FUNimation’s blog is reporting that Summer Wars has sold above and beyond expectations. First run copies are already sold out, the title is disappearing from retail, and Blu-Ray copies are actually shipping without the decorative slipcover (to which I can attest – my copy didn’t have one). The title is currently tearing up the sales charts, with the title topping Amazon’s anime sales, 76th overall, and 26th for overall Blu-Ray feature. This is above Tron’s limited edition, and even above the pre-order for Harry Potter. I can’t help but find this encouraging.
I personally expected Summer Wars to sell well – the title has been the recipient of a ton of goodwill from anime fans and cinema fans alike, not to mention the publicity gained when FUNimation made their Oscar run late last year, and the whole “guessing game” speculation over nominees that kept the name out there. What I didn’t expect was the magnitude of sales the title is seeing. This is great for anime fans as a whole, and great for FUNimation. Great for FUNimation due to the obvious cash influx from the title. However, this is particularly great for fans as it will give some credence (key word being some, mind you) to this hobby, which has always been seen as a bit unusual and off-kilter by a larger audience.
I hope that FUNimation sees this as what it is – an exception, rather than a rule. This won’t change everything, nor will it miraculously make anime as popular as it was in the bubble. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing the distributors capitalize in this a little bit. Bandai, for example, has Hosoda’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – this could easily see a resurgence in sales if marketed properly, much like how Ghibli films saw a jump after Miyazaki’s Spirited Away took home the gold in 2003. This is merely speculation, though.
Most important of all, though, I hope that FUNimation sees this as it is – an exceptional, albeit fortunate circumstance. To get too eager could prove disastrous, considering the economy, as well as the greater industry. Still, this is getting a bit ahead of things. Since the title’s only been out for 48 hours, I can only hope that the title continues to sell well, even if it doesn’t stay at the fever pitch it’s currently at. The film is fantastic, and absolutely deserves the attention it’s getting across the board.