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.
Wow. How far behind on just two series am I? The answer to that rhetorical question – very. So without further ado, let’s get on with the last episode of this mini Sunohara story arc.
It’s great to see Mei back to her usual investigative self at the beginning of this episode. We’re still in the middle of the charade of Sunohara and Sanae going out, and it’s evident that Mei has some doubts about the validity of the relationship, what with these questioning looks.
Ah, Youhei Sunohara. He’s a real marmite character if ever I seen one, which is why this episode could either be a bad one, or a good… no. This was never going to be good. Spoilers ahoy.
In this week’s episode, we get to see Sunohara making a fool of himself much moreso than usual, and in front of many more people, all because of one of Okazaki’s playful remarks that always go just a few dozen steps too far. While stepping through most of the characters we met in last episode’s baseball-’em-up again, and being rejected every time for being, well… Sunohara, Sanae-san finally reveals she was actually worried about his direction in life as well. Who knew?
So here begins this new season of anime, and thus of anime bloggers endless posts about the anime. Woo. In any case, of the new series on offer, I’ll definitley be following both ef – a tale of melodies and Clannad ~After Story~. I am still watching Full Metal Panic!, and I’m really enjoying it, but knowing the next episode is there to watch makes it hard to write about each one objectively and without bleeding into the surrounding episodes. Luckily, I won’t have that problem with the new Clannad.
I was surprised when I heard about Clannad the first time around, basically because of the word “clannad.” I knew without having to look it up that it meant “family” in Irish, and it shocked me to know that visual novel producers actually knew that my country existed. Unfortunately, there already existed a folk band with the name Clannad, so now whenever I hear it, I have conflicting thoughts of moé and traditional music. Which don’t mix terribly well, at least in my own head.
If you haven’t seen this episode, beware of spoilers from here on in.