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 Post subject: How did companies determine which anime gets an LD release?
PostPosted: 24 Mar 2024, 21:07 
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Hello everyone.

Up till now I've been a lurker on the site, having gotten into the LD game over a year ago and collecting a lot of anime LD's in the meantime. There are a few questions on my mind that I'd be curious to know the answer to.

Mainly I'm curious how the companies that were involved in releasing anime LD's determined which anime could get an LD release. I've noticed there does seem to be a pattern. Usually most kodomomuke anime is passed over (although there are some exceptions to the rule, such as the few Anpanman LD releases by VAP).

But surprisingly there's a few anime I've encountered that I would think could've been contenders for LD releases but were simply not released on the format (examples that come to mind would be Dokkiri Doctor, Futarigurashi, Kochikame, etc.)

But then on the other hand, there are surprising releases like the Pocket Monsters: Mewtwo Strikes Back LD, even though the TV series had never gotten a single LD release.

So that's why I wonder how companies back in the day determined which anime gets an LD release. Did they employ market research or have an intuitive sense of knowing which anime would appeal to their anime LD buyer demographic?

I guess the question could also be applied to Japanese TV series LD releases as well. How did they determine when a TV series could be released on LD versus just simply staying on VHS like the vast majority of Japanese TV series in that era?

Finally, there do seem to be some odd cases where an anime does get released on LD, but it doesn't pan out and the LD releases get cancelled after a certain volume. An example that comes to mind is Tonde Burin. Nippon Columbia released six volumes of it, up to the twenty-fourth episode, but stopped after that release (granted, how they were released was odd too. It seemed like according to suruga-ya, three LD volumes were released on a single day?)

I hope these questions aren't unanswerable, but it would be fascinating to know.
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 Post subject: Re: How did companies determine which anime gets an LD relea
PostPosted: 25 Mar 2024, 05:14 
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Interesting questions, and I can't answer them, but what I will say is that I don't think it's surprising the first Pokemon movie would get an LD while the show wouldn't. I don't know if the show exactly falls under the "kodomomuke" kids-show umbrella as the Japanese use the word, but it's still a long-running kids' show. The movie, on the other hand, was a movie. One disc, not dozens. When thinking about what ended up on LD, I would categorize it with other high-grossing kids' movies rather than the show it's based on.
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 Post subject: Re: How did companies determine which anime gets an LD relea
PostPosted: 25 Mar 2024, 05:39 
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rcarlson wrote:
Interesting questions, and I can't answer them, but what I will say is that I don't think it's surprising the first Pokemon movie would get an LD while the show wouldn't. I don't know if the show exactly falls under the "kodomomuke" kids-show umbrella as the Japanese use the word, but it's still a long-running kids' show. The movie, on the other hand, was a movie. One disc, not dozens. When thinking about what ended up on LD, I would categorize it with other high-grossing kids' movies rather than the show it's based on.


That's a pretty good point. I have noticed that there are quite a few anime that didn't have their television episodes released on LD, but their movies released on the format. Dragon Ball Z and Saint Seiya are two examples that come to mind for me. The LD releases of Anpanman and Doraemon also tend to be movies as well, so the same decision-making was probably made for the Pokemon movie release.

Movies may have been an easier sell for a family to pick up an LD release.

I have also noticed that Media Factory, who primarily handled it with Shogakukan, barely released anything on LD (there was only one other LD release they did, the DT Eightron LD-Box). Shogakukan (and PolyGram, considering that the LD's use their catalog numbering) did release plenty of LD's for Detective Conan, which is a shonen anime, so that's probably the big factor in how that anime got a decent amount of LD releases.
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 Post subject: Re: How did companies determine which anime gets an LD relea
PostPosted: 25 Mar 2024, 10:41 
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There aren’t really that many anime of the LD era that hit VHS and not LD. LD had lower tax associated with it so it was much cheaper than VHS and it was the main format for most people building a home video library. LD changed a bit as a format over the years. If you consider the show in question and the year there’s usually an explanation for what happened. If it hit VHS and not LD then the issue is that they knew they had a customer for rental but not necessarily for owning.

By the 90s with the release of then-new anime basically everything hits LD except long TV series. That took some time to establish though. When they were putting out “old shows”, shows that predated LD, publishers chose what was still popular years after the fact like Gatchman or Mazinger.

Sometimes a company may not have been in the best financial shape to put out their stuff when LD was the thing and some stuff gets lost in transitions between studios folding and such. Tezuka comes to mind here…his stuff is all over the place availability-wise…but we shouldn’t be surprised by that. He was always going under.

Mobile Suit Gundam TV didn’t hit LD until 1998! This is due to the unique situation with that show in that the compilation movies had long been considered the “real” Gundam 0079 and those all having multiple releases before 1998. 1998 was pretty much the last year for major box sets and such in Japan though so really it almost got missed. The very first home video release of Mobile Suit Gundam was almost DVD…even thought Z, ZZ, the movies and all those OVAs had come out earlier.

The shows that are famous but never saw an LD release are usually too dang long. Id love to have Kinnikuman on LD except that I probably wouldn’t. It’s very nostalgic for me but it’s also super low quality anime that would have been a super low quality transfer. At 140 eps (for the first series!) the box set would have been three times the size and cost of something like Macross, Gundam, whatever. Box sets of this size can’t do well, largely because of the large price. Kinnikuman would have had to had to have cost ¥100,000 or more. Who, the hell, exactly, is going to pay $1000+ in the 80s for an anime that stupid? The series was very successful, but it made its money on Jump weekly (¥280) or the compilation manga (¥360) and those little erasers dudes. You could easily buy a brand new car in 1990 for a million yen so think about now insane a ¥100,000 yet box set of a zero budget children’s anime is. Kids are priced waaaaaayy out so what affluent yet moronic adult exists to buy it?

Earlier in the LD era there some huge box sets for shows like Mighty Atom and Urusei Yatsura but the astonishing prices make these preorder only items with limited sales. After that they started selling smaller boxes and even individual volumes but then you just end up with people losing interest before they can finish the series.

Dragonball was the single most popular show of the LD era with it maxing in popularity at nearly the same year LD reached its peak yet has no TV release. Why? Well, it’s published by the same people as Kinnikuman and had exactly the same fans so it didn’t come out for the same reasons. Way too big, way too expensive. Shows like DBZ or Fist of the North Star never came out on video also because planning was difficult. Something like ZZ Gundam has a planned lifespan. Success or failure it was a year long show. It had an end. Shows like Saze-san are simply run as long as they possibly can. That manga to TV pipe, with merch and advertising, was the real goal.

Specifically the shows you mention…Pocket Monsters. Way way too long with no planned end. The movie came out for the same reason Dragonball and Ranger shows came out as movies; because those aren’t totally infeasible. Tonde Burin is more like…come on. You do realize you’re lucky anything exists at all here, right? This was not an Evangelion level hit. :)

Lastly, the box set train was still going when LD died so some shows still would have been released if DVD hadn’t come around. Big X came out really late and it’s from the 70s still. Those shows would have to wait for DVD. Eventually even Kinnikuman and Dragonball came out on DVD.
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 Post subject: Re: How did companies determine which anime gets an LD relea
PostPosted: 25 Mar 2024, 20:09 
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signofzeta wrote:
-snip-


Now that you've mentioned it, it does jive with my observations, like the thing you mention about the anime that stayed on VHS due to most consumers renting instead of owning, most of the listings I've seen for those anime were on rental tapes or in rental cases and the like. Rarely did I see them in a "sale" VHS case.

With what you said about long-running/big shows often not getting LD boxsets due to their length makes it quite a miracle that Yawara! got the three LD-boxset release it did from Victor.

Thank you for answering, especially since you went on a detailed explanation of it all. I especially didn't know too much about the Gundam LD release history so hearing how the original show just barely made the cutoff point surprised me.

As for Tonde Burin, I was just more surprised that the distributor thought there was potential profit to be made with that route. In retrospect, Nippon Columbia's 90s anime output didn't seem to have any noticeable hits, besides possibly the few Tatsunoko anime remakes and... (maybe) Hyper Police and Master of Mosquiton OVA's that they released. They took a long break from handling anime releases themselves for a long while seemingly after 1999 so I guess the lack of profitability took its toll on them?
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 Post subject: Re: How did companies determine which anime gets an LD relea
PostPosted: 25 Mar 2024, 21:41 
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Since I mentioned Big X in my post I went looking for a Big X Big Box for sale. The Wiki says the whole anime is lost except eps 1, 11, and from 40 to the end. Episodes 1 and 11 must have been found after the LD came out because it starts at episode 40. That’s so nuts I want to own this show now…which I have learned is actually from 1964 and not the 70s as I previously stated. I want to see if the animation is worse than Atom (it probably isn’t.)
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