Bandai Visual Panel

One of the last panels I went to on the weekend was that of Bandai Visual on Sunday morning at Sakura Con. Seated with me were a number of other press types and all of us had one goal: to grill Bandai Visual over there unbelievable pricing scheme for their entry into the North American market. For those of you who do not know, Bandai Visual is a new anime distributing company in North America, which has already released the much anticipated and gorgeously done Gunbuster OVA box, which I purchased almost right away as I had been starving for this on DVD. However, their policy on other series seems shockingly out of tune with the North American audience they plan to reach. They are releasing such series as Galaxy Angel Rune with only 4 episodes 7 minute episodes per disc at a price of $50 dollars US, and other titles like Freedom, an OVA series that was previewed at the con, one 25 minute ep per disc at the same price. This compares with the usual practice of North American companies packaging four 25 episodes per disc at $20-$25 US for new releases. in other words you get much better value as has been demanded by fans in North America. In fact, the market has tilted towards the buying of boxsets, which have been priced reasonably and have been rushed out once a series has been released in total on dvd. Another trend is companies falling all over themselves to sell special limited edition boxes that look like pieces of art on the book shelf for $10 dollars then the simple slip cover and clear plastic jewel case that Bandai Visual is offering. Their response is that this is the price that Japanese people pay for DVDs in their market, and they are right, but they are not taking into account the North American market and its demands. At the panel, they were confronted by this, and you can even listen to the panel and the questions being asked of what turned out to be the President of the company by clicking the link I have posted below. If you listen close enough you can hear me in there, but also Karl Olson (from toonzone.net), Kyle Pope (from animenewsnetwork.com), and Jesse Betteridge (from zannen.ca), who raised some very good points that unfortunately it looked like Bandai Visual was not prepared to deal with. Judging by the first slide of their powerpoint presentation, they believe that they know what anime fans want, but only time will tell if they listen to what fans actually want because their pricing scheme is only going to be their downfall.

Bandai Visual Article on ANN