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Interview: Kazuyoshi Fukuba, Executive Director of Pony Canyon


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SpacemanHardy



Joined: 03 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:53 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, I think Fukuba-san and PONYCAN are just being delusional. Unless they can manage to grab *the* next big hit anime series, they're simply not going to find much of an audience with their prices this high. I have a feeling this is gonna crash and burn and I'm gonna be watching front row center with my box of popcorn as the flames rise higher. Cool
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Key
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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
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Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:54 pm Reply with quote
^
Indeed.

Saw nothing in this interview that's going to dissuade fan complaints about the prices one iota. If anything, Fukuba only affirmed that they are marketing the release only to collectors who value premium Extras and don't give a damn about making it accessible to common fans.

As I've said before, I adore Yuki Yuna enough that I would probably pay half again the normal price to own a dubbed Blu-Ray version, but more than 3x is just ridiculous. Offer up a version that isn't jacked up for the inclusion of those supposedly high-demand frames and I'll happily pay for it.
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Artesox



Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 90
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:02 pm Reply with quote
I really have my doubts about Pony Canyon, and I'm not even talking about the American side of it, just look at the average sales from last year, three shows were not flops.

Quote:
Super Sonico 1,826
Saki Zenkoku-hen 4,688
Z/X Ignition 867
Sakura Trick 2,380
Wizard Barristers 492
Akuma no Riddle 1,410
Isshukan Friends 3,954
Escha & Logy 994
Glasslip 449
Rail Wars! 1,977
Majimori 268
Denki-gai 515
Twintails 2,670
Yuuki Yuuna 10,196


Anyway, eh, I will be getting the Yuuki Yuuna release because I was going to import it anyway, which would be even more costly

The cost is also a big problem, its only logical that Japanese will only show true interest in the US market if they can recreate the expensive market they have in Japan. I mean, they are selling two episodes for 70$ in Japan, obviously selling 12 episodes for 40$ in US is going to be unsatisfactory and meaningless in terms of profit.

However... That doesn't really change the truth, and it makes me wonder to "who" they are planning to sell it... Yes there is people like me who was already used to buy directly from the Japanese market, yet, how many of those there are?
I really hope PonyCan is aware of how low the demand is and has been expecting sales with struggling three digits.

And on YuYuYu, hopefully they will release the dub on crunchy, because I don't see the point of doing it if its only available on the BD, since the ones who will be in the mood to expend 200$ on the series surely don't care much about the dub.


Last edited by Artesox on Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Usagi-kun



Joined: 03 Jul 2013
Posts: 877
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:14 pm Reply with quote
While it is nice to have another company enter the American market with anime and related goods, the consensus here seems pretty clear that this risky move will fail. I agree that the cost is too high and these two series are not bankable on that point. At this point, we can really only look ahead and hope they will learn and try again. If not, sayonara.
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Asrialys



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 1131
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:16 pm Reply with quote
Should have asked why they chose packaging that won't fit upright on most shelves... Razz
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Student no.0



Joined: 02 Apr 2014
Posts: 170
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:20 pm Reply with quote
Artesox wrote:
I really have my doubts about Pony Canyon, and I'm not even talking about the American side of it, just look at the average sales from last year, three shows were not flops.

Quote:
Super Sonico 1,826
Saki Zenkoku-hen 4,688
Z/X Ignition 867
Sakura Trick 2,380
Wizard Barristers 492
Akuma no Riddle 1,410
Isshukan Friends 3,954
Escha & Logy 994
Glasslip 449
Rail Wars! 1,977
Majimori 268
Denki-gai 515
Twintails 2,670
Yuuki Yuuna 10,196


Anyway, eh, I will be getting the Yuuki Yuuna release because I was going to import it anyway, which would be even more costly

The cost is also a big problem, its only logical that Japanese will only show true interest in the US market if they can recreate the expensive market they have in Japan. I mean, they are selling two episodes for 70$ in Japan, obviously selling 12 episodes for 40$ in US is going to be unsatisfactory and meaningless in terms of profit.

However... That doesn't really change the truth, and it makes me wonder to "who" they are planning to sell it... Yes there is people like me who was already used to buy directly from the Japanese market, yet, how many of those there are?
I really hope PonyCan is aware of how low the demand is and has been expecting three digit sales.

And on YuYuYu, hopefully they will release the dub on crunchy, because I don't see the point of doing it if its only available on the BD, since the ones who will be in the mood to expend 200$ on the series surely don't care much about the dub.


I was expecting PCUSA's pricing model to be higher than the norm, but not by this much honestly. I thought they were going to go for $80-100(a little higher than Sentai's average CE sets, which I would've been perfectly fine with) for 1-cour shows with the extras they're offering and possibly $130-150 for 2-cours (even if they've yet to release any so far). But around $241 in total? Yikes.
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Tenchi



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 4324
Location: Ottawa... now I'm an ex-Anglo Montrealer.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:21 pm Reply with quote
Those prices are a little too rich for me at the moment, although I haven't seen either of those shows and they don't seem like ones I'd buy blind.

I really just wanted to say, if I ever pay PonyCan's premium prices, I'm in the small segment of the North America anime fandom market who does still import CD soundtracks (when I can afford it), so getting a CD with each release does take some of the sting out of the price for me even though I am aware that it is probably just a CD single as came with Bandai's old Haruhi Suzumiya and Lucky Star limited editions (which I did buy) and not a full soundtrack.
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Zalis116
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 6635
Location: Kazune City
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:24 pm Reply with quote
AbZeroNow wrote:
Beyond the Boundary which is bad will also sell with a LE).
Assuming that Sentai ever gives it a release date, anyway, which they haven't for the past year and five months since they announced the license.
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Student no.0



Joined: 02 Apr 2014
Posts: 170
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:31 pm Reply with quote
I'm a bit skeptical as to why PCUSA is just putting 4 eps on a single BD discs when according to a well-known video-encoder like Justin Sevakis, you can put even up to 9 average length eps without any sort of noticeable quality issues.
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tangytangerine



Joined: 28 Feb 2010
Posts: 439
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:31 pm Reply with quote
SpacemanHardy wrote:
Yeah, I think Fukuba-san and PONYCAN are just being delusional. Unless they can manage to grab *the* next big hit anime series, they're simply not going to find much of an audience with their prices this high. I have a feeling this is gonna crash and burn and I'm gonna be watching front row center with my box of popcorn as the flames rise higher. Cool


Honestly it feels like Bandai Visual USA all over again, except PONYCAN is releasing recent shows instead of older stuff. They're focusing on the hardcore fans that will pay the high prices, skipping the casual buyers.

Only problem is that they're releasing titles that are average shows. Which fans watched, moved onto the next show and proceeded to forget it in a few weeks. I think even if someone like Sentai released these shows, they'd have trouble selling them at regular prices. Unless they have a some big hit title, I just don't expect them to last.


Last edited by tangytangerine on Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AbZeroNow



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 519
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:32 pm Reply with quote
Zalis116 wrote:
AbZeroNow wrote:
Beyond the Boundary which is bad will also sell with a LE).
Assuming that Sentai ever gives it a release date, anyway, which they haven't for the past year and five months since they announced the license.


Beyond the Boundary is TBS/Pony Canyon much like Chuunibyou was. I am assuming that TBS is holding them back on the BD(but honestly the gorgeous animation that the series has is only really watchable on Bluray. That is also the only redeeming feature of Beyond the Boundary since the characters and dialogue are both subpar.) I do imagine that we'll be hearing about Beyond the Boundary's release soon enough though. The KyoAni fans will buy it and Sentai will sell quite a bit.
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AbZeroNow



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 519
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:11 pm Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
Quote:
We did actually get advice from Aniplex of America


Did any of that include "Oh yeah, make sure you have Triple A Megahit anime that people actually want to buy. This system doesn't work with forgettable seasonal stuff." ? The key frame thing is cool, but still, fewer people will care for that stuff when it's a lesser show whereas if you include a keyframe in something like Fate/stay Night, you could probably add another $50-75 onto the total.


Well, we'll see if PonyCan or Funimation will be the ones to release the magical boys anime on home video. Certainly due to Pony Canyon being on the Production Committee for Free! gives that an oppertunity to handle the Bluray for the first season(and give it the dub the fangirls have been screaming for). There is certainly demand for it. We'll see if people will put their money where their mouth is on that series.
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Greed1914



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 3738
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:14 pm Reply with quote
Tenchi wrote:
Those prices are a little too rich for me at the moment, although I haven't seen either of those shows and they don't seem like ones I'd buy blind.

I really just wanted to say, if I ever pay PonyCan's premium prices, I'm in the small segment of the North America anime fandom market who does still import CD soundtracks (when I can afford it), so getting a CD with each release does take some of the sting out of the price for me even though I am aware that it is probably just a CD single as came with Bandai's old Haruhi Suzumiya and Lucky Star limited editions (which I did buy) and not a full soundtrack.


That does help a bit, since soundtracks are something I know I'll get quite a bit of use from, and I've always appreciated their inclusion, but I don't know that it would be enough to convince me. I mean, Sentai included partial soundtracks for Dusk Maiden of Amnesia and Queen's Blade: Rebellion and only charged the usual price for those shows, so I don't know that this would be enough for me. I'd certainly pay more for the inclusion of a CD, but I don't think it would ever be worth doubling or tripling the price of a show for me.


I feel like perhaps PonyCanyon only took the advice from AoA that they wanted to hear which is that premium releases can work, but they ignored the part about needing the right shows to back it up. Or the part about having a standard, albeit still rather pricey, release that hedges your bets and caters to those that are willing to pay extra, but not necessarily five or six times extra. [/i]
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Key
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Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:22 pm Reply with quote
tangytangerine wrote:
Only problem is that they're releasing titles that are average shows. Which fans watched, moved onto the next show and proceeded to forget it in a few weeks. I think even if someone like Sentai released these shows, they'd have trouble selling them at regular prices. Unless they have a some big hit title, I just don't expect them to last.

If Yuki Yuna was pulling in more than 10k than it's more than just an "average" show. Admittedly, though, those are hardly big enough numbers to label it as a mega-hit, either, so your point still largely stands.
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SouthPacific



Joined: 24 Oct 2013
Posts: 689
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:25 pm Reply with quote
Seems like a lot of the naysayers around here are forgetting something and that's the speed that they're bringing out these quality sets at. Both Yuki Yuna and Denki will be less than 3 months behind the Japanese BD release schedule which is amazing. Add the fact that they're including the same artwork and even adding the character songs and TLing all booklets and i'd say that this is a fair price. Speed is, at least to me, worth a lot. Not having to wait +1 year feels great Smile.


On another note it'd probably be more economically viable to not dub many shows, as many dub fans aren't too keen on these price tags as they've been fed cheap stuff from Funimation and the likes who does not have a high price /disc. A business model like this will probably not work too well if you try to cast a wide net to catch a lot of small fish, unless you've got some of the larger titles that AoA has, so it's better to cast a smaller net and fill it up to the brim with fat fish (AKA fans who are willing to spend a bigger buck).

I've got my PO in already, though one thing that I really want to see with these volume releases is chipboard art boxes! I'm not a big fan of having many seperate keepcases lined up on my shelves, and at this price they could certainly afford to include art boxes of considerable quality.
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