Cowboy Bebop 001 - 20130810Earlier today, FUNImation and Sentai Filmworks unveiled their Otakon 2013 license acquisitions. FUNimation announced that that they acquired eight classic titles:

  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Escaflowne: The Movie
  • My-HiME
  • My-Otome
  • My-Otome 0~S.ifr~
  • My-Otome Zwei
  • Outlaw Star
  • The Vision of Escaflowne

Earlier in the day, Sunrise revealed that FUNimation also acquired the following:

  • Angel Links
  • Banner of the Stars
  • Banner of the Stars II
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
  • Crest of the Stars
  • Passage of the Stars – Birth
  • Tales of the Abyss
  • Witch Hunter Robin

In addition, Sentai Filmworks announced that they acquired the following titles:

  • Argento Soma
  • Betterman
  • Brain Powered
  • The Big O
  • The Big O II
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Space
  • Infinite Ryvius
  • Kurokami The Animation
  • Overman King Gainer
  • Sacred Seven
  • s-CRY-ed
  • Z-Mind
  • Zegapain

On top of these licenses, Daisuki announced that they’ll begin streaming Cowboy Bebop in the near future.

The thirty listed titles (with the exception of Sacred Seven) make up what is arguably the most valuable portion of Bandai Entertainment’s library. The titles acquired, from Crest of the Stars, to Cowboy Bebop and Escaflowne are often counted among the most influential anime titles of our generation. When Bandai closed up shop, these titles became the legends that were sought after, the pieces that everybody needed to snap up to finish their collections. And, as one would expect, prices rose along with the increasing scarcity.

To see these titles returning to market is one of the biggest thrills I’ve seen out of this year’s con circuit. Many of us knew that these titles would hit stores again in some form or another. After all, titles like Big O and Cowboy Bebop were phenomenons. They drew people in from all walks of life, and proved to be decent sellers, right up until Bandai’s closure. However, until the announcement was made, there was always that one tinge of doubt. There was always the possibility that something could go wrong in licensing, or some other misfortune could befall the titles. It wasn’t likely, but in the business world, anything is possible.

Today’s license barrage, like the titles revealed, gave the feeling that we were at another point in time. I’m going to date myself a bit here, but upon the smorgasbord of shows licensed, I felt as if I had walked into 2003. In those days, it wasn’t uncommon for a company like ADV Films to unveil over a dozen titles at a con, or for someone like Bandai to just pour on the fan-service with shows people have been outright begging for. And, of these announcements, several of the titles revealed today were included.

Hell, I was at Otakon 2003, when Infinite Ryvius and Witch Hunter Robin were announced! I eagerly reported at Anime Boston 2003, when Bandai announced their DVD plans for s-CRY-ed, Crest of the Stars, and Angel Links! To see that there’s a demand, a fevered cry to still acquire these decade-old titles speaks volumes for their timeless quality and their importance to anime as a whole.

For many, today was a bit of closure to those seeking many of Bandai’s former licenses. They’ll be returning to market, and able to be snapped up by eager fans by next year. For some of us, though, it was a chance to take a trip down memory lane. For just a few moments, we were able to revisit a simpler time, when licenses were revealed with reckless abandon and the party seemed like it would never stop.