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Monday, May 13, 2013

AnimeSols Has Gone Live! Ninja Robot Tobikage a Surprise Offer!

I'm taking a small detour from Manga May for good reason: Sam Pinansky's Anime-Meets-Kickstarter streaming site has gone live!

Sam announced this site a little over a year ago, and back in November the name plus some initial offerings were officially revealed. For those who don't understand what AnimeSols is, here's a basic primer. Anime Sols is teaming with a few anime studios, namely Tatsunoko, Pierrot, & Tezuka Productions to start, and is streaming anime with English subtitles on the eponymous site. Due to licensing restrictions & issues the videos only work for those who live in the United States & Canada. But AnimeSols is more than a simple streaming site...

Here's where the Kickstarter influence comes in. If you enjoy what you're watching, then you can pledge set amounts (starting at $5) to help produce DVD boxsets that, if successful, AnimeSols can then produce & release. To help give an idea of what I'm talking about, $5 & $10 get you nothing more than digital extras, but at the next level, $40 (the "Core" level), you would get a DVD boxset that contains roughly 12-13 episodes of the show you're supporting. If you want to spend more then you can, & that will net you all sorts of extras, like having your name (& a message if you pledge enough) on the DVD release, "Goods Grabbags", and even title-specific things like signed frame art, dinner with the producer, or even Chogokin models. When a set of episodes debuts on the site, fans will have three months to pledge their money for the release, and if enough money is gathered the sets are made & so on. Rinse & repeat for future sets & shows.

But how much is AnimeSols asking for? Well, it depends on the show but the cheapest right now is $16,000 & the highest is $22,000. What, are those big numbers for you? Well consider this: If everyone simply pledges $40 (which gets you the DVD release), then all you need is 400-550 people to pledge, and these costs are for 1,000 sets (the minimum amount they can press for one printing). That's not a lot of people, honestly, plus the overstock that remains will get sold at your usual online stores, which means that international fans can still get these releases, eventually. Plus, if there are people who spend that extra money for the extra incentives then that means even less people will be needed to fulfill those pledges.

But, I know what you're asking still: "Well, what shows is AnimeSols offering right now?" Well, read on:
Black Jack TV
Magical Angel Creamy Mami
Tekkaman the Space Knight
Yatterman [2008]
Blue Blink (the last anime Osamu Tezuka ever worked on)
Ninja Robot Tobikage (this title was not announced before now!)
The "24 Hour TV Specials" (Bander Book, Marine Express, & Fumoon)

I'll admit that these aren't exactly barn-burners in terms of recognition, outside of Black Jack, but that's kind of the idea. AnimeSols' intent is to give smaller-name titles that would never get licensed for DVD release normally a chance to get a physical release, let alone a chance for people to potentially see them legally. The subtitles are all professionally done, even re-done if there were already pre-exisiting subs that weren't that great, and the money is essentially going all to the anime studios themselves (outside of what AnimeSols needs to stay in operation, that is).

Personally, this site is something I could see myself getting behind. I really enjoyed what I saw of Black Jack TV and have wanted to own it on DVD for a while, I have wanted to see Tobikage without having to rely on the really rough bootleg subs that exist, titles like Tekkaman & Yatterman are likely to be fun shows to watch, and I know that there's an audience for titles like Creamy Mami. For those hoping that other studios get involved, well then you have to support the site & prove that the idea is worth continuing. Sam Pinansky has admitted that he's gotten into contact with other companies about getting them involved, such as Toei, TMS, & Tezuka Pro's "estranged cousin" Mushi Productions, and if this site is shown to work then they'll likely be willing to offer their shows on the site as well. Personally, if that could mean that, one day, I might be able to actually own titles like Ring ni Kakero 1, B't X, Dororo, or even Ashita no Joe  on DVD then I want to see this site succeed beyond anything I was expecting!


  1. On the subject of anime streaming sites, I wanted to let you know that Daisuki has a survey poll for which titlers they should go for next, and Beat X/B't X is one of them!

    But yeah, I hope that I can see if I can talk my sister into sharing an account with me, as I would like to support Anime Sols (as tempting as it may be to just watch the shows for free).

    - KudosForce

    1. Yeah, I know about that, and I've already checked in that "BEAT X" box three times: Once on IE, once on Chrome, and once on my Wii U.