I’ve been keeping mum on this little debacle, as I wanted to make sure it’s just wasn’t some massive web screw-up, but now it’s become clear: anime licensor AD Vision is in some real trouble. I know they opted not to renew their Newtype magazine license (although they’re starting PiQ in its place), and they closed their U.K. branch, but now they’ve actually removed all mention of some of their anime titles from their website, including Devil May Cry and Gainax’s Gurren Lagann (shown right), two pretty anticipated releases. ADV finally commented to ANN, saying:
We know there are a lot of rumors swirling about, and that fans are looking for assurances that ADV will continue to distribute the anime series they know and love.
While we can’t go into any detail at this time, please know that ADV is working through a few short-term challenges and fully intends to continue our releases.
Fans are freaking out, of course, but they actually have good reason to be; with my years at Anime Insider, I’m 99% sure about the following:
? ADV would never take down those trailers unless the Japanese content providers made the most dire threats possible, such as suing or cutting ADV off from future content; ADV knows that this makes their company look very bad, and intensely screws up their marketing for these titles
? The Japanese would probably not force ADV to take down those trailers unless ADV had really, really screwed something up, most likely failing to make some kind of payment; the Japanese know taking off the trailers screws up their series’ marketing, so they’re looking at something more important
? The problem is almost surely money, in that ADV failed to make a payment for these series; the company had a rough financial patch a few years ago until it received a large was of cash from Japanese company Sojitz, but I’ve been hearing rumors that ADV is strapped once again
Despite ADV’s claims above, there is every possibility that these series won’t be released; the problem would have to be pretty major to get to this level. Panic away, little otaku!