I saw “Anime Midstream” come up in the titles of a blog or two on my feed today, but didn’t pay much attention until I saw Anime Vice’s post about it, and that’s only because “Raijin-Oh” caught my eye. No one else mentioned that part. …Probably because no one else knows what the hell Raijin-Oh is.
Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh is an old 90’s kids’ super sentai mecha series (you can watch the opening theme here). It’s also one of the first anime series I’ve ever seen way back… in the 90’s. I saw it as a hilarious Chinese dub. It was amazing. I have many fond memories of it. And it’s apparently been picked up by some new company called Anime Midstream. It’s amazing to me that something so old, random, and obscure should be licensed out of the blue, especially by a newbie company, and especially in the middle of this economic crisis. I love Raijin-Oh, haven’t seen it in years, and would love to revisit it, but there’s a lot about this license that concerns me. Taking a peek at Anime Midstream’s website was all it took.
Even before getting to Anime Midstream, Raijin-Oh’s age is very obvious. It’s not like the shiny stuff kids like to watch on TV these days. As such, I don’t think it has a place in the market for today’s children; besides, for a new company, the chances of them getting a broadcast deal are slim to none. There’s no way a toy deal is going to come out of this either. The designs are simply too old. The only people that would want watch this are old(ish) geeks like me, and even that’s limited by the by the number of people that either already know of this title or are curious enough to check it out. The DVD-only market is a tricky business, especially if you don’t have a marketing budget to speak of.
And everything about Anime Midstream gives off a bad, bad impression:
1) According to a quick whois query, their domain was registered on December 11th, 2008. That’s only four days before their press release of the license. Kind of fishy. I wonder what kind of impression Sunrise got when they entered into negotiations with a nobody company with no website? Since it’s such an old title, maybe Sunrise doesn’t care, but even so.
2) Their website layout is a free template. A poorly implemented and clashing one at that. The web designer in me is crying.
3) They have a site counter! A crappy, oldschool cgi site counter! God! I haven’t seen one of these in forever! They remind me of the Internet in the 90’s, right up there with blaring midis, repeating backgrounds with unreadable text over them, and cheap animated gifs! Are they shooting for a site from the time period their license is from??
4) The text under “Who We Are” is terrible. It has crappy grammar and crappy wording in general. I want to attack it with a red pen.
5) The blurb they have about Raijin-Oh under “Series” is copy-pasta’d from Wikipedia. Good job, guys.
6) A call for auditions in voice acting? Does this mean they want to dub Raijin-Oh with an amateur cast? On one hand, it’s interesting to see a company reach out further from the talent pool so we don’t see the same names appear over and over again in anime, but on the other hand, it basically says they have no budget whatsoever.
7) Donations!? It astounds me that they’re asking for donations. Donations is something starving artists ask for, and even starving artists (usually) have the decency to ask for commissions, not hand-outs. It’s even worse that they’re straight-up telling you that a $5 donation can get your name on a DVD. $5 isn’t a lot. Maybe it’ll be a tiny, obscure, extra section of the DVD, but even so! $15 for a short message? I also get the feeling they aren’t expecting much in the way of donations which is why they’re willing to give back for so little. That’s just depressing.
8) Their contact address is a gmail address. Come on. Can’t you set up the mail server on your two-week old hosting account?
I was really excited about this for about five minutes. After looking at Anime Midstream’s website though, I’m pretty damn sure that this is never going to come to pass. There’s no way a dub’s ever going to get produced, and even if they go for a sub-only DVD release, I can’t imagine that a lot of retailers will want to carry something like this, especially if they don’t have a clear audience. No one wants series like this right now. The otaku community is getting all excited about near-simultaneously releases, what with the upcoming Kurokami and Naruto Shippudden; they don’t want a nearly two-decade old series for kids. It’ll be interesting to see what ends up happening, but there shall be no vote of confidence from me.