Yesterday, a newcomer to the American anime industry made a splashy debut, with two unexpected title grabs. S’more Entertainment announced that they acquired the domestic rights to Bobobobo Bobobo and the Galaxy Express 999 TV series. The company plans to release the first 38 episodes of Bobobobo Bobobo in a four-disc bilingual boxed set on March 27. Galaxy Express 999 will hit stores in subtitled format, but the company has been quiet about how they plan to release the show.
Anime fans and industry watchers alike are questioning just who these people are, as well as how they’ll treat the shows they’re releasing. S’more was founded by former Rhino Entertainment vice president Arny Schorr in 2005, and focuses on niche entertainment. They’ve released old, forgotten shows like Lotsa Luck and Cagney & Lacey: The Menopause Years, C-list flicks like The Legendary Script and The Lost Princess, and public domain features like The House on Haunted Hill and Charlie Chaplin film collections.
The company seems to have two tiers of product. The high tier, which includes shows like Make Room For Daddy and The Big Box Of [Ed] Wood can be compared to Shout! Factory’s releases. They feature a decent spread of episodes, with numerous fan-pleasing extras and higher quality video and audio.
The low tier, on the other hand, can be compared to Mill Creek’s DVD releases. They basically cram a bunch of episodes of a show onto a DVD, and toss them out on the market. Titles like Old Testament Bible Stories, Great Cars, and Aviation Library: Combat Zone are similar to the many titles that litter the bargain bins in every Wal-Mart across the country.
We’re not sure as to what tier the anime titles will be placed on, but each presents a unique approach to selling in the anime market. Neither format is rooted in the industry as we know it, and each tier offers new advantages and challenges that could speak to a different subset of the market. With companies like Aniplex and NIS America retreating upmarket, S’more could become somewhat of a new darling, so long as their overall quality is consistent, and the content they release has appeal in the greater market.
Taking a wild guess, though, I’d predict that Bobobobo Bobobo will be on the lower tier. 38 Episodes across four discs equals 9.5 episodes per disc. This is more in line with their cheaper releases