Bandai Entertainment, 1998-2012

By Rob Bricken in Anime
Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 11:15 am
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Another anime company bites the dust. Bandai Entertainment, bringer-outers of all things Gundam, Haruhi Suzumiya and Code Geass, has announced that they're ceasing production on all North American releases immediately. This is bad news for all three of the people patiently waiting for a North American release of Turn A Gundam since it was announced a million years ago.

Bandai was of course of the major companies involved in the anime boom of the late '90s and early '00s, and introduced many, many people to the wonders of giant robots with the delightfully insane Gundam Wing. Unfortunately, that means they were burdened with the Gundam license, which caused them a lot more problems than good. What do I mean? Well, after Gundam Wing's surprise success, someone at Bandai Japan decided that Universal Century Gundam needed to be as big a hit in America as it was/is in Japan, so they could sell a jillion dollars of model kits to American kids, despite the fact this was totally insane and never going to happen.

Bandai Japan demanded that Bandai Entertainment get the original '70s Mobile Suit Gundam series on Cartoon Network, despite the fact it was 20 years old, looked 20 years old, and was waaaaaaaay too boring for young American audiences. Cartoon Network, not being insane, refused. Bandai Japan then paid CN to run the original Gundam anime, thus fucking up the Toonami block for years -- because once CN got paid to run an anime, the CN executives weren't going to run any anime without getting a check for it first. If you've ever wondered why an anime that would seemingly have been perfect for Toonami never, chances are it's because the licensor couldn't afford CN's asking price.

It gets worse. Bandai Japan forced Bandai Entertainment to bid on its anime licenses, including Gundam. This is insane for several reasons: 1) Bandai Japan was never giving any of its anime licenses to anyone other than Bandai Entertainment. 2) Since Bandai Japan owned Bandai Entertainment, they would tell them what to bid. Which meant in order to "win," Bandai Entertainment had to bid slightly higher than everyone else, which inevitably meant they overpaid for their own products. 3) Because they'd paid a steep licensing fee, BE was forced to charge more and sell an unreasonable amount of product in order to break even -- and then, when they inevitably didn't, Bandai Japan would get pissed. It was a vicious, stupid cycle, and that's before you start trying to sell a 20-year-old cartoon to modern American kids.

I'm not trying to blast Bandai Entertainment here; there were a lot of great people who worked there, and they made a lot of great products. I was just trying to illustrate how fucked up the American industry was/is -- and the sad truth is that Geneon was even more screwed up than Bandai. Anyways, this pretty much leaves Viz and Funimation as the entire U.S. anime market -- the Shonen Jump stuff and everything else. That's sad. It was probably inevitable, but it's still sad. (Via Japanator)

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