Thursday, September 10, 2009

Say it isn't so ADV...

So, it's official...ADV Films (as we know it) went out of business last week. And with it's demise, the domestic anime industry is entering into a new era.

Just think, it was just the late 90's early 2000's when ADV was THE bigshot in the industry. There was ADV, Pioneer, VIZ, Funimation, Central Park Media and Bandai (nee: Anime Village). During that time, we saw anime grow in popularity as it got a foothold in our living rooms thanks to Cartoon Network and their anime friendly programming. The Toonami block introduced many kids (young and old) to shows like Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing and Rurouni Kenshin. Anime fandom also got another shot in the arm thanks to CN's Adult Swim block on Saturday nights. This is when we got the motherload of anime shows like Inu Yasha, Gundam, Witch Hunter Robin, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Code Geass and many more.

My personal introduction to true otaku-dom was brought about by Evangelion as it was the first anime series that I ever bought as it was being released.

I remember discovering Eva as it was suggested to me by an employee at my favorite comic shop in Boulder, "Time Warp". I got into it fairly early on in ADV's distibution when it was being released on VHS and I couldn't wait to pick it up at my local Suncoast Video every two months or so. Buying an anime TV series turned out to be the gateway drug to otaku-dom for me and it was all ADV's fault.
Another thing that ADV did that helped foster my geek tendencies was the release and re-release of their shows.

Through each re-packaging of Eva, I was there picking up the new merchandise. I guess you could say that ADV made a lot of money off of people like me.

The next big thing that ADV did was release one of my favorite shows of all time, Robotech, on DVD.

Robotech was one of those shows that I got hooked on a long time ago and, as a fan, I have both ADV and Cartoon Network to thank for it's rebirth.
Of course, as they did with Eva, ADV also released Robotech mutiple times. Along with the initial DVD release, we got clamshell versions, remastered versions and "The Protoculture Collection".

And I was there for every one...
When ADV announced that they were going to release a dubbed version of Macross (featuring Mari Iijima reprising her role as Minmei), I had no choice but to pick that up as well.

Throughout their history, ADV continued to release and re-release it's titles over and over. Case in point, the Original Dirty Pair.
And you can't forget Bubblegum Crisis 2040....
Sure, there were other titles that ADV picked up that I loved.

Azumanga Daioh

Sakura Taisen (Wars)

and Elfen Lied to name a FEW...

However, the love given to older series was apparent when ADV released Gatchaman.

The dub for this show was CLASSIC/FANTASTIC as they would use words that fit the time that the show was made in.

Phrases like, "Can you dig it" and "Right On" were heard many times during the dub. Honestly, you could tell they had a good time making this one and it really made the show for me.

So, a company that was in tune with it's customer's needs as fans and collectors? What went wrong?

ADV's partnership with the Sojitz Corporation (a Japanese investor who helped them acquire new titles) went south early last year and they began to struggle afterwards. The fact that ADV over-reached with attempts at distributing manga (ADV Manga), magazines (Newtype USA), having their own television network (Anime Network) along with licensing everything under the sun led to the split hurting more than it probably should have. Sure, there was a stop-gap in signing a deal with Sentai Filmworks earlier this year but that only delayed the inevitable.

It's sad, really, as ADV is a company that all anime fans kind of grew up with. Couple this with the end of Geneon/Pioneer a few years ago and we are looking at an industry in flux. It seems as though anime is moving away from the mainstream that it flirted with in the early to mid 2000's and going back to it's niche status of the early 90's.

Is this such a bad thing?

With the Cartoon Network scaling back on the amount of anime that it is showing in favor of in-house shows like "Superjail", "Mighty Boosh" and "Squidbillies", we will see if the otaku borne from CN will stick around.

With that said, I'm heading out to NDK. We keep breaking attendance records every year and I'm curious to see what they have in store for us this year.

(photo courtesy
With this year being the 30th anniversary of Gundam, there will be a panel for it. I'm just hoping that it doesn't conflict with the Robotech Tour panels. I don't want to have to choose between the two.
LOL, Ranka Gundam...

Here's to cosplayers and being a card-carrying member of the Otarazzi. Hopefully there is some good Macross Frontier cosplay and, of course, a Cutie Honey or two.

A round of drinks for everyone!!!


No comments: