Earlier today, Aniplex showed off the first dub trailer for Kill la Kill. The clip was unveiled during a live stream that announced the English cast for the series.

I know, I know. The live stream is nice, the announcements were fantastic. However, you’re all really just begging to know: how does it sound? For that, I’d recommend that you to check out the full reveal below:

Fantastic, isn’t it? Even in English, Satsuki delivers that spine-chilling presence, that perfectly punctuates the clacking heel stomp. Similarly, Nonon’s English actress captures the general snark of the Japanese role, while Ira’s voice captures that brusque, authoritative tone of the original.

While it’s still a bit early to call anything, Kill la Kill‘s dub is looking to be a solid performance, backed by strong talent. Seriously, take a look at the announced lineup:

  • Ryuko Matoi: Erica Mendez
  • Senketsu: David Vincent
  • Satsuki Kiryuin: Carrie Keranen
  • Aikuro Mikisugi: Matt Mercer
  • Mako Mankanshoku: Christine Marie Cabanos
  • Mataro Mankanshoku: Lindsey Eaton
  • Barazo Mankanshoku: Michael Sorich
  • Sukuyo Mankanshoku: Erika Harlacher
  • Ira Gamagoori: Patrick Seitz
  • Uzu Sanageyama: Grant George
  • Nonon Jakuzure: Sarah Ann Williams
  • Houka Inumuta: Steve Cannon
  • Shiro Iori: Todd Haberkorn

On top of this, the series is getting the “white glove” treatment from Aniplex. The first volume, which hits on July 15, will ship in standard DVD and Blu-Ray sets, as well as a limited edition that includes a remix soundtrack, postcard set, and double-sided poster.

So, to recap, Kill la Kill is a marvelous series, which will be receiving a strong dub and editions both for the casual fan and the serious collector. To foul up a release of this caliber would be incredibly difficult. I mean, really, they’d have to release the show in singles to torpedo the demand for this one!

Oh… right

That’s right, readers, Aniplex is again reviving the dead practice of releasing singles for Kill la Kill. The first volume of the show will contain four episodes, leading to a 100-minute overall run time. Five volumes are planned, which means that the split will likely be in the 4/5/5/5/5 format. The first volume will be priced at $49.98 for the Blu-Ray and $39.98 for the DVD. The premium limited edition, though, will have the similar premium price point of $74.98.

So, let’s do the math. Assuming the prices hold constant through the series, this would translate to an overall price of $249.90 for the standard Blu-Ray edition, and $199.90 for the DVDs.

Ouch.

I don’t know about you guys, but I certainly haven’t pined for the rebirth of the single. At the same time, I certainly haven’t honestly hoped that I’d be paying more for my singles that the market price in 2005. Seriously, these are the exact same price points pitched for releases from Bandai Visual in 2007. This was a company that was, quite literally, laughed out of the western market for unrealistic sales expectations and pricing on their shows.

But, unfortunately, the price point worked for Madoka, which means that it will absolutely work here.

Now, before we go further, I’d like to clearly state that I have no qualms with paying a premium for a high-quality release. I’m a person of means, and I’ve put my money where my mouth is with releases like Aniplex’s Gurren Lagann re-issue, or the upcoming Cardcaptor Sakura set from NIS America And yes, I’m aware that the show is available on Netflix, Crunchyroll, and other streaming outlets.

However, at the same time, that’s little justification for charging the absolute maximum that the market will endure for a product. It’s something that will be looked upon as predatory or gouging by a section of the customer-base that’s not insignificant. If anything, this really feels like a logical extreme, trying to push a more Japanese model of media business onto the consumer by encouraging broadcast while reserving the physical releases for the hardcore fans. It eliminates that middle ground of ownership, and pushes a dangerous precedent by encouraging a plurality of viewers to treat anime (at least Aniplex’s shows) as something that’s outright disposable.

And, really, that’s not a healthy way to treat a niche product that’s still feeling the occasional rumbles of a major industry collapse.

However, Aniplex will do what Aniplex does. They’ve gained a reputation for being the high-priced “boutique” brand for their titles, and they’re going to stick to it until things become unprofitable. So, really, all any of us can do is sit back and watch, as they continue to try to push their model on an increasingly apathetic market. To be honest, I expect Kill la Kill to sell well, as I did Madoka Magica. Still, how long can the company keep pushing the same format, one that was pushed to the dustbin of history with Dub/Sub split releases and 2-episode tapes, before the market finally says “no more?”

As a side note: In the mid-2000s, I recall hearing former ADV Films face David Williams mentioning that the media market would slowly shift into two tiers: one disposable and cheap, the other being pricey, higher-end collector’s pieces. Ideally, the collector’s pieces would become remarkable items. They’d ideally have high-end boxes, premium extras, and incredible video quality. In 2010, I felt that Aniplex was trying to find a way to acquire this segmentation as a whole. 

Personally, I do still feel that they’re trying to hit the sweet spot between satisfying the low end while delivering for the high end, though they’re certainly caught in the middle. The $49.98 – $74.98 singles certainly won’t appeal to the low tier, and they will only work with the higher tier customers for so long before the group begins to similarly reject the format. Personally, I do hope that Aniplex continues to grow and learn from their releases: they seem to be the absolute closest to nailing that big “split market” approach to the industry.