Today Bandai Entertainment announced that it will stop offering new DVD’s BD’s and manga. From the news article on ANN
Bandai Entertainment, the subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings (USA) that handles anime and manga in North America, will stop offering new DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and manga releases next month. It will continue to distribute in its existing catalog lineup, but it will no longer produce and distribute new releases as of this February.
Instead, Bandai Entertainment will focus on licensing rights to other companies, particularly in digital distribution, broadcast, and merchandising. The company will be restructured as a result, and most of its contractors and three of its five fulltime staff members will be laid off. ANN will publish an interview with Bandai Entertainment President and CEO Ken Iyadomi on Tuesday.
Releases in Bandai Entertainment‘s current catalog will still be available after February, and Bandai Entertainment plans to produce new stock on these existing releases, if needed, until their respective licenses expire.
This really is a sad day for anime fans in North America. I love Bandai even with all of their mistakes they have made I still love them. My earliest anime DVD purchases where from Bandai. Hell for a while Bandai DVD where the only titles in my anime DVD collection before.
The closing of any anime licensing company is bad, but one such as Bandai, which has been around for a while, is especially sad. Therefore, the question that remains now is once their licenses for the rest of their shows end who will get the shows to license rescue. I am sure Funimation, Sentai and probably Media Blasters will pick up something in the future. The Gundam stuff will pretty much be a moneymaker for anyone so I think Sentai or Media Blasters will probably get them. I could see Funimation getting K-ON! in the future.
I will post tomorrow a more in depth look at Bandai and how they affect me as an anime fan over the years.