By now, this topic got hammered to death in the blogosphere by now, but looking back at my DVD collection back in 2009, it has significantly grown into a sizable stack. Therefore, I feel the need to share my brief thoughts about the current situation with the anime industry in the United States and of course, taking a look at my collection after these years. (Image Source)
Brief Thoughts about the Anime Industry Today
Ever since the boon in the first half of the 2000s where the industry was at it’s strongest. Since then, the economy took a toll along with the emergence of legal streaming sites like Crunchyroll, things starts to look grim. To make things disturbing, some licensing companies went belly up in the past few years such as Genon. Therefore, I couldn’t obtain a legal copy of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (second season) since it was out of print and possibly never get licensed ever again. This infuriates me because physical media have begun to fade away for more restrictive forms such as DRM laden episodes from iTunes and only being able to stream some series that might never see an official release. It’s a sad reality for someone that wants to own shows that I really enjoyed or have a very strong interest of watching in my collection.
To make things interesting, the situation is opposite for Japan not for obvious reasons, but the difference of how Anime releases gets treated. Over there, these releases are collectable items, thus higher quality and higher priced. People still bought these releases regardless, more so with the Otakus. Also, some companies are even bypassing the middleman by adding English subs to their Bluray releases. Although this is a very profitable solution, I currently cannot afford it since I’m still a student and my Japanese skills aren’t up there yet. If these two factors weren’t a problem, I wouldn’t mind. For that, this only leaves me with the choice of buying related merchandise such as DVDs, video games and such to support them, which is very profitable in Japan. I did this just recently when I imported three Idolmaster CDs from CDJapan since I enjoyed the music and loved the anime (and I plan on completing the CD collection, if I still have enough money). Still, people have to realize that there are other ways to support a series, even if it never gets an American release.
In short, continue supporting what you love within your means.
Further Reading: Yumeka goes further in depth about the current state and future of the Anime Industry in the United States (also has other readings as well)
During my first year of anime blogging, the only DVDs I had in my collection was Kanon and Air. With my birthday and Christmas on that year and summer additions, it eventually grew to the stack I have today.
In my collection, I have the following (with some comments):
- Air Complete Collection, Kanon Complete Collection – I got this before Funimation released a cheaper version. Needless to say, the packing looked good, although not the best compared to others.
- Kannagi Vol 1 and 2
- Sola – Many thought that this would never get released because of the constant delays. Thankfully, it released so I got a chance to watch some of it.
- Hayate no Gotoku Vol 1,2,3 – This was my first entry into Kugimiya Rie Tsundere anime and I enjoyed it despite the lack of animation quality in the first season. I don’t plan on completing the first season as it has a lot of fillers and that the second season is a big improvement. Still, I need to finish the remaining episodes before I can do that.
- Clannad/Clannad After Story – When I got my copy, I have to admit that Sentai Filmworks has the most pain in the butt packing ever. They apparently put all their disks in a spindle, which makes it really difficult to take out without trying to break the disc. I managed to get them out without breaking it and ripped them to my hard drive so I never had to take them out again. Aside from that, the English dub was decent, although Kyou’s voice was a bit too rough for my liking in the first season.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (First Season)
- Tears to Tiara – Same horrible Sentai Filmworks packing and the English Dub was pretty bad compared to others. Everyone in the dub sounds like they were Scottish or something.
- Fate/stay night – I became interested in this shortly after hearing the news about the Fate/zero adaptation back in 2010. Although I enjoyed the first four episodes of this show, I still think the prequel had better story telling and animation.
- Aria the Animation – So far, I enjoy this show and I really need to finish more of it. It also came with a booklet about the show with some sketches/artwork.
- True tears – I intended on getting this for a while, but it apparently got into backorder hell. Eventually I got it and I’m half way done with it.
- The iDOLM@STER Animation Master 5 & 6 (7 still haven’t released yet, but in preorder)
This wraps up on what I have in my collection now and hopefully it will grow more if I can afford it. Until then, feel free to share your thoughts about what I said about the state of the industry and such.
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10 Comments… read them or add your own.
Money is always an issue, but I try to buy my favorite anime on DVD whenever I can. I’m hoping some of my favorite shows from the last couple years will be released some time soon–I enjoy rewatching my favorite series on TV, and hosting marathons with friends.
I’m thinking of doing a Haibane Renmei marathon soon–I’ve been kind of wanting to rewatch that one again. I’ve been itching to watch my Ghost Hunt DVDs too though (a slim set I got for a really cheap price online).
I’m pretty sure other people have the same issue, but able to spend a little since I saved money… But still, I need to use some of the money to renew my hosting later this year, so I have to sacrifice somewhere.
As for rewatching my favorite series, I used to do that a lot in the past… but time is becoming more of an issue because of college and also myself watching other series along with blogging about them.
Crunchyroll is my GOD. I pray to it and all of it’s crystal clear, beautifully legal anime to watch.
Despite my criticisms of Crunchyroll, I still think its a right step in the direction of making shows available as a legal alternative. I kind of wish they would allow subscribers to download a nonDRMed copy of the episode so people can watch it offline or on their television sets.
But the drawback, not all shows are available and it’s restricted to certain countries. Unless they fix these issues, it will leave many outside of North America without any access.
Thanks for the mention! =D
Nice collection, too. I still need to get Kannagi on DVD. I agree with you about Hayate and I really wanted to get season 2 on DVD. But now that Bandai is no more, I wonder what will happen with that.
I hope someone will pick up the second season, but yes it kind of sucks… To make it more disturbing, I was trying to buy a copy of the first season of Shana because I wanted to watch it, but that was out of print. This problem is becoming a disturbing trend as there is no way to even legally buying it, not even on iTunes, which is shocking. I have mentioned this in my post, but it’s saddening that this is becoming a noticble problem with licensing companies dying… To make it worse, Funimation is suing Section23, leaving us with a grim prospect for fans… But hopefully, it will get better rather than getting worse.
Great post in letting us fans know that we can support our favorite anime series beyond just buying DVD/Blue Ray, which over the years, have been emphasize by American fans as the only way to support the industry. Although it make sense as it helps the distribution companies and English voice actors, in a global economy, money spent on official products is support regarless if it is going to the original source or your regional distributors.
And if you can afford all of The iDOLM@STER Anim@tion Master CDs, be sure to buy them all. Superb music from one of the best series of 2011!
I try to support when I have the money since I’m still in college and still haven’t got an internship yet so I can make a bit more money… Needless to say, I grew up with Anime at such a young age and I still own various VCR tapes for Pokemon back in my childhood. Compared to today, everyone have it lucky since you are stuck with either dubs or subs back then.
But yes, I’m planning to get the 3rd one, probably once the Spring semester start… I still have to import the Idolmaster SP games so I can play the original games (and yes, I own Idolmaster 2 as shown on my blog post and it’s a fun game).
A late comment via the AniBlog spoiler (:P): I agree it’s quite sad when the economy or lack of long-term profit terminates the distribution of hard copies. For instance, I got back into Higurashi after playing the VNs only to find out that Funimation’s license expired. Although I’m lucky that Siren Visual is selling more or less the same things (as well as future releases of Kai minus subs), I’ll end up paying more because I didn’t support the franchise sooner. So “[support] what you love” indeed.
Yeah the economy plays a big problem in the licensing of anime. Like I have mentioned earlier, there were series that released by them, but licensed by Genon and the latter went belly up. In a sense, it causes more headaches as I really want to own these series on DVDs, but unable to do so.
On the other hand, I hope that they will get picked up by someone else or viewable by streaming. If they do that, it would help ease the problem and make Anime more accessible.