First of all, happy new year to everyone reading this. Hope you’re having a nice year so far.
If you’re an anime fan, the United States is a great place to live. It’s one of the biggest markets outside of Japan, and also has quite a large population, meaning plenty of fans are willing to cough up for their favourites. The big companies are all based there, and all have established contacts with the industry in Japan. And from Japan’s point of view, America must be looking more and more appealing as a secondary source of income in these troubled times.
These factors mean that for any particular series, the bar for entry in America is much, much lower than it would be here in the UK.
The smaller market here means that profit margins are never going to be high on all but the most popular titles, the Evangelions and Halo Legends’ of this world. All of the English production being done in the US means that while much of the work here is removed, more is added in the complexities of licensing the different parts of a series, in both time and money – now you need to negotiate with two countries instead of one.
This isn’t even mentioning the relatively expensive certification costs from the BBFC, who need to be paid twice if your series includes both a subtitled Japanese version and a dubbed English version, which is a de facto standard between companies and fans these days.
After all this, it isn’t really surprising when you look at the number of releases in the US compared to here – not everything can make a successful transition across the pond.
This is the reality, but an anime fan can dream. And in keeping with the list-mania spreading around at this time of year, I’m making a list of anime released in the US that isn’t out over here, but deserves to be.
Special thanks to MVM for recently removing the need to put Rozen Maiden and Fate/Stay Night down here, as they’re being released hopefully some time this year.
When They Cry
This one may be forever in limbo with regards to licensing, given that Geneon USA gave up the ghost mid-way through releasing this in the States, but it really does deserve to be on the shelves over here.
Also known as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, this series focuses on a small rural village called Hinamizawa, where our protagonist Keiichi Maebara has just moved in to. He quickly finds solid friends at school, but begins to suspect they are hiding something from him when they seem to gloss over and change the subject on particular issues in the village. When Keiichi finds out about a murder and corpse dismemberment case, he begins to suspect his friends, and we see him slowly descend into madness as he tries to keep them away.
While Higurashi is a fun series, what with its bright and amusing characters, it can do horror with surprising effectiveness, as we see from the first story arc. Once the series gets started, the mystery element from the visual novel it adapted really kicks in as we begin to wonder just what the hell is going on.