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So I talk about video games a lot here. Probably more than I should considering this is The Anime Harvest, but what do you expect? The video game industry is worth over twenty billion dollars, centered largely in the west, and is full of idiots who make fascinatingly bizarre and stupid decisions. The anime industry can’t even scrape up one billion dollars a year, is almost entirely located in a country I’ve never even been to, and is full of idiots who… oh.

Anyway, the point is that video games are more immediately accessible to my western psyche. Take pre-orders for example. I see a video game try that shit and, like second nature, I deem it a crime against consumers and raise my middle finger to Ubisoft the company responsible. But when an anime does it, it isn’t until a year of delays that I start to get suspicious. Oh what a twist, we are talking about anime! Specifically, today on The Anime Harvest, where the hell is Evangelion 3.33?

So perhaps I’m somewhat biased on this topic, given that Neon Genesis Evanagelion is my favorite anime, and the film, Evangelion 3.0, was the first thing I ever reviewed, after seeing it in theaters on January 11th last year (and I still use the ticket as a bookmark to remind myself that). But I just posted a non pro-gamergate article, so I’m already gonna get people saying I’ve been bought out anyway.

Eva 3.33 was originally scheduled for release in February of 2014. For those keeping score, it is now February of 2015, with no new release date in sight. While delays aren’t especially uncommon in any medium, this one is particularly aggravating for three reasons.

Firstly, the length of the delay. Funimation, who is handling this dub in North America and has been the license holder responsible for the postponed release world wide, has given some explanation. On Facebook the company posted, “we are working very closely with the studio in Japan to make this release as close to the creator’s vision as we can.” That sounds great, but take it in context. Assuming production on 3.0 began immediately after the release of 2.0 (in June, 2009), then the entire making of the Japanese version took just over three years for its release in November 2012. Apparently, for Funimation, just dubbing it has taken two thirds that time, with no finish date in sight. And while I certainly have respect for a good dub and am willing to recognize that quality takes time, the second reason this is aggravating destroys any sense that this is necessary.

The Dub was done. I was there, I saw it in theaters, a said in my review that is sounded fine. And Though I’ll say anything with Tiffany Grant in it sounds fine, I even liked Shinji as he was portrayed by Spike Spence, and no one has ever said that they liked Shinji! The only necessary difference in dubbing between the theatrical release and DVD/Blu-ray release is ten minutes of uncut footage. Admittedly, that’s more than double the uncut footage from either of the other two films, but I’m gonna hazard to guess that there is not a year’s worth of voice-work in that ten minutes.

But what does this matter? Why am I complaining? If they’re trying to make it better, isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t I just be patient and wait? Probably. But then there’s the third reason this is aggravating. The pre-order sales model.

I essentially bought my copy of Evangelion 3.33 over a year ago now, under hte promise that it would arrive in about a couple months. That promise has be severely broken. Pre-orders are not helpful to consumers, they just help out the companies. They give them confidence. Every pre-order is a guaranteed unit sold for them, and if they have enough guaranties, they don’t have to give a shit anymore. I’m skeptical that any of this is happening because Funimation actually wants to produce a good dub for us. Why would they? They know we’re already gonna buy it, even if the dub sucks.

But still, why would they delay unless they had something to get out of it? Well, they do. The home release was originally delayed so the theatrical release could be extended. Meaning more tickets sold, more advertising, and more money for Funimation (and Studio Kara and Hideaki Anno). But by the end of that, hype had died down. If they released then, they wouldn’t make as much. So my guess is they’re now going to wait it out, just hold off on selling, until the Evangelion 3.0+1.0 (aka Evangelion: Final, the last in the rebuild series) hype wave comes in and they can ride it to the bank.

Maybe they have tweaked the dub, but a year of time and money spent on an already finished film… do you really expect an American company to go through that out of the goodness of their heart? Bullshit. This is why pre-orders are terrible, whether they’re for an anime, a video game, or anything.

Don’t Lose Your Way