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Bandai Visual Look for Simultaneous Global Releases PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 18 February 2008 05:14

Here's an interesting piece of industry musing. For a while now, some have said that part of fighting back against the problems of piracy in the anime industry should be shortening the window between the release of a show in Japan, and its release elsewhere. Now, the president of Bandai Visual USA, Tatsunori Konno, has talked in his blog of a decision taken by Bandai-Namco group during a recent visit of his to Japan:

The anime industry is in a depression, not only in North America, but in Japan and Europe as well. The balance between the market size and supply seem to be off, even in Japan. In addition, the world economy is declining. It affects the anime industry to some degree, and it looks like the anime industry is taking a break.

I discussed about our business strategy for this year and the next with others in the Namco-Bandai group; our final consensus is that we will present new anime shows simultaneously all over the world.
My emphasis. If this happens, it will be a big shift in the way that anime is distributed (and may possibly knock the concept of dubbed anime on the head - a whole can of worms on its own). Kanno recognises this:
We have many issues to solve, like how do we reconcile price versus quality while dealing with unauthorized internet distribution? But it is good news to the North American fans that the Japanese licensers have started to work together.

However, North American fans will have to appraise the anime titles at the same time as the Japanese fans. This means that the North American fans will no longer benefit from Japanese fans "pre-screening" anime for them. It's possible that an anime that is not popular in Japan will be popular in the US, and if it becomes a big hit, it would be wonderful!
It'll be very interesting to see how this idea plays out, and if any other anime distributors follow suit. The one worry will probably be that we're talking Bandai Visual here, whose stratospheric prices haven't exactly pleased US fans (European fans seem to get a better deal once the titles have filtered down to Beez.) If they're serious about tackling the problems in the anime industry, they'll have to take a close look at themselves, as well. You can find the full blog post here.

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