Decision was made last October by Japanese Parent; distribution to be ceased starting February.
In a surprise move that shocked the industry, Bandai Entertainment has announced that it will cease distribution of all manga and anime titles starting February, effectively ending its 13-year run in the North America distribution market.
Ken Iyadomi, Bandai Entertainment’s top honcho, said that the reason why the subsidiary of Namco Bandai (USA) is effectively pulling out is because of the current condition of the US anime market, which has shrunk considerably.
“A couple of times we were hit with huge returns, and the financial result was pretty bad,” Iyadomi said in an interview.
Adding to the gloom of things was the decision to give a number of its major contractors and three of its five full time staff members the pink slip.
Because of this, Bandai will stop distributing new DVD volumes of anime such as Gosick and Turn A Gundam, as well as the upcoming volumes of manga titles such as Code Geass: Renya, Gurren Lagann, the Lucky Star spinoff series, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Tales of the Abyss, as well as Gundam UC‘s DVD re-release
Included in the casualty list is Keiichi Arawi’s Nichijou, which both the original manga and the TV adaptation, should have been distributed by Bandai prior to the announcement.
Though it will stop distributing new chapters and volumes, Bandai’s current catalog will still be available after February, and will continue to produce stocks on the existing releases until each of their licenses expire, or as Iyadomi assures everyone, Nothing will go out of print.
Unaffected by the cancellations are the Japanese-produced volumes of DVD and BD releases, which includes those produced by Sunrise directly, and Ghost In the Shell, which are held by Starz Entertainment for the Stand Alone Complex series,
Though it will cease as a distributing arm, Bandai Entertainment will still be operational, albeit on a more focused scale, and that is to continue sublicense its titles for Internet and TV, as well as merchandising.
“The function of Bandai Entertainment will change towards helping group companies as opposed to making profit ourselves. We will continue handling licensing and sub-licensing for digital, tv and merchandise for group company properties,” Iyadomi said.
In short, it will revert back to what Bandai Entertainment was supposed to be, before it entered the distribution business in 1999.
To this, Iyadomi has only a few messages to the fans who are going anxious over the new announcement.
“I would like to say thank you to all the fans that have supported us. Although we no longer have new releases coming up, we will still have the catalog, so we appreciate your continued support.”
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