OMAKASE @Viewster – Another Thought

I’ve still been thinking a lot about the upcoming OMAKASE service over the past few days, as well as reading various opinions on forums and social media. The whole situation has got me to thinking.

I’d be interested to see how good the takeup rate of OKAMASE is in the UK and whether people really are put off by the high price and non-optional extras or if that’s just a few of us online. Not just to know whether I’m “right” or “wrong” either. At least, not exactly.

Viewster obviously have a plan and an idea of what they’re doing. I’m just wondering if they know (or guess) something about the UK market that some of us fans don’t. Have Viewster really misjudged the UK market, and potentially soured the goodwill they’ve accrued so far, or have they spotted a genuine opportunity that others just can’t see?

Time will tell. Some of us think they’ve taken the wrong turning, Viewster themselves clearly don’t. The coming months will be interesting.

Hell, this month will be interesting. Viewster will be at MCM London Comic Con in two weeks’ time. I don’t know if they’ll have a panel there but I do know that they’re bound to get questioned quite directly about things at their booth.

Anime Streaming: Viewster Addendum

Since the last post, Viewster have formally launced their OMAKASE service. At the time of writing, it is defiantly a combined service with no streaming-only option.

As far as I can tell, signing up immediately gets the ad-free aspect. HD is still to come. Their non-US shipping charge is high but they cover VAT and import fees, so the overall price ($48 per two-months) gets it shipped to your door with no nasty little surprises.

As mentioned, they currently have no plans to have a video-only subscription without the box. So anyone who doesn’t want the physical items or who is outside of their supported countries is also out of luck for now.
Having said that, they tend to be good with feedback and there’s a lot of active chatter on various anime forums so I wouldn’t class this as set-in-stone quite yet. it is certainly the case for now, though.

As for my personal thoughts, I’ve already put them up here:

More on UK Anime Streaming

Last year, I put up a quick comparison chart of the various Anime streaming options available here in the UK. Since then some things have changed but the overall view doesn’t really seem to be that much better. Not yet, anyway. Things are moving forwards but the current state-of-play looks like this.

Wakanim/Anime Limited

Wakanim’s UK experiment has come to an end. I get the feeling it wasn’t doing too well. They had some definite technical issue to sort through but it sounds like they decided to just focus on their home market back in France.

Anime Limited are still picking titles up for streaming, though. For a while they were operating through Vimeo but are now using the existing streaming options.

Daisuki

Daisuki are still a bit of an odd bunch, in my opinion. They are still, currently, primarily web and mobile-app powered. They don’t have any real connect-to-TV options, which is a major failing in my personal opinion. They do have plans for console apps, apparently, which will help a great deal.
For anyone who mainly watches content on a phone, tablet or web browser, though, this is not going to be a drawback at all.

They appear to be ad-supported, with no current subscription option to watch ad-free. Again, for me personally, this is a dealbreaker. For other people, though, this isn’t much of a stumbling block at all. it’s all down to personal preference.

On the flip-side of things, they are now a part of Anime Consortium Japan. Comprised of several Japanese companies, including Bandai Namco and Aniplex, this gives them direct links to companies involved in Anime production. In addition to this, ACJ sits on the production committee for some shows directly.
As a company specifically involved in international streaming, this means that some upcoming shows automatically have an official outlet outside of Japan.

Crunchyroll

Still currently, the heavy-hitter in Anime streaming, Crunchyroll‘s presence outside of North America has had its fair set of ups and downs.

On the plus side, they have now rolled drama and manga into their basic Premium package, with the higher-tier “Premium Plus” give some additional benefits. However, as some of the benefits aren’t quite as useful outside of North America, this means that there is still a good value method of international subscribers having full access to the basic media content.

Recently, they have finally been able to get their apps onto Sony’s Playstation platforms. So the PS4, PS3 and Vita are all covered now. They now show up on all major consoles and quite a lot of streaming boxes. Their app platforms now also give access to the ad-supported free subscribers, rather than being premium-only.
On the other hand, they are currently moving away from Smart TVs to the dismay of anyone who was using them.

For the UK (and anywhere outside of the US and Canada, to be honest) their catalogue is still a bit of a mixed bag. Some shows have their international streaming rights with other countries and some shows just don’t have English-language streams anywhere outside of America.
This still causes a bit of friction as UK premium members are paying the same (technically fractionally more) for the same actual level of service, but there’s no getting around the fact that we have access to a smaller catalogue.

Animax

Animax UK occupies an interesting niche in the UK Anime fandom. A lot of us dislike them. On the other hand, they are still around and still adding (slowly) to their service so they clearly can’t be a complete flop as they’d’ve closed down by now if they were struggling badly.

They still operate with the two-week ad-supported free access to their simulcasts with the paid subscription giving ad-free access to their complete catalogue. They have also recently added iOS and Android to their supported platforms, and the PS4 joins the PS3 in terms of console access.

However, their less-then-perfect reputation isn’t exactly unfounded. They often seem to aquire (or at least announce) their simulcasts partway into the season and their uploads aren’t always the most punctual. This combined with a lack of queue/watchlist (which, currently, only Crunchyroll sees to have) means that they’re not exactly great value when it comes to simulcasts.

I suspect that their main strength at the moment would be in their back catalogue. If a show’s been available for a year or more, it hardly matters at that point if it went up on time or a few weeks late.
Plus, they do still have some shows that just aren’t available on any other service at the moment. Also, unlike Viewster (see below) their back catalogue is available ad-free to subscribers.

Viewster

Speaking of Viewster, they’re a fairy recent entry into the Anime side of things. They’ve been around a few years as an ad-supported free video on demand service but have recently expanded to include a hefty Anime back-catalogue and have also had a healthy selection of simulcasts in recent seasons courtesy of Anime Limited.

Based in Europe, although recently expanding into America, they definitely cater for the UK audience pretty well. They also have apps iOS, Android, several Smart TVs and set-top boxes (no AppleTV as of yet) and have started to enter the console app market on the Xbox 360. Hopefully with more platforms to come.

The currently have no ad-free subscription available which, to me, is a dealbreaker. However, for those who don’t mind watching ads, it does mean that they have a very large catalogue of TV show, movies and Anime all available to watch for free.

They are on the verge of entering the paid-subscription model, too. At the time of writing this, they are heavily promoting their upcoming OMAKASE service which is a combination of ad-free streaming and a Lootcrate-like giftbox.
As of yet, there are no concrete details about the video side of the service. So we don’t know if there’s a gift-free version, whether the same apps will work or if they use new ones, or anything further.

New AppleTV

Not a service in its own right but the recent announcement of an upcoming revised model with an App Store means it warrants a mention of its own. If for no other reason than the same information applies to all services so far.

Currently, none of the Anime streaming services have announced tvOS apps. I would be very surprised if none of them had them at least in the planning stages, though.

Crunchyroll features on the current AppleTV and has iOS apps. Animax has recently added iOS apps to its repertoire and has a very limited TV-connected selection so far. Viewster has an iOS app and has openly stated that they are planning to expand what platforms they are available on.

Other Services

Other VOD services such as Netflix and several paid video platforms such as iTunes do also have a selection of Anime available for streaming and/or download.

A new era in Labour leadership?

I try not to get too political on here.
Case in point, you have no idea how many unwritten posts would’ve started with that very sentence.

However, as today saw the Labour Party (UK political party, currently in opposition) elect their new leader and deputy leader, I figured there were a few comments I wanted to throw into the ring.

To the delight of many, and the dismay of many others, Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the new Labour Leader. His policies seem very down-to-earth and he comes over as being a “real person” with strongly-held convictions. He also seems to resonate very strongly with those who’ve become disillusions with politics in recent years.

His critics, for weeks, have been implying that Labour under Corbyn would be “unelectable”. Right or wrong, I think this misses the point entirely as to why him being Labour leader can be a good thing.

Being the Opposition is more than just being “that bunch trying to be in power next time around”. Labour MPs are still, as the title implies, Members of Parliament. The same goes for all MPs not part of the main governmental party. Yes, looking forward to 2020 and the next election is important but that doesn’t mean that the next five years aren’t worth anything.

Having a main Opposition party is one of the checks and balances that we have in UK politics. At least, I think it’s supposed to be. When all the main political leaders look and sound largely the same, it can be hard to tell. Everyone wants to run in a similar direction and nobody is really throwing out a dissenting voice. It mostly comes over as name-calling and blame-shifting. “Why you’re wrong” instead of “Why we’re right”. A small but significant difference.
Having a strong leader with a strong purpose will help drive the Labour Party (or any party) in a definite direction. As a part of parliament, this is important. Even if Mr Corbyn’s views aren’t what some would call ideal, they’re ideas that’ll get spoken. Out loud. In parliamentary debate. As he seems to be wanting to represent some viewpoints that are often brushed aside, this is no bad thing.

To be honest, though, the main advantage is bigger than just the Labour Party. His involvement in the leadership elections inspired a lot of interest from those who are usually disinterested in politics and who think their opinions aren’t worth raising. Jeremy Corbyn looks to have the potential to at least partially shrink the perceived gap between “politicians” and “normal folk”.
He’s got people interested in politics. He’s got people realisoing that, if enough people participate, you can vote in someone different than the normal crowd. Right now, I suspect we’ve got a fair few more people paying attention to politics than they usually would. Regardless of which side they’re on, this is no bad thing. Politicians have power, so we need to make sure the people actually give a damn about politics,

I don’t agree with everything that he stands for, but I agree with a fair chunk of it. And even the bits I disagree with, it’s a breath of fresh air to have those viewpoints actually being aired by our political leaders. Hopefully, he wil inspire debate both within parliament and about politics.

As to why I think “unelectable” is missing the point…
If political debates get more “real” and more average people start to take an interest and actually bother to turn up to vote in 2020, does it really matter who gets in as long as politics begins to gain the trust of the public and people think that votes matter? Does it really matter which group is “in charge” as long as we can start to trust the whole lot of them to at least engage in serious debate about the matters that you and I actually give a damn about?

Labour under Corbyn looks like it could be interesting. And I don’t think it matters whether that party can be in government (as nice as that would be) as long as it’s in parliament. Whoever’s in charge, we need a decent Opposition to keep things balanced and to inspire debate in the next five years’ worth of parliamentary decision making.

All Change, All Change!

A lot has changed over the past few months. Anyone who’s been following my posts on mental health issues knows that I am currently dealing with depression and anxiety. My first major period of this was around 1999-2004. I’ve since been back on medication, and seeing the doctor about it, for about two years now. Although, truthfully, it had been brewing back up slowly for a few years prior to that.

2015’s Changes

This bring me up to the recent changes, as the ride only got rougher this year. Back in January, I ended up signed off work for a couple of weeks as I just wasn’t coping. Winter is always rough for me and this time around the Christmas break wasn’t enough to recharge my batteries. At the time it was discussed that a change in medication would temporarily make things worse, which isn’t what I needed right then, but I was also referred for a therapy course – which I found useful.

Move forward two months, and I was due a followup appointment with the doctor anyway. Things were still rough so I asked about the possibility of changing my medication. It isn’t that it wasn’t doing anything, more that it wasn’t always able to do enough. When I went through a rougher patch, I was already on the highest dose so the doctors had no leeway.

March to May was, therefore, a very rough time. I was stepped down from the high dose to the regular dose of the first med which, inevitably, brought along side effects. Mild withdrawal combined with an increased level of overall anxiety, mixed in with a basic reduction in the effects of the medication.
Coping with work had been tough for a while anyway and it had to get worse before it got better. The end goal was the ability to cope better but the short-term effect was a weakening of all my defenses.

More Change on the Horizon

This is where my timeline gets hazy, as so much was going on (good and bad, work-based and personal) that I can’t recall the exact order of some aspects. And when you mix in things like medication changes, work stress, (multiple) family birthdays and the week-long Easter break at work, my emotions were sort of all over the place. Good, bad, calm, anxious, all at once.

Chaos.

Around April, I was switched to the new medication on its standard dose. I was also put on an as-required beta-blocker to deal with the anxiety spikes that I was dealing with.
It was also around that time that work announced that it was gearing up for a pretty large-scale restructure. In particular, the department I worked for was going to be effectively merged with one of the others. This does have a certain amount of logic behind it, and my particular job role wasn’t at risk from this, but it was another big change on top of everything else.

Trying to juggle mental health issues and work life had been a struggle for a while anyway and I think my brain sort of threw in the towel at that point. Even though the change itself would take “complete” in August, I could forsee our department being somewhat up in the air for a good year before it settled nicely into how things would be.

As with any large-scale restructure, they opened up requests for voluntary redundancy. I’d been there for just short of ten years, and had been looking at a bit of a change of focus for a while anyway, so I figured I’d apply.

It is also around early May that I was put on the next dose up on the new medication and things were starting to settle back down.

The. Big. Change.

My application was accepted. Good settlement. Fast turnaround – end of May. And, to be honest, no complaints from me. I wasn’t expecting to be finished already but I think I needed it to be that way. There was a sense of relief as it means that i didn’t have to go through a large-scale change of something familiar. If I’m going to have some changes, I’d rather go through changes.
Cue a couple of weeks of tying off tasks and writing up notes.

Yes, I am now officially out of work. I’ve got enough of a financial buffer to be able to jobseek without too much pressure for a while. I also intend to use the free time to finish building myself back up.

I need to continue to get my head straight. Getting some regular exercise and working on my physical health will be useful, too. I’ve not been in a good way for a while now, so I am taking this opportunity to work on getting myself “right”. I’ve been off work quite a lot over the past half a year or so, a mix of depression, exhaustion and regular illness. Any one of those would be easy-ish to deal with on their own but they tend to build on each other and pile up on top of me.
I need to get my head straight, improve my overall health (physical and mental health are linked, after all) and work out what direction I want to move my career in.

I intend to stick with IT, although I am planning to move into something less front-line and more project-based. I think that would suit both my temperament and my skills better. But, for now, I’m going to dip my toes into the job market and just keep a general eye on what’s out there.

Sword Art Online: More on Collector Editions

Not so long after my previous post, we’ve hit Announcement Season again. Frustratingly, the first anime-releated announcement out of the gate is another example of the same collector bias I posted about last time.

Sword Art Online II has been picked up by Anime Limited who will be starting off by releasing a DVD Standard Edition and a Blu-ray (technically a BD+DVD combo) Collector Edition.

And no standard BD any time soon.

Once again, as a fair few releases appear to be doing of late, the deck is being stacked against those who prefer physical Blu-rays but neither need nor even want anything more than a standard barebones edition.

To be fair to Anime limited, it is an Aniplex series. They probably had a hand in making sure that the only BDs available anywhere had a minimum price and/or a maximum quality. Western non-collector fans seem to matter very little to them. Which, as a general rule, is why I tend to avoid getting too invested in Aniplex shows these days. But SAO is a series I’m already in, so I’m kinda stuck.

Predictably, though, there is already a lot of complaint about the high-seeming prices. Even though retail prices tend to knock a chunk from the SRP (Suggested Retail price), it still means that the full 24 episodes is lining up to be around £100 or more, retail. And that really is more than 24 episodes are worth.
As I’ve said before, nothing wrong with collector versions existing. But standard editions for people who get zero value out of the physical extras really ought to be catered for at the same time. Booklets and artboxes just aren’t worth the price overhead for some of us.

Anime: Not A Collector

I feel like I occupy a weird niche in anime fandom. I like to own copies shows I like, rather than being limited to digital streaming or downloads. I also like to have as high a quality copy as possible, As my various posts on Blu-Ray will attest.

I’m not a “Collector” though.

At least, not one of those who likes Limited/Collectors Editions. In fact, I actively dislike those kinds of release more often than not.

So many of the more hardcore collectors seem to have a major nerd-boner for nice, rigid boxed to house their media cases. Whether card-based or plastic Amaray-style, they all seem to go nuts for a box that boxes go in. Whereas I find them a complete pain. Why would I want to open a box to open a box? And why would I want to pay extra for that pain?

Artbooks also seem to be a usual favourite. I don’t have anything in principle against these but I also know I will rarely, if ever, look at them. The same goes for things like postcards. Pretty but, ultimately, an extra cost for something I will ignore.

Soundtracks can be nice. If they are just an extra disc in a standard case I can easily be tempted. They are rarely going to tip me towards the full Collector Edition, though.

What frustrates me most about them, though, is when they aren’t optional. When a release strategy or (more likely) a licensing restriction from Japan means that any Standard Edition on Blu-Ray will come a significant amount of time after the Collector Edition. Or, in some cases, there is no regular edition.

Maybe if I liked Artbooks or fancy boxes it would be a different matter. Unfortunately, seeing as I actually don’t like them, the end result is asking me to pay a premium for my non-preferred option.

Problems Facing Simulcasts (and other legal anime streams)

Legal options for streaming recent anime shows have made major inroads in recent years. Yet people still embrace fansubs. Whether from downloads or via unofficial streaming services, these options still gain a lot of views for various reasons.

The problem is that there are several reasons that people have for using fansubs and you can’t easily eliminate them all. However, there are several things that could be tackled. Also, because many people are swayed by a combination of reasons, the more that can be tackled, the less common it will be.

Cheap

OK. Let’s get this out of the way first. People can be cheap. Being able to get hold of multiple shows, ad-free and in a high-definition format is a big temptation.

For some, it is the only reason. For others, it is the tipping point when added to the reasons below.

Knowledge

Not everybody knows what legal platforms are out there. As a general rule, if you’re a part of a community that keeps a list of legal options then you already know they exist. Some people genuinely don’t know.

On a related note, not everybody knows of every service. Here in the UK, there is a big feeling that Crunchyroll is the only service that people have really heard of. In the past couple of years, when shows haven’t been on Crunchyroll over here, but were on other services, people genuinely thought there was no legal UK option at all.

Similarly, not a lot of generic video-on-demand platforms make a huge deal of their anime catalogues. So people with access to Netflix might not even realise that they have a fairly sizeable anime back-catalogue on there.

Fragmentation

Not every platform has every show. So even if Crunchyroll, for example, is seen as “The Anime Streaming Service”, they don’t have the licenses for every show. This ties into knowledge, above, in that titles are wrongly assumed to be unavailable because people haven’t heard of the service that gets the local rights.

It’s one thing over in America, where a fair few of the licensing companies have their own outlets and there are more generic streaming options (like Hulu) for them to partner with. Also, over there, titles showing up on multiple services is relatively common.
Here in the UK, a lot of licenses still get picked up by companies without their own platform. Worse, sometimes it is the English-language rights they have overall, which just happen to include the UK rights. And as Crunchyroll is a competitor over in America, them sub-licensing to Crunchyroll for the UK streams is rare. Not unheard of, but rare all the same.

Unequal Services

The different streaming platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some go wider than anime. Some have larger catalogues. Some have apps on multiple platforms. Some have paid subscriptions to go ad-free No one service ticks all of the boxes.

This, when combined with multiple services and potentially multiple subscription fees, can be quite frustrating. Especially when shows exist on a service you use but a region you don’t live in.

Missing Shows

Some shows simply don’t get official releases in English, or any given non-Japanese language. For these shows, it does become a choice between “pirate” and “do without”. And not everyone wants to miss a show, especially if it is the main one they wanted to watch in any given season. However, this does keep fansubs as an active option in people’s minds. After all, once you’re used to using them for one thing, it’s hard not to see them as an option for others.

Platform exclusivity, regional lockouts and delays that cause the official version to go up hours (or even days) after a translated fansub hit the internet don’t help much, either.

Translation Choices

Here is where it starts to get tricky. We go from already shaky moral ground to something even more so, based purely on personal aesthetic preference. However, fans have their own preferences on how they like their translations. With fansubs, you can drop and pick up distributors depending on your preference. Even with much more legal products such as The Bible or classic French literature, you can “shop” for the translation which is more accurate or more to your personal preferences.
With contemporary foreign language products (such as anime), however, there is only One True Translation. If it isn’t your preference, tough. If it is jarring and distracting to you, tough. If you know what they really said, or can tell (from other audio-visual cues) that something really doesn’t match up, tough! You’re stuck with them.

I have more to say on this subject, but it’s potentially a blog post of its own.

This can all lead to getting a fansub of a show or episode. Maybe instead of the official release, maybe in addition to it. (Some things make more sense after having looked at more than one translation option)
Either way, though, it provides more excuses for people to rely on fansubs. Especially as, in this case, a translation that works better for someone is going to be a “superior” product for that person.

In Conclusion

These aren’t the only reasons but they are some of the ones used. None of them are easy matters to address, as they are mostly tied into how current licensing rules work. Even knowledge of services is hampered by business reasons because, as a general rule, one service isn’t going to recommend a rival owing to shortcomings in functions or content.

Ideally, the industry has to band together as “The Industry” to combat this. Less exclusivity, more sharing. Competing on service level, not exclusive shows. Cross promotion, because surely someone using a rival is better for business as a whole than using an unofficial download.

One other thing that the various companies need to do is to try to be a wide-reaching as possible. Licensing companies need to get things on multiple services and regions. Services need to work across multiple platforms. Expecting people to settle for a limited offering just isn’t going to work when there are free alternatives out there, legal or not.

Lastly, accepting that there is no single customer type, but that catering to multiple tastes (including translation tastes) is going to keep more people “legal”, as it takes away the reason people have of going elsewhere.

BBC, Top Gear and the No-Win Situation

So, the BBC has sacked Jeremy Clarkson. Or, to be more accurate, they are not renewing his contract when it expires soon. In a way, though, there is no real difference. He crossed a line, it cost him his job.

Cue a lot of outrage by fans of Top Gear.
Cue a lot of confused outrage by people who can’t understand why a petition to keep him on reaches nearly a million signatures whilst “more deserving causes” struggle to get any support at all.

The problem, though, is that although the situation itself (person hits and  verbally abuses another person) is fairly straightforward, the links between Jeremy, Top Gear and the (license-fee paying) audience is bloody complicated.

I don’t think the BBC had any way of winning this situation. There was no good choice available. I do, however, think they made the “right bad choice”. Whatever they did, people would be outraged one way or another. But better to be criticised for doing the right thing than letting the wrong thing slide by.

As business decisions go, though, the BBC dropped a ball. A ball they had no possible way of carrying, to be sure. But they dropped it nonetheless.
Yes, they have to show that no one person is bigger than their show. Or bigger than the corporation. In the case of Jeremy Clarkson, though, he sort of is the show. Him and James may and Richard Hammond, to be sure, but the major draw of the show is watching all three of them dick around. Lose one, you change the dynamic and the show won’t be the same one that many people tune in for.

On top of that, Top Gear itself is big business. For some people, it is basically the BBC show they watch. It’s what they pay the license fee for. And when the only show you think is worth paying over £100 per year for the license fee risks being changed beyond recognition, people are understandably getting angry at the corporation they are funding for making a decision they don’t want.

And that’s just the UK.

Over in the USA, there are people vocally stating that Top Gear (UK) is pretty much the only reason they are paying for a BBC America subscription. And, unlike the UK license fee, this is purely being paid by choice. If an American decides that Top Gear is the only show worth paying the BBC for, they can stop paying and drop their subscription.

The BBC really had no way of coming out of this in a good light. For what it’s worth, I think they made the only decision they could. Attacking anyone, especially a colleague, just isn’t right. Some sort of reprimand had to be issued and, with contract renewal coming up, it is the logical step. Clarkson had to go.

It’s just unfortunate that, with a show as popular Top Gear’s current (previous?) incarnation, the BBC are going to have to pay the heavy price for making the right decision.
“No good deed goes unpunished” and this deed, however good, is going to cause the BBC some real headaches at least in the immediate short term.

Evangelion 3.33 -The Plot Thickens

All hell broke loose this afternoon when customers with open pre-orders through Amazon UK for the long-delayed and previously blogged about release of Evangelion 3.33 got cancellation notices claiming that “Manga UK were no longer releasing it”.

“Is it coming out at all?” ask some.

“Have Manga lost the license?” ask others.

“Do people even bother paying attention any more?” asked… well, me.
(I’m not exactly known for my sweet, tolerant and patient nature)

What we’ve actually heard, so far, from Manga’s social media feeds is that it is still coming out and that further details are coming. It also seems to be tied into the ongoing delay.

What people seem to forget that, especially with anime releases, cancelled-but-not-cancelled isn’t unheard of. It has happened before, especially with regards to Amazon.

The exact situation is still unknown and whether the news is good or bad is yet to be clarified. There are a few things that can be said for certain, though:

  • Amazon currently list Anime Limited’s upcoming DVD release of Durarara as being cancelled. This has been confirmed by Anime Limited as not being true.
  • Both properties have been suffering ongoing delays. My own personal speculation is that both titles have been communicated to Amazon as having their releases pushed back with no clear date in mind.
  • Last year’s Manga UK release of Psycho Pass, when changed from two parts to one part, was “cancelled” when the release pattern changed.
    They couldn’t just change “Part One” into “Complete Collection” because the price would go up and Amazon would be forced to apply their pre-order “lowest price” guarantee to a different product that actually cost more. That and it was likely a different SKU.

Eva’s mid-February release date was all-but-confirmed as being impossible at this point. Funimation still haven’t given concrete details of the American release. And I am pretty sure that theirs would have to have been out by now for Manga to be able to release in February.

I suspect that the apparent “cancellation” is down to one of two things:

  • Amazon put their foot down after yet another pushback without being given a confirmed release date. Taking pre-orders for a product is difficult if you don’t know when, or even if, it is even coming out.
  • That particular SKU has been cancelled or drastically changed. Maybe to have a dual-format pack. Maybe to offer something else. If a specific release has been removed, though, with an upcoming-but-not-submitted SKU due to replace it, it is still “cancelled” from the point of view of that particular item.

Hopefully, time will tell regarding what’s actually going on. Hopefully, though, the movie is still coming out over here and the Blu-ray version (something Manga seems to be going through a phase of skipping) is still on the cards.

Personally, I just want the damn thing to come out already. I have no interest in buying it but I just want it off my damned blog stats. 😉
And between the first post about it being popular and events like today’s warranting followup posts, it continues to dominate why people visit here.