News: Voyager goes it alone: Star Blazers 2199 on home video

Discuss Space Battleship Yamato 2199 plot, episodes, characters, and mecha here. ***Spoilers***

  • Steve, you can disagree, but some of what I posted are facts — based on my close association with several Japanese companies trying to sell their product in the US, either from their Tokyo offices or through LA offices (manned with either Japanese or American employees) — so I'm speaking from personal experience. I'm sure that we're all well aware of the Nishi's attempts and machinations in the US, but he was cut from a different cloth — especially when he was the sole owner of the franchise — he was a maverick and many times called very "un-Japanese" in his business methods. Tim also has his own experiences as well...

    But now, the playing field is quite different — and the owners of the ballpark and baseball clubs have more power. Yes, Nishizaki's adopted son is the head of Voyager. Voyager created YAMATO: 2199. But only through the permission of Tohokushinsha Co., Ltd. (to whom the Nish sold Yamato lock-stock-and-barrel to, with a clause to create new productions) and through the finnancing of Bandai's various arms, Xebec, Production I.G, et. al. — if I'm not mistaken, Production I.G is in charge of overseas sales. Bang! Zoom! was a deal brokered through former Bandai Entertainment USA wunderkind, Robert Napton (an old friend of mine).

    Robert was approached by the producers and he recommended Bang! Zoom! based on their previous relationship, and they also turned to Bang! Zoom! (who had taken in some former Bandai Entertainment staffers), to help them with advice on the North American market. So, that's the extent of the their involvement, IIRC. As for Bluefin — no matter what they were before or still are — they are getting the product into the hands of North American fans. I think it's a smart move, since they know what their target market wants, as opposed to the Japanese side, which generally blunders in estimating the US market. In any case, the proliferation of YAMATO: 2199 product in the US market will be a good thing.

    Obviously, times are much different than it was in the 1990s or early 2000s — we all know this — the North American anime market is very different as well. All we know for now is that we have Bandai product being imported and distributed by Bluefin and that DVDs and Blu-rays of Y2199 are going to be up for pre-order (and later sold) through the "new and improved" starblazers.com website going live on December 19th... I agree with Tim — they had asperations to go big on the North American market (much like the Nish would've wanted), but unlike other Japanese companies who've come and gone (Bandai Entertainment, Geneon, etc.), they're not taking years to finally see through their subborness until it's far too late. They're moving in the right direction — now only time will tell if they don't sink the whole space battleship themselves.

    And maybe I'm being far too optimistic.
    August Ragone
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  • Well, you mention the whole Bang!Zoom! thing and imply all the factors that involved them in producing the two 'pilot dub' episodes, but I don't think you addressed my central point that Bang!Zoom! is not a licensing agent nor is sales and promotion their normal job. If, as I have understood, Bang!Zoom! has been the SPECIFIC agent trying to sell Yamato 2199 to someone, I see that as a wrong move. No disrespect to them, it's just not their job. It would be asking me to give advice on making Nutella hot chocolate. Or Kale. *brrrr*

    My point about Bluefin is simply I see another failure point, exactly like when Bandai made that big push for Gundam back in the '00s. Remember the dichotomy, as Bandai America was cranking out inexpensive (actually cheaper than in Japan, $6.99 vs. 1500 Yen) MSiA figures, and WAY more than Bandai Japan had done by that point, while Hobby Division decided that America really craved Gunpla kits, as overpriced as any 'gray market' store- $18 for a 1000 Yen kit?

    I think there is a market for Yamato 2199 kits in America. It's a hard sell, what with so many of them being 3000 Yen and up, and it'll be an even harder sell if that 3000 Yen kit is priced at $70. Even $50 is tough. Thing is, they don't HAVE to be marked up that high. Bluefin isn't paying retail and reselling, they're tied to Bandai. They could price a 3000 Yen kit (or toy) at $30 and still make a really nice profit, even above the margins they have in Japan. But they won't do that. Because old playbooks.
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  • Steve H wrote:Well, you mention the whole Bang!Zoom! thing and imply all the factors that involved them in producing the two 'pilot dub' episodes, but I don't think you addressed my central point that Bang!Zoom! is not a licensing agent nor is sales and promotion their normal job. If, as I have understood, Bang!Zoom! has been the SPECIFIC agent trying to sell Yamato 2199 to someone, I see that as a wrong move. No disrespect to them, it's just not their job.


    I already addressed that; there are people at Bang! Zoom! who were markeing and sales people at Bandai Entertainment. Also, I intimated that they are only assisting as on the ground consultants — Production I.G has been the overseas sales company.

    Steve H wrote:My point about Bluefin is simply I see another failure point, exactly like when Bandai made that big push for Gundam back in the '00s. Remember the dichotomy, as Bandai America was cranking out inexpensive (actually cheaper than in Japan, $6.99 vs. 1500 Yen) MSiA figures, and WAY more than Bandai Japan had done by that point, while Hobby Division decided that America really craved Gunpla kits, as overpriced as any 'gray market' store- $18 for a 1000 Yen kit?


    It seems that Bluefin has been pretty successful the last couple of years — and they have a very high visibility — despite what they used to be or where they came from. In the past, awareness and availablity have been a problem for Japanese productions in the US, and they seem to be going directly for the fan market at conventions and have an aggressive marketing strategy. As for your concerns on their pricing, please read my comments below:

    Steve H wrote:I think there is a market for Yamato 2199 kits in America. It's a hard sell, what with so many of them being 3000 Yen and up, and it'll be an even harder sell if that 3000 Yen kit is priced at $70. Even $50 is tough. Thing is, they don't HAVE to be marked up that high. Bluefin isn't paying retail and reselling, they're tied to Bandai. They could price a 3000 Yen kit (or toy) at $30 and still make a really nice profit, even above the margins they have in Japan. But they won't do that. Because old playbooks.


    I believe the asking price for the Chogokin 2199 Yamato is the nearly same as the Japanese price, and is nearly identical to what Hobbylink Japan is asking for it. At this juncture, we don't know what they will be pricing the Y2199 kits at, because that information hasn't been released yet — so why don't we see what develops before we condemn them based on old information?

    Let's all take a deep breath and wait until we have some concrete details to work with.
    August Ragone
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  • Fair enough. Is this a data point?

    http://www.amazon.com/Bandai-Hobby-Cosm ... amato+2199

    Vs. this

    http://www.hlj.com/product/BAN981569/Sci

    Yes, I know "but shipping bumps the actual FOB price to near that, so it's a wash" except Bluefin/Bandai isn't paying for FexEx airmail per piece, they're shipping in bulk via slowboat, a container ship that takes around 11 days to make the transit plus whatever time for customs to clear.

    (in my times of work in this area the rule of thumb was figure 10% of the MSRP covers the shipping in bulk containers. That may have changed but I would bet not much higher. )

    So, $43 for a 2800 Yen model kit. Hey, that's pretty close to that $18 for a 1000 Yen Gundam from 2001, isn't it? Wow, imagine that. Now how could that happen? Maybe old playbooks?

    And I'm sorry about hammering on the Bang!Zoom! thing. I'm just wondering why they never told Tim they didn't actually do that marketing thing and talk to Production I.G. when he was requesting a copy to show at AWA '13.

    What have I forgotten or misunderstood?
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  • First, that listing on Amazon is NOT a data point. It's a third party in the Amazon marketplace who got kits from Japan and put their own markup on it. I thought that was self-evident, but maybe not.

    Second, Production IG deputized Bang Zoom to promote the dub and show it around to prospective buyers. This is what I was told when we met in person. This arrangement lasted from sometime in June to sometime in September, when Production IG told them to stand down. Production IG is definitely in charge of export of the series from Japan. I was told this directly when I was still inside the circle.

    I think you need to put this topic on hold until more data becomes available on December 19.
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    Tim Eldred
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  • Interesting how things go full-circle. I passed the news onto ANN after Hiroshi passed the facebook page onto me and I pulled all the info off the site.

    And that said, was a mainstream licence for 2199 including an English dub really that much of a long shot? To be honest, I'm amazed Funimation and Sentai haven't picked this up between them. It makes me wonder if Voyager tried to sell it to Funimation when it licensed Resurrection.
    Dan George
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    Read Up from Down Under, my Yamatour 2013 Travelogue.
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  • DanGeorge wrote:


    Interesting how things go full-circle. I passed the news onto ANN after Hiroshi passed the facebook page onto me and I pulled all the info off the site.

    And that said, was a mainstream licence for 2199 including an English dub really that much of a long shot? To be honest, I'm amazed Funimation and Sentai haven't picked this up between them. It makes me wonder if Voyager tried to sell it to Funimation when it licensed Resurrection.


    Which goes back to my point that they were asking too much for it, or the companies that were interested balked at making the changes for the market that Voyager seems so insistent on.
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    Series5Ranger
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  • Tim Eldred wrote:First, that listing on Amazon is NOT a data point. It's a third party in the Amazon marketplace who got kits from Japan and put their own markup on it. I thought that was self-evident, but maybe not.

    Second, Production IG deputized Bang Zoom to promote the dub and show it around to prospective buyers. This is what I was told when we met in person. This arrangement lasted from sometime in June to sometime in September, when Production IG told them to stand down. Production IG is definitely in charge of export of the series from Japan. I was told this directly when I was still inside the circle.

    I think you need to put this topic on hold until more data becomes available on December 19.


    You are right, you are completely right about the Amazon listing. I have no idea why I didn't see the 'sold by' in the body of the solicitation, usually I'm really good on things like that. So, Mistake made.

    But I can't help but notice how somehow, by some mysterious agency, they settled on a price that echos exactly both Bandai Hobby's 2001 Gunpla pricing policy and all the post '92 Japanese 'chain store in America' markups.
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  • Maybe that seller comes from that world?
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    Tim Eldred
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  • We've got pricing:
    http://starblazers.com/article/star-bla ... -12192013/

    $34.99 for DVD, $44.99 for BLUE-RAY!!, with the final volume containing 6 episodes and costing more.

    These are SRPs, but I don't know if street price will play a factor since they're only selling direct and via Kinokuniya stores.

    I've got mixed emotions. At least they're trying, and it'll be a bit cheaper than importing the discs from Japan. But I can't confess to being very interested in paying $300ish for a single TV series in bluray, when I can get so many other great shows for less than a third of that. I also don't like the single-disc model, which has been abandoned by the rest of the business. Aniplex USA have shown some small success with priced-up premium releases, but they're slowly adopting affordable standard editions and bilingual discs.

    It's crucial that they get this series on some of the streaming services. Not dubbing it is going to cut them out of some of them (Xbox and PSN don't like subtitled-only stuff). I hope it's part of their strategy.
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