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Answerman - Why Are Some Old Anime Never Re-released?


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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:20 am Reply with quote
A VHS only show that I feel really needs a Blu-Ray re-release, is Combustible Campus Guardress.
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sputn1k



Joined: 29 Sep 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:35 am Reply with quote
There are also cases in which a suitable master tape required for a re-release is not available because these were either destroyed or lost.
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Munchmunch



Joined: 19 May 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:57 am Reply with quote
Makes me appreciate all the work Discotek must have to do to get some of their releases out.
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LegitPancake



Joined: 26 Jun 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:04 pm Reply with quote
So which one does Eva fall under?
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sourpatchthekid



Joined: 20 Dec 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:17 pm Reply with quote
LegitPancake wrote:
So which one does Eva fall under?

A popular rumor is the asking price for an Eva license is too high. There was an Answerman a couple years back that talked about why a series might not be licensed in North America. The series has gotten a blu ray release in Japan however
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DeTroyes



Joined: 30 May 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:34 pm Reply with quote
Another reason worth mentioning: Sometimes (all too often, sadly) the original Master Prints for these animes no longer exist. Quite literally, the best available copy that survives for many of these titles is an off-the-shelf store-bought VHS copy, that's it.

In particular, OVAs -- especially those from the 1980s & early 1990s -- have suffered greatly. Many of them were produced on miniscule budgets using the cheapest stock available, which meant that they were very easily damaged or destroyed if not cared for properly. And since many of these production companies did not have the resources to properly care for their product, or had financial difficulties/bankruptcies etc., all too often the master prints were improperly stored and subsequently degraded past the point of being salvageable in even only a few short years (California Dreams, Bavi Stock, Dragon's Heaven, etc.). Or sometimes even disappeared altogether, with no one entirely certain what happened to them (Project A-ko's original 35mm master print; only a 16mm copy survives). Or simply destroyed in a production company fire (Armor Hunter Mellowllink), or any number of possible mishaps. All of these mean that, for many older titles, there simply isn't a high enough quality copy available anymore with which to stream or release on DVD/BR.
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Romuska
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:45 pm Reply with quote
The entire World Masterpiece Theater series is unavailable in North America so I have no qualms whatsoever pirating those. If not for piracy I never would have seen Heidi or my personal favorite 3,000 Leagues in Search of Mother.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:53 pm Reply with quote
It'd be nice if copyrighted works passing into the public domain eventually was a thing that still happened.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:57 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:
A VHS only show that I feel really needs a Blu-Ray re-release, is Combustible Campus Guardress.


Guardress isn't VHS-only, as there was an LD release to alongside it, but the point of this OVA needing a re-release of any sort remains true.

As for me, I'd say that these are my most-wanted VHS/LD-only anime re-releases, and if they could or simply cannot happen...

Next Senki Ehrgeiz: The first mech anime to air in late-night, this is an intensely forgotten show, but one that simply resonated with me excellently. I'd say that this anime could potentially see a new release one day, as it is streaming in Japan via the Bandai Channel, so there shouldn't be any rights issues; also, d-rights still lists it as a title that can be licensed out.

B・B Burning Blood: One of only two anime that Osamu Dezaki directed for his older brother Satoshi's studio Magic Bus, this is easily the biggest hidden gem in Dezaki's entire career, and a great end to Dezaki's list of boxing anime. Sure, there isn't really an ending of any sort, but it's still just so excellently well done, & it's a shame that it's never been given anything more than the initial VHS & LD releases back in the early 90s. I really have no idea what's keeping this from seeing a re-release, especially since Dezaki's death.

Hareluya II BØY: This was the first Shonen Jump anime to ever air in late-night, and it's also the only Jump anime that Yasuhiro Imagawa ever worked on (he was head writer). Sadly, the animation can get really chintzy (more than likely due to those early late-night anime getting little budgets for animation), but the characters are excellent, the stories are consistently entertaining (& cover some touchy subjects respectfully well), the music is outstanding, and overall it's amazing how the most this show ever got in terms of a re-release was being included a few years back in a DVD collection of first episodes of Jump anime. In fact, said inclusion in that DVD collection shows that there shouldn't be any problems with giving this show a new release, so what the hell?

Ozanari Dungeon: Kaze no Tou: The obi strips for this OVA claimed that there were twice the frames of animation here than in your standard 90s TV anime of the time, and after seeing this I can believe it; this is a very well animated OVA for its time. It also helps that the story itself is tons of fun, and the characters are all a riot (especially the one who never speaks, & whose "voice" is credited to the original manga creator as a gag). Like Burning Blood, I have no idea what would be keeping this from being re-released, especially since TMS lists it as part of its available catalog for licensing.

Salamander: This would be one of those titles that Justin incidentally brought up when he mentioned that Konami was involved with anime for a period, though Western Connection did manage to license it from Toho for the UK during the early 90s. Regardless, this one likely will never happen, but it is a really cool 80s OVA that actually manages to adapt the Gradius series rather well, in my opinion.

Shinken Legend Tight Road: This was an attempt at both trying to make single-cour anime back in the early 90s, except that it aired on weekend mornings instead of late-night, as well as trying to promote a new fighting game (made by Gust, amusingly enough) that was going to come out. Unfortunately, the game never saw release, if even development, but the 13-episode anime did fully air; in fact, Toei wouldn't even give it a VHS release until two years after it finished airing. I actually only saw this show last year, but it was surprisingly enjoyable, and it's execution honestly felt like the way modern fighting games handle their story modes, so it's accidentally ahead of its time. I highly doubt it will ever see re-release, though Toei Animation does list it in its catalog of available titles, but I wouldn't mind giving this a re-watch with English subtitles one day.
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Nyren



Joined: 07 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:07 pm Reply with quote
I don't normally condone piracy, but I will admit there are certain instances where it is the only option aside from buying bootlegs or buying from third party sellers who sell for large sums and where none of the money goes to the original creators. One example I can think of is Naoki Urasawa's Monster. The entire series was dubbed, but only one volume was ever released in the States and is now out of print with no sign of the license being picked up by anyone else. As a result, the only way to see the entire series, especially dubbed, is either by streaming from unofficial sites, or torrenting the entire series(or buying bootleg). It's the same for Bartender, a series that never received a US release and to my knowledge wasn't even officially subbed, thus the only places to watch it subbed are Youtube, where the entire series has been uploaded by a fan complete with subs, or again, torrenting. And those are two more recent shows compared to what everyone else is throwing out.
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Triltaison



Joined: 03 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:09 pm Reply with quote
DeTroyes wrote:
Another reason worth mentioning: Sometimes (all too often, sadly) the original Master Prints for these animes no longer exist. Quite literally, the best available copy that survives for many of these titles is an off-the-shelf store-bought VHS copy, that's it.


And sometimes not even a home video release at all, with AWOL or rejected masters. *sighs about MAZE's movie*
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writerpatrick



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:11 pm Reply with quote
Another reason I read was that the producers don't have the money it would take to re-release it. This would include restoration costs as well. But putting out a DVD is risky; there's no guarantee it's going to sell. And even just making the attempt requires money to cover the production cost.
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peno



Joined: 06 Jul 2016
Posts: 271
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:51 pm Reply with quote
The original Yu-Gi-Oh and its accompanying movie from Toei most likely fall under the reason 2, though it may also be that Konami, which was involved in the series (but AFAIK not the movie) production, blocking it somehow.
And we should not forget about Brave saga, which is believed to fall under reason 4. But GaoGaiGar was licensed in US by Media Blasters and first 25 episodes even got dub. The sales were, however, so small, that I believe now the Brave saga falls more under the unfortunate concept of "no one wants to be bothered with it, since they don't believe it would be successful enough". And that's shame. The saga deserves to be loved outside of the fansub community Sad
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Nilrem



Joined: 06 Dec 2003
Posts: 99
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:06 pm Reply with quote
Interesting article and reminds me a bit of some of the issues that the likes of the BBC face in the UK with older content, where even when they have all the materials the cost of just tracking down all those who have a contractual right to object to a release a new format, or even just a repeat on TV can be a major issue*, and ITV's situation is apprently worse and very close to the situation with the old anime (ITV franchises changed hands, lots of production companies part owned by the broadcasters, and lots of materials not archived well if at all in regards to productions**).

The producers quarrelling reminds me of one of the reasons one classic UK sitcom wasn't shown for years, apparently one of the two main actors had a falling out with the other, and also didn't want it to be shown because he felt it wasn't his best work and didn't want to end up type case by it.


*Although in the UK I think there is an agreement with the main unions that if the company can show they've taken enough measures and have the agreement of a certain percentage of the staff with a say then they can go ahead with a showing and put appropriate payment in trust for certain content.

**I beleive the UK version of Fraggle Rock is one of the big examples of this as from what I've seen reported a lot of the contracts and documentation in regards to rights for the UK material doesn't seem to be available/have been kept when the franchise owner merged.
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Macron One



Joined: 17 Aug 2006
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Location: Netherlands
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:20 pm Reply with quote
DeTroyes wrote:
Or sometimes even disappeared altogether, with no one entirely certain what happened to them (Project A-ko's original 35mm master print; only a 16mm copy survives).


This one makes me especially sad, as it's one of the first anime i purchased on VHS, and remains one of my favourite anime films. At least one 35mm print of this film appears to have been cut into strips and sold to fans. I won a Yahoo Japan auction that included 49 such strips (of between 4 and 12 frames in length) a few years ago. Every time i look at them, i can't help wondering what a good remastered Blu-Ray release might have looked like.
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