Anime deal could give ADV new life


POSTED: Monday, October 27, 2008

This year has been a largely forgettable one for ADV.

The anime publisher has had its hands full coping with one crisis after another, many of which were chronicled in this column: Newtype USA and PiQ magazines shut down. Licenses slipped out of its hands and found homes at other publishers. Surplus office equipment was auctioned off. Hurricane Ike knocked out operations for a few weeks at its Houston office. Manga fans clamored for answers on when (and if) “;Gunslinger Girl”; vol. 7 and “;Yotsuba&!”; vol. 6 would be released.

Well, there still aren't any answers for those manga fans. But if an interview with ADV CEO John Ledford published on ICv2.com last week is any indication, it looks like ADV's anime division is slowly beginning the process of climbing out of the deep hole into which it dug itself. The past few months have seen ADV re-release older titles from its catalog in box sets; now, after Ledford's announcement of a flurry of license acquisitions, ADV will be releasing NEW old material ... and “;Clannad.”;

So thanks to a new partnership with Sentai Filmworks, say hello to “;Mahoromatic,”; “;Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful,”; “;Tsukihime”; and “;Pet Shop of Horrors.”; Again.

For while these series may have been a key factor in the ADV-Sentai agreement going forward and are new to ADV, they certainly aren't new to the U.S. Urban Vision already released “;Pet Shop of Horrors”; to the U.S. market in 2001, and Geneon released the two “;Mahoromatic”; series in 2003 and “;Tsukihime”; in 2004. Since Ledford said in the same interview that ADV's re-releases will retain the English dubs from the original releases, the prices would have to be pretty low to have a chance at attracting fans who missed these series the first time ... a dubious proposition at best.

Which means the company's future hopes could well rest in the success of “;Clannad,”; the third series in an informal trilogy that also includes former ADV licenses “;Air”; and “;Kanon.”; Like the other two series, “;Clannad”; is about a group of girls whose lives inevitably intertwine with a boy's at school. The formula has proven popular to a niche U.S. audience, and it's sure to please again ...


Random plugging

Mention the name Smile.dk to anyone who's ever played one of the many “;Dance Dance Revolution”; games with one of their songs in it, and you'll probably get the response, “;Oh! Those are the singers that did the song 'Butterfly'!”;

The Swedish pop duo has been popular for several years in Japan with their brand of happy peppy dance music. In addition to “;Butterfly,”; their songs “;Mr. Wonderful,”; “;Boys,”; “;Dancing All Alone,”; “;Petit Love”; and “;Golden Sky”; have been on various “;Dance Dance Revolution”; playlists.

The group's latest CD, “;Party Around the World,”; has one significant change, with Hanna Stockzell replacing longtime member Malin Kemby. But the end result still has that distinctive Smile.dk sound and an upbeat, cheerful vibe, so anyone who's enjoyed their music in the past won't mind too much. And at $12.99 on amazon.com, it's quite affordable, too ...