A hello and some UK industry questions

Gareth

Completely Average High School Student
Hello all!

I joined during the Xmas sales this year and I have to say this place is incredibly useful and it has been very welcoming too! There’s several threads I now check daily, so I wanted to firstly say thank you for the content and sharing of info!

Being relatively newly into anime/manga, it’s all hugely appreciated.

I have a couple of general UK industry questions that I was hoping I could get clarification on:

1. Is there a guide to how the industry is structured in the UK? I’ve tried searching the forum but couldn’t see anything (apologies if I’ve missed it). I want to understand more about the different distributors, websites, publishers, events, and retailers, and specifically how they relate to each other or what key differences may be. It’s slightly confusing as some appear to be partnered with or owned by others. Some companies have several brands but all under different names and different website names too. So, I’m struggling to understand it fully. For example: Anime Limited / Screen Anime / Cloud Matsuri / All The Anime. Are these brands all under one company? Same with MVM and Anime-on-Line? How does MangaUK fit in? Other larger retailers. Etc...

2. Am I right in thinking that if you really like an anime, there’s nothing to say whether it will get a BD release in the west or in the UK specifically? I’m guessing it’s up to what western distributors want to put out and of those what they can negotiate to release here? And if there isn’t a UK release of an anime you like and you really want to own the BD, you‘ll need to import it either from another western country (e.g. the US/Aus) if released there, or from Japan itself? Which obviously I’m finding can be hugely expensive, especially when 12 episode seasons are split into three sets, each very expensive on their own!! 😛

As a little intro to me, I live in Richmond Borough, West London. I work in feature film and TV drama production. I love collecting things (as I’m sure many do here!) and discovering new interests and hobbies. I’m thoroughly enjoying learning more about anime/manga and I’d say I like watching content about it just as much (or maybe more) than actually watching anime itself! I have quite a lot of YouTube subscriptions to anime/manga channels now. Other relented hobbies: I’m big into Pokémon Go (we have a huge and very nice community for it here in Richmond) and I’m currently learning Japanese as a foreign language, which I love and find really fun.

My first foray into the hobby was reading Death Note. I’d heard lots of good things and I liked the premise of two highly intelligent characters intellectually battling against each other in close proximity. I’m currently reading Monster and I’ve now watched Death Note, ACCA 13, FMA Brotherhood, Rent-a-Girlfriend, The Quintessential Quintuplets,
MHA (S1&2), The Promised Neverland (S1), and Carol & Tuesday (those last two with my girlfriend who really enjoyed both as well). Currently ploughing through the JoJo anime (have some of the art books coming to me from Japan). I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read and watched. I’ve tried to pick things wisely given my tastes and through learning more about the hobby; it’s worked out well so far.

The things I want to read next are: Pluto, 20th Century Boys, Blood on the Tracks, JoJo, and FMA (currently have all the full metal editions released).

My watchlist of series not mentioned above is: Anohana, Eizouken, Space Brothers (although I know it never finished), Kaguya-Sama, A Place Further Than The Universe, March Comes in Like a Lion (got the BDs in the Xmas sales), Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, The Great Pretender, Planetes, and The Tatami Galaxy (also got those last two during the Xmas sales).

There’s obviously way more on the radar being new into the hobby but trying to focus on these for now. But please do feel free to suggest other stuff for me to consider too!

よろしくお願いします
 

Neil.T

Titan
Welcome to AUKN, Gareth. 🙂
I've seen your posts about.

That was a good lead in to things you had with Death Note; it's an excellent manga. I'd love to get into some of the other things in your intro, but there's your industry questions to answer first!

1. As for how the UK industry is structured, I guess the main things to cover would be that we have three anime distributors: Anime Limited, Manga Entertainment and MVM.

As you pointed out, Anime Limited (AL) have a bunch of things going on: All The Anime is their "label", if you like, for physical releases on BD and DVD, as well as being the handle for their online shop; Screen Anime is their monthly online film festival to stream; and Cloud Matsuri is their virtual anime convention to help satisfy the fandom in these times of Covid. They also organised (in normal circumstances) an annual anime film festival called Scotland Loves Anime. The connection is that the company is based in Glasgow.

Manga Entertainment is a long-standing anime distributor that goes back to the early 1990s and the Western release of Akira. They used to produce their own English-language dubs, but in more recent times have been bought by US distributor Funimation and absorbed into their ever-expanding super-conglomerate that also includes anime streaming platform Crunchyroll. The parent company of all of the aforementioned is Sony, and the Manga Entertainment name may be in the process of being phased out and replaced with Funimation.

Thirdly we have MVM Entertainment, a tiny two-man company based in Chepstow in Wales. They mostly sublicense titles from other overseas distributors and produce their release using already approved artwork to streamline the process. They also operate their own online shop called Anime-on-line.

2. As for your second point, what you suggest is bang-on. Since the UK is a very small market compared to other territories like the US or Japan, our distributors have to select wisely what is realistically likely to sell and thus we see far fewer titles being licensed here overall. These licences are sometimes negotiated with the Japanese licensors themselves, or are sublicensed through other overseas distributors such as Aniplex of America, Funimation or Sentai Filmworks in the US, or perhaps Madman Entertainment in Australia. Sometimes the resulting discs are "clones" of the original but with different region encoding.


I hope the above helps to answer your questions in some way, and...

こちらこそよろしくお願いします。

😉
 
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WMD

Cardcaptor
Hey @Gareth welcome to the forum! 🍻

Neil basically covered everything important. For clarity, just in case, I'll add that MVMs shop anime-on-line stock products from all three distributors and although they don't do it any more they also used to license live action Asian films many of which can be found cheap on their site.

On the other hand Al's store is just for their own stuff and anime sound track vinyl which are often done through partnerships with other companies. Incidentally if you get the year subscription to ScreenAnime you get a 10% discount in the AL store and if you're a big collector will definitely be worthwhile.
 

Gareth

Completely Average High School Student
@Neil.T that's incredibly helpful! ありがとうございます Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a full reply. That's really kind and greatly appreciated! That all makes complete sense on both answers and you did a great job of explaining it. Good to hear I was on the right tracks. Are you a Japanese speaker?

@WMD thank you very much for your comments too! Funnily enough, my first follow-up thought/question following Neil's post was about the Anime On Line shop having Manga, MVM, and Anime Ltd stuff, so that's good to know. I'll also look into ScreenAnime, as I do appear to be buying a decent amount of stuff already! :p

My only other question and I think I know the answer is, re: Manga Entertainment. They have their MangaUK website but that seems like it's for news/marketing. For their products they don't have their own online store and we'd buy those from shops (e.g. Anime On Line, Amazon, Zavvi)?

I can now see why everyone gets so excited about new release announcements in the UK! There's so much that could be released and I guess everyone wants to know if their hopes will be answered or crushed!
 

WMD

Cardcaptor
My only other question and I think I know the answer is, re: Manga Entertainment. They have their MangaUK website but that seems like it's for news/marketing. For their products they don't have their own online store and we'd buy those from shops (e.g. Anime On Line, Amazon, Zavvi)?
They do have an online store but it's the most expensive place to buy their products so I wouldnt worry about it.
 

Neil.T

Titan
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a full reply.
Ah, you're very welcome, dude. It's really nice when someone takes an interest in the little details of something they're interested in, so it's the kind of thing that really deserves a proper reply. 🙂

I mistyped the name of the Aussie distributor in amongst all of that, but I've fixed it now. 😆👍

Are you a Japanese speaker?
I... know enough for it to be somewhat useful, but I don't know anywhere near as much as I'd like to, if that makes sense.

It's just self-taught verbal Japanese for the most part: I can only read phonetics and a small handful of kanji, and I can't even write phonetics, because reading and writing are apparently two very different things! 😅

I first started learning in late 2011 but haven't made the conscious effort to advance beyond where I am now. Understanding some Japanese is still very satisfying, though. It's a wonderful language, as you doubtless already know yourself. 🙂


Also I hope you'll enjoy The Tatami Galaxy. That one's a big favourite of mine.
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Magical Girl
Welcome Gareth and thanks again for your recent advice!

Very useful discussion and knowledge from Neil.T & WMD. I had no idea mvm were a two man operation - infinitely impressed with their dedication and what they've achieved and continue to do so!
 

Dan

Stand User
Welcome Gareth, some great questions there and not surprised it was getting confusing for u. Despite being on here since around 2002 (old forum) I still have to ask guys on here stuff coz I have breaks away and come back and things have always changed like Funimation buying Manga UK etc.

I’d just like to add if your importing anime from the US I’d recommend UP1 (United Publications). They take the hassle out of it all. They get it all delivered to the UK and then distribute it here so no expensive import costs. It’s all included in the price and miles cheaper than using EBay’s Global Shipping System... Amazon isnt too bad for price either and again includs import fees, tax etc but I don’t like how they pack stuff from the US, it’s going way to far to just shove it in a Jiffy bag. I did get some single disc stuff in good condition (slip covers always get dented no matter where it’s coming from). Not sure about collector’s sets etc but I wouldn’t use them for that but otherwise not too bad.

UP1 do get some Australian releases too but not too many and they also have a US version of the site which can sometimes work out cheaper to order from dependent on the conversion rate.
 

Gareth

Completely Average High School Student
Thank you @Dan and @HWR for recommending UP1 as well, that's really useful. I'd heard it mentioned a few times but hadn't really taken notice of it, so I'm grateful. I do actually need to order some US sets too, so I'll check it for those and enjoy having a browse through their full catalogue. It looks massive at first glance. Really appreciate the welcomes too!

@Neil.T yep, agreed on the writing part. Reading and speaking are fine for me too but writing is a no-go so far, unless using a keyboard. I'm really enjoying learning Japanese overall though. I'm using a mix of Duolingo, the Genki text book, conversations with friends (very luckily have a mix of native speakers and those who have learnt it as a foreign language who I naturally see often), YouTube lessons/resources, and watching media. If you ever end up wanting an easy and free refresher, Duolingo is a good way forward. You definitely can't solely rely on it for complete fluency in Japanese but it's good for some of the basics and incredibly easy to use.
 

Neil.T

Titan
Duolingo is a good way forward.
Yeah, I've been recommended Duolingo by a few people now. I still haven't looked into it properly, though. Just... only so many hours in the day! 😆

You've got a good mix of resources there. Me, I started with a library book called Japanese Phrases for Dummies and then moved on to the more demanding Teach Yourself Japanese. Humble beginnings, but it gave a really good grounding.

I once signed myself up for a six-week summer short course but it was cancelled due to lack of applicants. (This was at Dundee Uni a few years ago.)

Another resource that's worth a mention is the website Maggie Sensei:
I've dabbled with that and enjoyed it.

Oh, and... watching anime and Japanese films, of course! That's useful too. I've never had the opportunity to use Japanese conversationally, though.
 
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