It seems like the last remnant of the Trimark/Lionsgate sub-licensing disaster is about to finally come to a close. When FUNimation began dubbing the franchise with the first series back in 1995, home distribution was sub-licensed to what eventually became absorbed into Lionsgate. Word on the street was that said sub-license (for the first 13 episodes and first movie) was “indefinite” and even FUNimation representatives were unable to concretely-comment on how or if that would ever be resolved. When we contacted Lionsgate almost exactly one year ago for comment on the situation, we were referred to their legal department who claimed that such information was not something they would share.
Fast-forward to July 2009 when FUNimation confirmed the worst-kept-secret of the day — they would be re-releasing the first TV series in a new “remastered” format, which would include the first 13 episodes fully uncut for the first time ever in North America.
Over the last couple weeks, folks have discovered that the latest issue of Otaku USA magazine has a review of a supposed upcoming new release of the first series’ first movie (domestically titled Curse of the Blood Rubies).
Interestingly, the review seems to hint at the inclusion of the original, edited dub (which used a replaced musical score and FUNimation’s first voice cast from Canada). I reached out to Daryl Surat, the author of the review, for some extra clarification. He noted that the final disc had not been completed at the time of review, but was informed it would not include a re-dub of the movie, and would be uncut.
At this point, we still do not have final clarification, though we have also reached out to FUNimation themselves. Will it contain two video tracks, one for the original Japanese version, and one for the old/edited dub (which actually spliced in TV footage at certain points)? Was an uncut dub of the movie never produced with their current cast?
Most importantly, a RightStuf listing for the disc has recently popped up with a release date of 27 July 2010 and an MSRP of $14.98. While listed as “hybrid” (indicating two audio tracks), this could also just be a mislabel or placeholder. At the very least, we know it is coming and it will probably contain at least the original Japanese version uncut, and it will be the first time the movie has ever been released in that fashion in this part of the world. That’s a win for everyone.