Manga Entertainment UK Issues Statement Surrouding Blue Exorcist Blu-ray Release Strategy

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Jerome Mazandarani, Head of marketing & acquisitions from Manga Entertainment UK, has today took to Facebook to answer questions surrounding the upcoming ‘Definitive Edition’ release of Blue Exorcist.

For those unaware, Manga Entertainment UK plans to re-release Blue Exorcist as a Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack  over two half-season sets, however while the Blu-ray will receive the newly produced English Audio the DVD will remain the same as the ones released last year (Japanese with English Subtitles).

Because of this a lot of fans have spoken out and now a statement has been released to explain ‘why’ the company has chosen this option:

Dear valued customers and Blue Exorcist fans.

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the planned Manga re-release of Blue Exorcist on Blu-ray. I am very sad to see that this exciting news has not gone down that well with some of you. Please allow me to attempt to explain our strategy and decisions for the Blue Exorcist The Definitive Edition below.

We are not re-authoring the Blue Exorcist DVD discs to include the English dub because we simply don’t believe we will be able to recoup the high costs. Generally, we can usually share the cost of production with another PAL territory distributor on the same release. This brings down the costs considerably, unfortunately for this new version of Blue Exorcist it was not possible. Therefore, we would have had to incurred another round of PAL conversion, mastering and authoring costs, which are very high. Especially considering there are 6 discs to produce in the series. Had Blue Exorcist not already been released on DVD in this territory we would have swallowed the cost, but I am afraid the success of the sub-only release has meant that we will likely not sell enough units of the new edition to make back our inception costs.

Sometimes timing is everything! You have to remember that when we originally licensed Blue Exorcist, there was no dub and no plans to make a dub by the producers. It’s galling to me that a month after our original UK release date an English dub was announced by Neon Alley in the US. However, had we decided to postpone our release of Blue Exorcist last year to allow for delivery of the brand new English dub, we would have had to push the release date back from 20th August 2012 (Part 1) to March this year! It’s another case of being damned if you do and damned if you don’t because I am sure we would have drawn the ire of many BE fans for not releasing the release sooner had we held back the release to include the dub. I should also stress that by the time the dub was announced around Anime Expo last summer we had already authored the first 2 discs in the series with subtitles and Japanese audio at considerable cost to us.

So! Now it feels to me like we are back at square one. One of the comments we have received accused Manga of being lazy. Do you really think that if there’s an opportunity to produce a product that will be bought by customers that we wouldn’t do everything we could to get it out? We certainly are not lazy and it is hurtful not only to me, but our fantastic and dedicated team here at Manga to be accused of not caring enough about our jobs and the business to simply not be bothered to do what needs to be done to get this release into your hands.

Before deciding not to re-author the DVD we explored every possible solution for getting the discs authored as cost effectively as possible, but I am afraid the usual avenues for Manga to share authoring costs with another PAL territory were not available to us on this occasion. In addition, there are various licensing issues that have made it difficult to find a satisfactory solution to this issue that I cannot go into on a public forum. So, regretfully, we have made the decision to only opt in on the Blu-ray authoring costs, which are shared between various distributors in the US and Australia and to re-bundle the existing Sub-only DVD release in the pack we are releasing later this month. I should also note that for various reasons, the Blu-ray authoring costs on this project are negligible and that is why we are producing the dual audio version of Blue Exorcist for Blu-ray only on this occasion. As many of you know. Blu-ray is actually very expensive to produce from the authoring and mastering costs up to manufacturing the discs. We are lucky on this occasion to be able to split the authoring costs with someone else at a very reasonable rate.

I personally hate it when we see so much negative reaction to a Manga release because I hate letting down you, the customer. We did not make this decision lightly. I was aware that it would not go down well with some customers who expected to see a dual language DVD release of Blue Exorcist in this territory and I am terribly sorry if this has disappointed some of you. It is not the outcome I had hoped for, but as usual, in the murky world of anime licensing, it is the best solution we could find to a tricky problem.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

Kind regards,

Jerome Mazandarani
Head of marketing & acquisitions
Manga Entertainment Ltd.

Personally I have no problems with the release format, as the HD version of Blue Exorcist does offer a far superior viewing experience compared to the DVD edition, namely because the series was produced in High Definition.

I can understand the views of DVD-only owners as they will never be able to watch the show in English (it’s better in Japanese anyway) unless they buy a Blu-ray Player, but seeing as Blu-ray Players are ever decreasing in price and most of the ‘next-gen’ consoles will include a Blu-ray drive, it’s safe to assume that people will own a Blu-ray player in the future.

Slight ranting aside Blue Exorcist: The Definitive Edition – Part 1 (Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack) is expected for release on the 9th September 2013 with the Blu-ray featuring English Audio with the DVD keeping its Japanese Only language.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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