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Ima, kore ga hoshiin da! - Editorial: Kimagure Orange Road

Life is filled with a mixture of joy and disappointment. These two things work their way into everything; including Anime releases. Disappointment often raises its ugly head when an eagerly awaited title gets pushed back. Delays are inevitable, but for fans of this genre, delays have unfortunately become a way of life. AnimEigo actually created quite a buzz with a recent announcement about the delay of the Kimagura Orange Road box set. Sure, it was going to be late (well, it was actually already quite a bit late), but AnimEigo was upfront about the delay, explaining that it was caused by a flaw on one of the discs. So, now a month later, the box sets are starting to arrive in the hands of the salivating fans.

AnimEigo has already been on many a fan's hit list for the unprotected method of shipping they use. Many of their previous box sets arrive dented and scuffed from floating around free in a barely form-fitting package , with the KOR set being no different. This time around, greeting each new owner is a small note indicating that disc 11 of the set has a minor flaw in the subtitles with a promise to exchange the disc once a second pressing is completed. Kudos on this regard to AnimEigo for being upfront about flaws and promising to take care of them. Overall, many fans are happy to have in their hands a DVD collection to replace their aging VHS and Laser Disc collections. But there always seems to be a dark cloud hanging over AnimEigo's recent releases…

AnimEigo, in a decision to clear up a perceived problem from the Macross box set, changed the standard operating procedure for episode set up on a disc. The standard adopted across the board for DVD is based on the idea of having complete episodes on the disc: opening credits, first half, eye-catch, second half then closing credits. Since the opening credits are pretty much the same for every episode in a series, many companies try to save space on the disc by having one copy of the opening on the disc, with the DVD player being told to go to that opening at the beginning of each episode. AnimEigo stuck with the standard practice of one opening per disc, but this time around, the only way to see the opening is in the credits menu. Playing an episode shows the opening preview, the title shot then the episode with closing credits.

So what's the big deal? Consider this: this is a major shift in the way things are done, and there was no advanced notice given. Keep in mind the way AnimEigo does things. A product is solicited as pre-order with little or no information about the series. Often times, it's left to the fans to know exactly what the product is before making the decision to order. AnimEigo's titles, such as Macross, Urusei Yatsura, You're Under Arrest and KOR all rely on a very small, tight nit group of fans that are purchasing these titles more out of nostalgia than anything else. Of those shows, You're Under Arrest actually has a largest audience thanks to it being a more recent show and that some of the OVA and movies will be handled by A.D. Vision, a company with a much larger publicity wagon.

AnimEigo seems to be 0 for 2 as far as alienating their core audience. Many Macross fans were revolted by subtitle issues in the Macross box set and KOR fans are now up in arms over the mishandled openings. I, for one, enjoy the openings at the beginning of each episode. Sure, in many cases, after seeing the opening once, I hit the skip button to get on with the episode, but it's that feeling of knowing if I want to, I could sit and watch it. More maddening is the fact that the openings aren't matched up to the proper episodes. The opening included with episodes 1 – 4 on volume 1 is actually the third opening of the series, showing up with later episodes.

Robert Woodward, CEO of AnimEigo states that the decision to go with the current setup is convenience for the fans. I, as a fan, feel inconvenienced over this decision. Had I known about this beforehand, I would have seriously reconsidered my purchase of this box set. I hope that other companies see the uproar over this and stay away from making similar changes to all their releases.

With Anime DVD releases, there are a lot of “standards” we all want to see included in every Anime release. Things like the proper opening and closing credits, eyecatches and all translated text using softsubs are only the basics. Other standards are episode count per disc and inclusion of textless/original opening and closing credits. Many companies go out of their way to add other extras, but there should be some standards that should never go unchanged. AnimEigo's decision to not include the opening credits is simply an affront to all Anime DVD fans, which will hopefully never see the light of day in any future releases.

Allen Divers

The opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and do not necesarilly reflect those of Anime News Network.

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