Why Aniplex USA/Japan Taking Back Their Licenses Is Driving Collectors Crazy!

Updated on December 17, 2017
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Natalie is a writer who also has a YouTube channel. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing videogames.


Aniplex Is Reverting Their Anime Licenses Back to Them; So Many Popular Shows Are Going out of Print

Baccano!, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Shiki, Birdy The Mighty: Decode, Angel Beats, Black Butler, Persona 4: The Animation, and Sekirei.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like these anime titles have any similarities whatsoever. They’re different genres and from different animation studios. But they have two things in common: They’re distributed by Aniplex, and they’re going out of print.

Aniplex is reverting the licenses of these anime back to them so that the companies that licensed and distribute these anime can no longer manufacture DVD and Blu-Ray sets or have video streaming for these anime on their website. That’s a major problem for people who buy and collect anime because once these titles go out of print, unless Aniplex decides to reprint or stream these titles, purchasing a physical copy will become difficult as the titles are price gouged by scalpers seeking to make an enormous profit off an out of print DVD or Blu-Ray set.

Aniplex Licenses Going out of Print!

Expiriation Date:
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
: Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa
Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)
Birdy The Mighty: Decode
Sound of the Sky (Via Manga Entertainment)
Black Butler
Angel Beats!
Night Raid 1931
Mardock Scramble: The First Compression
Mardock Scramble: The Second Combustion
Black Butler II
No. 6
Darker Than Black Season 2
Persona 4: The Animation
A-Channel: The Animation
Inu X Boku Secret Service
Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust
Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc
Guilty Crown
This pricetag is, "Freakin' unbelievable!"
This pricetag is, "Freakin' unbelievable!" | Source

Out of Print Anime Is Expensive, Especially If the Title Was Popular

Anime is already more expensive than the average television show released on DVD or Blu-Ray because it’s an import item unless it’s a mainstream anime like Naruto, Bleach, or One Piece, it can be very pricey to collect unless you know how to look for really good sales online at RightStufAnime or Amazon.

Even my favorite franchise, Fullmetal Alchemist wasn’t cheap for me to buy, but I got it because it is my favorite anime. Still, being an anime collector costs about the same price as being a gamer, but unlike buying video games which depreciate very quickly where you can find new games for $20.00-$30.00 a year after the release, it takes anime a very long time to price drop to be decently affordable for casual fans.

And once any of these popular titles go out of print, the price will skyrocket because price gougers know that people who really want to collect these titles will pony up the money to purchase them.

Aniplex USA knows people are willing to pay more for anime because their DVDs and Blu-Rays do sell. I love Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works 2014 and Fate/Zero, so I’m trying to save up money for the DVDs, the only reason I haven’t gotten them yet is I’m purchasing Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray in October.

There Are Positive Aspects of This, More Titles Available for Legal Streaming

There’s an upside to this, Aniplex USA tends to stream a lot of their shows for free in Japanese with subtitles. They also put a lot of their anime catalog on Netflix with the English dub. The reason I got into Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works is because they had the English dub up for streaming on Netflix.

Maybe it will mean that more of Funimation’s English dubs for these shows will be available for free legal streaming because Funimation used to put a lot of these titles behind the paywall of their streaming service, while the subtitled version was free, except for popular shows like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. If there is more legal streaming for the English dub then that will gain the anime more attention.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has been added to Crunchyroll in English dub and Japanese with English subtitles along with the Conqueror of Shambala movie.

The Packaging for Aniplex USA Releases Are Really Nice

I don’t have a lot of Aniplex USA’s anime releases because they are expensive. But the DVD set of Durarara!! is a very nice set, it came in a neat case and with some very nice art cards. It was expensive but it’s a purchase that I really enjoy and I’m happy I have a physical copy.

I like Aniplex USA’s unique packaging, Funimation usually does typical DVD packaging, except when you’re buying a collector’s edition. My Aniplex DVDs stand out compared to my Funimation sets that I own.

You shouldn't give your arm and leg for this!
You shouldn't give your arm and leg for this! | Source

What Should Anime Collectors Do?

So you collect anime, and you see the titles that are going out of print. Should you try to buy them all? Should you buy them to resell? I dislike scalpers because that’s the only reason they buy titles that are going out of print, just so they can scalp fans.

Now if you decide to sell your set you’ve owned because you don’t want it anymore, that’s a lot better than buying a new copy just to resell it when someone else who actually wanted to watch the anime could have bought it.

So I recommend that anime collectors buy the titles they want before the expiration dates, that way collectors can at least avoid the scalpers' price gouging.

Birdy Cephon Altera and Tsutomu Senkawa are leaving us in October.  It sucks!
Birdy Cephon Altera and Tsutomu Senkawa are leaving us in October. It sucks!

Take Good Care of Your Discs!

Be sure to take good care of your discs, because once these become hard to find, replacing them will become difficult because of the price gouging, unless Aniplex USA reprints the shows they are taking back.

I’ve taken very good care of my DVDs so I’m happy they still work and that I can watch the anime I own whenever I want.

Where Could I Try to Buy Titles That Are out of Print Already?

You could try use videogame stores, like GameXchange or Game Stop, but you’d have to know what anime bootlegs look like to avoid buying a fake copy. But you should know that legitimate releases for officially licensed DVDs have company logos on the front cover of both Funimation and Aniplex.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to find some of the older titles, such as Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), which is still in print for a decent price if you want to purchase it brand new. It won’t be that way for long as it took Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood four months to go out of print!

My soul, your beats leaves us 08/02/17.  The last thing on my Aniplex license bucketlist to buy.
My soul, your beats leaves us 08/02/17. The last thing on my Aniplex license bucketlist to buy. | Source

We're Going to Lose Great Anime Titles, so Get Them While You Can and They're Still Affordable!

If there’s an anime title on the list that you were thinking about watching or purchasing for your collection, do it as soon as you can. Once these titles become hard to find, getting a good copy of them will be unaffordable.

All we can do right now is buy what we really want for our anime collections and hope that Aniplex USA will at least stream the more popular titles and if we’re lucky, reprint blu-rays for purchase. I just count myself very blessed I’ve managed to collect copies of several titles that are out of print over the years.

This has also reignited my anime collecting as I’ve been spoiled with a lot of legal streaming, I’m reminded that legal streaming can’t replace DVD collections, especially when it comes to anime going out of print because of licenses.

So be sure to pick up the Aniplex titles you really want because they won’t be around forever!


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    • ReViewMeMedia profile image

      ReViewMeMedia 5 weeks ago

      I imported Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (2014) and Fate/Zero from the UK because they were cheaper!

    • profile image

      Laurence J. Nguyen 5 weeks ago

      This is why I don’t like Aniplex, at all.

      Most of their titles are great but my big complaint from them is overpricing their Blu-Ray/DVD sets after getting their shows or films back from other companies like Funi and Sentai once the license does expire.

      I’m a cheapskate, I won’t lie about that and that’s all I will ever be. I’m better off streaming these anime titles while I still can before they disappear from the face of the internet. I’m so missing out on the Persona 3 movies, Kizumonogatari Trilogy and even the Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel films with first one already aired in theaters from Japan.

      This proves my point that I’m not a big fan of Aniplex and I never will be. I’m better off playing Persona 3, 4 and 5 as video games instead of watching their anime adaptations.

      Tsuritama is so good and underrated, IMO!

    • ReViewMeMedia profile image

      ReViewMeMedia 2 months ago

      Japanese releases don't usually come with English subtitles.

    • profile image

      Mauric 2 months ago

      Guess I could just buy the Japan releases...

    • ReViewMeMedia profile image

      ReViewMeMedia 11 months ago

      When does Hell Girl expire? I need to add it to the list!

    • profile image

      Wilson 11 months ago

      What about hell girl? It is not on that list.

    • profile image

      Drop 12 months ago

      Aniplex is simply greedy-I don't and never will buy their overpriced garbage. The titles I wanted from Sentai and Funi are in my collection so no worries for me.

    • ReViewMeMedia profile image

      ReViewMeMedia 16 months ago

      It really does suck, and most of those titles are not obscure, they're rather popular titles that a lot of fans like.

    • Tabari profile image

      Tabari 16 months ago

      Damn... that sucks ass