simple explanation of how someone interested in starting an anime distribution company would go about it. I am not that naive, and I am aware that anime distribution is a complicated business. But I imagine that a newer company like Discotek is having some success.

[I can e-mail you this question if you are interested in answering it in a future column]
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RHorsman



Joined: 13 Aug 2003
Posts: 151
Location: Loch Loman
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 2:12 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Stuff like exercise videos, B-movies from the 1970s, and even videos of naked women smoking cigars.


oh god it's 1998 and I'm working at Borders again make it stop make it stop
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marie-antoinette



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 4136
Location: Ottawa, Canada
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 2:58 pm Reply with quote
thenix wrote:
So the deal used to be that distributors could demand so many copies of a show and that demand had to be filled, but then the distributors could return them for a refund? That doesn't seem right.


I assume this was for the same reason the model is used in the book publishing industry: greater visibility. You're far more likely to notice a book on the shelf if there are 5 copies of it and it is facing cover-side out than if there's 1 copy and all you can see is the spine. So to encourage stores to order more copies, they are allowed to send back anything that isn't sold (and with mass market paperbacks, they generally just send back the covers and recycle the rest, which is why those books have a notice in them that a book without the cover is stolen property).

When it comes to books though, there is no refund involved when something is sent back - the store only pays for the copies they actually sell.

I've never heard about fines over lack of fulfillment though when it comes to books though.
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configspace



Joined: 16 Aug 2008
Posts: 3717
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 3:09 pm Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
Quote:
Large retail chains would regularly buy tens of thousands of units strictly for accounting purposes, let the stock sit in their distribution warehouse, and then return them by the truckload.

Could you elaborate on this a bit? How does buying something they don't intend to try to sell benefit the buyer, even if they can return the unsold merchandise? And which side pays for all that useless shipping?

I'd guess tax writeoff, as a way to lower their gross income for that year?
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tangytangerine



Joined: 28 Feb 2010
Posts: 439
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 3:36 pm Reply with quote
configspace wrote:
I'd guess tax writeoff, as a way to lower their gross income for that year?


Yeah, that's what I'm thinking of something along that line too.

Ordering that much inventory is an expense on the retailer's books, which makes it look like the they're spending money. Then they'll return all that unsold inventory back and get the money back. So it's basically shifting the money between the retailer's expense & income accounts for tax reasons.
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