Personal opinions on distributors excised from the Bargains thread (temporary title)

Discussion in 'Anime Industry Discussion' started by serpantino, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. Lambadelta

    Lambadelta Thousand Master

    I think the gulf of difference in treatment doesn't come from anything other than customer trust in the company, and the products they deliver.
  2. ayase

    ayase Godhand

    I was in AL's corner from the very beginning because before they even existed, their business model of providing more premium releases than their US equivalent to give me a reason not to import and buy locally was one I advocated for pretty strongly. I'm not sure I can find the posts now, but my usual line back in the day was basically "Release cheaper or release better packages than the US version and I have a reaon not to import" this was at a time when the Beez DVDs of Cowboy Bebop would set you back over £60 but you could import Bandai's below the old £18 threshold.

    Anime Ltd. did exactly what I wanted. They gave me a reason to buy local versions which Manga still haven't (I imported GitS Arise because for the extra £5 per volume the Funi versions gave me boxes, double the amount of cases and cover art, booklets and spare DVD copies) and which MVM only have because of how comparatively cheap they are next to some of their US equivalient releases. But their releases do also look cheap thanks to their crappy cover art department which still seems like an afterthought even after all these years I've been complaining about them. Not that I think I single-handedly control the UK anime industry with my posts on AUKN or anything...

    I don't actually have any problems with Manga (why would I when if their releases aren't to my liking I can just import?) or with Jerome, as divisive a character he is around here. I don't care about someone's attitude on the internet (I've been here a long time and am very desensitized and my skin is now pretty thick) if they're bringing me products I want to buy. Andrew however has always, even before AL when he was a Beez rep, gone out of his way to listen to and address people's questions and comments. Does that leave me feeling well disposed towards him and his company? Of course it does. He doesn't have to do that at all, least of all here on a forum not even connected to AL themselves. So if I ever seem "biased" in AL's favour, those are a few reasons why it might seem that way. Because I think AL actually listen to me and give me what I want. I'd feel similarly inclined towards MVM if they'd just put me in charge of their cover art already.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  3. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    Ultimately my attitudes come from knowing that if I ask a question of Andrew he will treat me like a person with the response and it will make some level of sense held up again facts I know to be true in other markets, even if my original question is objectively stupid. Jerome - who is not Manga UK incarnate in the same way, so doesn't really speak for them quite so comprehensively - has literally described me as an idiot and several things I'm less willing to repeat despite not knowing anything about me at all. He's gone on record to specifically say that catering for my demographic is a mistake (thanks). And I still kept contributing to his wages for years until the simulcast tantrum where I just flat out gave up.

    (I'm lucky since I don't have any stake in anything but my own self-interest so I can like or dislike whichever company I want.)

    There's probably also a cultural difference in how Manga UK presents itself as slick and professional in many ways (despite the loophole of Jerome chattering away and swearing like a sailor on Twitter) while Andrew has very openly raised AL from nothing right in front of our eyes. We saw him here representing other companies before and then he said he would try his own company, and now he controls a huge chunk of the best (personal opinion!) licenses in the UK. It's a much more down to earth relationship and when we speak, we are fortunate that he and Jeremy listen to anyone. Even to those who openly avoid their releases or have no posting history. We've seen them change their process to accommodate better authoring, actively chasing streaming for us and weathering what amounts to daily, unending criticism on a level far greater than Manga (I'd rather not summarise the post counts in their threads but I can) about things like box design, subtitle sizes and other issues which people really, really care about. The DRRR OAV issue bugs me too. I trust that we have made it so clear now that future releases will never have this same problem again without extensive debate.

    Agree that the rigid box flub was almost certainly a genuine error, but when the company has such a poor track record with boxes and its reactions that come out to complaints are often 'anime nerds are so entitled and will suck my **** for making a box for them LOL' (paraphrased from memory but actual sentiments posted in public in the correct tone), is it any wonder people stop bothering with the niceties in response? And when we have been reporting problems with locally made subs and chapters for actual years and entire series that got licensed but given worthlessly poor releases with no fixes, and we just get told it's fine, it's not an attitude that really fosters polite discourse.

    Listening fosters listening. Respect fosters respect. If Jerome wants to speak for his company and act like he knows everything already, it's natural that people will stop taking that company seriously (while others will place it on a pedestal, because that kind of attitude has the power to impress in its own way). I think we should all spend more time worrying about what we're buying and less fretting that others are spending too much with the wrong company.

    In my case AL and MVM automatically win there anyway because they have more anime releases I want simply down to personal taste behind the scenes >_>; my Manga boycott has been the easiest thing to stick with ever.

    Edit: ayase is also completely right about AL providing something that we never had before. Older fans had to make do with getting nothing but slower, pricier hand-me-downs from the US for years, often with stuff missing. AL is built by fans, for fans so they try to do something different. Sometimes things work better than others but if Manga stopped existing tomorrow I'd lose... erm, nothing that I can't import anyway (and I'd likely even gain access to more future simulcasts). AL has a bunch of completely unique stuff which provides a valid alternative to the US edition (and in some cases there still is no US edition). It satisfies my self-interest criteria nicely.

    But if Manga want me back as a customer I'm not hard to win over again. If they ever want to.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  4. qaiz

    qaiz Stand User

    Don't care for any distro, I don't favor one over the other and don't care to support one just because the person behind the curtain is a nice dude, I just want mine, give me the shows that I want and the rest can burn, which seldom happens anyways so I end up just importing from Japan because I ain't got time to wait. I think the only releases that I've got from Manga are GITS and Akira and nothing from MVM, so looking at the raw numbers I guess AL have releases that cater more to my tastes but even that is a rare occurrence, and when they do get my attention the time from announcement to release is way too long, long enough that any excitement I have all but evaporates. The amount of UK Anime releases that I picked up in 2016 can be counted on one hand and I imagine even less being bought this year. The US isn't much better mind you, a grand total of 0 releases caught my attention. I was once optimistic about the UK market, eager to support it, now I couldn't even care less, I'll just import that ****, watch it and be done with it, I'm not here to indulge in theatrics. AL will have a release once in a blue moon that appeals to me, but its such an infrequent event that I couldn't really care less. I guess I'll pick up the Production I.G shorts collection in 2020, or maybe not, probably not.
  5. Buzz201

    Buzz201 Cardcaptor

    It's nice that you're now being served, but my concern is that ensuring every release serves you, might mean none serve anybody else. Excluding Manga, I can think of only two anime series that started at less than £25 last year (Universal's The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Part 2 and Sony Pictures' Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV steelbook, which included an extended cut of ONA series Brotherhood: Final Fantasy as a bonus disc). Probably some MVM series too, but their line-up is hardly big name.

    If the average price of anime series you've actually heard of is £40+, will anybody new start buying anime releases? Everybody I know outside of this forum either only buys second hand or just pirates, which must be great for the industry...

    Maybe not you or many people on this forum, but I think if Manga were to go in administration tomorrow or something, the industry as a whole would lose out massively.

    The issue I'm having is that Al spectacularly ballsed up the Shinkai double pack. Nobody said a word. If it was Manga people would still be complaining about it now. Yet as an AL release, the complaining was over before it started.
  6. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    It caused quite a few posts in the defective discs thread. I don't have the release (have owned the shows for a while) so I don't personally mention it but anyone who cares enough can always ask AL for input, as you have been doing so passionately with DRRR and half the forum does with Gundam Zeta. Pretty sure we have had more posts on that extra on the Shinkai set than say, the gibberish subtitles people recently mentioned with Steins;Gate's UK DVD release which will never be fixed no matter what anyone says. The difference is that we know nobody at Manga cares about fans with no working subtitle option on a release at this point. We know too that AL will care and respond if we complain about the audio for Voices, so we feel that discussing it has more value.

    As for high prices putting off new fans, anyone old enough to have been around before the Great Anime Devaluation in the UK knows that new fans will cheerfully pay £40 for new releases. It's true that fans on tight budgets won't (as they can't) and fans won't impulse buy rubbish shows at that price, but nowadays we have alternate ways to support the industry and a very healthy 'try before you buy' option (Sakamoto aside) to help people avoid wasting their cash unnecessarily. Series which do well should always aim to have mass market price options available and series which are on the way out should always enjoy deep discounts, but if £40 ends up being the price we need to pay for the first edition in order for the industry to keep working then that's the cost.

    Also, MVM's catalogue has been much better than Manga's lately so I feel a bit sorry for them being dismissed as having no big name titles. They're more niche but their relatively affordable Monogatari releases are saving a bunch of people a lot of cash, and their Type Moon connection has done very well for them ever since the first Fate/stay night series from all accounts. They also have far more artsy stuff and content aimed outside the teen boy market Manga throws itself at so heavily. They don't go for the huge, mass market stuff because Manga is better at pushing that into supermarkets and cinemas already, but for hardcore fans they have a really high quality catalogue these days and their regular discounts online and at cons make them a great option for some cheap deals. If I was starting out now and on a tight budget, MVM would be my heroes.

  7. Buzz201

    Buzz201 Cardcaptor

    I wonder if maybe comparing the "Great Anime Devaluation" to now is unfair, given the abundance of ways both legal and not to avoid paying these types of prices. That argument could be used either against higher prices or in favour of them, I guess.

    "Series which should do well" could feasibly include 80-90% of Anime Ltd.'s catalogue if given the right push. Obviously, sometimes it's impossible because of the various different parties involved, but Andrew (and the rest of the AL team) has fantastic taste.

    I would agree Manga's catalogue recently has been rubbish. But, at my anime society (perhaps not the best place to judge from), the only MVM titles that have ever come up are Monogatari, Fate and Log Horizon. The only one discussed in any depth was Log Horizon. The only 2016 release of theirs I brought was the Nozaki-kun CE on your recommendation, excluding Monogatari, the rest of their catalogue is just not for me.

    My suggestion they had "no big name titles" was unfair (I had forgotten about Fate at the time), but equally I don't think MVM are especially relevant to casual fans or those that aren't interested in their type of show (they seem to go for a particular type of show quite frequently, hence why I generally ignore their releases).

    I think it would be a shame to lose cheap TV series releases, but equally Anime Limited are apparently working on it, so it would be wrong to write them off now. And Universal have proven they are willing to aggressively discount series, though perhaps that's a sign things aren't selling well for them. Then there will always be the likes of Studiocanal and Sony, who don't seem to go for 'anime pricing' as much as other companies.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  8. IdiomaticLynx

    IdiomaticLynx Brigade Leader

    The big question is of course, whether or not they would start buying anime releases if the prices were significantly lower?
    From what I can see, people who pirate will generally not start buying physical releases even if they were dirt cheap. The fact of the matter is that physical media are slowly falling out of trend, be it video, audio or text. As much as I hate it, that seems to be the way we're headed.

    That is actually the reason I didn't buy that releases (although, I was already a bit on the fence about it).
    Whether or not a similar mistake from Manga would result in more complaining, I'm not sure. To me it seems there is always something to complain about any release. In case of Manga it quickly derails to the same old argument of all their past shortcomings, while with AL it generally feels 'resolved' (thanks to input from Andrew) or in some cases is actually resolved (replacement disks).

    Now I must say that I personally didn't really care about distributors when I started buying anime. My first few releases were actually from Manga. Over the years I started buying more CE/PE/LE releases. Now I still don't really care about distributors, other than that I have broadened my scope of possible releases to buy. I generally look at the UK, US, AU, German, French and Italian releases and decide which I would like to get.

    The only distributor that jumps out is AL, as it is refreshing to see so much involvement in the community. While this is certainly a plus for AL, it does not change the fact that I will only buy a release if I actually want it for the listed price.
  9. TiggsPanther

    TiggsPanther Completely Average High School Student

    Here's the other thing on that, and I say this as someone who doesn't even exactly like it, but this is pretty normal. It's not specific to AL or even Anime in general.

    Look at books. They still come out hardback first, with the paperback coming out months after. And the ebook prices tend to he at hardback equivalent levels until the paperback comes out, at which point they come down.

    I've never liked that. Simply because I personally don't find hardbacks a very readable format. Having to wait for the more readable version to come out (or since ebooks the even more readable version to become affordable) simply so that the publisher can make additional profit in the early stages has never sat well with me.
    But it's often the best, or only, way to guarantee return on investment.

    And with anime, if there's a lot of initial work required in getting the actual discs ready, it does make a certain amount of sense to try to recoup those costs in the initial run and release a cheaper sell-on-volume release later down the line. Even if it means my preferred version is always late, it keeps the companies around to actually release stuff.

    (It's not that it happens that I hate, it's the necessity.)

    Yeah, that's me.

    Somewhat limited budget, extremely limited shelf space. But an absolute desire to have a (legit) local copy that isn't dependant on the whims of the Network or Licensing Gods.

    And until DRM-free DTO video becomes mainstream (and I think that's a very big "if"), I'm always going to be waiting for a nice and simple just-the-discs-in-a-case release so I can legally watch offline in good quality.
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  10. st_owly

    st_owly Guild Member

    People also seem to forget that not everywhere has good enough internet to stream. Trying to stream 720p video at my parents' in the countryside in the evening is almost impossible, especially if other people are using the connection as well. If I go down there for a few days, I always take some DVDs or an external hard drive with downloaded stuff on. I do not want physical media to disappear.
  11. HdE

    HdE Comic Book Guy

    The thing is, if fans don't want physical media to disappear, they're going to have to demonstrate that with their consumer habits.

    Not to moralise here, but there are some interesting / worrying issues attached. The bottom line is, folks seem happy to accept a model where streaming is concerned whereby they fork over a sum of money for access to a product that they will at no point actually OWN. This has been the case since day one with most platforms that provide TV shows, movies, comic books and music digitally.

    Speaking for myself, I'm not going to pay anybody ANY amount of money just to borrow something from them for a finite amount of time. I recall in my school days there was one obnoxious kid who used to tell the other kids they could play with his Star Wars toys for the weekend if they gave him their pocket money. Guess how that went down?

    We also have to admit that the asking price for physical releases is a problem.
    (Note - if anyone reads that and thinks 'it's not a problem for me, I can afford them' - congratulations. You're part of the problem.)

    Why there are fans who are actually happy to pay as much as £50 RRP for HALF A BLOODY SHOW - sometimes even n episode count that doesn't reach double figures - much less opine in certain corners of the internet that we should pay MORE is beyond me. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: why would ANYONE want to pay a higher price for a product they enjoy consuming?

    I've seen comments online from industry figures - notably guys like Henry Goto at Aniplex of America - who seem convinced that on-disc releases should be the domain of the uber-fans and obsessive collectors. All of which translates to higher asking prices, deterring some fans who were buying physical releases and annihilating any possibility of casual buyers parting up with cash for them.

    Why aren't the fans up in arms about this stuff en mass?
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
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  12. Buzz201

    Buzz201 Cardcaptor

    Unfortunately, the answer is seemingly in the question...

  13. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    I like to think that the current sorry state of internet access in the UK is a temporary situation that advancing technology and investment will eventually fix, because strangling progress towards new access to media just because the technology isn't there yet is too depressing. There's still a lot of work to be done in making streaming and DTO right but it's mainstream now and it very much needs doing.

    The reasons I'm not overly up in arms over pricing were already explained in this thread o_O

  14. HdE

    HdE Comic Book Guy

    I really don't know about that, though, Rui. There are areas near me where the geography (apparently) has precluded even standard broadband.

    Just to be clear, though, streaming being 'the done thing' doesn't bother me nearly as much as physical releases becoming overpriced holy grail items does. And I think there IS a lot of scope for fans to be thrown a bone in that regard.

    At this point, I don't want to go repeating myself overly. But where are the calls for affordable S.A.V.E. style releases? Where are the reliable options for those who want to own anime but just cant stretch to the current prices? Those are gaps in the market that relly ought to be addressed.
  15. Jaysgba

    Jaysgba Thousand Master

    Why bother catering to those that just want to build up a collection of anime for future rewatches when streaming rights lapse when fans can just tell them that streaming is amazing and cheap so that should be good enough for those that can't afford expensive CEs for every title they want to own?
  16. IncendiaryLemon

    IncendiaryLemon Captain Karen AUKN Staff

    Perhaps there aren't calls for such cheap anime because most people are happy to buy premium editions. If the amount of people who actually want cheapo barebones releases is less than those who want premium editions, then it makes sense to focus on the majority.
  17. ayase

    ayase Godhand

    I believe I answered that question over in the pricing thread, even though you asked people not to answer you and didn't respond. But if you're going to keep asking the question as though no-one could possibly disagree with you, I'm going to keep pointing out that I do disagree with you and why.

    I'm fine with being "part of the problem" because I don't think there is a problem. There's pricier releases for collectors, there's usually cheaper releases further down the line for casual buyers or people on a budget, and now there's streaming. I don't see problems. What I do see is people complaining because they can't have something fast, cheap and good. You get two out of three, and if you want cheap and good you have to wait. That's always been the case with anime, we used to have to wait (sometimes years) from the US release.
  18. Just Passing Through

    Just Passing Through Guild Member

    Creating a budget label costs money, you need to repackage, commission new artwork, advertise, all for a niche audience in the UK that numbers in the low thousands, not the tens of thousands that there are in the US where such labels are viable. The UK is well catered for by the sales and discount sector, where you can get full price releases at a fraction of the RRP. When you have MVM's deal of the week, selling a title a few months old for a tenner, and then there are the Manga Entertainment sales that drop, like last year's Amazon sale, where you're picking up titles like Future Diary and Chunibyo and similar season and half season Blu-rays for under a tenner, then the access point for low budget anime fans is there.

    This time last year there were some Anime Limited titles in a Zavvi sale for similar money, series on BD for under £20. I remember seeing Samurai Flamenco Part 1 for around £15. But this year things seem a lot tighter from them, indeed all of the anime distros when it comes to January sales.

    My real bugbear is the gap between Limited/Ultimate/ Collector's Editions and standard releases. MVM have it right, down to a couple of months, or a few weeks. Ideally it should be day and date, as I don't believe that someone who wants a standard release will be convinced by a delay to shell out more for a Collector's release. Nor do I believe that Collector's purchasers will be aggrieved by seeing Johnny light wallet getting the standard Amaray on the same day as they get their shiny chipboard box.
  19. Buzz201

    Buzz201 Cardcaptor

    I don't think it's fair to list a series of pricing mistakes that last under 48 hours as genuine sales. I seriously doubt any other retailer would have offered or honoured such prices, so really we were all just abusing Amazon's generosity. That said, screw feeling guilty about my £6 copy of Chuunibyo...

    As an aside, I don't think it's fair to judge the state of the industry on the price of the first part of a release. Anime Ltd. have been known to aggressively discount part 1 of series, in order to try and tempt people to buy subsequent parts. Yes, you could pick up Kill la Kill, part 1 for £12, but good luck finding parts 2 and 3 for less than £40...

    But how could you live without digipacks?

    In all seriousness, how did you not see this devolving into "I want CEs, so everyone else can just spend every waking moment of their life stalking Amazon on the off chance they go cheap for a couple of hours whilst Jeff Bezos falls asleep at the wheel"? It generally does...
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
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  20. st_owly

    st_owly Guild Member

    There's plenty of cheap stuff to be had second hand as well. Most of the anime films in my local CEX are less than £10, often less than £5, not to mention Amazon marketplace, eBay etc etc. If you want physical releases and are tight on cash, there's plenty of options out there for you.
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