Ima, kore ga hoshiin da! - KOR Redux

Dec 11th 2002

A few months back, I got on my soapbox and proceeded to take a little company called AnimEigo to task for a bad DVD release. Looking back, I do realize it was a bit juvenile in nature, but I'd like to think I at least presented my dislike of their actions in an intelligent manner. The issue at hand, for those that don't remember, revolved around their handling of the DVD release of the Anime classic, Kimagure Orange Road. After months of waiting and quite a few fans handing over their precious Laser Disc versions for the glorious new format, KOR saw its debut as a box set featuring all 48 episodes. Of course, things are never as easy as they seem.

In the eyes of many, the discs had a major flaw: missing opening credits. Well, they weren't really missing, just not in place in front of each episode. Each disc did have an opening included as an extra, but in many cases, the opening had nothing to do with the episodes included on the disc. There were a few other minor problems, but the vocal minority focused on the mishandled openings.

I wrote 2 columns, one about my initial thoughts of what happened and the second reacting to AnimEigo's explanation. In the end (and no, I'm not fooling myself into thinking I had a profound affect upon the minds and hearts of those at AnimEigo) AnimEigo admitted an error in judgment and set about making things right. It took a few months, but now fans have the opportunity to trade in their original discs to get corrected versions. My copy arrived last Thursday, with an added bonus of a corrected cover for disc 10 with a screen shot that was missing from the original. (It was rather ironic that this was the disc needing a new cover as I was hunting for various Christmas episodes for my Anime club's Christmas showing, and KOR's Christmas episode was on that disc.)

AnimEigo's list serve has actually been amazingly quiet. As most people are only happy when they have something to dissect and complain about, the various online talk groups haven't really been picking away at AnimEigo's handling of the KOR returns and replacements. I expected to hear something about the thin packaging or the fact that they were sent bulk rate via the post office. After all, many people aren't happy unless they have something to complain about.

So, now there are 12 corrected discs available for those who want to exchange their originals. Future singles and box sets that make their way to stores will feature the corrected discs. AnimEigo even went to the trouble to correct many issues with the discs, such as subtitle problems and other DVD programming issues. Overall, AnimEigo proved that they actually listen to their audience.

In the end, AnimEigo comes out the hero having put themselves out to keep the fans happy. While other companies throw out gibberish and excuses or even half truths to reposition the blame, AnimEigo came right out and said they did wrong. They over anticipated the wants of their audience by introducing some new ideas and unfortunately it just wasn't the time.

While AnimEigo might not be at the top of the heap in terms of flashy menus, slick inserts or even the latest greatest thing from Japan, they win by being the most responsive in customer service. It started with picking up the older series that only crazy old coots like me would want to see, then taking the time to put out a quality product. All you other companies take notice. You may have the top licenses and the money to throw at slick animated menus, but in the end, if you don't take care of your customers, they won't take care of you!

So, I hold out my hand to AnimEigo and say thank you. You guys went above and beyond the call of duty to make right what you even admitted needed to be right.

Ok, enough soap box, with the end of the year approaching, and 2003 on the horizon, its time to look towards the future. This column will continue, but I'll be adding a side column that all those saying "I want it now" will enjoy.

In the last few months, I've been involved with establishing an Anime club at my local university. I've done quite a bit of research into setting up a club and I thought I would share what I've learned. I'll continue to look at new and exciting series coming out of Japan, but I'll also be including information on how you can work with the various companies to get screenings in your area and for your own club. A lot of organizations that exist don't know about the amount of support companies are willing to give to help promote Anime. After all, Bandai just announced their new program to support Anime clubs. While their program is new, other companies have similar programs in place.

I'm still working on a clever end phrase for this column, so I'll leave you with this to ponder.

"If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question?"

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