Earlier today, FUNimation announced that they were recalling the latest shipment of Dragon Ball Z Set Three. At a first glance, this seems benign. After all, this is a simple production error, which could happen in any industry. Besides, the Dragon Boxes are out, which offer superior audio and video quality. Anybody that buys these old sets would have to be crazy, right? Wrong. This logic is a bit flawed, for a couple of reasons.
First and foremost, this is the second FUNimation recall in two months. The first being the Birdy the Mighty: Decode recall that hit. While it may just be two isolated incidents, Chad Kime said it best: give anime fans a reason to stop buying your product, and they will. While many fans at this point won’t bother to buy a several year old set in lieu of the shiny new Dragon Box, it’s possible that this will be used as another strike for the pirates, and another bitching point for the detractors. After all, people are negative creatures. They’ll be more apt to remember a company’s missteps over the things it does right.
The more important point to note is that, while the Dragon Boxes are now out, these original sets are still being heavily stocked by the general retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, and so on. FUNimation’s official statement was that a few thousand copies were recalled. This in particular is an impressive figure, when you consider how many shows fail to sell more than a few hundred copies. In addition, they’re cheap. Current retail price for the original, “orange-box” sets is $19.99 in most outlets, as opposed to the Dragon Boxes’ $44.98-$59.98.
So, while many will ask why these original sets are still available, one has to remember that they’re being marketed as impulse buys in the kid DVD sections of a lot of stores. After all, they’re cheap, they’re animated, and they have the allure of being “uncut” that appeals to a lot of teens and tweens. And, frankly, when a kid gets a “broken” DVD, their parents will be less likely to invest in the subsequent volumes.
FUNimation is taking the right steps by offering replacements. However, I hope that this is the last of the company’s misfortunes, so that the situation blows over sooner rather than later.
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