Earlier today, Right Stuf announced that they acquired the domestic rights to the Space Adventure Cobra anime series. The company plans to release the show across two sets, with the first hitting stores later this year.The release itself presents itself as somewhat of a wild card for Right Stuf, as there’s no real indicator of how it’ll fare in the American marketplace.
On one hand, the show has plenty of positives that would allow it to stand out in the market: After all, Cobra is an an influential sci-fi title, whose presence can be felt in titles today. Likewise, it’s a strong series that delivers a combination of a strong narrative and well-choreographed action that can rival shows like Mospeada and Captain Harlock. It’s been a long-requested property by fans of old-school titles, and remains a popular discussion piece among this particular niche.
“It sounds promising! What’s the problem?”
Well, dear reader, the problem is that while discussions are lively in the previously-mentioned niche, this remains the only place where such discussions are taking place. While Cobra is a major title in Japan, the situation is quite the opposite in the west. Because of this, demand outside of this small subset of customers is, well… to call it “nonexistent” would be kind. Instead, to a large contingent of customers, Cobra is just another old action title. And, to a number of these people, it’s yet another brick cluttering store shelves while shows like Nichijou and Tatami Galaxy remain trapped in the digital domain.
While it’s entirely possible to sell to this group, it will be difficult. Reputation cannot be used as a selling point with this group. Instead, Right Stuf will need to tell a new, stronger story. An effective message would has the potential to do wonders for a product, as it can convince fence-dwellers to purchase and excite core customers to the point where they will want others to purchase the product. In particular, the company would be best served by highlighting the strengths of the show: elements that age gracefully, like the characters, the story, and the sheer sense of adventure.
Likewise, the Right Stuf would be best served if they highlight the value delivered in the package. Whether it’s an art book in the slipcase, chipboard boxes, or special materials created solely for the set, the company would be best served mentioning them in the same breath as the show. Customers enjoy the idea of value. And, while 80% of the market won’t even bother with these extra features, highlighting the more outstanding bonuses delivers the appearance of a better deal.
There is definite potential for Cobra to sell well in today’s market. However, the task will not be easy. After all, convincing people to spend money is one of the most difficult tasks in the world. The task isn’t impossible, though, an if it’s done right, we could see Cobra become a strong earner for Right Stuf.