The challenges of releasing anime on newer formats in the UK

serpantino

Vampire Ninja
Smeelia said:
maybe it's getting to time that MVM tried to find a way to overcome that restriction.

Definitely. When they do release new blu-rays that interest me I preorder them but I don't even look at their upcoming DVD releases, I only ever look at their dotw. MVM is rapidly going to get left behind if they don't start trying harder by releasing more blu-rays and sooner.

We as consumers do have a responsibility to hold out a few extra months and purchase from them if a UK release is announced though and, whilst it's everybody's right to choose, I do find it depressing how many forumites seem to opt to import despite a UK release being announced.
 

Buzz201

Mad Scientist
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

serpantino said:
We as consumers do have a responsibility to hold out a few extra months and purchase from them if a UK release is announced though and, whilst it's everybody's right to choose, I do find it depressing how many forumites seem to opt to import despite a UK release being announced.
I can't comment on MVM, but when errors are as abundant as they are/were for other distributors, can you really blame them? As much as we should support the UK industry where possible, certain companies aren't doing themselves any favours.
 

mrclt1994

Hunter
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

serpantino said:
Smeelia said:
We as consumers do have a responsibility to hold out a few extra months and purchase from them if a UK release is announced though and, whilst it's everybody's right to choose, I do find it depressing how many forumites seem to opt to import despite a UK release being announced.
I don't see why it's our responsibility to keep the company afloat, it's their responsibility to release products that are desirable. That's how business works, if their products aren't what the market wants or there are alternatives that are easily accessible then it's their responsibility to deal with those challenges - they are a business. When I spend my money I look at and consider several different things, whether or not the company is a UK-based licensor/distributor is not one of them, if importing gets me what I want faster than what MVM are offering then I shall do so with no shame.
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

I'm not sure I'd use the word "responsibility" exactly, UK companies do have certain advantages (though I'd argue that they're partly "artificial" due to Region Codes and issues with importing) but if they're not doing something that seems worthwhile to you then I don't think you should feel obliged to support them just because they're based in your country. I guess it's a bit more complicated than that but that's my general feeling about it.

I do also agree that quality can be a significant issue. I basically stopped ordering from Manga (and I'm unlikely to get anything else that comes from Kaze) because it stopped being worth the money. Supporting the UK industry is nice but it's not worth supporting people that aren't really doing anything for you. I'm still watching Manga to see if they can get back on track but if a company just can't provide a decent service then I'd rather they went away and hopefully someone else could fill the gap.

I like what Anime Limited do because they seem to be trying to be equivalent to a US company, making their own products and trying to provide something that may not be available elsewhere. The other companies tend to rely on what other people are doing and sell much the same thing in a way that's (usually) cheaper and more accessible for those based in the UK. I guess Anime Limited might do that to an extent too but they don't seem to be limiting themselves just to that.

I do like what MVM does in bringing affordable releases that might otherwise be unavailable (or at least take a fair bit of effort to acquire) but I don't think they should just get comfortable doing the same thing if they have an opportunity to improve. I do like that they're trying out something new by collaborating to bring out fancy limited editions, at least.
 

serpantino

Vampire Ninja
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

It must be a difficult situation for UK retailers, perhaps a large part of the poor quality releases is because the fan base is so small now that it's just not worth taking risks or putting in effort because the sales and profit margin is low. I'm not giving Manga UK excuses because their releases really do have a propensity for being rubbish but I do have a few Kaze releases through them and don't see what the issue is a lot of the time as I don't find pop up menus that inconvenient.

The amount of UK fans I see now are much smaller than the early 2000s, when I first got into the anime scene and the more the UK scene struggles, the less likely new fans will get into it due to lack of availability and costs (importing is seldom cheap and often requires a pricey region free blu-ray player, also imported.)


I'm a big fan of Anime Limited but at the same time they're not really a company geared towards my customer needs because I only really care about regular releases (which take frigging ages to come out). I've always thought it's a waste of money to spend a lot extra on fancier boxes which take up more space & that you only really see the spine of most time and mini art books you're only likely to flick through once or twice. I do buy them sometimes though, when I have the money, I think the price is right and it's a slow period for releases but primarily I buy anime to watch and enjoy, I don't collect models or kitsch or read manga etc (don't have the disposable income to even consider it).
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

I will buy local when the local companies meet my expectations. AL is doing this and they've made up a large percentage of my UK purchases for the last year, whereas MVM is still experimenting. I preordered Nagi-Asu the moment it went online because that's exactly what I want from a UK release; a version of the series which is exactly equal to the US edition (of course, I'll take 'better' too) without me having to compromise on anything, at all. I bought MVM's Samurai Champloo because they're using region free US discs; great, why not? Buying locally has the advantage that I can use coupons and familiar shops, and avoid paying those leeches at Parcelforce a penny for their shocking service. I'm happy to support that but not at the cost of buying a product I view as inferior to the overseas version.

I don't like waiting in principle when we're actually waiting for some pointless turnaround process where Company A blocks Company B from releasing their inferior Australian issue for X months then Company C in the UK buys the materials from Company B, but when the wait is purely logistical (BBFC/shipping) it doesn't bother me at all. It's not like I don't have a backlog, and streaming takes the stress out of waiting. I'm not ever going to wait for a UK release where the entire value they're offering is to waste time and money making the localisation process unnecessarily complicated and introducing new defects that weren't present in the US ^^;

So what I'm trying to say is I approve of MVM's experimenting. It's a shame that Maid Sama has lost out this time - but to be honest, there's a US edition out there for those who can't wait and it's actually the kind of show which might sell better on DVD anyway due to its demographic. MVM will lose out if UK buyers import, and strict UK-only BD fans will lose out if the experiment fails and the BD doesn't appear, but ultimately as fans this is a pretty good arrangement where we can still get the right version of the show from somewhere if we really want it, and as a bonus DVD-only fans get another release here. That's a lot better than most series ever get. I hope one day we'll be in a place where the system is streamlined to the extent that MVM can produce BDs cheaply and not suffer by trying to cater to the hardcore BD fans as well as the more casual ones. Until then I'm going to support the releases I like and pass over the ones I don't think are worth my money.

R
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

It's not often easy from the outside looking in to figure out what makes a release turn out the way it does but it'd be risky to just buy sub-standard products in the hope that it's something out of their control or that they might be able to fix with support from sales. I can't help feeling sympathetic when a company is struggling but it's quite possible that sympathy is misplaced at times.

I guess part of the problem is that people have different standards in the first place so even when a company puts in it's best effort it'll probably still hear complaints about something. I don't think that's really an excuse either but it can make it difficult to really decide what should count as an "acceptable" release and what falls short.

I'm not sure there are less fans but since there are more streaming options and other alternatives these days not every fan will be buying physical products (I guess such fans might also be less visible to others). It is tough because I'm quite fond of owning physical copies of things but that's not such a big priority for some and it does mean there are less of us to support that aspect of the industry. Still, if the physical side of anime died off I don't think it'd necessarily be the end of anime in the UK. We could end up in a situation where there is still plenty of anime available and even through more "mainstream" channels (more anime on Netflix is a pretty good start really) but no one buys physical copies of anime anymore. It'd be bad for those of us that like owning physical copies of anime but it wouldn't necessarily be bad for anime itself.

I think Anime Limited have done pretty well with their standard edition releases as well. It seems they have a reputation for being the "special edition" company, which isn't undeserved but I think they do a bit more than that. It may seem like you have to wait ages for the standard edition but I can't help feeling that's influenced by the fact there's a special edition release already out there making it feel like a longer wait. Other companies tend to release things long after they've been streamed and often quite some time after the US release but it probably doesn't feel like much of a wait because to many people there's simply no option available to them until the UK release (or not one they feel is reasonably accessible, at least).

I don't know if it's something that Anime Limited really have any control over but their releases do often seem to go on sale or otherwise temporarily drop to pretty good prices. I think it's especially true of their standard editions (you could get the entire Cowboy Bebop on Blu-ray for less than £20 at one point) but it certainly seems to pay to keep track of their releases and/or be lucky about when you get them.

I feel kind of bad talking about Anime Limited (and other companies, for that matter) in the MVM thread but I think that what the competition is doing is relevant.

Rui posted while I was writing this but I don't have much to say about that except that I pretty much agree.
 

Lutga

Mad Scientist
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

I have no doubt that UK physical sales will continue to drop - they're already pretty damn low. What worries me is that while Anime Ltd certainly plays a key roll meeting the needs of fans who want to buy luxury, expensive editions of classic series, I think we'll start to see more and more 'middle tier' shows start to slip through the seams and be DVD only, sub only, or perhaps never get a physical release at all.

Not to say every anime series ever deserves a physical release, but I think it'll be a shame to think of a world where only the select few titles that excel get decent treatment. But maybe that's the future, a more selective future - and what we've had up until now is just a luxury that can't last anymore.
 

britguy

Za Warudo
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

As physical media becomes the less popular option, which it already is doing, then the only real option is to do higher price limited editions. Eventually, the market won't be there to support low priced standard releases and the majority left buying will be the collectors.
 

Lavigne

Great Teacher
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

Sounds like a return to the bad old days of the 80s and 90s where only a fraction of stuff made it across to these shores.

Evangelion was a marvel at the time because it was a 26 episode show that got released in its entirety. Up until that point series releases were thin on the ground. Robotech for example didn't even make it all the way through the Macross segment before Kiseki gave up the ghost!
 

Lutga

Mad Scientist
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

To be honest, as long as we don't end up in a situation where every release becomes a Aniplex style multi volume release, then I'm happy. Multi volume releases should have died in the mid 00s along with the anime bubble bursting - they exist now purely to extract more cash from a dwindling pool of consumers.
 

Buzz201

Mad Scientist
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

Lutga said:
To be honest, as long as we don't end up in a situation where every release becomes a Aniplex style multi volume release, then I'm happy. Multi volume releases should have died in the mid 00s along with the anime bubble bursting - they exist now purely to extract more cash from a dwindling pool of consumers.
From the way Andrew's been talking it sounds like Aniplex of America are flexible on pricing, but not so much on the number of episodes per release. So I think the market will move more towards having less episodes a disc, but at a slightly more reasonable price.

I'm wondering if Aniplex of America have finally worked out their release strategy is so off-putting people are moving to import from the UK to the US, and are trying to put the breaks on that.
 

britguy

Za Warudo
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

That could be an eventuality imo. Hopefully AL model works for the foreseeable. Alot will likely still be accessible but streaming only.

Edit - "they exist to extract more cash from dwindling customers" and it makes perfect business sense.
 

Buzz201

Mad Scientist
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

It seems that the "some titles failing to get picked up" eventuality is already taking place. As far as anyone can tell, Toei is really struggling to convince anybody to pick up World Trigger, they've paid to dub the first 8 or so episodes themselves to try and drum up interest...

It might be in Manga UK's interest to do a cheap, but passable DVD release, because at this rate they'd probably have the (perhaps dubious) honour of being the only English-subtitled release.
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

Lutga said:
I have no doubt that UK physical sales will continue to drop - they're already pretty damn low. What worries me is that while Anime Ltd certainly plays a key roll meeting the needs of fans who want to buy luxury, expensive editions of classic series, I think we'll start to see more and more 'middle tier' shows start to slip through the seams and be DVD only, sub only, or perhaps never get a physical release at all.

Not to say every anime series ever deserves a physical release, but I think it'll be a shame to think of a world where only the select few titles that excel get decent treatment. But maybe that's the future, a more selective future - and what we've had up until now is just a luxury that can't last anymore.
I think the worst part about it is that the "tier" of an anime is basically decided entirely by profitability (or maybe that should be "perceived potential profitability", since you can only really find out how profitable it actually was after the fact). I know it's kind of an inherent flaw in the system (or society, I guess?) but I don't think that makes it okay. Not that I have an easy alternative solution handy either.

I suppose an all-digital future could work if companies would be less concerned about piracy and more willing to allow people to download to own things and keep them as they wish. It'd certainly be a potential option for those anime that aren't successful enough to warrant a physical release but still want to make some money selling to whatever customers they can find using a low-cost option. Even then though, it's quite possible the files could become unusable at some point if they're in the "wrong" format (though I suppose any media has this risk in some way).
 

HdE

Comic Book Guy
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

Lutga said:
To be honest, as long as we don't end up in a situation where every release becomes a Aniplex style multi volume release, then I'm happy. Multi volume releases should have died in the mid 00s along with the anime bubble bursting - they exist now purely to extract more cash from a dwindling pool of consumers.
I still maintain that model will absolutely kill the physical market in the UK in time. We already know it DOESN'T GET ASSURED SALES. Unless it's at the very least balanced with a more budget-friendly re-release line to service less affluent customers, the 'sell everything for megabucks' strategy is just going to grate on fans more and more as it persists.

I think it's sad to contemplate a future for anime where it's either streamed or sold at a premium. And make no mistake, if people blindly accept anime prices in line with Aniplex's, then those prices will only go higher and higher. I see that happening in other niche industries.

The entire industry needs to wake up and smell the coffee, unfortunately. So much is out of whack. If the people producing the shows aren't being paid enough to ensure a basic standard of living, something is wrong. If people stealing the product are not being penalised for it, something is wrong. And if the price of the product is set at a point where it precludes fans from buying it, something is wrong.

Talk about your Gordian knot.
 

ConanThe3rd

Railgun
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

Buzz201 said:
It seems that the "some titles failing to get picked up" eventuality is already taking place. As far as anyone can tell, Toei is really struggling to convince anybody to pick up World Trigger, they've paid to dub the first 8 or so episodes themselves to try and drum up interest...

It might be in Manga UK's interest to do a cheap, but passable DVD release, because at this rate they'd probably have the (perhaps dubious) honour of being the only English-subtitled release.
I'm not surprised Toei failed to sell World Trigger. The thing goes nowhere (have adventures in other worlds? Nah, let's just spend chapter on chapter doing training arcs and talking about all the worlds we could be visiting) and it's animated on a budget that can only be called existent in comparison to Sailor Moon Crystal's.

And I can grantee you that if it wasn't part of the package for Pretty Solider that Viz got it for that Crystal would be in the same damn boat.

Toei are in dire need of a boot up their **** and if even one of their titles gets thrown back in their face then that will do me.

HdE said:
I still maintain that model will absolutely kill the physical market in the UK in time. We already know it DOESN'T GET ASSURED SALES. Unless it's at the very least balanced with a more budget-friendly re-release line to service less affluent customers, the 'sell everything for megabucks' strategy is just going to grate on fans more and more as it persists.
The UK physical market was dying long before the threat of AoA boxes loomed in the distance (Hell, the physical market for things that aren't Japanese have gotten to the point where it's a better investment of advertising monies to say "available to stream" rather than "available on DVD and Blu Ray".

Aniplex sets are, like it or lump it, the future. They are the Hardback copy that people will buy to own whilst Streaming, DTO and Licence Purchases will be the Paperback editions people buy to watch the product and I can only give my apologies if you're caught in an internet black spot but thems the plays.
 

Buzz201

Mad Scientist
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

ConanThe3rd said:
I'm not surprised Toei failed to sell World Trigger. The thing goes nowhere (have adventures in other worlds? Nah, let's just spend chapter on chapter doing training arcs and talking about all the worlds we could be visiting) and it's animated on a budget that can only be called existent in comparison to Sailor Moon Crystal's.

And I can grantee you that if it wasn't part of the package for Pretty Solider that Viz got it for that Crystal would be in the same damn boat.

Toei are in dire need of a boot up their **** and if even one of their titles gets thrown back in their face then that will do me.
I can't comment on the quality of the show (I've only seen about 15 mins), on paper it sounds like it would be very marketable, and the manga seems to do well. I would have thought somebody would have jumped on it, if purely because from a business standpoint, prospects don't get much more solid than an adaptation of an acclaimed Shonen Jump series involving a group of teenagers fighting aliens, from the studio behind One Piece, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball.

That said, the problem does seem to be that almost nobody was able to overlook Toei's poor animation standards, and they didn't help themselves by locking it to premium only Crunchyroll subscribers in Europe.

This won't be the title to give Toei a boot up the ****, as clearly it's sold well enough for them to consider a non-manga adapted spin-off so soon. (And Shueisha don't seem to be involved in the show's production, so I doubt they're paying for it as a glorified advert, like some manga adaptations.)
 

Buzz201

Mad Scientist
Re: [UK Anime Distributor] MVM Entertainment Discussion Thread

ConanThe3rd said:
"Success" in this case being, in effect, World Trigger GT.
To renew a show for, probably at least 24 more episodes, so soon is basically unheard of in the TV world, so either Toei have more money than sense (evidently not the case) or it's doing well for them.
 
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