What you think of Aniplex USA?

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What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby Rzerox21xx » Fri May 30, 2014 12:56 pm

That company been licensing a lot of big anime however compare to Funimation, Viz and Sentai Filmworks. the dvd/blurays cost so much more. It's difficult to say no on spending money on their money while the other companies charged half the price with more episodes. They licensed Blue Exorcist, Silver Spoon, Magi, Madoka, and more recently Kill la Kill. Just go to amazon and check out their prices. Most recently they will be selling Kill la Kill in 3 versions, limited edition for 80 bucks, regular bluray 60 and standard dvd 40 and what's absurd is that release will only contain the first 4 episodes. Are you kidding me???!!!! Funimation latest released charged the same price of the stand dvd with 12-13 epsisodes in sets. I got the funimation Fairy Tail bd/dvd combo pack for 30 bucks and it has 12 episodes. it seems that Aniplex USA is stuck when anime dvds were more expensive selling 1 disc with 4 episodes for 30 bucks back in the early 2000s. Wow. it would be difficult for someone who wants to own the series and have to just stick to having CrunchyRoll or other streaming sites.
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby goldenspines » Fri May 30, 2014 9:38 pm

I have not done super extensive research on the topic, but here's the lowdown on anime pricing in the US of the two companies in question (people who know more can correct me if you want).

But before that, let's look at the super fun anime prices in Japan. Kill la Kill is a nice example. Anime in Japan is spiffied up and usually includes fun extras like postcards or stickers from the show (and sometimes a mini art book or posters), but it's also sold by volumes (which is anywhere from 2-5 episodes each). This is volume 1 of Kill la Kill on Amazon Japan: http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%82%AD%E3%83 ... ll+la+kill
It includes 48 minutes of footage (about 2 episodes), but it has some goodies to go along with it (plus, it's Blu-ray), but for a simple yen conversion to dollars, you're looking at about $550 USD just for volume one.
Though Amazon is a good sport and can bundle volumes 1, 2, and 3 together for a little less than $2,000 USD (which is still about the first half of the series).


So when you're looking at that, it makes us pretty lucky to be able to buy anime by the boxset from Funimation for $50 a pop on average, right?

In regards to comparing Funimation to Aniplex USA, it comes down to licensing wars (well, not really wars, per say, more like competitive business). Licensing is a tricky business since everyone wants to make money one way or another. I only know a little of how this works, but I'll throw out a few assumptions on why Funi can charge lower prices, while Aniplex charges more for their anime.
Basically, Funimation is better at cutting deals, or rather, they have a longer business relationship and they can compromise. If there is a really popular series that they want to license (like, say, Attack on Titan), they will try to grab it up as soon as they can and they more often than not grab the TV aired version which is cheaper (not the Blu ray release, which can be slightly different). But what may end up happening is that the Japanese company will offer it to them at a lower price IF they license a few not as popular series along with it (this is why I'm face palming at some of the recent choices that Funi has been putting out lately XD).
Funimation has also been around a bit longer than Aniplex USA, so they have popularity and are well known enough to sell enough and thus be able to lower their prices.

Now, Aniplex I don't know as much about, but considering they only are releasing popular/"good" stuff, I would assume they skip out on the lower price deal and just pick and choose what series they want (and unlike Funi, they will usually try to get the Blu ray quality release if I'm not mistaken). And in order to not lose money, they charge more for their boxsets.
It's all business. They don't really care about you and your ideas of how cheap anime should be because it freaking costs up to $300 for one or two episodes sometimes (or for movies, oh my gosh). $80 starts to look cheap.
Plus Aniplex releases some of the extra goodies with the Blu ray and DVD sets like they do in Japan, hence the higher price.

Funimation appeals to the "I just want my anime and no extras" market, while Aniplex USA is catering to the crowd that would love to buy the original Japanese DVDs, but the import fees and the prices would kill them (though some people do still import anime from Japan!), so all things considered, Aniplex offers a pretty fair and good price for their stuff.

Also, Aniplex usually gets the shorter series (12-26 episodes), while Funi makes most of its profit on longer series that are 50+ episodes, or epics like Fairy Tale and One Piece.


I have hope that Aniplex will find a way to lower their prices and still make money, but if people will buy it at that price, they'll keep it that way. They compensate their high prices by getting popular series and better quality.



EDIT: Oh, I guess to actually answer the thread's question, I am pretty okay with Aniplex USA because they picked up Gurren Lagann after it got dropped when Bandai went under. I look forward to seeing their release of the series. : D
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby Rzerox21xx » Sat May 31, 2014 12:02 pm

thanks for letting me know, it's interesting to know but I gotten Funimation dvds that include a ton of extras before athough not as much as the Japanese releases, the FMA brotherhood dvds came with nice postcards and that's it, I guess, well they usually put commentaries by the English voice actors which I admit I find fun to hear. Its true long series they usually don't put that much but I know the attack on titan release will have some extras, they even have a the funimation store exclusive 100 dollar edition which contain some goodies. Despite Gurren Langann being rereleased by aniplex, you can still get the Bandai released for less than 50 dollars compare to 200 on the aniplex version, check out amazon right now for that. and the Bandai version did have some extras but not as much as aniplex which comes with illustartions and cds. athough I been reading that there are problems with the Bandai version(some people been getting defective discs) but mine hasn't been giving me any. whatever, if I do rebuy the series, I rather wait for the blu ray version. Viz also have some extras but not as much for long running series like Bleach and Naruto, they usually include character designs and original Japanese dvd illustrations as on disc extras.

athough aniplex anime is cheaper in rightstuf, I hope they will do a aniplex usa sale I like taking advantage whenever rightstuf has a sale for funimation or viz.
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby PLCDreamcatcher14 » Sat May 31, 2014 12:38 pm

Yeah, I only have a few anime dvds and now I'm trying to save up for more and so naturally done some research on the pricing and yeah, Aniplex is outrageous! After what Goldenspines said though I guess it makes sense. Personally I don't really care if I get extras or not (though they're always nice). I've also noticed that Funimation's prices on preorders go down the closer it gets to it's release. Hmm. As far as Rightstuf, I've been really tempted to buy from there with they're ridiculously cheap prices but I would feel kind of guilty honestly for paying such a meager amount for an anime. Weird I know. lol.
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby goldenspines » Sat May 31, 2014 12:44 pm

Besides Brotherhood, which was cool to give us postcards, I have not know many Funi DVD releases to include any extras beyond the standard few commentaries, textless songs, maaaaybe one behind the scenes thing.
I do recall my first volume of Ouran (before it was a box set) came with a mini calendar, but even then, it wasn't very impressive.

The DVD release of Aniplex's Gurren Lagann: http://www.aniplexusa.com/gurrenlaganndvd/

All that stuff for about $140 (on sale, but even then, it's only $180. And I'd imagine that Amazon may eventually give a better price than this).

The Blu-ray version (which is due to be released soon, I believe? The only one available now is the import, which is suuuuper spendy) which includes an insane amount of content AND the movies, is around $550.

And I've never found the original Bandai release on Amazon for less than $70 until you just mentioned it, Rzerox. Meaning, they must have listed it recently (only 8 copies left too!). I do believe rightstuf also has it for around $50, but the quality is sub par and there are no notable extras (I don't even recall there being commentaries, but a few episodes may have had them). I would also assume the price of the Bandai release would plummet because of Aniplex's release.

Like I mentioned though, it comes down to what the market wants. Aniplex USA caters to an audience that wants all the extras (because the buyers are big fans of the show that would love paying extra from art books, the soundtrack, postcards, stickers, posters, etc. For all that stuff, the price is pretty great).
Though for people who don't have that money to spend on anime, it sucks, sure, but if you really love a series, you will save your money for it. And hey, if you don't want the extras, don't worry about it. I have hope that Aniplex may eventually release a "just the DVDs" set. But who knows. If they have a market that will still pay that much for their sets, they will see no reason to lower their prices.
/capitalism ho!

It could be argued that illegal downloading of anime is something that drives the prices up as well. I know it can definitely affect the titles Funimation are able to license simply because of projected DVD sales. Aniplex doesn't expect as high of sales as Funi in most cases as well, hence why the higher prices. They'll give you more bang for your buck, though, as an attempt to make their product more appealing for the price.


EDIT: In response to PLC - Also note that Funimation will often release things in volumes first, but then will sometimes release a bigger boxset later (after the anime has been out for a while) that will be a better deal. Don't always count on that, but it sometimes will happen.
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby mechana2015 » Sat May 31, 2014 12:55 pm

What drives Aniplex prices is that, unlike Funimation they're a Japanese company. Don't let the USA part fool you, this is the Aniplex, owned by sony japan that has their name at the front of many of the anime we know and love as the producer. They're pretty much following the Japan pricing model in the US because it's what makes sense to them. As far as I know this means no liscence fees for them, so the prices are just what they think it's worth since they own the content on the DVD. I think they may have started their US branch when a bunch of the US importers imploded a few years back, and they wanted an option to distribute anime in the US that wasn't Funimation (who practically would have had a monopoly on DVD if other companies hadn't appeared or reformed). Personally I think they overprice dramatically and could do with some market research on how to sell in the US since the markets are rather different. This company has tons of shows I love but I don't own a single one of them due to their prices.
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby Rzerox21xx » Sat May 31, 2014 3:49 pm

Golden, where you hear that they will released a US release of the Gurren bd boxset, I would try to buy that I might. well recently I did get the artbook of Gurren by Udon, really great stuff so that could make up for the extras I missed with the bandai release. the bandai release did have the uncut episode 6 that came with the home release and yoko goes to gainax extra. thats what I recalled. series from aniplex that I have some interest in. well Magi but i rather wait for a complete series bd release and kill la kill I would so get when a complete series release happens. I guess we are somewhat fortunate that both FMAs were brought by funimation before Aniplex USA was created but since FMA was own by Aniplex, they would release them on their own without funimation. we may be have be selling hundreds for a portion of brotherhood.
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby DaughterOfZion » Sat May 31, 2014 6:24 pm

Err Goldy, I'm not sure where your yen conversions are coming from, but as far as I can tell they are way off. That Kill la Kill volume you linked to is ¥5,481 on sale, which would only be $53.89 USD, not 550. The quick and dirty conversion for Yen to USD is to just move the decimal two places to the left.

Also, part of the reason that Aniplex may be selling for way higher than the other companies may be because we're talking brand new anime, relatively speaking. Gurren is 7 years old now, while Kill la Kill just finished airing a couple of months ago. Older series have already been released one volume at a time, with 4-5 episodes a pop per volume so now they are being released in box sets at a somewhat discounted price. So where as Funimation is already at step two, Aniplex USA has only reached the first step. I now buy all my anime second hand or when it's really discounted, so I'm answering from my experience of older anime pricing structures (We're talking when ADV still existed and was still dubbing anime lol), so I could be way off, but thats my best guess on one contributing factor.

Also, Aniplex is just a US arm of the Japanese company - as Mech said, so from what you and Goldy said (with edited conversion calculations) their pricing is pretty consistent in both countries, so they appear to be following the pricing structure for Japan rather than what the US licensing companies have set up.
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby blkmage » Sat May 31, 2014 8:32 pm

Aniplex USA is charging the prices that they do for the releases that they're offering because the overseas market has finally shifted enough for them to replicate the Japanese business model. It's easy to say that Aniplex doesn't understand our market, but I don't think that's the case: see NISA's releases, for example.

The access model for anime has changed dramatically over the last decade. The last time we saw Japanese prices was Bandai Visual and it didn't work back in 2006. Why?

Particularly in North America, anime access up until the early 2000s was limited to home video releases. In order to watch a show, you had to buy it without knowing anything about it. Obviously, that's going to be expensive, which is why everything sunk once internet access became fast enough and fansubs reliable enough that we were getting releases within 48 hours of broadcast. So now we're in the mid to late 2000s and the competition is between expensive disc releases and yar har fiddle dee dee do what you want 'cause a pirate is free and didn't take years to get released over here.

At the turn of the decade, we saw the explosive growth of legal streaming and now, in the year of our Lord 2014, we get pretty well close to all the shows that are airing, often times before many parts of Japan get them. Now, we have extremely easy access to the same shows that Japan is watching at the same time, so what does this mean?

I think that this proximity has actually caused our market to shift closer to their market, so that the more fanatical end of the spectrum is actually similar enough to the Japanese market that it could just be easier to treat them the same way and make it work out.

Look at what we can do now: we preorder nendoroids and PVC figures, we go to Comikets and other doujin events or order them from Alice Books or something, we import Japanese releases from amazon.co.jp, we can play crappy mobage and buy idol CDs to try and get event ticket drawings, and so on and so forth.

I think there's a significant segment of the fanbase that, in the absence of Aniplex USA, wouldn't buy Funimation releases, but would rather import it directly from amazon.co.jp, because they want the goods and the encoding is better and the cover art is better and they can get event tickets.

I've argued before that the North American mindset has historically been focused on purchasing access or content: they want to buy and watch the show at the lowest possible cost, while the Japanese focus is on value: they want nice things because they are fanatical about the show or characters.

Aniplex USA is targeting this segment of the market because Sentai and Funimation have the cheap end of the market locked up and the premium market is empty because of the relentless focus on lowering cost over here (which I'm not saying is bad or anything, but it's what happened). It jives with their other moves like the Animate USA online store, which, last time I checked, was basically all Aniplex goods. You can also see this rationale in their theatrical releases: limited runs and higher ticket prices with limited goods.

What makes this strategy work is that you don't need as large a number of people purchasing these things. I've heard that the Kara no Kyoukai BD box which set this whole thing off was considered a huge success, because while they didn't move an enormous amount of units, they moved precisely the right amount for it to be a worthwhile venture. And that makes it easier to make these releases happen, because you don't need the same volume of production as for a cheaper release (and they could probably just skim a bunch from the Japanese printing or something).

So basically, Aniplex USA is treating us like Japanese otaku who will pay exorbitant amounts of money for anime goods because that's what enough of us have become (and I say this as someone who is very pleased with the expensive boxes that I've bought from them).
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby Rzerox21xx » Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:55 am

Funimation sometimes cater to having goodies on their releases.

example, the funimation site exclusive Attack on Titan part 1

http://shop.funimation.com/Shop/ShopPro ... emid=87719

and if I recalled, Funi released the Dragonbox(the Japanese boxset of the entire DBZ series) came with the dragonbook that the Japanese released was famous for.
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Re: What you think of Aniplex USA?

Postby nln_rose » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:39 pm

i love aniplex's productions however in my personal oppinion things seem to work out better when they licence their properties. they put out quite a bit. I'd have to agree though that the dvds are pretty expensive.
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