Anime Vice News

Media Blasters Lays Off/Furloughs 25%

Not so great news for an anime/manga licensee.


 W.T.F.
 W.T.F.
Word just came out from ANN that Media Blasters, localizers of a wide variety of anime and manga, from the upcoming Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei to the classic GaoGaiGar to its wide array of adult materials under its Kitty Media Label, has laid off or furloughed 13 of its staff, which was fewer than 50 people prior to the layoff-- meaning at least 25% of its work force for the time being.

 Berserk
 Berserk
Now, Media Blasters hasn't had any significant layoffs in recent memory, so I might have suggested that this was a trimming donw-- albeit a major one. But the inclusion of "furloughs" in the conversation says to me that Media Blasters is having trouble, or thinks it's GOING to have trouble, paying some of the employees it needs, which is not a good sign for the company.

The layoffs come from the print, accounting, acquisitions, video production, and sales departments. In the interest of fairness, I should mention that one of those laid off was a friend of mine, though that isn't really coloring my concern for the company itself, which has operated relatively under the radar for a long time, but put out some really great series, such as Genshiken, Berserk, Iria: Zeiram the Animation, Fujoshi Rumi, and others, and for as long as I've been a fan. I really hope they continue to be able to do so-- though the fact that they're laying off and not shutting down will hopefully help make that a reality.

In the interest of fairness I should note that one of those laid off was a friend of mine, and no, I don't think I can ask for the gritty details! I do have an e-mail out to Media Blasters for further comment if they have any.     
 
In any case, let's hold hands, sing Kumbaya, and pray that Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei comes out without a problem.
crusader8463on March 8, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.
That sucks.
giaon March 8, 2010 at 5:51 p.m.
@crusader8463: It does indeed.
KatieKaton March 8, 2010 at 5:52 p.m.
:(  They're one of my favorite BL manga sources because they put out stories that are unconventional and tend to push the envelope more than the other publishers.  I wish them all the best of luck finding new positions.
metalsnakezeroon March 8, 2010 at 5:53 p.m.
I hope things will get better for them once Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei comes out and good luck to the lay off work forces.
JJOR64on March 8, 2010 at 5:56 p.m.
@metalsnakezero said:
" I hope things will get better for them once Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei comes out and good luck to the lay off work forces. "
I was thinking the same thing.
giaon March 8, 2010 at 9:51 p.m.
@KatieKat: Yeah, I've always been fond of their manga lines in particular-- Fujoshi Rumi is a great series, and they also have released some of Ai Morinaga's more wacky stuff (read: The Gorgeous Life of Strawberry-chan).
XChileon March 9, 2010 at 12:21 a.m.
@metalsnakezero: 
me three.  Best of luck to them all.
JDon March 9, 2010 at 5:08 a.m.
When I saw the headline, I thought maybe they let one person go.  50 employees?  I thought they only had 4 by now.
wwfunderakeron March 9, 2010 at 10:03 a.m.
I hate bad news, Best of luck to everyone.
Ruby_Alexandrineon March 9, 2010 at 11:23 a.m.
This explains why several of their publications, including Crimson Spell vol. 3, are delayed.  News of layoffs especially in the anime and manga industry are never good.   I hope they will recover. 
John_Martoneon March 9, 2010 at 5:15 p.m.
Ugh. Bad news is a rock and a hard place. I want to give all of my sympathy to the relieved work force, but I also feel sympathy for MB. I need a villain for true mollification to take place.

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