last week has been a bit cack for me with gundam, got outbid on a copy of Origin I-IV and lost it, now this delay on my favourite series
That's why I was trying to open communication and we won't get anywhere starting of in anger, by talking about fun stuff we can get more communication and comfortable with each other and maybe we can learn why the information was sent so late. We have to assume people are communicating in good faith to have communication at all.
100% agree with this. Place an order, pay, forget about it until it turns up. No drama.My opinion, for anyone who's interested: I prefer being billed at the time I place my order as at least then the money side is done with and I can just look forward to receiving the product even if there are significant delays
This is the only time I've been angry at AL. The disappointment was far beyond anything I ever expected to feel about one of their products.Blood-C Ultimate
I know a lot of people like and respect the AL staff and don't want to intentionally offend them as they feel a sense of familiarity and sometimes friendship having met them at cons and such.Sincerely, I don't like conflict. But at the same time I don't like feeling being taken for granted.
The problems with AL releases predate any of the problems affecting the world in the last few years. I understand the seriousness of those problems (understood and warned of one in particular even whilst others mocked me) and have seen them affect other companies, but in AL's case they feel to have exacerbated these long standing problems rather than caused them.
I've got no interest in being a dick, both out of common courtesy and the fact there's every likelihood I will in years to come once again be standing in a room with AL staff. I do think however that sometimes blunt honesty is needed over dancing around continued problems. No one should be obsessing over the delays, but I balk at the idea we should just pay sometimes hundreds of GBP and just accept stuff will just show up whenever.
I don't think anyone has been unreasonable and sometimes harsh criticism comes from those who genuinely want to see something prosper.
Yikes, that's... not so good. 😬I'm still waiting for a replacement cover for Revolutionary Girl Utena Part 2 to be sent. Been two years and nothing.
I cannot think of any other home video label that has ever been seemingly unaware with a delay to its own product until the actual release date, let alone with such regularity that it has become a running joke. I can't even think of a reasonable excuse for it at this stage. I think everyone here has been pretty polite and there's no need to be sycophantic; surely, they could just deliberately overestimate release dates - no one would care if they received it 'early' - and/or essentially not announce them until copies are already at the replicators.
Having just read all the comments I missed about the official announcement.If AL want to stop the majority of hostile comments, then they need to step up their communications. The Gundam Seed Destiny delay email should have been sent out to people last week, not today.
As for the delays themselves, if a product is delayed then its delayed, I will wait, as will many others, but AL need to inform us SOONER.
Yeah, that is crazy. The only explanation I can think off is that they don't keep tabs on the manufactuing side and just "hope it turns up in time"
It might not be quite this simple, but can people who preorder from AL directly not just be sent an email on the Friday afternoon before a Monday release if stock is not on-hand at the fulfilment house?This can leave us with a conundrum - do we announce a delay without a new date? Do we just announce an arbitrary date when we don't have information to-hand as to its accuracy? Or do we wait until we have up-to-date information that allows us to make an informed decision as to delivery dates? It's a balancing act, and I'll be the first to admit we haven't always gotten it right.
Thanks for the detailed response. As you say, supply chain uncertainty is at an all-time high. For that reason, maybe adopting more of a RAG Rating approach to communicating potential delays would be the way to go. For example, a week before the scheduled release date, if some component is running late but it's still possible to ship on time if it arrives soon, that could trigger an amber warning to customers that the item may not ship on time and explaining what's holding it back. I understand that from a brand management perspective that saying a product is either definitely ready or definitely delayed until X date projects a greater air of confidence, but I think the customers of a boutique brand are more receptive to seeing the gears spinning behind the curtain and would appreciate the transparency.I wondered why my anime-senses were tingling, and now I know why! So, let's get into this...
First and foremost, I do owe a lot of you apologies for late notifications of delays, and to be quite honest at least some of that is on me. I'm well aware that being notified late or on release date isn't great or fair on you folks, and we try to avoid it wherever possible.
Now, this is where it gets trickier - manufacturing a product isn't just hitting "print", selecting how many copies you want and then waiting for them to be churned out, completed. Every product has a multitude of components (discs, booklets, slipcases, Amarays etc), all of which aren't necessarily coming from the same production plant. These components may arrive at different times, some may be delayed while others arrive early, etc etc. Ever built a custom PC and had everything turn up except the CPU fan? That can happen with a Collector's Edition too.
Then you have what goes on the disc - authoring or delivery of masters is reliant on third-parties and takes time, then there's QC which can cause further delays to ensure the product is to the absolute best standard possible. (As a personal example here, I was personally and solely responsible for the final delay to Cardcaptor Sakura because I wanted one last pass of subtitle QC, because as product manager on that title I knew nothing but the best possible experience would do).
All of this is taking place in what is currently an uncertain world - the UK is rife with strikes (which is not a criticism of any industrial action by the way), paper stock is still frequently in short supply throughout the world, COVID-19 causes staff shortages at irregular intervals across industries (from manufacture to delivery), and other world events such as the war in Ukraine also have an impact (bear in mind at least some production facilities are based in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, with a fair number of staff of Ukranian origin).
What all of this amounts to is a complex process that we monitor and check in on daily for every product as closely as we can, but ultimately we are reliant on third-parties and sometimes that information can take a while to reach us, especially when you start to factor in absences due to some of the reasons outlined above.
This can leave us with a conundrum - do we announce a delay without a new date? Do we just announce an arbitrary date when we don't have information to-hand as to its accuracy? Or do we wait until we have up-to-date information that allows us to make an informed decision as to delivery dates? It's a balancing act, and I'll be the first to admit we haven't always gotten it right.
Anyway, I realise this probably sounds like excuses and hand-wringing, but the important point I want to come to is that we absolutely hear the concerns and frustrations, and want to rectify them - we were in a good place where things were running smoothly in terms of delays (and more importantly the general lack of them), and I can only acknowledge that this year in particular has seen a spike in those delays. We're not blind to this fact - it's something that we're all aware of and are working to minimize (because honestly, no matter how hard you try they'll never be eradicated entirely), and we're always looking to set dates that are both achievable and reasonable, but there's more work to be done there and we hope you'll be patient while we work to rediscover that balance after the supply chain challenges of the past couple of years have changed the landscape around us.
As a final thought, I do also want to say that we do appreciate negative feedback just as much - perhaps more! - than positive feedback. If it's constructive, genuine and reasonable then it's something that we can take away, discuss and - if it's fixable - work on. So, please don't be hesitant to say "This is a thing/situation I don't like and here's why", what we don't want to hear is just blanket generalised "they suck" criticism or abuse. As long as you remember that our staff here are all human (yes, even me, I can confirm), and all anime fans like you, you won't go far wrong.
I love you folks, I still consider myself one of you, and I'm not the only one here with that mindset, so if you want me to start hating you all you're gonna have to work harder. 😉
I'll try and be around a bit more for questions/feedback from now on as I know we've all been caught up in a lot of cool things (what about the new One Piece film, eh?) and not particularly active here of late, but I won't get mad if I get an @ notification here and there (as people on the Discord already know!) Apologies for the long ramble, but this is an important issue that I know has been bubbling for a little while of late.