In the thrilling roller coaster ride that is the R1 anime industry we've seen a lot of companies go lately (CPM, Geneon, etc.) and companies really picking up the pieces (Funimation), one fall from grace and look like it's making a comeback (ADV) and then there is Bandai. Bandai seems confused at what it's doing right now, and consumers are of course the one's suffering.
We first really saw this with Kannagi which had great marketing, but in the end having it locked into one online retailer (really?) and no dub in sight (ok, that's not TOO bad) but then the general public (ie. not us) get screwed later on with a higher price ON THE SAME EXACT DVD. Really Bandai? When the general consumers find out that you're pulling a fast one on them (if they have any interest in the series) they're going to be none too pleased. Forcing WHERE consumers have to buy something is, in general, a bad idea. Lack of competition etc, etc. The excuse is "oh it's only for the hardcore fans", "the price will be better because it's sub only" blah blah blah. I ended up getting it from another online retailer who got their hands on some stock and sold it for essentially the same price. I'm really not buying the whole cheaper because it's sub only argument (stay with me, yes I know production costs are drastically higher), if we're going to use that excuse...then why are other DVDs not in line with this pricing? Why is Code Geass $30 for 9 episodes, and Kannagi (sub only) essentially the same price AND sub only?
But in the end it boiled down to me buying the series (which I had never heard of before this stunt) so in the end I guess Bandai wins.
Then we move on to today's news of Code Geass R2 being released in 4 sets, instead of the first seasons 3 sets. Really guys? You just have to milk another $30 out of me (not like it matters since I'm going to buy it anyways right? The jokes on me!). The first set of Code Geass R2 was billed at 9 episodes, and is actually 7 episodes (which Gia covered today, which is how I found out), so I email Bob over at RACS and this kinda irked me:
Someone either made a mistake or a last minute change, but the fact is that the first bundle is indeed 175 minutes and 7 eps. They totally slipped that in under the radar. What can I say about Bandai I have not already said on the Blog? They have been very sneaky lately.
Ok, so I'm getting two less episodes per bundle, when it boils down to it, it really isn't a big deal. The problem I have with it is that there was a precedence of there being three sets, with 9/9/8 episodes respectively. Everyone was expecting 9 episodes, even the retailers. And then "oops, just kidding guys". Yes people are human and maybe some screwed up along the way, but that still doesn't take away the feeling that I feel just a little bit screwed here. I'm also cautiously optimistic that these first runs of discs will actually work.
The precedent was set on price also, I was paying $30 for nine episodes, now I'm paying $30 for seven. And I'll keep paying that because I want to see how R2 ends (stupid DVR not saving all the episodes off of Adult Swim!) and well, I'm stuck now. I really hope this is just growing pains for Bandai and we'll see them get back to their prime a bit more (Haruhi) and pick up quality series because it sure as hell seems like they're doing everything they can to cut corners and bleed every penny they can out of consumers at this point.
I honestly do hope I'm wrong in all this though and that they're on the right path, I want to see everyone be successful really, I really do! Bandai seems to be playing catch up for the most part (only a few series streaming, no simulcasts) and their DVD releases have been lacking IMO. If you write me a scathing email, I'll be sure to understand, we all have our favorite companies and Bandai isn't one of mine right now.
AND WHY HAVEN'T THEY PICKED UP THE GURREN LAGGAN MOVIE?
Ok, I'm done. I don't usually rant but I feel especially rantful tonight. Thanks for listening :)