Funimation license for Higurashi and Familiar of Zero expire

On Thursday a member of Funimation acquisitions team posted on their forums about the stats of two shows Higurashi: When They Cry, and Familiar of Zero.  Below is what was posted about these two shows:

Note: This transcript below has been edited from its original post.  Those interested in seeing the original post pleased clicked on the posted link above.

Hey, guys. I’m on the Acquisitions Team, so here’s your answer straight up. I hope this doesn’t come off as too blunt. Please understand that this is just how it is.

Whey They Cry has expired and is past the sell-off period. It was the only WTC series that was a part of the original distro deal with Geneon. We renewed the titles that were part of that deal that did sell well. We let expire the ones that didn’t. That inludes my beloved The Familar of Zero.

The WTC sequels and Umineko were not part of that agreement. We do not have the license to any of those series. Unfortunately, because WTC series 1 sold poorly, we will never buy the license to the sequels or any other title that bears even a minor resemblance.

You’re better off asking Sentai or Nozomi to do at least a sub-only of the other WTC’s. Heck, you could probably get the money together to license and distribute them yourselves. It’s probably not expensive anymore. If Umineko sold as poorly in Japan as you say it did, then go after that one. It’s not as big an undertaking as you might think especially if you pool your money.

Aside from that, the best thing you can do as fans is to buy series 1 from Amazon (so we can track it) and continue to post in the forum about how much you enjoy the show.

You can ask at cons or email Feedback, but do you know what will happen? Rojas will forward everything to me or my coworker. You’ve gotten through to exactly who you needed to, so mission accomplished. I’m aware of the series, and I love me some Sea Cats. Hell, I’ve cosplayed as Beato, and I’m playing the game. Unfortunately, I have to look at sales data, and signs point to not buying the sequels or Umineko and instead putting our money toward less riskier titles.

MasuraoTsukino and Audri are correct. #48 – well said, Audri.

Don’t worry. You guys aren’t like the Case Closed fans unless one of you has stalked Adam at a con including following him into the bathroom.

Funimation also mentioned that it would not seek out any title “that bears even a minor resemblance.”  Anime fans are quite upset about this and claiming that Funimation is being a dick by not releasing the rest of either series.

Now I write this part of the post as an anime fan and not as an anime blogger.  The news of this does sadden me since I am a fan of both the When They Cry and Familiar of Zero series both with the less than stellar dubs.  I have to give credit where credit is due and applaud Funimation for treating the fans like adults and giving an answer that is not sugar coated.  Funimation told the fans that it was not selling well for them and it is not going to get the rest.  There were no code words used or any type of industry talk, just straight up to the point used.  They respected the fans by giving the information that everyone can understand.

Now it has come from some anime fans that the “that bears even a minor resemblance” part is Funimation saying some dickish to the fans.  Now I don’t think that is the case, however Funmation should have worded this a bit better.  If this sounds familiar you might remember that Funimation had a similar situation with Big Windup where it did not sell well for them and as a result did not pick up the second season, or go after anymore sports anime.

Anime fans can scream and yell all they want about what happened with these two shows, but Funimation also has to look at the larger picture.  No company is going to dump a lot money into a show that may not sell well for them (well Geneon did but that is a story for another time.)

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2 thoughts on “Funimation license for Higurashi and Familiar of Zero expire

  1. I don’t see the big problem with the “bears any resemblance” part. They’re just making a firm stance that it simply wasn’t profitable for them.

  2. I wish I’d bought the Higurashi DVDs while I could. Pretty sad to hear they’re not coming back and Umineko isn’t ever going to make it over here either. 😦

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