Year in Review: Media Blasters in 2003 -

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Year in Review: Media Blasters in 2003

By Chris Beveridge     February 16, 2004

After a solid 2002 release year that saw the conclusion of Rurouni Kenshin and the introduction of Berserk, Media Blasters was set to capitalize on that with the release of the noteworthy series Twelve Kingdoms and Samurai Deeper Kyo. With those set as their top tier titles, Media Blasters moved to bring out a number of overlooked gems that would appeal to a variety of people and target some lesser known genres (such as yaoi, which will be covered in the Kitty review).

With their top tier set, Media Blasters brought out some classics that have deserved a release for some time, such as the Idol Project OVA series, Jungle Emperor Leo, Madara and Weathering Continent. One of the best surprises of a more recent series, one that has seemingly flown under the radar of far too many people, is Figure 17. This specially produced series for pay satelite in Japan has proven to be something special and almost unique among series and has grown quite a good cultish following.

One area where Media Blasters has both likely helped and hurt themselves is with their value priced collections. Fans of course love anything that's cheaper than what it was originally solicited for, so when numerous series receive priced down collections later on after a series has finished, there are those that flock to it that wouldn't look at it otherwise. Where the problem comes in is that often the collections are released so close to the last volume of the series that those who paid full price feel ripped off. When you haven't bought the last volume of a series but there's a collection version of it due two months afterwards for $10 more, you "wise up" after awhile and start skipping on series. So that in turn brings sales down even more on series to begin with. Knowing that this is going to happen with a number of their series, even we get tempted to stop reviewing a number of Media Blasters titles and just wait for the collections since the savings are often very significant.

Media Blaster also had trouble come to a head in the 3rd quarter of the year when after a few months of no word from them, the issue of numerous releases having their audio tracks encoded in mono instead of stereo became a more widespread issue. While the issue has been resolved, the trade-in program is only now being prepared for those who want to get the fixed discs swapped into their collections.

With almost the first half of the years titles announced, 2004 has started off fairly weak for Media Blasters. TWelve Kingdoms continues to go on strongly and Samurai Deeper Kyo is close to coming to an end. The only breakout new title is the Rondo Robe series Gunparade March. Even the amount of titles released per month has gone down significantly, from when an average of 7-8 titles would come out to an average of 3-4, including collections. By all appearances, it looks that a lot of the effort right now is being focused on the Invader Zim box release due out in the second quarter this year that will definitely reach a wide mainstream audience and hopefully bolster Media Blasters to some new and interesting projects in the second half of the year. Right now, 2004 otherwise looks pretty bland.

2003 Release History:

01/28/2003 - Iron Virgin Jun

02/25/2003 - Babel II Vol. #3

02/25/2003 - Cosmo Warrior Zero Vol. #4

02/25/2003 - Idol Project Vol. #1: Starland Festival

03/25/2003 - Berserk Vol. #5

03/25/2003 - Genma Wars Vol. #1

03/25/2003 - Magic Knights Rayearth II TV Vol. #1

03/25/2003 - Magic Knights Rayearth II TV Vol. #2

03/25/2003 - Magic Knights Rayearth II TV Vol. #3

03/25/2003 - Magic Knights Rayearth II TV Vol. #4

03/25/2003 - Magic Knights Rayearth II TV Vol. #5

03/25/2003 - Magic Knights Rayearth II TV Vol. #6

03/25/2003 - Magic Knights Rayearth II TV Vol. #7

03/25/2003 - Space Pirate Mito Vol. #2

03/25/2003 - Ys Vol. #2

04/29/2003 - Babel II Vol. #4

04/29/2003 - Gun Frontier Vol. #1: Hopalong Harlock

04/29/2003 - Idol Project Vol. #2: Final Concert

04/29/2003 - If I See You In My Dreams OVA Collection

04/29/2003 - Magic Users Club: The Magic Box

05/27/2003 - Berserk Vol. #6

05/27/2003 - Genma Wars Vol. #2

05/27/2003 - Knight Hunters Complete

05/27/2003 - Madara

05/27/2003 - Space Pirate Mito Vol. #3

05/27/2003 - Virtua Fighter Vol. #1

06/24/2003 - Gun Frontier Vol. #2: Midnight Samurai

06/24/2003 - If I See You in My Dreams TV

06/24/2003 - Mirage of Blaze Vol. #1

06/24/2003 - Mirage of Blaze Vol. #1 W/Box

06/24/2003 - Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #1

06/24/2003 - Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #1 W/Box

06/24/2003 - Ys II: Castle in the Heavens

07/29/2003 - Genma Wars Vol. #3

07/29/2003 - Space Pirate Mito Vol. #4

07/29/2003 - Twelve Kingdoms Vol. #01: Shadow of the Moon, the Sea of Shadow

07/29/2003 - Weathering Continent

08/19/2003 - Virtua Fighter Vol. #2

08/26/2003 - eX-Driver Complete Collection

08/26/2003 - Gokudo Collection Extraordinaire Box Set

08/26/2003 - Gun Frontier Vol. #3

08/26/2003 - Mirage of Blaze Vol. #2

08/26/2003 - Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #2

09/30/2003 - Cosmo Warrior Zero Box Set

09/30/2003 - Figure 17 Vol. #1

09/30/2003 - Genma Wars Vol. #4

09/30/2003 - Twelve Kingdoms Vol. #02: Empress

09/30/2003 - Zenki Collection 4

10/28/2003 - Gun Frontier Vol. #4

10/28/2003 - Jungle Emperor Leo

10/28/2003 - Mirage of Blaze Vol. #3

10/28/2003 - Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #3

10/28/2003 - Space Pirate Mito: First Season Collection

11/18/2003 - Babel II: Testament of the Apocalypse Set

11/18/2003 - Berserk Premium Collection Set

11/18/2003 - Figure 17 Vol. #2

11/18/2003 - Rurouni Kenshin Wandering Samurai Premium Box Set

11/18/2003 - Twelve Kingdoms Vol. #03: Coup

12/16/2003 - Genma Wars Collection Box Set

12/16/2003 - Mirage of Blaze Vol. #4

12/16/2003 - Sadamitsu the Destroyer Vol. #1

12/16/2003 - Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #4


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