The big news in the anime world this week is that US anime distributor Bandai Entertainment will be stopping distributing anime and manga resulting in the cancellation of many upcoming series and manga including Turn A Gundam, Nichijō and Gosick as well as their entire current line up of manga.
The company will be changing its role from that of distributor to licensor, a role that is generally seen as much more financially secure and lucrative in a niche market. To many observers it has not come as a massive surprise that Bandai Entertainment has closed up shop after they shut down their online store in December. While they have had an extensive back catalogue but became famous for their faulty discs, heavy-handed release strategy and being out of touch with fans, resulting in them stocking with releasing single volumes long after other distributors moved on to box set only releases.
What is of most concern and could directly affect the UK is the unconfirmed rumours that Beez Entertainment, a part of Bandai Entertainment, has already closed its distribution doors back in December. The rumours first appeared on the Gundam France forum and sound pretty concrete, although the UK division of the company has been known to operate separately on occasions there is no word coming from the company.
The potential loss of Beez Entertainment would be a massive blow to the UK anime scene as they currently have the second biggest market share and are currently in the process of releasing their Anime Legends range that has proven incredibly successful and popular by releasing complete series at extremely low-cost.
Once we hear official word from Beez Entertainment we will let you know but in the meantime keep your finger crossed that rumours prove untrue.
Beez Entertainment have made a couple of statements on twitter. The short statement does not deny the rumours but nor do they accept them. They will make an announcement when they are ready but in the meantime all UK titles will remain available.