So not to long ago I wrote about Aniplex's foray into the US anime market and how it seemed at least to me that they were doing everything wrong and it seemed they were doing everything in their power to fail. However Anime Expo has just recently passed and we saw some encouraging things from Aniplex and after the show even more positive progress was quietly let out.
Going back to my original article there were 3 points that were of major issue. Distribution, Pricing and Lack of dubs or Localization. 2 of these issues seem to be corrected or will be in the near future.
During Aniplex's Industry Panel at Anime Expo the company announced they would be releasing Durarara!! In and of itself great news. However in the announcement came news that they would be dubbing the series as well. Set for release early next year the series will be the first of Aniplex's releases to receive a dub. The question now is why are they dubbing the series? There are a few possible reasons that I can think of.
First is that considering alot of people are cross over fans of the series Baccano!( A series that's always mentioned whenever Durarara!! is) Aniplex may have deemed it a good idea to dub the series as Funimation released Baccano! a year or two ago with a dub. This scenario however is highly unlikely to me for one reason. The Original Gurren Lagann TV anime had a English dub and it's movies still never received a dub.
The other more logical scenario is that Durarara!! is going to be aired on TV. If you remember when Aniplex announced their entrance into the US market they said they would never dub something unless it was intended to be aired on TV. The question here is if that was the case and if they were dubbing it for that reason they would already know it was airing on a TV Channel and it would make sense to announce that along with the series. But they didn't.
So that leaves the question. Are they doing a dub because they have come to realize it will help the show reach a wider audience? Ironically enough during Anime Expo Funimation showed that via their own customer survey that the majority of consumers are dub fans. Is it possible Aniplex figured this out and is dubbing for that reason? It's certainly possible. The answer to this will be if the upcoming series they release have a dub as well. They have already said they had 4 licenses to announce by years end and so far we have only gotten 2. Durarara!! and the Gurren Lagann movies. Regardless of what the future holds one can only hope that they have come to the realization that they need to dub to reach a wider audience and that their future efforts will contain dubs as well and that Durarara!! is not a isolated incident.
Another nice surprise was quietly slipped out after Anime Expo. Aniplex properties are getting wider distribution. Previously the only way to get them was from Bandai's own online website which is notorious for not being very easy to use. However now it seems as if Right Stuf and Amazon will also be selling these products. This move of course gets the products into more hands as these are 2 widely used web sites for Anime fans. Although one has to wonder if this was Aniplex's move or Bandai's as the Gundam Unicorn OVA was also recently listed on Right Stuf when it was previously a Amazon exclusive. Of course this is a Bandai property so it's possible this was Bandai's call however I have a hard time believing that is the case.
So at the end of the day Aniplex has corrected 2 of the biggest complaints people had with their first releases. And considering we have yet to receive pricing on Durarara!! it is also possible they may correct that problem as well. Although the inclusion of a dub in that release will soften in the blow should the price remain similar to previous Aniplex releases. Regardless Comic-con and Otakon are coming up very soon and Aniplex will more then likely have stuff to say so definitely keep a ear open for more news.