With Bandai Entertainment, no longer going to be putting out new shows after next month I decided to do a retrospective in regards to Bandai and what they meant to me as an anime fan.
I will start by saying that my first anime purchase was not a Bandai releases. It was the first VHS release of Pokemon by Viz. Say what you want about that but I was young at the time that I purchased and I enjoyed that series back in the day.
Getting back on topic the first anime DVD that I ever purchased was from Bandai and it was the singles for the original Mobile Suit Gundam. I purchases that first five single DVD’s back in 2001 for a little over $100 for them. People now might say that is crazy to pay that amount but remember paying $30 for four episodes of anime on a DVD was the norm at that time.
For about five years the only anime DVD’s I had in my collection at that time were from Bandai. This included most of the Gundam shows released at that time, minus Gundam Wing and any of the Gundam SEED stuff and the other Bandai stuff I had at that time was the Love Hina. I spend a lot of money on the Gundam DVD’s over the years. Hell I even pre-ordered the $200 set for Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam the one that had dubtitles. Of course, at the time, I did not know that, but that is a story for another time.
I have always had a soft spot for Bandai Entertainment over the years. Hell the Gundam franchise got me to expand my anime watching experience back in 2001. I used to tape the episodes on Toonami religiously back in the day. Hell I used to stay up on Saturday nights and watch Adult Swim (you know when the used to shows anime more often) when it first started showing before I had a job just so I watch Gundam 0083. I used to also watch Cowboy Bebop when it first aired on Adult Swim because it was pure AWESOME.
Even with all of their mistakes over the years, (no company is perfect so I am more forgiving in that area), they ALWAYS had a soft spot in my heart for helping shape me as an anime fan today. Now I know personally Bandai did do this just for me, but with putting Gundam on TV it helped me in more ways than one. It helped increase a bond between close friend and me even more than before which was already pretty close.
Now I know there are people out there who are not fans of Bandai and are happy that they not going to be putting out any new DVD or BD’s after February’s releases are shipped out. Regardless of your feelings for Bandai, keep in mind this. People are losing their jobs over this. People who contracted to Bandai will not have those contracts continued and they will lose their jobs. This also affects other groups such as Bang Zoom and Ocean Group two studios that Bandai has used in the past for their dubs. Bang Zoom will probably stop dubbing anime and just focus on video games. Ocean Group on the other hand will still do some anime, but since they also do Western animation and video game dubbing, they will probably be all right.
So what does Bandai not putting out any more titles after February mean as a whole? First, one of the oldest anime licensing group in R1 will be gone, which is always a terrible to see any group leave the scene especially one such as Bandai Entertainment. Second, the three titles that they had planned to release this year Turn A Gundam, GoSick, and Nichijou will not be released this year. The good thing with that however is that the rights for these shows go back to their original holders so there is a chance that these shows can still get licensed and released thought if any of them do it will probably be another year or so before we see them out in the R1 market if at all. Third and this will be come into effect years later (or sooner depending on the license) is what about the shows that they currently have licensed. Once they go, OOP is there a chance that a lot of the titles will get licensed rescued or will they be forever in the bin of shows that do not get another chance in the R1 market. Lastly, and this is probably the most important of all is that less shows will be licensed in the R1 region. Sure Bandai was not putting out the amount of titles that say Funimation and Sentai Filmworks put out every week but Bandai still put out titles. With one company out of the picture that just means there is less of a chance that a show can be released. Funimation, Sentai, Media Blaster, and the other groups can only license so many shows and put out so many shows in a year.
Now I have read on the internet that some people think that Bandai Entertainment in a few years can come back and start releasing shows again. I highly doubt that this will happen at all considering that their parent company decided to pull the plug on the stuff over hear so I doubt that they would be willing to let them try again in the future.
In short, Bandai Entertainment leaving the R1 industry is a terrible thing to happen. Three shows that were going to see the light of day (and I was going to purchase two of those three shows) in R1 are not going to see that now and maybe never see it. Fewer shows will probably be licensed as a whole and fan favorites may never be licensed again once they go OOP.
If there is a silver lining to this whole thing, I have to give credit where credit where credit is due at least the anime titles that are going to be released in February are still going to be released. I cannot say the same for the manga division though.