New Layout!

I went to work on Akihabara Renditions this weekend, but seeing as there have been no updates concerning CPM's financial situation since the last post and the con news scenes have yielded little information about classic anime that Akihabara Renditions focuses on, I decided to tweak with the site layout some. I am hoping that the brighter layout will make it a little easier to read and scroll through. I also went through and added some more pictures to my previous articles Near the Start of Con Season, Mad About Macross and Argh, Not again... (Pre-AkibaRen) to make the site a little less text-based and appear more like a news-magazine. I would like to get a logo image in the top frame, but it might only support text, and I've not toyed around with it yet, so it's one more thing for me to look into. At worst, if it comes to it, I might in the future actually purchase and maintain a domain for this. I have some ideas on features to include aside from my own posts, but the price, while cheap, including taking the time for maintenance, isn't really available to me at the moment. Just some more stuff to look forward to here at Akihabara Renditions!

While not necessarily of the Classic Anime persuasion, a personal favorite title of mine, Zipang 『ジパング』, was licensed by Geneon at Otakon this past weekend. Zipang - pardon the naval pun here - stood out in an ocean of what remains mostly mediocre titles by having a compelling, dramatic story, a little bit of sci-fi, and settling for quality (instead of flashy) animation. I am glad to see this series get a US release and hope a lot of others here in the US will support the title. While movies like Barefoot Gen and Grave of the Fireflies give Westerners a different look at the civilian side of warfare during the Second World War, Zipang play an important modern illustration of the soldiers and sailors fighting in the Japanese military during that same conflict. Another look at the other side, but a very different look from films like Gen and Grave that propagate the victim culture Japan suffers(/ed) from after the war.

Though, while classic news is few and far between, there is one notable news story. It, unfortunately, is grouped in with the loss of licenses. AnimEigo announced recently (June 9) at Anime on DVD that despite numerous tries to retain the license, their license on the Kimagure Orange Road 『きまぐれオレンジーロード』 appears to be expiring at the end on July. AnimEigo is also having a block-buster sale on their website to get this title into as many people's hands as possible. If one is looking for a series that defines 1980s anime, this is one of those series that belongs on that list. Unfortunately, for a juggernaut of its time, the residual popularity of KOR hasn't followed in either the US or Japan. This is kind of sad because if you are around many older fans of anime and someone mentions KOR instantly ears perk up. It's just one of those series that even if someone's not seen the series, it's a title that starts discussion. Since these DVDs are going out of print in Region 1, I really hope some new school fans jump on this, too, for a bit of classic anime that may not be back for a long while.

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The Biggest Non-Event of the Year ... so far

History is full of events that are supposed to be, or cited as, being completely earth shattering - Geraldo Rivera's opening of Al Capone's Vault, or the US Stock Market Crash of 1987 - this week, the North American anime community saw its biggest non-event of the year, possibly.

Here's a piece of news that I missed immediately from the English Language anime news wires, but thankfully, the website that originally broke the news, Toon Zone, has a forum moderator/reviewer that is a friend of mine. He told me about the story at a party and I went to researching it the following day. Since the only report put out by this article at Anime News Network was the sum of all other information available, I decided to wait before I posted the official report of the year. However, that didn't stop folks on anime forums from doing some serious speculation, yours truly included. I tried to keep everything positive, but there were many differing viewpoints from the level-headed folks who were patient, to those over-reacting and wanting to get a hold of certain titles and horde them like mattress money.

So, the big hubbub? Central Park Media, the owner of CPM Manga and its video line, US Manga Corps, had some layoffs/internal restructuring and issues with creditors. Since the Musicland Bankruptcy very late last year and the massive store closings early this year (Suncoast, Media Play, Sam Goody, et al were all Musicland stores) isn't a story too new to many in the US Anime Community. ADV and FUNimation, as well as others, have had to shift sales schedules around the bankruptcies, which have hurt a market nearing over-saturation. With the loss of major nationwide retails chain as well as a flooding market becoming almost as diverse as it is in Japan, none of this bodes well for anyone involved in the US industry. CPM; however, not being a licensing giant like ADV, FUNimation, and Bandai, looked to be harder hit by the Musicland Bankruptcy and signs on the Internet were beginning to point to them declaring Bankruptcy of their own.

Because of market conditions as they are in the US, we've seen pretty much all companies have been scaling back licenses, and we've seen companies like AnimEigo and Tokyo Pop shifting their focus, but the Industry has been fortunate enough not to have a company completely leave since the liquidation of US Renditions in the mid-1990s. It looked like the US Anime Industry would have it's first casualty in roughly a decade.

But all was for naught; the worrying - all over nothing. According to ANN and ICv2, the language is vague but none of it points towards filing for any chapter of bankruptcy. In fact, most of any thoughts of bankruptcy [Anime News Network] were cleared up the following day when CPM announced that their releases will be continuing with schedule.

So, with fans of classic wrentching their hands, worrying about a complete Votoms release or trying to complete something else from CPM (I know I have a couple of series from them that are unfinished, Votoms included), has thus far gone unfounded. While I'll keep an eye out on the issue, I think there is little to worry about at the moment.

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