March 03, 2007

Melancholy Packaging

SDB, talking about the upcoming release of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, sez: "Bandai and Kadokawa have decided to compromise by releasing the series both in chronological orderand in broadcast order. The broadcast order version will come out as Special Editions, without dubs. That means that completist fanboys will have to buy the series twice, yielding more revenue."

Well, yes and no. According to Robert, the Supreme Ruler and Usurper of the Anime Corner (does anybody else get a chuckle out of the inflated titles he gives himself in his weekly e-mails?), the "Special Edition" releases will have both the chronological order AND the broadcast order discs in them!

Unfortunately, that DOES mean that you'll have to pay more (and Bandai's releases are on the pricey side to begin with) for the S.E. versions, of course, so it may very well work out to paying the same price as if you bought two discs. But hey, you get a collector's iron-on! *eye-roll*

The broadcast order dvds will be, as noted, without dubs, which is okay with me, since I haven't watched a dub version of a show that's in my collection in *coughcough* years. I just have a problem with the voice acting in dubs, particularly if I've seen the show subbed beforehand.

There HAVE been a few dubbed shows recently that don't drive me screaming for an icepick to insert forcefully into my eardrums: Cowboy Bebop's was particularly good... in fact, I've yet to see the subbed version. Ghost In The Shell: Stand-Alone Complex was decent as well, though I still prefer the subs.

I've heard nothing to make me think that Haruhi will be worthwhile in dubbed form, though Bandai has done some good work in that area before. Go ahead, Bandai, surprise me!
You won't see this shot in the ED for the show, except in the extras.  KyoAni decided the animate the entire dance as an bonus clip on the Japanese release... if we're lucky, it'll be on one of the dvds here, too.

Actually, what really surprises me is that there was a discussion about releasing the episodes in chronological order to begin with. The broadcast order may be a little confusing (particularly in the first, oh, third of the series), but the whole thing tells the storyline in a very smooth arc. By the time you hit the last episode, you've gotten the whole package in a way that keeps you intrigued the whole time.

In contrast, the chronological order gives you the meat of the show ("Melancholy" I thru VI, plus the 'movie') at the very start, and then tacks on seven episodes that, while good in their own right (particularly "Day of Sagittarius"), feel like filler when viewed chronologically.

Put it this way: you could make a fantastic OVA out of the 'meat', lose the other seven episodes, and you'd STILL have a smash hit on your hands.

But in the broadcast version, you learn more about what's happening in Haruhi's World (it's her world, she just lets us live in it), albeit in flashback/forward form... and it makes sense, and it doesn't feel like something's tacked on that way.

My take: KyoAni broadcasted it the way they did for a reason, it worked, and it worked WELL. Why mess with it?

(UPDATE: the original version of this post said that Geneon was the distributor, not Bandai as is the case. This has been changed, and the entire continuity department has been sacked. The management of The Pond regrets the error, and will fully refund the money you paid for this post.)

Posted by: Wonderduck at 03:13 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 560 words, total size 4 kb.

1 I have only seen a few eps of this show and am intrigued....though I'm a bit but off by the "heroine"....I'll likely have to wait for the commercial release.

Wendee Lee is a voice actor with a VERY wide range. They've got a good cast named so if the direction is good it should be decent.

I'm not adverse to dubs in general. In the last decade they have gotten much better and its interesting to compare the way different charachters sound.

IMHO Japan still has a better pool of talent because of union issues here and the fact that a lot of studios can't grasp that VOICE acting requires a different talent and skillset than acting.

On the Other Hand....the voice work in One Piece is the worst in years.

Posted by: Ken Talton at March 03, 2007 03:44 PM (V5zw/)

2 I just can't help but think of the words "cheap moneygrubbing ploy." TMoSH became a hit either because or in spite of the episode order. Why mess with that except to milk money from the purists, while the "new" audience for the material writes it off as nothing particularly interesting because the storytelling devices KyoAni used simply won't work the same way?

Ugh. Oh well.

Posted by: GreyDuck at March 03, 2007 04:20 PM (CdXfx)

3 Surely you mean Bandai and not Geneon?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about Bandai's plans for the DVD release. This page answers most of the questions generated by the initial announcement at NYCC.

Notably, chronological order on the regular-edition DVDs was mandated by the Japanese licensor--it was not Bandai Entertainment's decision. BEI pulled out all the stops just to get broadcast order as an extra on the special edition--something that the Japanese DVD release does not have.

I agree with you that the episode shuffling was a stroke of genius on KyoAni's part, but from the looks of things this was preordained long before Kadokawa and Bandai sat down at the negotiating table. Ultimately it's a great show in either order, and this way I get to see my favorite episode (Melancholy IV) on DVD two months sooner than I would have otherwise.

Posted by: Andrew F. at March 03, 2007 07:55 PM (8+P+b)

4 "Surely you mean Bandai and not Geneon?"

Whoops! Fixed.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 03, 2007 09:01 PM (GQv1b)

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