Dear Aniplex, You’re Setting Puella Magi Madoka Magica Up to Fail In America and You Probably Won’t Even Know Why

What Aniplex needs

The recent news concerning the demise of Bandai in the United States should sadden anime fans living in Region 1 but it was hardly unexpected news. Instead, the reason why Bandai is shutting down now is the surprising part. The Japanese puppet masters behind the American subsidiary decided that if the American consumer would not adhere to a similar model as the Japanese consumer then they would just close the American subsidiary down and try to entice the American hard-core anime fans into importing Japanese media at Japanese market prices because the alternative – anime at a reasonable price that could be reverse imported – would threaten the stability of the Japanese market.

While perusing the articles about Bandai I had a light bulb moment concerning the impending English adaptation of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Those reading can probably guess where this is heading but before I get to discussing the recently released English trailer I have to establish something first.

I am not an elitist anime fan who only watches anime subtitled since it’s the “purer”, innately “better” way to do it – I mainly watch anime subtitled because, in general, the quality of vocal acting is higher from the Japanese.  That’s not say there are no good English dubs; for example: FLCL, Ghost in the Shell:SAC, all Studio Ghibli movies, Baccano, Yu Yu Hakusho all come quickly to mind. To hear what a good dub sounds like here’s a few videos.

This one’s a bit old-school :)

This one’s a bit NSFW :)

This one’s a bit violent :)

This one’s a bit awesome :)

The plan that Aniplex is using for the Region 1 (aka Canada and the United States aka R1) release of Puella Magi Madoka Magica (PM3) is three volumes of 4 episodes each in 3 different options – bare-bones DVD, bare-bones Blu-Ray, special edition DVD/Blu-Ray combo. Assuming an actual price of $25/volume, $35/volume, and $65/volume, respectively, for the three options that works out to $75, $105, $195 to purchase PM3.

From a personal standpoint it doesn’t bother me much that Aniplex is using an outdated and pricier sales plan for PM3 in view of the fact that I’ve already seen PM3 and know if there is one show that is theoretically worth paying that much more for, it’s this one. The problem comes from the personal desire to see PM3 do well over here and realizing that it probably won’t.

Oh sure, PM3 will sell well for a “niche” title (fans who watched it already through non-official means will see to that) but it’s the type of anime that could take the entire R1 anime fandom by storm and be talked about and watched in the future like Cowboy Bebop or Evangelion or FLCL are now. Which is what I mean when I say PM3 will fail in America; it will never remotely approach the impact in R1 it could have and the anime industry will have missed yet another the chance to reinvigorate and grow the market here.

The first step in this failure is the higher price point. To pretend that offering a series at a much higher cost won’t present a significant hurdle in selling PM3 to the large base of casual anime fans is to live in a fantasy world. How many people unfamiliar with PM3 will jump at the chance to pay a minimum of $75 dollars for a 12 episode series when for $8 they could buy AIR, $18 to purchase Bamboo Blade, and $35 to get both seasons of Birdy the Mighty Decode in one box set?  This is just a first step; it’s still possible to overcome this pricing structure and convince the multitudes to watch and buy PM3 if Aniplex is sufficiently savvy. However, judging from the English trailer this does not seem to be the case; I count three big problems of this trailer whose job is to convince people unfamiliar with Puella Magi Madoka Magica into buying it.

Trailer needed some of this in it.

The first problem is that the English dub is atrocious and will actively turn off potential viewers. How will someone who has grown up surrounded by books, magazines, television shows, movies, and music that – no matter how vapid or deep – are all well-produced react to a trailer that contains so many cringe-worthy moments? Here’s a hint, it’s not going to be rushing out to purchase PM3. I’d be surprised if these potential buyers even get to the point when they see how much it’s going to cost to buy the series and compare it what could be bought for the same price.  There was one comment I saw at Anime News Network that I loved. The person wrote saying that after listening to the trailer for a third time he thought the dub sounded good. Think about that. Here’s someone who actively wants to like the dub and it still took three tries for him/her/it to succeed in drinking the kool-aid. This was an easy task to complete for this viewer and the trailer almost failed at it. Imagine a normal consumer; this dub won’t get do-overs and mulligans to convince that person into buying Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

(As an aside, the argument that the dub is good in the actual show is not a valid counter argument. If the trailer fails to convince a potential buyer into purchasing PM3 then there’s nothing to watch and discover that the “dub wasn’t that bad after-all”. )

Before moving on, I wanted to post a clip that does a much better job with it’s English dub so one could do a bit of comparing and contrasting. The clip in question is for the excellent series Bamboo Blade, another anime full of teenage girls (which normally seem like the English dubbers kryptonite).

The second problem is the reliance on the assumption that anime fandom in R1 is on a similar page as Japanese fandom. This a bad assumption to make and yet another nail in the coffin for PM3.  Even in this age of streaming anime, the R1 anime fan that sticks to official sources to watch anime is still only getting a skewed, partial picture of what “anime” encompasses. In Japan PM3 proves it’s possible to successfully sell a series just by saying that Shaft will be animating, Akiyuki Shinbou will be directing, Ume Aoki will design the characters, and Gen Urobuchi will be writing the script. These names mean something over there but that’s not really the case over here (exceptions include well-informed fans and fans that pick stuff up from fansub-watching friends). For these names to mean something, numerous anime in various genres over the past decade would have needed to get licensed and dubbed first to build up the needed groups of fans to mirror their Japanese counterparts.

By relying on the star power of the staff to sell PM3 and hiding the true nature of the series, the second problem of the trailer gives rise to the third problem; namely, it does not explain, excite, and entice prospective buyers. On a fundamental level people expect a trailer to be representative of the show and the trailer of PM3 is for a completely different show then what PM3 actually is. This bait-n-switch was very similar to the Japanese trailer but does anyone at Aniplex realize that there’s a difference between tricking people who are watching a TV program and tricking people paying a not insignificant amount of money for a DVD or Blu-Ray? There are going to be people who won’t get turned off by the high prices or the bad acting and actually found the trailer convincing enough to buy Puella Magi Madoka Magica who will then feel betrayed when what looked like a cute magic-girl anime turns out to be everything but cute. Will this turn these people into bigger anime fans or will this turn them into more cautious fans? Perhaps, the types of fans that won’t mind going through not-official channels to ensure they never get duped out of their money again?

And don’t think this won’t happen. Who else is going to buy PM3 – remember, we’re not talking about those fans that have already seen it but the large number of more casual anime fans – when those who’d enjoy where the story goes have no clue that PM3 has higher aspirations? I’m not saying the trailer should spoil the series but there were several scenes early in the show that made Kyubey’s offer seem a bit suspicious and signaled to the viewers that something more was going on. These scenes would draw potential buyers in because they’d want to unravel the mystery of Kyubey and to find out what happens when you “make a contract” with Kyubey. Of course, decent acting would help; for starters, Kyubey’s English voice has none of that slightly creepy edge his Japanese voice had.

To see a trailer that successfully explains, excites, and entices check out this trailer for Jellyfish Princess.

This trailer does the near-Herculean task of getting my hyped for an anime I’ve already seen twice and has an ending I find less-then satisfying. I’m definitely buying this anime when it comes out.

Here’s another example:

I realize I’ve written near 1600 words when I could have just said the trailer “sucks” and used the hours I spent over the last week writing this to instead cover the new Winter season anime (which pretty much rocks in comparison to the Fall season) but Puella Magi Madoka Magica deserves better and the anime fans in Region 1 deserve better as well. Which leads me back to why Bandai’s demise reminded me of Aniplex’s R1 plan Puella Magi Madoka Magica – it truly does take a R1 company to understand how to sell anime to those fans living in Region 1.

Almost forget here’s a the trailer in question:

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23 thoughts on “Dear Aniplex, You’re Setting Puella Magi Madoka Magica Up to Fail In America and You Probably Won’t Even Know Why”

  1. They need to fire everyone involved in making the English dub trailer and make another dub trailer from the scratch. Voice acting is bad and the scene selections will make most people who haven’t seen this series to pass this.

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  2. I really don’t like Madoka’s voice. It just bothers me six ways from Sunday. Kyubey is fine, except it sounds too much like Madoka and the characterization could be improved to be more evasive/creepy.

    As for the trailer itself, it’s just not interesting. It just looks like cute girls (who happen to be magical girls) doing cute things. Not undertones at all. Heck, the opening is more interesting than this.

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  3. You raise a lot of excellent points. The one that resonates with me the most is that the view, taken by companies in the Anime industry, that each anime should be viewed as an investment vehicle on its own, misses the opportunity to develop the R1 Anime market. Without development the R1 market is not prepared to accept individual titles — and PMMM is a perfect example of this — that build in one way or another on other shows.

    One place where you discuss this:
    “For these names to mean something, numerous anime in various genres over the past decade would have needed to get licensed and dubbed first to build up the needed groups of fans to mirror their Japanese counterparts.”

    The atomistic view of the Anime industry (I must make money off of *this* title or it means nothing to me) completely ignores the web of information that the potential Anime consumer uses to make their purchasing decision.

    As far as the trailer itself goes, I think they wasted an opportunity by emphasizing the J-Pop opening song. They SHOULD have used some of the exotic background music, or the dark ED. Even if they just switched out the music playing behind the trailer it would have given a MUCH more accurate idea of the mood of the show.

    Well, I don’t have enough time to list all the mistakes that the Anime industry makes, so I’ll stop here.

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  4. A very interesting post!

    I haven’t jumped on the Madoki bandwagon yet, but as soon as I saw the original trailers saying that Shaft and Shinbo were teaming up for a new series, I knew it was going to be epic (lol this blog probably the cause of most of my awareness about that). And after reading this I’m even more excited to watch the show! >,>

    I agree that new American anime fans…or the “casual” fan, and you nicely put, have been deprived as of late. There are so many amazing anime that these fans just don’t take the time to look at. It would be great if an anime like Madoki Magica got more people interested in anime’s “dark side.” But I still see that it’s immensely popular. It would just be too bad if it couldn’t gain even more fans. Especially now that so many anime / manga – related companies are going bakrupt. :\

    But you make a great point about the winter season. It truly IS amazing! >,> Too bad I have other anime to catch up on before I begin digging into it (couldn’t help jumping into Natsume Season 4, however…I still can’t believe they made a fourth season…it’s like a miraculous dream come true~). ><

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  5. And I’m also revved up to see the English dub of Jellyfish Princess. Read a magazine spread on it the other day…and they’re finally dubbing one of Shaft and Shinbo’s earliest works Ef (I’m pretty sure that was Shinbo…).

    So it’s slowly coming around (I don’t think I’d want to hear an Arakawa dub though…Somehow I’m scared they’d ruin it…).

    I have no idea why the US is the one country in the world that puts absolutely no money towards dubs. One good dub actor is precious (and gets re-used in almost every anime, lol). Maybe because we think that we’re the center of the entertainment business?

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  6. The Madoka Magica trailer is awful. I was not a fan of Madoka Magica and still don’t get the hype of it all but that trailer would not get anyone interested. The Princess Jellyfish dub actually seems really good and since I did enjoy that anime, most likely will be purchasing that. I have the same reason for watching subs over dubs, I find Japanese voice acting to be much better than English voice acting. Although I have noticed that if I do enjoy English voice acting, the voice actors are usually British. I am also not willing to pay Japanese prices for anime no matter how much I love it. Like many other Americans, I am watching my budget closely and paying over $100 for something I don’t necessarily need cannot be done. Make it affordable and it will do well.

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  7. I think it may help to step back for a minute and think about this supposed customer who would buy DVDs/Blu-Rays for a show sight-unseen based on the dub trailer alone. It reminds me of back in the early-2000s when anime was still a popular fad and you could go into most any retail store that sold DVDs, peruse the shelves, and find a whole ton of anime you hadn’t seen yet and they were trying to entice you to buy based on the pretty packaging. Nowadays, with the retail presence of anime being all but eliminated, and the pervasiveness of online streaming options (legal in particular, but illegal as well), I’m thinking we can probably categorize this “casual collector” target audience as an endangered species.

    As far as I can tell, this show isn’t even being sold at general retail (RightStuf only), so you’re only talking about people who would see the dub trailer online — even a *good* dub trailer — and use that as the deciding factor to making an online purchase. Even if you “priced it to sell”, how many people are in this mythical group nowadays? Is it even enough to justify the lower price tag?

    I think the primary target audience for this release is, in fact, the existing fanbase that has already seen the show, and those that have already been influenced via word of mouth. The dub trailer is really just to say “look, and there’s a dub too”. People who are not deeply connected to the online anime community aren’t going to ever see this trailer anyway, and I think they’re much more likely to hear about the show through friends and acquaintances both now and after the show is released. A single dub trailer isn’t going to be enough to sink the show’s chance at whatever popularity it can achieve.

    Another thing I would point out is that, back in the day when Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, and FLCL were released, these sorts of prices were the norm, and they still sold even better than what we usually see nowadays. I don’t think price is the primary issue; if the show is that good, fans who want to collect it will pay the price. But I don’t think an American DVD/BD release is the primary gateway to some larger North American fanbase any more. The audience who waits and buys the DVDs/Blu-Rays for every show they want to watch is dying off; appealing to them isn’t going to mean “mass-market” success.

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  8. @RelentlessFlame, the thing about Cowboy Bebop and FLCL (Eva is in a category of its own) is that they were broadcast in the US. This is an example of what I was trying to get at above. Airing the show “for free” should be viewed as advertisement for the series. This is EXACTLY the same as what happens with music — it is played “for free” on the radio. Madoka won’t be broadcast, they just want to make the money on disc sales. This is myopic, because it ignores all the other things that go into a show’s success.

    Maybe “atomistic” wasn’t a good term to describe what I meant, but I think they have deluded themselves into thinking that they can just pick a title, lift it out of it’s original social context, and monetize it in the US. By snapping it out of the web of connections that give it meaning to the Japanese consumer, they DIMINISH the potential for US sales.

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  9. @Joojoobees:
    I think you’re making a big assumption that they’ve “deluded themselves” about the show’s sales potential or that they’ve made a false assumption about who the target audience is. Aniplex is a Japanese company whose primary business model for DVDs/Blu-Rays is to sell very expensive products to a very small hardcore/niche market. I don’t think it’s that logical to assume that they’re going to take an entirely different strategy in the U.S, and expect this show to reach some sort of large mainstream audience just by releasing a dub trailer. In fact, there are a lot of American anime fans that already have seen the series “for free”, or at least heard things from those who did. Getting anime on TV these days is damn near impossible, so not a realistic expectation in this market, and again keep in mind that this show is apparently only being sold at one online retailer and not available widely. So what success do you expect the show to realistically have? This is a niche product that will be purchased by a small niche audience of mostly people who have already watched the show. I don’t see any evidence to suggest that Aniplex expects anything more than that.

    One of the points of the original article, however, was the belief that the show *could have* appealed to a much larger audience if it were being packaged/sold/marketed/produced in a different way. Personally, I’m not convinced this is the sort of show that has that sort of potential, no matter how good most anime fans consider it to be.

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  10. I wanted to like the dub. I really did.

    Yeah. It didn’t happen.

    I do get tired of these super big titles that I actually would buy–Durarara, K-On–end up being so much yet offering nothing that I don’t. I’m use to the days of a dubbed anime dvd being $30 at most, I’ve yet to be convinced that it’s worth it to open my pocketbook to pay $40 for a few episodes. And I’d rather just buy a boxset.

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  11. Thanks to everyone that’s commented. I’d’ve responded sooner but every free moment I have had my eyes glued to the book – A Game of Thrones.

    @maglor: couldn’t agree more :)

    @JonBob: I never liked the opening much but it would definitely have been a better option.

    @Amri: Natsume is an awesome show, there’s nothing that can match it’s ability to leave one feeling warm, fuzzy and relaxed. Assuming sales of the fourth season hold, I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more seasons made in the future.

    @GoodbyeNavi: That’s an interesting point about the voice actors being British, I’ve never noticed that before. This’ll give me something new to look and listen for in the future :) .

    @Joojoobees: The same can now be said about Niseomonogatari. They didn’t even have the foresight to let Bakemonogatari be available to watch before the second season started.

    @hn elly: Yeah, I wanted to like the dub too because then I could convince myself to buy the DVDs to what I consider my favorite anime of all-time but as it stands now it’s too much money for something I’ll never watch dubbed or have the ability to lend out to hook friends when the dub sounds so horrible.

    Kyubei could have been okay if he/she/it had been voiced with a strange/creepy undertone. I actually didn’t much like Homura’s voice. The clip they used of her talking to Madoka while walking to the nurse’s office didn’t have that menacing undertone that the original dub had and that the scene needed.

    @relentlessflame: A couple of years ago my one sister – the same sister who got me hooked to both the Dresden series and now the A Song of Ice and Fire series – convinced me to try out paper-n-pen tabletop Dungeons & Dragons. I found it fun but every other person in our circle of D&D players are medium to hard-core fans of D&D and I’m the casual player in this circle. These same D&D fans are all what I called casual anime fans and when I wrote this post these were the people I had in mind.

    To these casual anime fans, a well made trailer that they happen to see is more often then not the genesis behind them picking up an anime. Of course, I sometimes try to steer them to anime that I know they’d like but after I suggest an anime they’ll still go and watch the trailer and maybe stream the first episode or two if it’s available. For instance, I got three box sets of Baccano bought after pointing it out and they researched it more themselves.

    So these casual anime fans do exist and still exist.

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  12. I think this is a common effect of globalization which shatters monopolies. In Japan, the high price is due to a combination of restricted supply and high demand from name brands and license monopolies. Because Japan has far less strenuous standards for visual novel cellphone games, mangas, and various other sub-cultural productions, they can get away with this economic and marketing strategy. But the US works very differently.

    It’s like when environmentalists say that oil is a pollutant and that humans should be eradicated from the Earth, so the moderate environmentalists and politicians think they can line their pocket if they just buy corn from Africa and make it into bio-diesel. Then they were told that this drove up corn prices to the point where supply depleted for subsistence farmers and Africans and other third world masses started starving and dying off. Conveniently, that supported the environmentalist goals, the moderate environmentalists were just saying things that sounded good that people bought into.

    Empires long ago realized that centralized power only works so far, until your territory and bureaucracy expands to something the size of a continent, that is. China realized this in the Han dynasty. Rome realized it when they gave provinces and conquered cultures the option of almost full autonomy, in return for taxes and military recruitment. America realized it in the small states vs large states vs federal government issue.

    When people, corporations, and nations start forgetting this little facet of truth and start trying to impose their ideals over people far far away, they’re not going to get anything out of it except burned down villages and endless wars.

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  13. Japan has put a lot of stake in the Samurai Ronin ideal, specifically under the guidelines of Miyamoto Musashi. Instead of directing their energies towards learning the sword, they used the precepts as a guideline to mastery of economic and business ventures, where an employee is as loyal to the corporation as a samurai was loyal to their feudal lord. I was unsure how big an influence this had, but it seems it was significant from recent research results of mine.

    Thus business is often considered in the same realm as warfare by the Japanese. But Americans consider it slightly differently. We no longer respect name brands with instant recognition from Hollywood or cable tv. Japan is never going to get a toe hold in this market until they comprehend that Americans are mostly not interested in military or economic power, but in individual novelty first and foremost. And individuals with novelty, don’t come backed by the high prices of monopolies, government subsidies, and conquering merchantmen. In this vein, the japanese would have done better to study the Art of War in their corporate zaibatsus than the Book of Five Rings, which is still something that cannot be understood by people unfamiliar with violence or the killing sword.

    Many Japanese companies, such as when importing games to America, kept talking about upping the “power” (they used the English word in a Japanese sentence), as if Americans are all about and enthralled about “power”. Such imports didn’t do too well. Novelty is what Americans look for in overseas and domestic products. And Japan by its culture and origins, is very new. Witness Total War Shogun’s success and Rome Total War’s success. The Japanese domestic markets also look for novelty, which is why there are various scenarios set in the Sengoku era but with weird stuff happening (all female characters and generals, or like Sengoku Basara with super warriors)

    The American market has its own monopoly called Hollywood. There is no freedom for individual expression or novelty in Hollywood, due to monopoly practices and funding restrictions. In fact, many American movies are made for foreign audiences because 80% of the front money was paid by foreign theaters, not domestic American theaters. In this sense, you could call American Holl movies “globalized”. In another sense, it’s still a domestic monopoly that Americans have had a hard time cracking. This also applies to writers and voice actors or musicians hired for tv serials. Because Hollywood controls the funding from the top, they get to decide who to hire, so voice actors and musicians either sign away their talents (and income) in a contract forever and ever, or they free lance and are thus unadvertised. A musician makes less than 50% of the income from their material, I believe, and the rest goes to their agent and marketing schemes. Which is pretty sad and why so many musicians are selling via iTunes and internet based schemes. The internet has no tax, you see. It’s not like the Records and Media business in the US, another monopoly with “corporate town” type policies.

    American voice actors have not been glamorized, marketed, or developed. The infrastructure is thus not there. In Japan, voice actors have a much higher status, and thus admiration and income structure. It draws in better talent, more talent, and more stable income. There’s no such stability in the US, because even for good voice actors such as for Sayuki, when things change, they don’t have a contract that says they will always be the voices of these characters. They changed English voice actors. Can you imagine a Japanese company doing that with a license, unless somebody had died, and they couldn’t find another voice that sounded similar?

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  14. I would say they’re just targeting a “safer” audience. The uber-otaku collector types that will buy this up. I’ll use the lmtd. ed as an example. If 1000 people by the 3 LE sets for 225 dollars, they could make 225k minus expenses. The problem with the US anime market, is the the amt of customers isn’t that great and lowering the price wouldn’t have really increased the number of sales enough to cover the cost of a hot license like PMMM.

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  15. Also, let’s see if yesterday’s streaming of dubbed ep1 was a one-time event, or are they going to stream the entire series eventually. Even though streaming for a very limited time period and in low quality is substandard nowadays, it’s better than nothing, and it gives some possibility of the casual audience having a possibility to try the product before buying. I know that there actually were some people watching yesterday’s stream who haven’t seen the series before.

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  16. And now we have subbed Madoka available in NA on Crunchyroll. So there is a way to watch it legally for free, a stream is nowadays basically an equivalent of broadcast back in Evangelion days. So it seems it may not fail as bad as you predicted.

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  17. I agree with most of this, Kyubey’s english voice isn’t creepy at all and it should be. But the voices for Madoka and the other girls is fine in my opinion. They sound like little girls, little girls may sound annoying, but at least the voice matches the characters.

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  18. I think a big part of the problem is that getting this to air on TV would be a nightmare. Try telling SyFy viewers that their prime-time slot is now taken up by a cutesy magical girl anime. Or Adult Swim. Or any channel where the show’s later violence would be acceptable.

    Once you get into the show it’s fine and dandy, but most American audiences would snub their nose at it as soon as look at it due to its cutesy style. It would be incredibly difficult to market this big without sacrificing major spoilers.

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  19. They should just use this as a trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra-MSo5-hg0
    (Its how I got some people to look at Madoka).

    But the actual reasoning behind the pricing, and model is this: Because Blu Rays share a region in Japan, they do not want american releases cannibalizing their domestic market, so either high prices, import only, or dvd only, or a long delay in bringing it over.

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  20. Im a little late to the party. I found this review while reasearching the Madoka movies usa release. I am a bit disappointed in this review. I guess the review is of the trailer and not of the series itself, but its still disappointing. If you think that is bad dubbing, then you haven’t heard bad dubbing. The trailer itself isn’t great, but no anime trailer ever is. Just because you don’t like a characters voice, doesn’t mean that its bad dubbing. I personaly find Kyubey to be much more creepy of a character, when he has a more normal and non-thretening voice. The Japanese voice sounds more creepy yes, but it makes the character more silly and less interesting. In general I think most anime fans have a bias against dubbing, and it twists their vision of it. Japanese voice actors are not as good at most anime fans think they are. They just don’t understand Japanese, so they have no idea if the acting is good or bad, it just sounds unique and different.

    I bought the bluray box sets of Madoka, and I am very happy with them. Another thing I found disappointing I the fact that you didn’t mention that the price was high, because it wasn’t a normal box set. They each came with a bunch of nifty stuff, and its obvious that a lot more care and work went into these sets then the normal ones we have here in the usa. Much like the Sword Art Online sets being sold this year.

    Whatever the argument is in the end, I am happy I bought the series, and Im happy to have the choice of what language to watch it in.

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  21. Reading this article in hindsight is way more cringeworthy than you made out the English Dub to be from the shitty 2 minute trailer. First off, you were judging an entire English dub off a shitty 2 minute trailer. Pretty self explanatory why that’s kind of dumb especially when you consider the more serious parts are going to show off a lot more range.

    Apparently the English Dub was supposed to turn people away. Which I find really funny considering the premiere of the dub on NicoNico was how I found out about the show back when I was still getting into anime and the only subbed show I’d seen at that point was K-ON Season 2. I’ve watched the show dubbed and subbed many times over since and both are equally fantastic.

    Apparently Madoka Magica was supposed to fail because of this. Which, I might add, was also a really nice prediction on your part.

    I’m going to be honest for a second in saying that I would have given my left kidney to get those Madoka BD boxes.Same goes for the KLK release. You guys get it so much better than us in terms of anime releases with Funimation’s bargains and Aniplex’s Limited Editions sets yet all you do is complain. Here in Australia we got a completely barebones release (Aside from a flimsy ‘collector case’ which came with volume 1) of the series that added up to roughly $100. I ended up importing Rebellion because I know it’ll be a crappy $30 barebones package when it gets a local release.

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  22. @SeibaaHomu: Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    When I wrote this post back in January 2012 there was no word about them eventually streaming Madoka for free. If I had known they were planning on doing that then the content of this post would have been vastly different.

    Back then it appeared that Aniplex was going to be relying on that trailer alone to sale this series and that made me angry because I love, love, love Madoka (it’s my #1 top anime).

    I wasn’t complaining that the Madoka discs were overpriced – I said Madoka was the type of series that was worth it – my issue was to ask people to spend that amount solely on the basis of the trailer was a terrible idea. I have no complaints once viewers are able to stream the series for free because viewers can make an informed decision if the series is worth it or not.

    The fact that you got into the show upon the chance to watch it through streaming helps make the point that I kinda left unsaid here which was that easy and free availability to anime is what’s needed to grow the market for anime.

    Someday I will watch Madoka dubbed to see if my initial impression of the dub was correct or not and will probably write up the results somewhere – probably in the next update of my all-time top 20 list.

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