ANN reports that Seminal Films will release the film version of ICE on DVD. The title will be released on DVD as an exclusive to retailer MVD on January 24. Sentai Filmworks has the rights to the ICE OVA series, which was released in November.

There are a number of intriguing factors about this release:

  • Seminal isn’t an anime distributor. They tend to acquire live-action titles for release.
  • ICE won’t be offered through the usual anime sellers
  • ICE will be offered at a wallet-friendly $14.99 retail ($11.21 actual), while Sentai’s ICE OVA release costs $29.98 retail.

Seminal Films is a newcomer to the American anime market, which raises a number of questions from the customer-base. Nobody knows who they are, what they offer, or their overall quality, so their very presence is a wild card for many. John at Anime Nation reports that the company is a Los Angeles & Alberta, Canada based film distributor, though other details seem to be scarce.

A bit of digging reveals that the company is a independent film distribution division of the DaSilva Group. The company’s film lineup is a mix of documentaries, comedies, thrillers, family films, and dramas that range from acclaimed documentaries like Playing Columbine,to laughably terrible horror flicks that include Mutant Vampire Zombies From the Hood and Clownstrophobia. Outside of their horror and family divisions, the company has a track record for nabbing decent-to-strong titles, including award winners Lunatics, Lovers, & Poets and Works In Progress.

The DaSilva Group is an Edmonton-based media conglomerate that syndicates numerous radio programs, distributes films, publishes magazines, and broadcasts kickboxing events.

Anyway, the film’s release and format are curious, as Seminal seems to be taking every step to avoid the standard “anime release” route. Rather than focus on the same niche Sentai’s occupying, they are aiming for a different audience entirely. MVD is a boutique retailer – their catalog focuses primarily on concert DVDs and indie flicks, and their clientele matches this specialization.

With this in mind Seminal is apparently reaching out to a blue ocean of customers, by looking into an alternative industry to anime. With this release, they’re now competing with those who usually purchase indie films, many of whom are open-minded and looking for new titles and genres. While the title’s success isn’t ensured, its odds of selling have increased greatly by side-stepping the competition. They don’t need to compete with Sentai’s release now, as MVD will gladly promote the title as an exclusive, and their competition with other anime companies will be minimal at best.

It will be interesting to see if Seminal’s gambit pays off. If they handle things properly, and word spreads, Ice may be a title that catches the market by surprise and grows the customer-base.