Geneon Long Gone: A Commentary by Kip
When I heard that the Anime licensing company Geneon Entertainment was concluding distribution of anime almost a month ago, I was more than surprised. Almost appalled. Geneon is hands down the best in the business. If you don't believe me a recent poll at AnimeNation offers some results in my favor. So why Geneon? Is it the fansubs? Or is the whole market of anime going away? Was there ever even a market to begin with?
I thought I'd follow the news for a while and see what would come of Geneon, but no important news has come up yet. Geneon still had some anime on the production line at the time of their closing. One such anime was the highly acclaimed Black Lagoon second season.
It may just be me, but seeing the Geneon logo at the start of any anime I watch is pretty comforting. The soft piece of music that accompanies it and the silence just before the drawing of the curtain just got you all excited. This was a quality sub, likely had a good set of actors in the dub, and the series were all diverse, not just the flavor of the month, shoot 'em up or magic kids running amuck over ninety episodes. And you had a choice. Pick the sub and you know all the terms, you weren't surprised at the occasional sama or san or senpai, "Golden Week" instead of "break", etc. Pick the dub, and some of these terms were more explained to the lay audience.
So maybe the problem's in the package... Geneon anime tend to be more expensive. At my shop they even seem to get more expensive as the series progresses. I'll admit, I wouldn't be upset if Geneon marketed some anime 'Download Only'. I subscribe to iTunes which has some anime titles in its library, but you can't just search "anime" and expect to get a whole scope of titles; though, the reason why I chose iTunes over other media download providers is gift cards.
With gift cards you can exchange money for safe credit. I don't need to use a credit card with a large amount to buy my music. If anime companies could act similarly by selling cards to anime content online, it also allows those fans without credit cards access to online content and for less of a price than packaged discs, and they don't even have to use iTunes. Of course, the opportunity cost you forgo in this situation is teh awesomeness that comes with the packaging and the physical DVD you can set on your shelf with your collection, in which case you save some titles 'DVD Only'.
While Geneon remains in limbo, I wish it good luck. I still fear that maybe there are only a few of us supporting the sales though. Some of you may see the ratings for anime on Adult Swim for example. It doesn't do well (save for like FLCL!) especially compared to the other parp cartoons it airs.
I just hope that the other companies can take a cue from Geneon, and look past this unfortunate closing. Listening to fans has always been one avenue. Kinda funny how that works. That's how the company raised it self up from its humble beginnings as Pioneer Entertainment.
And then I guess there's Odex which feeds off of the hatred of its anime fans...
(Those links are courtesy of the ADD blog, whose content may be a bit more adult.)
DarkMirage offers another commentary on this matter in his blog. Go have a look.