After Bandai Entertainment made the announcement at New York Anime Festival that K-On! will be coming out in 2011 as four individual volumes, it got me thinking. Why are some companies refusing to catch up with the way the industry is going? Is Bandai Entertainment that out of touch with the U.S. anime consumer, that they still release anime like it is the early to mid 2000s? K-On! is only a thirteen episode series, so do they really expect consumers to shell out hard earned money in our current economy on volumes that will have only three episodes each, and one having four.
They expect fans of K-On! to drop $29.95 per DVD and $34.95 per Blu-Ray for only 3 episodes each. That is approximately $10 or more an episode, and in the end will run the fans $120 – $140 if they pay actual MSRP. Companies like Sentai Filmworks and Funimation have set the standard for the anime industry in recent years, and you can easily get twelve or thirteen episodes for $40-$50 MSRP. Some companies like NISA who recently got into the industry have a higher MSRP, but they give you more for your money. NISA treats consumers to a high quality large artbox and an artbook with their products.
I know Bandai announced limited editions for the K-On! volumes for $10 each, but let us not forget the Lucky Star debacle of canceling the final volume’s limited edition. Can we have faith they will follow through on all four limited editions? Sorry Bandai, but your track record says you can not be trusted. Current rumors and speculations circulating believe the limited editions will include a CD. The only way Bandai could possibly get my money for these individual volumes, would to have limited editions on par with the first five Lucky Star volumes. You won’t see me shelling out $10 more, or any money at all, for just a CD.
Sadly Bandai Entertainment isn’t the only company that is still stuck in the past. Anime Works (Media Blasters) still releases individual volumes, with Queen’s Blade being their latest example of this practice. Aniplex is so out of touch, they announced the Read or Die (R.O.D) TV series and OVA on Blu-Ray for the outrageous price of $199.95. Aniplex is ready to give the suckers, I mean consumers a deal if they pre-order now, which is $40 off the Blu-Ray set. Now you can pay $160 for R.O.D. Blu-Ray set. Did you know you could get the entire series of Battlestar Galactica on Blu-Ray for less than the price of the R.O.D. Blu-Ray set?
Why is it that these companies refuse to release collections? I have heard that these are the deals they have struck with the Japanese company. Well that is not the consumer’s fault, that is the U.S. company’s fault. Why do we, the consumer, have to pay the price for the awful negotiation skills of these companies? I know in Japan the anime fans have it much worse, as they pay about $90 for two episodes on a Blu-Ray, but this isn’t Japan. We demand more for our money, and we should not settle for less. Until the fans wake up and realize they are being taken advantage of, some of these companies will continue this current business model. It is time to speak with our wallets and let the companies know we will not support this behavior.