Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

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Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by Li'l Lemmy » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:54 am

So, this is something I've been made to think about a lot lately. Has the franchise run its course in North America?

Consider: Sales for DragonBall Z Kai have been quoted as "not great" by insiders like Sabat, which we can infer to mean that the figures didn't quite match Funimation's expectations. And the sudden cancellation of the Blu-ray sets seems to be evidence that even good ol' DragonBall Z can only be milked for so much-- either Funimation's new per-episode remastering process was too ludicrously complicated and/or expensive to justify what they were getting back in sales, or the sales themselves were so abysmal that even normal operating costs weren't covered; either way, the "Levels" died damn quick, despite a fair bit of hype prior.

The Dragon Box edition is, for the moment, over. And for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long, there is no current or future Funimation release presently and officially (note the disclaimer, "presently and officially") announced for the DragonBall franchise.

I sometimes forget that we are part of a somewhat enclosed vacuum here at the Kanzenshuu forum, where the bulk of us feed off little details from Japan (like video game exclusive transformations in DragonBall Heroes or the occasional new animation like Episode of Bardock) in the absence of anything truly "new"-- for us, it keeps the series alive and gives us something to talk about. But without even just Yo! Son Goku being released here, the majority of folks are subject to the fact that this is essentially a dead series that has nonetheless been released A) umpteen times B) in multiple formats C) over a fairly short time period. Is putting out the same product again and again, without anything being truly new, having an adverse effect on whether fans buy them, or is it merely a symptom of a larger "issue"?

Is the casual fan fed up with DragonBall, or are they simply fed up with the unending cycle of re-releases? Is Funimation itself taking cues from what is apparently a degradation of interest and scaling back on the franchise?


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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by dprez » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:24 pm

When it comes to home video releases, Dragon Ball certainly is reaching the end of it's road here in the states.

Dragon Ball on Dragon Box and Blu-ray. At this point, these are the only Dragon Ball home video releases most people would consider buying, but these also happen to be the most difficult for FUNimation to produce and release, and actually make a profit.

What we have now is good enough imo, but I still have faith that FUNimation will attempt to appease us "hardcore" fans, and produce another limited Dragon Box release, be it the Z movies or the original Dragon Ball anime, or holy-crap-best-case-scenario both. Either way, in the end I'm satisfied with what we've got.

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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by coola » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:31 pm

I think Funimation can only blame themselves, for over three years, they re-released practiclly same product plenty times, without saying how they are different from one another, beside same "Fully remaster and uncut" things, like Gaffer Tape said, in his DBox One review, casual fan might just think "I already own full series on these Orange DVD, why should i care?"
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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by dbboxkaifan » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:34 pm

Dragon Ball Z Kai: Wasn't appropriately advertised.

Dragon Box Z - Dragon Ball Z: A Limited Edition item and no Faulconer Productions music meant less interest of the dub music fans.

Dragon Ball Z Level X Part X: Came out unexpectedly and the fans were amazed by the Picture Quality in HD, though, after 1.2 it was announced its cancellation (suspended, or whatever).

IMO what FUNimation should bring would be the Dragon Ball Japan-only specials, re-release Dragon Box Z with the dub music for the dub-fans and even though it's too late, they should spend sometime marketing Dragon Ball Z Kai with accurate publicity.

Those who live in US and watch 4Kids/NickToons' Kai version might think that those are the uncut editions of Kai because the advertise of the DBZ Kai home releases don't feature "uncut" or "uncensored" anywhere (stickers don't count).

In English, the only DBZ series set available now and somewhat cheap that covers the entire anime is the Orange Bricks, still.

Just my opinion.
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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by MCDaveG » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:39 pm

Really, that is some mysterious secret that it didn't sell well if they already released like 2 versions of DB and GT and like 10 versions of Z?

I can understand, that the Kai is by far the most proper version of this franchise in America, but well, I bought Guilty Gear XX Plus on PSP and then noticed,
that it also comes as Special edition with some items and I'm SP edition freak...... But did I bought it again? Nope, the game is still the same, only I don't have art book, ost and t-shirt
or whatever came with it...... Yeah, for fans living with franchise, it is more complex with the case of US DB, but normal customer simply doesn't give a fluff.......
Me being in US, I would be so pissed off, because I'm not that insane to buy everything again, just because it is more perfect than before.
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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by Rockette » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:21 pm

What FUNimation is going to end up doing is alienating more fans than George Lucas is with all these rereleases. Casual fans aren't going to really care for a simple re-edit and the hardcore fans probably already own multiple versions of the series. By trying to add "variety" they've only done themselves a disservice. Price may have something to do with it, but considering the nature of the product, that's not a huge factor. As for advertising Kai, I don't recall any commercials or, "Holy shit guys! Watch this on channel XYZ!" but FUNimation did have a large presence in the con circuit.

While things like this won't necessarily make people grow tired of Dragon Ball, I can't see folks just shelling out any more money for ANOTHER set. I know I won't because not going to encourage this strategy. The NA entertainment market is already too full of reboots as it is.
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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by Hellspawn28 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:34 pm

coola wrote:I think Funimation can only blame themselves, for over three years, they re-released practiclly same product plenty times, without saying how they are different from one another, beside same "Fully remaster and uncut" things, like Gaffer Tape said, in his DBox One review, casual fan might just think "I already own full series on these Orange DVD, why should i care?"
Pretty much this! I was going to say the same thing until you pointed it out. DB might not be as popular as it used to be in the US, but it still has a pretty big fanbase. I think most fans are tired of buying the same old thing which is why most of the games have been selling poorly since most fans just don't care anymore after hearing mixed reviews about them.
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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:46 pm

Li'l Lemmy wrote:Consider: Sales for DragonBall Z Kai have been quoted as "not great" by insiders like Sabat, which we can infer to mean that the figures didn't quite match Funimation's expectations.
That's true, but on the other hand, early on FUNimation said they were selling very well, to the point where it was sort of reinvigorating the company a bit. Furthermore, it continues to be the highest-rated show on Toonzai and Nicktoons (who picked up GT, which they would not have done if Kai wasn't doing well). So Kai may not have had the enormous success that Z had, but I would stop short of calling it a total failure.

I think, personally, that the better way to put it would be that DB has run its course with the original generation that was introduced to it. FUNimation might have a chance if they develop a new generation of fans by giving their old "Dragon Ball" and "Dragon Ball GT" dubs wider TV exposure, in which case they could still manage to milk the franchise. Otherwise, though, DBZ is no longer in the spotlight because the fans who grew up watching it have, for the most part, moved on. The casual fans that loved DBZ mostly own the series by now in one way or another, and have no reason to want another re-release. For that matter, even those closer to the anime world have no reason to want another re-release. I know that a lot of the audience here at Kanzenshuu regards the Dragon Boxes as holy relics, but even in their review of the first Dragon Box, Anime News Network specifically said that the Dragon Boxes were not worth it, and that fans could stick to the orange bricks if they already had them. That's an important statement that cannot be disregarded if we are to have a discussion on the industry...it shows what the average fan is thinking.
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Post by AnimeMaakuo » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:13 pm

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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:37 pm

AnimeMaakuo wrote:It would defeat the entire purpose of the Dragon Box if FUNimation inserted Bruce Faulconer. That's like painting a Ferrari with hot wheel flames. I for one, hate its existence. Dragon Ball doesn't need Rock'N'Roll.
You may, and indeed, many do. I'm not a fan either. However, in the interest of approaching this from a business perspective, we just can't ignore that FUNimation's primary audience--with regard to both DBZ and their anime properties in general--is a dub-watching audience. FUNimation has repeatedly said that most of their customers are dub-watchers. It's no coincidence that FUNimation's marketing emphasis for DBZ has been on both the dub voices and the dub's style of presentation ("rock 'n roll/hardcore/techo music"). That's what most casual fans are familiar with, so that's what's going to make them the most money.

I for one would have had no problem having the Faulconer score on the Dragon Box. What would the big deal have been? It would have been a wise business move, and fans like myself who didn't care for it just wouldn't listen to that audio track. No biggie.
A "rather haggard" translation of a line from Future Gohan in DBZ, provided to FUNimation by Toei:
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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by Li'l Lemmy » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:56 pm

TheBlackPaladin wrote:I know that a lot of the audience here at Kanzenshuu regards the Dragon Boxes as holy relics, but even in their review of the first Dragon Box, Anime News Network specifically said that the Dragon Boxes were not worth it, and that fans could stick to the orange bricks if they already had them. That's an important statement that cannot be disregarded if we are to have a discussion on the industry...it shows what the average fan is thinking.
It's the opinion of the average fan that will drive this discussion and, ultimately, what will determine the future of Dragonball in North America.

The fact that we (meaning the "hardcore" fangroup) were gifted the Dragon Box editions at all is a miracle almost beyond common sense-- particularly given the whopping success of the orange bricks-- and it was likely produced to be just as much for those same masses who would automatically buy it simply because it has a Z on it as much as for the comparatively few folks who actually knew what the original Japanese product was and spent X amount of years clamoring for DRAGOHN BAWX and next episode previews. I highly doubt that Funimation was banking entirely on just our particular niche to drive sales and justify the expensive licensing of that particular product-- if they were, then they'd have realized the inherent flaw in that plan and the Dragon Box would have never come to America.


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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by wjbraden » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:32 pm

Personally I think that Funimation should put DB on hold for a while and try to focus on marketing and advertising the crap out of One Piece. I mean the show is one of the most popular animation franchises in Japan right now and if Funimation could reset their focuses on One Piece, they could have a chance of reinvigorating their sales and the anime industry as a whole. DB re-releases aren't going to be able to prop the company up forever.

I love Dragon Ball, but as TheBlackPaladin said, the franchise has pretty much run its course here in America. Maybe it's time to let another heavy hitter have a chance to bat (ala One Piece). That is, until/if Toei decides to make a brand new DB series (which I wouldn't hold my breath).
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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by dbboxkaifan » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:55 pm

wjbraden wrote:Personally I think that Funimation should put DB on hold for a while and try to focus on marketing and advertising the crap out of One Piece. I mean the show is one of the most popular animation franchises in Japan right now and if Funimation could reset their focuses on One Piece, they could have a chance of reinvigorating their sales and the anime industry as a whole. DB re-releases aren't going to be able to prop the company up forever.
How well are the sales of One Piece compared to Dragon Ball home video releases?

FUNimation has revived the Season Voyages that I thought were basically dead already, but they're strangely back again, though the new Voyage has a really awesome cover.
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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by Pokewhiz7 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:00 pm

They sell relatively well I believe. Not sure about the voyages but the collections are frequently in the top 100 on Amazon, and are sometimes even in the top 10. Season four probably just took a while because of negotiations, if I had to guess.

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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by AgitoZ » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:02 pm

The only place the franchise has left to go in America is to get 2008 special out. But since that's in legal hell and all the newer animation is in the video games FUNi has no choice but to just keep re-releasing things. This would be alright if the bricks weren't still incredibly profitable. FUNi has just kinda put itself in a corner, that's about it...at least until the newer movie comes out.

I'm not really worried about the franchise in any particular way though. It's still alive and I'd be surprised if FUNi didn't renew the license.
dbboxkaifan wrote:How well are the sales of One Piece compared to Dragon Ball home video releases?
One Piece does fine enough to warrant getting more episodes. It does alright, but comparing ANY other Japanese animation to DBZ makes it look bad.
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Post by AnimeMaakuo » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:16 am

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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by BlazingFiddlesticks » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:54 am

The first thing I thought of clicking this thread was "Does anyone else want to high five Lemmy for the Super Exciting Episode/Topic Title?"
TheBlackPaladin wrote: I think, personally, that the better way to put it would be that DB has run its course with the original generation that was introduced to it. FUNimation might have a chance if they develop a new generation of fans by giving their old "Dragon Ball" and "Dragon Ball GT" dubs wider TV exposure, in which case they could still manage to milk the franchise. Otherwise, though, DBZ is no longer in the spotlight because the fans who grew up watching it have, for the most part, moved on. The casual fans that loved DBZ mostly own the series by now in one way or another, and have no reason to want another re-release.
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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by Jacktenstar » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:37 am

How well are the sales of One Piece compared to Dragon Ball home video releases?

FUNimation has revived the Season Voyages that I thought were basically dead already, but they're strangely back again, though the new Voyage has a really awesome cover.
It was always Funimation's intention to renew the voyage collections for season 4. I expect it to cost a fortune for the license off Toei.

After the voyages are finished for season 4 on DVD, they will be re-released in blu ray versions later on (as Funi has the blu ray rights for season 4) and then in larger collections eg. 26 eps again after a year or 2 for the stragglers.

Can't blame Funimation for trying to recoup money and then make profit.

Fan's can't complain either because it is a huge effort by a US company licensing and dubbing a 500+ episode anime series and when they are so far behind the Japanese releases.

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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by Pokewhiz7 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:39 am

I actually heard they wanted to release it simultaneously on DVD and Blu-ray, but they don't have the BD rights, so now it'll probably be DVD-only.

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Re: Even Uranai Baba Can't See?! The Future of DB in America

Post by dbboxkaifan » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:06 pm

Toei Animation did an HD-ish, well, let's be honest, it's more of a cropped upscale than actual HD remaster of One Piece.

http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/5447/screen1hs.jpg
http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/8707/screen2d.jpg
http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/3775/screen3rq.jpg
http://img831.imageshack.us/img831/6340/screen4s.jpg
http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/6718/screen5d.jpg
http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/5212/screen6qo.jpg

I honestly don't want Toei Animation to do any "HD remasters" like this of Dragon Ball again, Kai was enough and some of that new animated scenes could've been avoided according to the pictures I've seen on Raging Blast 2.

One of the scenes that could've kept its original animation was in Friеza's arc where he's quite annoyed that the Earthlings already used the Dragon Balls or something. If you've seen the Picture Gallery of RB2 then you know how good the Picture Quality is of the screens (Hatchiyack's the only one that doesn't really looked all that good to me).

This doesn't really show it's true quality but what I've captured with my crappy cam: http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/4935/friza.jpg

Still, I believe Toei Animation is capable of doing a proper HD remaster of the series if they wanted to.
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