Wounds, meet salt. Yesterday, Right Stuf announced that Media Blasters’ release of Koe de Oshigoto! would ship without an English dub. Media Blasters originally confirmed that the title would be dubbed on their Facebook page.
Media Blasters certainly can’t seem to catch a break lately, can they? In 2012, the company was listed as dissolved for failure to file or pay taxes. In March 2013, company head John Sirabella revealed that the company lost the rights to Bakuman, Rurouni Kenshin, and Berserk, and surrendered their rights to the unreleased Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei and Moyashimon. In almost the same breath, he added that the only Anime Works, Kitty Media, and Tokyo Shock labels would remain as active brands. October 2013 saw another setback, as Media Blasters was forced to delay their release of Rio: Rainbow Gate! until 2014, offering only “probably in 1st qtr” as a release estimate.
With this in mind, it’s clear that the Koe de Oshigoto! announcement is merely the most recent setback for Media Blasters. More observant fans will note that this was most likely an inevitable occurrence, given that the writing was on the wall as early as December 2013. On December 16, user Anthony Balmung inquired about the title, to which the Media Blasters account replied:
One issue, they have no [Music & Effects track] which has made doing the [E]nglish dub a problem. I almost hit the floor cause in today’s world there are always M&Es now for foreign but they insist they have none which may force a sub only release. I have been fighting with them for months now.
In January, another post about the title was made, stating the following:
Media Blasters FB Page @Antony, giving two more weeks and than [sic] I give up and do a straight sub. Kind of pissed off about it cause I wanted this title to be our first in-house dub.
Currently, Koe de Oshigoto! is pegged for a May 13 release date by Right Stuf. Hopefully, it can keep the date, as it looks like it could be a fun, charming title in the vein of Animation Runner Kuromi. For the uninitiated, Koe de Oshigoto! revolves around Kanna Aoyagi, a high school student who takes on a job dubbing adults-only video games. Naturally, hilarity ensues.
Media Blasters posted a trailer for the title, which we’ve posted below:
On a broader note, I can’t help but feel a bit saddened to see Media Blasters in such troubled waters. In the years leading up to (and through) the anime bubble of the 2000s, Media Blasters was a constant for pretty much anyone in the hobby. They were the “B” team for many who, while holding heavyweights like Kenshin and Rayearth, tended to favor smaller and quirkier titles. Granted, this meant that the company had as many misses under their belt as they did hits. Still, for every Eiken and Jewel BEM Hunter Lime, there was an overlooked gem like Shinesman, Twelve Kingdoms, or Dojin Work. They were an adventurous company that wasn’t afraid to fall into the mud every once in a while, if it meant discovering a bit of buried treasure that the bigger players passed up.
Things have changed since those years, though. The market’s begun to grow again, and with it have come new competitors. Today, Media Blasters faces powerful challengers, in both the physical and digital fronts. To compete, the company will need to evolve past its current stage, and find a way to become a lean, efficient organization. It’s a difficult prospect, though, especially given the numerous setbacks they’ve faced in the recent past.
Hopefully, the company will be able to work through the chain of setbacks and recapture the adventurous spirit that they once held. Their presence, while minor, would be something that is missed if they fail.