Sony speaks about Ruroni Kenshin plans
In an exclusive Q & A Session with Anime News Network, Sony Pictures Entertainment Visual Works Senior Director Ryuta Shiiki released information about the plans for Ruroni Kenshin in America.
What's happening is this: Sony has already produced an English language dub (known as the much despised "Samurai X"), which is what is currently being sold to American distributors. Sony already has all distribution rights in America, and while the Columbia/TriStar International Television division is shopping it around to various networks and syndication services, Shiiki is negotiating with an existing anime distributor (which one is not known yet). The title "Samurai X" may be changed for the states, since it is well-known that this is not a well-accepted title by American fans. (This will be left up to the American distributor.)
According to Shiiki, a subtitled version will most likely be made available, but this is also up to the American distributor.
So what about the fansubber crackdown? "We understand that those activities without license is actually helping many Japanese programs become popular in the states amoung the deep fans," said Shiiki, "but we have to protect our program like you protect your baby. We have to keep the image of the program. We have to keep the market of the program. Due to that piracy, we encoutered a huge problem [when attempting] to release this program to the states at this moment. It means that those activities prevent our program from being seen and appreciated by more people. If those people are really fans of that program, they have to consider that they want to show this program to more and more people. But actually they are doing the opposite thing. They are closing the door to our program. I do really hope that those people understand the real situation."
The video release is predicted for this summer by Mr. Shiiki, who also added that this is also up to the distributor. However, since there is no post production left to be done, it is likely that the release will take less time than most releases.