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Wednesday, 12 September 2007 17:00
I was going to write about Manga Entertainment's new habit of not completing the individual-release runs of their shows a few days back, but lack of time got in the way & I never got it posted. Since then, Manga's PR folk have been in touch about just that issue, so in the interests of fairness: they've realised there's a problem, they've taken some steps to address it, and you'll find their press release about that below the cut. With that said, I'm still going to complain.

A few years back, Manga were the scourge of UK anime fandom - "Mangle Entertainment", they were called, thanks to their habit of mangling most series they got their hands on, be it by editing or making some sort of cock-up or other with the authoring of the release.

Then, about 2-3 years ago, things started changing: Manga - or their UK arm, at least - moved away from their traditional blood-and-guts releases and started picking up "normal" series - stuff like SaiKano and Tokyo Underground - that had more of a fan-friendly appeal. Not just that, but the quality of their releases also picked up. Suddenly, anime fans (as opposed to Joe Public buying a random title from HMV) had reason to be buying from Manga again. People even started trusting them to Do The Right Thing™.

But it seems Manga's good efforts in creating those releases weren't rewarded by sales, and in response Manga decided to Not Do The Right Thing. Only 2 of Heat Guy J's planned 3 volumes were released; if you wanted the final volume, you had to buy the box set, thereby forcing you to effectively double-dip on volumes 1 & 2. Likewise Noein (3 of 5 volumes released) and Tokko (2 of 3 volumes), both of which were dropped mid-run but are getting box sets later in the year; if you'd started buying Tetsujin 28, you were completely screwed - it was dropped after 2 of 6 volumes, and there's been no sign of the show being completed in any form.

Once is unfortunate. 4 times is a standard business practice, and one that can only harm Manga in the long term - it's disrespectful of the fans who put down their money for the original releases, and risks killing the market in individual discs for the company. Who in their right mind would buy a partial series from a company with an established record of not completing the release? Fans will instead wait for the box sets - they're cheaper for a start, and there's no danger of ending up with only a partial release.

Manga's response is to promise that..
"...those fans who would like to complete their Noein & Tokko collections with the standard Amaray packaging will be able to do so."
That's okay up to a point, but the situation should never have occurred in the first place. I realise there are commercial realities for Manga to deal with, and if the sales of a show are particularly bad there's a case that can be made for cutting your losses and annoying the small group that have already invested - but Manga need to realise that other people will be aware of what they've done and may change their buying plans accordingly. Sometimes taking the loss by finishing the release (bearing in mind that in 2 cases there was only 1 volume left to go) is the better long-term option. I hope for their sake that Manga's choices don't come back to bite them.

Dear Manga Customers

Unfortunately Manga Entertainment will not be individually releasing the remaining volumes for Noein and Tokko, instead we have decided to include them in their own complete series box set packages:

Noein – 22nd October 2007
Tokko – 1st October 2007

We understand that there will be customers who purchased the individual Noein and Tokko DVD volumes in good faith and who expect these series to be completed with the final DVD volumes. Manga will do everything possible to ensure those fans who would like to complete their Noein & Tokko collections with the standard Amaray packaging will be able to do so. There are many reasons why Manga has had to make this decision and we regret that it has upset some of our loyal customers. We would like to apologise for any disappointment this may have caused you.

If you would like to contact Manga Entertainment directly regarding our Noein and Tokko DVD replacement strategy please use one of the following email addresses: noein@mangaentertainment.co.uk and tokko@mangaentertainment.co.uk.

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