industry affairs

Crunchyroll photo
Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll issues statement on Chernin investment


Everything's going to stay the same, business as usual
Dec 10
// Brad Rice
Back at the end of October, we heard that The Chernin Group bought a stake in Crunchyroll, boosting its valuation somewhere short of $100 million. Crunchyroll finally came out with a statement to assuage fans' concerns, and i...
Puzzle & Dragons photo
Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons is now crazy popular in the West


They did the monster...match-three
Nov 10
// Josh Tolentino
Whenever folks talk about the supposed decline of the Japanese game industry, there's always one bright light shining in the gloom and doom. Strangely enough, it's not Monster Hunter, but rather Puzzle & Dragons, the mons...
RIP photo
RIP

Rest in peace: Tomoyuki Dan passes away


The man behind the Weather Dopant is now gone
Oct 12
// Salvador GRodiles
Another great person departs from the world of the living, and it happens to be someone from Kamen Rider W. Unfortunately, it was too soon for him to leave our side. On October 10th at 11:49 pm, Tomoyuki Dan passed away at th...
Gaming photo
Gaming

Will gamers decide the fate of the Neo Geo X?


"To be or not to be, that is the question."
Oct 08
// Tim Sheehy
For those of you who haven't kept up with the drama, there's been an on-going dispute between SNK Playmore USA, and publisher Tommo Inc., who manufacture the Neo Geo X Gold portable gaming device. Earlier this month, SNK Play...
Crunchyroll photo
Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll bringing simulcasts to France


Expands service to include French language support
Oct 03
// Tim Sheehy
Crunchyroll has announced today that they'll be expanding their Simulcast service to France, complete with subtitled French language support. The service will only be launching with a select number of series to start, which i...
RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi photo
RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi

RIP, Hiroshi Yamauchi: Nintendo ex-prez passes at 85


A pioneer of the gaming industry
Sep 19
// Josh Tolentino
When you think of Nintendo, chances are you'll think of a name like Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario and all that good stuff the Big N is known for. But there's another name you should know, one without whom good ol' S...

And the new owner of Atlus is...

Sep 17 // Salvador GRodiles
Atlus photo
Let's pray that Atlus' great localization streak remains unaffected.
[Update #2: Sega Sammy have confirmed their acquisition of Atlus. Sega Dreams, a new division formed by Sega, will be the ones to handle Index Holdings.] [Update #1: Sega Sammy have initially denied report...

Hayao Mizayaki retires photo
Hayao Mizayaki retires

Watch Hayao Miyazaki retire...live on the internet!


The legend says goodbye
Sep 05
// Josh Tolentino
In case you hadn't heard, legendary animator and all-time anime great Hayao Miyazaki is retiring. Best shed a tear, and perhaps consider opening your wallet to pick up any of his films you haven't seen yet. "But wait!" you sa...
Comic Book Legal Defense photo
Comic Book Legal Defense

Comic Book Defense Fund gives an epic speech at Comiket


Telling it like it is on Manga Freedom
Aug 19
// Josh Tolentino
In case you weren't keeping up, the 84th Comic Market ("Comiket") happened in Japan a few days ago. And on the off chance you don't know what that is, it's pretty much Japan's - and possibly the world's - largest comic c...
Atlus auction  photo
Atlus auction

Pray for the best: 20 companies are now bidding on Atlus


Sega's one of the 20 bidders.
Aug 04
// Salvador GRodiles
Thing are boiling down to the important moment right now, since the auction that will determine the fate of Atlus is now receiving its bids. At the moment, there are 20 companies fighting for control of Atlus, and the bids ha...
Kick-Heart photo
Kick-Heart

Kick-Heart gets an award kicked its way


Definitely not a kick-back
Jul 30
// Josh Tolentino
Who says good things don't get recognized in today's society, eh? A definite Good Thing, Kick-Heart, the Kickstarter-funded pro-wrestling anime affair from Masaaki Yuasa and Production I.G., has just gotten the nod from New ...
Ryutaro Nakamura photo
Ryutaro Nakamura

Rest in Peace: Serial Experiments Lain director passes


He belongs to the ages
Jul 25
// Josh Tolentino
Well this is sobering news. Ryutaro Nakamura, who directed the anime adaptations of the classics Serial Experiments Lain and Kino's Journey (as well as Sakura Wars, a series close to my heart), lost his battle with ...
Initial D finale photo
Initial D finale

Initial D drifting to the finale, gets new series, movie


Driving sideways since 1995
Jul 22
// Josh Tolentino
Wow, talk about the end of an era. Seems like Initial D, the world's premier manga about never driving in a straight line, is approaching its finale, after eighteen years. 46 volumes, several anime and live-action series, vid...
Atlus sale photo
Atlus sale

For Sale: Index ready to take bids for Atlus


But who will pick up the house of MegaTen?
Jul 19
// Josh Tolentino
It has begun. Atlus' troubled parent company Index has just announced that it's just about ready to start selling off aspects of its operations as part of its "Civil Rehabilitation" proceedings (effectively the Japanese equiv...
Bleach ending soon photo
Bleach ending soon

Bleach manga taking a break as it heads into the finale


Wait, it's ending?!
Jul 17
// Josh Tolentino
Oh my. It looks like all the epic happenings in Bleach over the last few months really are leading up to something: the end. According to a special message from author Tite Kubo in the latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump ...
Atlus USA not broke photo
Atlus USA not broke

Don't worry, folks, Atlus USA is doing fine


'Business as usual', says President and CEO
Jun 27
// Josh Tolentino
Well, the news coming out of Atlus Japan, or rather its parent company, Index Corporation, is rather dire, but according to a statement from President and CEO Naoto Hiraoka, Atlus USA is hunky-dory: Currently, Index Digital ...
Atlus goes broke photo
Atlus goes broke

Memento Mori: Atlus parent company files for bankruptcy


But what does it mean for Atlus?
Jun 27
// Josh Tolentino
[Update 2: According to their official press release (and NeoGAF mod duckroll's translation), Index realizes that the games division is the most desirable and profitable part of their business. They plan on seeking out and ch...

Japanator Discusses: The Xbox One

May 23 // Josh Tolentino
Hiroko Yamamura: I'll be honest, I'm probably going to end up buying both consoles. Gone are the days where you would buy a system based on the kind of games that would be released, as much AAA titles find their way to most systems. What this next generation seems to be about is lifestyle, and HOW you play these titles. I'm a Sony fan-girl through and through. From cameras to TVs, their gear usually hits the right points for me. However, this last generation's Microsoft offering really elevated online play for me, and offered up a level of "non hardcore" gaming I've come to enjoy as well. A few hours here or there blasting my friends heads off, while I spend my marathon gaming on the PS3. I've largely shifted to handheld gaming due to my hectic travel schedule, but still really relish some time in front of my television with a gaming power house. Around the interwebs people still mention how PCs are still top dog as far as power is concerned. This generation may change at that. It boils down to how you want to play. Just because a system can do something doesn't mean it needs to. Heck, I use different computers for different tasks. I can do all my email on my iphone, but I won't be changing my sit down on my desktop to answer long emails anytime soon. I'm excited for this next gen, I love video games, any way I can get em. Keep em coming, there's a lot of room for competition. I'm not buying everyone's prediction of the death of console gaming. If one thing can be sure, I'm going to be very poor this year. Jeff Chuang: Microsoft's Xbox One gets mad props, in my mind, for doing that hypervisor-emulated, triple-OS-swap doohicky, with voice commands. Sony, on the other hand, is riding on a better device ecosystem (ie., handhelds) and is open to gaming on Android, something I'm mildly invested in. I didn't buy both the 360 and PS3 because only one had the games I want to play. Furthermore, the Playstation online systems may be region-segregated, it is still accessible from any PS3 you buy. Not so much with the Xbox ecosystem. And if that's going to be the trend, I think import gamers will have no choice between the two. We might suck it up and import a Japanese Xbox One when the right games hit that market, and long before that pick up a PS4, since that will likely hit Japan first anyway, and much more likely to have quality Japanese games available, ie., that killer app, during the launch window. It's just a replay of the PS3/360 era, except with more social sharing nonsense. I already have a powerful "Microsoft" console in the form of my desktop computer. How is the Xbox One a value-added proposition to someone with a PC is a tad dubious in terms of what we can already do in the living room, no thanks to the countless companies selling us smart TVs and set-top boxes that leverages a PC or laptop and enhance that experience. Unless Microsoft pulls out all the stops on SmartGlass I don't think it can match, say, AirPlay to an Apple TV or something like that. It's a bit like the 360 is a handy entertainment center companion in that if you have one, you can do all kinds of stuff with it. It's just if you didn't have one, there were a million other, arguably better, entertainment center companions. And unlike the PS3 back in the day when it was the best Blu-ray player at the time, I'm not sure how much value it adds for gamers outside of bringing us games. With that we're back to square one: games; and to a lesser extent, pricing. But I guess another way to look at it is that all the TV and Sports business of the Xbox One is merely leveling the playing field with everything else on the market. It had to have those capabilities to some degree. I also have a lot of concern about the whole used game situation--Japan's second-hand market is much larger than the west. If the people can't pawn off expensive Xbox One games, how will they cater to the otaku market over in Japan? I can't see how "no used games" can at all fly with Japan's retail climate if the Xbox One is to even make a dent the size of the 360 over there. In other words, whichever gets Idolm@ster 3 first wins. And if I had my way, it'll come out on both and the world can be all one, suffering at expensive DLC packs every month or two. Looking forward to E3 and all those announcements! Elliot Gay: Their conference was a complete and total train wreck.  Speaking from a Japanese perspective, Xbox One is as good as dead over here. Japan's second-hand market is a huge deal, and in some ways selling and buying used games functions as a sort of rental system to gamers here. Buy back prices have always been pretty fantastic within the first two weeks of a game's release. The functions that Microsoft has detailed essentially cut out this system. One look at Japanese blogs paints a grim picture; nobody here in Japan is happy with this. The TV functions mean nothing to folks here because like the 360, none of those apps actually work in Japan. This system might as well be called 'Merica Box for how little it considers the wider international audience. That being said, I think it even fails at that, seeing as a large portion (more than you'd expect) of American citizens actually lack consistent internet connections. Phil Harrison has noted that you must connect the system to the internet once every 24 hours. They haven't elaborated on what happens if you don't, but it's not hard to draw the conclusion that you won't be able to use 99% of your system's functions. The indie scene is looking grim too, especially now that we know there will be no self publishing on the Xbox One. This lines up nicely with what we've heard from indies too. There's also the fear that Xbox One games will become unplayable in 5-10 years once the system is dead. If it requires an online check-in and working servers, what happens when those shut down for good? Do the games stop working forever? Microsoft had a great opportunity here to dispel some of the bad rumors floating around over the past half year. Instead, they confirmed all of those rumors, and even added more fuel to the fire. I can't think of a way they could have screwed this up more. I can only imagine Shuhei Yoshida laughing hysterically in his office, and Iwata plotting Nintendo's comeback plan. I should also note that the fact that the Kinect is always on and listening is creepy as hell. It's listening to what you're saying at all times, and that kind of makes me feel uncomfortable. Eric Koziol: Do not really have much to add on top of what Elliot said other than I really hope we all can start calling it the P'Xone. I had a strong hunch I would not be buying one and this only reconfirmed it. If they do dare to sell it in Japan it will make the Wii U look like a super success. Josh Tolentino: While I'm not inclined to be as grim as Elliot when it comes to the Xbox One, I will agree that it's not looking great to me, and to be frank, right now it's hard to see how an Xbox One would look good to anyone who lives outside the United States.  Perhaps it's a side effect of the greater context of Microsoft's announcement. Given that it was broadcast on a cable TV channel, it's not surprising that Microsoft would push its TV integration hard, and as a result much of the thrust was simply irrelevant to people who don't (or can't) care about getting American TV. And if they intend to keep pushing that angle, rather than broadening their pitch over the coming weeks, then I seriously doubt the Xbox One's international prospects. Well, at least until it gets cracked for piracy, at any rate. However from the perspective that this is Microsoft's next move not just in the console war, but in its war against Apple and Google, everything makes a little more sense. At that point all the hoo-hah about instant switching and multitasking and Skype feels like it matters a little more. And to be frank, if I were faced with a choice between buying an Xbox One, an Apple TV and a Google TV, I'd choose Microsoft's box, no contest.  But at that point I realize that I personally don't really want any "TV" devices, from Apple, Google, Microsoft, or whomever, because I do all my TV-watching on my PC, a device that does everything the Xbox One can do and more. It comes back to the fact that much of Microsoft's pitch only seems relevant to Americans with big-screen TVs and enough living room space to make a Kinect matter. Simply put, I'm out of that target audience, and without a bunch of cool exclusives, ideally revealed soon, I'll have no reason not to skip an Xbox One and simply upgrade my PC.  In a way, with international viewers it's looking like the PS4 holds the upper hand. Its emphasis on quick and easy video sharing and Sony's friendlier history with import gamers (Vita account shenanigans notwithstanding) have a much more global appeal that "Yay fantasy football!", and Sony was vague enough at its own announcement that it's been coy about just what kind of DRM-style measures its taking, and have wisely let Microsoft absorb the first volley of hate. If we're lucky, come E3 any theoretical plans they have to implement something similar will be scuttled or neutered. Salvador G-Rodiles When it comes to console and handheld gaming, the important factor for me is the software. While a good number of AAA are going to appear on every major console, I'm mostly into the games by small companies and indie developers. That said, the PS4 has ensured me that I will get my fix of next gen Atlus, NIS, and Falcom titles. At the moment, Microsoft hasn't revealed their whole roster of third party companies that will be making games for the Xbox One, so I will wait and see how things unfold during this year's E3. Hopefully, they can increase their number of exclusive titles, since the 360 ended up going through a situation where most of their exclusive titles ended up on the PS3 and/or PC. Otherwise, you might as well stick with a PC, PS4, and/or Wii U for the new generation. In regards to the titles unveiled for the Xbox One, I'm not really into FPS or sports games, so it's going to take a wider software variety to sell me on the system. Then again, the deciding factor for me will be the console that gets the major Super Robot Wars games (e.g., OG, Z, and/or a new installment). Josh Totman: This year marks the 30th year that I have owned and enjoyed home video games. It all started out with the Coleco Gemini that I got for Christmas in 1983. Since then I have enjoyed ever major console that has been release until now including some hand held systems. To say that I have 'grown up' with video game is a small understatement. They have been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Now with the Xbox One just announced, I'm pretty sure that this might be my first skipped console that I won't buy. My decision is 75% based on what I know of the system and 25% on that I have no real time for games anymore. First off, they are really pushing the idea that this is the new cable box of your house. I don't watch much TV these days if at all. I don't even have a cable subscription that could be used with this. Why would I want it? It sounds neat that you can basically not have to move at all from your couch ever again to do anything that deals with the TV, but isn't that what we are trying not to do nowadays? I don't need something that helps me stay on my couch longer. Most of what the Xbox One has in it doesn't intrigue me at all. No switchable hard drive, installed games, coded games that you have to active online to play, Kinect always on to listen for you, can't take physical games to friends houses to try out, and no backward compatibility equals a big no thanks from me. These aren't selling points for most people out there. I'm not sure which market or demographic Microsoft is trying to target with all of these new features. I'm trying to wrap my brain around who would want this that doesn't either play sports titles or Call of Duty. I think Microsoft just looked at some of their best selling titles and said "What can we do to make 'them' happy?" This is not where all your money is coming from guys. They have made an all in one box for only a few people. If E3 doesn't produce something spectacular for them, you can rest assured that this system is going to flop very hard. Sorry Microsoft. Your Xbox ONE is all for ONE, only for certain ONES, and not for this ONE. I'll be using my saved money on more board games that I play with real people that are in front of me, thanks. [embed]28726:2425:0[/embed] Chris Walden: I've just woken up the morning after the One launch, and Twitter still has plenty to say on the subject. I should clarify right now that without a massive reason not to, I'll be getting a PS4 and a One. For better or worse, I already have a Wii U sat next to me, gathering dust until I get hold of Pikmin 3. I own both a PS3 and a 360, and while the latter console probably edges it for me this generation, they've both been great consoles in their own way. First of all, I quite enjoyed the announcement. This may seem like something of a shock considering how many people I'm seeing complain about it, but honestly, there was some exciting stuff. Snaptiles and multi-app loading look really neat, for starters. What if you get stuck in a game and you're the kind of guy or gal that wants an FAQ to read. Boom, you have one. Skype can load up while you're playing. Guaranteed online chat for any game, if you have the friends to do it with. I think Microsoft did themselves a disservice by not selling these features on their specific gaming uses. The biggest complaint I've seen is that we just haven't seen a lot of games. True, we haven't, but then we didn't see much of the PS4 library either. What we did see didn't mention anything of release dates. Microsoft have been pretty good for games on the 360 (with exception to perhaps RPGs) so I'm not exactly sure where the worry is coming from. Publishers will put games on this system until it dies, you don't have to worry about that. E3 will be where they get their chance to show them off, so complain after that if you're still not satisfied with either console. I don't have much of an issue with the required Kinect either, as there are some pretty nifty features built into that little box. I think there's genuine worry that developers will now make all menus motion-operated  or voice-operated, but really, do you honestly think that'll happen? Even if it did, the controller certainly isn't going anywhere, and you can see on one of the new buttons on the pad that you'll be able to swap what program you have active. Actually, I lied. It's probably the whole always-on/second hand games/related stuff that have received the most controversy. I'm right there with you guys, a lot of it seems like a really bad idea. However, we still have no idea whatsoever about what the PS4 does in this regard. EA did do away with ALL of their online pass stuff, so don't be too surprised if this is a PS4 thing as well. I think it was quite easy for Microsoft to gloss over any negatives and ride out of the whole event on a similar level to the PS4, but at least we've been offered transparency. PS4 still hasn't let any of the negatives come through, but at this point, it may very well have been a smart strategy. In summary, I enjoyed what we saw yesterday. The One and the PS4 are going to get games, there should be no concern over that, so while E3 will be used to cater to that, it was nice to get deep down into the unit and its features. However, there are a few more things that need to be confirmed before people should be choosing a console to back. The first is the price, of course. These consoles have a lot of similar features, but if it's a good £100/$150 difference in launch price between the two, more people will jump to the cheaper option, at least at first. Games are obviously the most important thing, and E3 will be the decider for that. I'm glad that Microsoft got a lot of the Fifa/CoD stuff out of the way now, as it means they *should* have the time to focus on new things at E3. Also, I agree with pretty much everyone else, the name is really dumb. It seems they put wordplay above all else in the decision to do it, and that just doesn't sit right with me. "It's all-in-One" "It's the One" "Only One" Blah. It was going to be harder to find a good name after naming the 360, we know that. I wouldn't have been surprised if this was called the Xbox Three, though the three and the 360 would only have confused people. I know it's not all about names, and we'll get used to it, but this is a feeling I've not had since everyone was laughing about the Wii's name.    TL;DR: Both consoles look neat, but we need prices and games before we can properly judge.
Jtor Discusses Xbox One photo
How does Microsoft's new hotness fare?
How about that new Xbox, eh? In case you've been hiding under a rock for the past three days, Microsoft announced its next home console, dubbed the "Xbox One". Equipped with a brand-new Kinect, a new controller, and a heavy l...

Oda-sensei get well soon! photo
Oda-sensei get well soon!

One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda is sick, wish him well


Don't worry, it's just his tonsils
May 21
// Josh Tolentino
Eiichiro Oda is sick! That's news when you're the creator of One Piece, the biggest manga in the world (and in the running for biggest comic in the world). And it's doubly news if you're sick enough that you ha...

Say Hello to the Xbox One

May 21 // Josh Tolentino
New Xbox reveal photo
The Next Xbox, revealed
No, not the first Xbox, or the Xbox 360. The third of Microsoft's consoles has opted to dial down its numbering by three hundred fifty-nine while dialing up its hardware. And it's called the "Xbox One", which means that...

Japanator Interviews: DAISUKI.net's Eri Maruyama

May 21 // Josh Totman
Japanator: How did the name Daisuki.net come about? DAISUKI: We looked for something that sounds catchy and can be memorized &  pronounced by fans from different countries easily. It is a Japanese vocabulary that many foreign Anime fans are familiar with. We hope that fans from all over the world will “daisuki” our service! J: What services will it offer? D: DAISUKI will stream anime content world-wide. Most of the video content will be viewable for free. There is also a free membership. For now, the benefits for registered users include participation in campaigns with many prizes. More services are to come. Also, our DAISUKI web-store with anime merchandise is planned to launch in late June 2013. J: Will there be any region restrictions on who can view the content? D: Basically the website itself will be available world-wide outside of Japan. There are region restrictions though, which depend on the titles. We try to provide our service to all overseas fans, but in case of some series exclusive rights may be already given to another company in specific regions, for example. J: What kind of pricing structure will the site have? D: Most of the video content will be for free. Later, some premium video content will be added that will be fee-based. J: Which shows will be available from the start of the service? D: At DAISUKI.net you can now watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Sword Art Online, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Lupin the 3rd, and The Prince of Tennis OAV series (which has been translated into English for the first time). J: Any upcoming shows/events to tease us with? D: DAISUKI will participate in upcoming anime conventions in the US. We started off with Anime Central in mid May. On some conventions, we are planning guests from Japan, small events etc., so please be sure to check our DAISUKI booth, when you are at one of these conventions! In terms of the website, you will see a menu tab called DAISUKI TV that is “coming soon”. Here, we are planning to stream some original anime-related content only viewable on DAISUKI. J: Will full seasons be available of older shows? D: We are definitely planning to stream older shows, too. But we will rather have only a few episodes up at the same time from each series, and update them continuously. J: What will be the turnaround time for new shows now airing? D: For now, there is no definite plan yet. For the first period, we want to add new shows continuously. J: Anything else you would like to tell our readers? D: Please enjoy our service! We are looking forward to meeting many local fans on upcoming anime conventions. Needless to say, but I am rather looking forward to this new service and what it will have to offer in the future. Besides, they are giving away TONS of prizes for the grand opening! Hope on over to Daisuki.net, sign up, and apply to one of many great prizes! I've got my eye on that Ultimate Madoko for sure. What about you?
Interview: DAISUKI.net photo
Streaming world-wide
You might of heard that there is a new streaming site that has just launched out of Japan. It is being backed by some big names in the anime world like Aniplex, Sunrise, and Toei. What could that exactly mean for you, you ask? Well, let me let Eri Maruyama (International Business Development) at DAISUKI answer that as well as many more burning questions that I had about the new service.

Daisuki.net is up photo
Daisuki.net is up

Get Pumped: Daisuki.net goes live


A new distributor is born!
May 15
// Salvador GRodiles
[Update: It seems availability varies per-country. For example, viewers in the Philippines are currently only able to view Sunrise videos.] This week has been a great moment for anime. First we get Anime Sols, and now Daisuki...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

In the name of the Moon! New Sailor Moon anime delayed


We are punished!
Apr 29
// Josh Tolentino
Uh-oh, sad news for Mooninites of the "Sailor" variety! It looks like the long, long awaited next Sailor Moon anime (either a reboot or continuation, I can't remember which), has been given a (potentially) Jupiter-s...
Let's hope for something. photo
Let's hope for something.

Square Enix opens a '10th Anniversary' teaser site


What could this possibly be?
Apr 01
// Eric Koziol
This is exciting.  There are many hopes we have.  Please, no social games.  

Feature: Reverse Importation is the name of the game

Mar 21 // Jeff Chuang
The story goes way back--back to the 1990s, when Hollywood and various home electronics producers were contemplating a thing called the DVD. As you know, DVDs are region locked--meaning that for DVD players and DVDs sold in different countries, they would be assigned a region code, and DVD players can only play discs with the same region codes. Japan happens to be region 2, and North America being region 1. This means the anime American companies printed that were licensed from Japan could have a different region code. This also means there's an "on the table" way to prevent "reverse importation" of DVDs from America to Japan outright, regardless the fact that DVD region coding was easy to break (and outright outlawed in places like Australia), and often can be done with just a Google search. Fast forward to the latter part of the last decade, when HD-DVD (remember that?) yielded to the Blu-ray Disc. At any rate, HD-DVD did not support region coding, and while Blu-ray did, it put Japan in the same region code as US and Canada. This means that American licensees can no longer just say "we'll encode our cheaper releases with a different region code."  This means now that savvy Japanese otaku can browse their favorite shady shop in Akihabara (or just Amazon Japan) and buy popular shows like Infinite Stratos or Spice & Wolf on Blu-ray, from Sentai Filmworks or FUNimation, for a fraction of what it costs to own the Japanese-based releases from Media Factory or Pony Canyon. (All 6 Infinite Stratos LE Blu-ray releases total to 45990 yen, or about $480; the Japanese Spice & Wolf Blu-ray box is 37800 yen for both seasons, or about $400.) Moreover, it's legal to sell the North American releases in Japan since Japan also subscribes to their own form of the first-sale doctrine. The publishers don't bless it, but that's why we call it the grey market. There's a good chance you probably already know this if you got this far, and maybe you know what I'm getting at: Legalizing the reverse import market has negative consequences for the "licensee" market. This is a big reason why Sentai and FUNimation don't release Blu-rays of all the new show they license. This is why sometimes NISA releases their Blu-rays with "locked" subtitles that you can't disable in the menu. This is why the Persona 4 anime Blu-ray was dub-only for the US release. This is probably why Aniplex USA's Nisemonogatari doesn't come with the commentary tracks (while Bakemonogatari did). And I can go on. At the same time, these worries seem trivial when what's at stake from the Supreme Court decision, internationally, is much more drastic and far-fetching. This may mean that US book publishers are more likely to stop selling cheap text books in developing nations, thus raising the cost of education or lower the quality of education overseas. The first-sale doctrine also applies to patents as a common principle, so this decision may also impact the sale of patented drugs in 3rd world countries if that means these expensive drugs make it back in the American grey market, where they are no longer sold at the near-margin prices as intended for these poor nations. And as you may imagine, some of these efforts for companies to price-discriminate based on geography or national lines are out of their good will. The overall situation is, as usual, quite complex.   Of course, while there may be little you or I can do about this, maybe it's good for the powers that may be--Congress or WIPO or whoever--to talk and come up with the right kind of laws to govern these kinds of situations. Meanwhile I'm just going to continue to enjoy the realization of when it comes to anime, America is a bit like a "third-world" or "developing nation" in terms of what's available. It makes me feel closer to my non-American friends on the internet, and the situation they have to face, fighting for licensing scraps off the table. For the truly curious, there is a lot written about this Supreme Court case than I cover here. A good starting point regarding the actual details and the legal ramifications of this Supreme Court case, check out SCOTUSBlog.
Re: Reverse Importation photo
Supreme Court chimes in, makes things complicated
[Some interesting legal decisions have just come down the pipe that could affect the time-honored pastime of importing cool stuff from overseas. Jeff brings us his analysis. Read about it below, and see some more coverage fro...

Jmanga shuts down photo
Jmanga shuts down

Woah: JManga shuts down operations


Users to be refunded
Mar 14
// Josh Tolentino
Wow. This came straight out of the blue. It seems that JManga, the Japanese publisher-backed digital manga portal, will cease operations, according to an announcement from the company. As of midnight tonight the site will hal...
RIP Goro Naya photo
RIP Goro Naya

RIP: Veteran voice actor Goro Naya passes away


The voice of Inspector Zenigata leaves us
Mar 11
// Josh Tolentino
It's time to say farewell to a true veteran of the old school: Goro Naya. The venerable voice actor passed away from chronic respiratory failure last week, at the ripe old age of 83. Though he debuted as an actor nearly fifty...
 photo

Keep at it: Media Blasters goes through some new changes


Give it your all, Media Blasters!
Mar 10
// Salvador GRodiles
You could say that Media Blasters hasn't seen the best of days, but it's safe to say that they are still pushing on. In accordance to their Facebook page, CEO John Sirabella talks about his back accident at the company's ware...
No Vita Price Cut :( photo
No Vita Price Cut :(

D'oh: No PS Vita price cut outside Japan yet


Blame the economy!
Feb 21
// Josh Tolentino
Sorry, North Americans, it looks like you might want to wait a bit before shelling out for a spiffy new PS Vita to Remote-Play your PS4 games with. Sony Worldwide Studios honcho Shuhei Yoshida has stated that the price cut th...
PS Vita Price Cut photo
PS Vita Price Cut

Vita Heaven: PS Vita gets a price cut, new color


Late adopters rejoice
Feb 18
// Josh Tolentino
So, "Vita Heaven" came and went just a couple of hours ago, and the news was mostly positive. By far the biggest item of the hour was, of course, a significant price-cut to not one but both available models of the Vita (...

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