ADV, Geneon call off plans for alliance
Today was supposed to be the day that ADV and Geneon USA were to have joined forces, in a deal that promised to change the way the anime industry landscape looked.
ADV was going to take over sales, distribution and promotion of Geneon's catalog of DVDs, CDs and other merchandise, while Geneon would have focused more on anime licensing and production.
Well, the day has arrived, and ADV is still ADV, and Geneon USA has no sales or marketing staff, having laid off people in those departments last month in anticipation of the new alliance. And yet, both companies remain as separate entities.
That's right: As of Sept. 21 the alliance is off.
"We regret that we could not complete an arrangement with Geneon Entertainment," ADV co-founder and President John Ledford said in a press release. "We have enormous admiration for Geneon's line and wish them the best of luck."
A press release from Dentsu Inc., parent company of Geneon, affirmed the news: "Although both parties entered into detailed talks regarding the appointment, they were regretfully unable to reach a mutual agreement."
Now this raises an interesting and immediate question for Geneon and its catalog: If ADV won't be selling and distributing its titles in North America, who will? As pop culture news/analysis site ICv2.com noted, the deal's collapse could mean that a number of popular series currently in progress could be left in limbo, with future volumes possibly encountering serious delays, if not outright cancellation. Certainly in jeopardy is the continuation of "Hellsing Ultimate," along with the company's trio of licenses announced at Anime Expo earlier this year: "Deltora Quest," "Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha" and the "Shakugan no Shana" special. The Anime on DVD Web site lists 13 series currently in progress, with future volume release dates through early 2008, that also could be affected.
Whatever the fate of Geneon's titles in North America, it's just sad to see how far things have slid. Geneon -- and its previous incarnation, Pioneer -- was once a premier anime publisher, bringing over a large number of what would become fan-favorite series to the U.S. market. Some of those titles include the landmark film "Akira," CLAMP classics "Cardcaptor Sakura," "Chobits" and "X," the hip-hoppin' swordsman tale "Samurai Champloo," several "Tenchi Muyo" series, "Lupin the 3rd" (the exploits of a dashing master thief), "Fighting Spirit" (the story of aspiring boxer Ippo) and "Trigun," following the adventures of a roving gunman. More recent series that have garnered their fair share of buzz include "Haibane Renmei," "Last Exile," "Gankutsuou," "Shakugan no Shana" and "When They Cry."
Hopefully issues will be resolved soon, for the sake of anime fans everywhere; it's never good for a variety of titles on store shelves when an anime distribution channel gets plugged up ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao