Sudden to the anime community and it’s own production team, MANGLOBE has closed its doors. This saddens me because they were one of the few studios that broke out of traditions. Between 2004 and 2009 they worked on all original anime productions. This has its benefits–they can gain more money without any middle man such as mangakan or light-novel authors receiving royalties for their works in order to give their illustrators higher paying jobs. It does have its negatives–studios putting money towards a project out of pocket where they still have to pay dues to production committees and creditors can be a huge risk especially if its a single investor financing the animated project. Quality can be an issue because there isn’t very much money initial to utilize unlike adaptations when sometimes money is sourced from original material committees (publishers, serialization manga companies,etc.). During Samurai Flamenco‘s production, around the second half if I recall, MANGLOBE was accruing loads of debt all the while still having money to pay back with their high-budget on 2008’s Michiko e Hatchin. I think somewhere around that time someone at MANGLOBE wasn’t handling financials properly.
According to a financial report back in 2013 their debt had reached around $1 million and their profits were only hitting the $125,000 range between DVD/Blu-ray sales alongside merchandising sales. It’s a shame these series can’t earn the respect they deserve for being different. Teikoku Databank reported that the debt over time reached 350 million yen (2.9 million U.S. dollars)–now that’s why they didn’t do any shows or even co-produce any work in 2014.
If anyone is wanting to support the animators that haven’t been getting paid from last month to this month please support the Studio by purchasing their original series releases. I’ve noticed especially on Amazon that a lot of these shows have dropped prices after the company’s bankruptcy was announced.
GANGSTA DVD/Bluray Volumes [AMAZON JP] [with English subtitles]
Ergo Proxy BDBOX/DVD Volumes [AMAZON JP] [Bluray Box includes English dub/subtitles]
Samurai Champloo BDBOX/DVD Volumes [AMAZON JP] [Bluray Box includes English dub/subtitles]
I’d really like to see an American company like Funimation or Aniplex help with the production of Japanese works–maybe then and only then the anime business can get out of the rut that its in. MANGLOBE’s situation, while unfortunate as it is, goes to show how animation studios can’t keep doing original and out-of-the-box series to make money. Sometimes you have to sell-out and produce anime that’s conventional to Japanese otaku. Money-grabbing shows like Sword Art Online and SHAFT’s Monogatari series are great examples of this. Clearly someone in the industry should point out this glaring mistake that too much anime is getting made yearly nowadays at a very high cost to its production team with low rewards. In other words “move away from the capitalist model” of making animated works. I may have mentioned this in a prior post which you can read here.
I remember back in the early 2000’s when Studio GONZO was another company that marketed on this very idea. Creating anime that was completely original and around 2008-2009 was delisted and ended up merging with GDH forming GONZO K.K.. Since 2013, they’ve established themselves as a studio that adapts drama, romance and often times eroge visual novels/video games into anime OVA’s and series. Most notably, Zettai Bōei Reviatan, Blade & Soul and the terrible Kimi no Iru Machi from 2012 and 2013. They saved themselves and channeled their illustrators to deliver more of the same. It’s sad to see that Japanese companies have to do this to survive because I’m all for studios delivering unusual content. Perhaps a Japanese bank can buy out MANGLOBE’s assets and form a new company that’s set along the same ideas, especially its animators and directors with a well-structured financial perspective.
It would be cool to see a single outside investment entity revitalize these bankrupt companies in order to shift away from generic anime trends with every few years adapt light novel/manga works to recoup any sort of loss.