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Interview with Jerome and Andrew from Animatsu UK

Date: 2015 February 25 13:00

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With their recent company launch, Jerome Mazandarani and Andrew Hewson from Animatsu UK sat down and answered some of our questions about their upcoming titles, explain what their plans for the year are and sell us on their awesome coffee.

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First of all, congratulations on setting yourself up with Animatsu! You've gone from working for an anime and live action distributor to creating your own one. How has the transition been?

Andrew: Thank you! It has been quite an overwhelming and exhausting experience I can tell you that, but very rewarding and fun at the same time though. It is business as usual really, but instead of it being a big team, it is just Jerome and I for the time being.

Jerome: And we still have so much to do!

Andrew and Jerome from Animatsu

What made you want to create an anime label for yourselves?

Jerome: I wanted a new challenge and it was the right time to leave Manga after ten years of service. I also wanted more freedom to run the business my way without any interference from outside forces.

With Manga UK, Kazé UK and Anime Limited and now, yourself, things are finally starting to get busy again for the UK/Ireland anime scene. Why was now a good time for Animatsu?

Andrew: If not now, then when? Jerome and I had been at Manga for quite a substantial amount of time, ten years for him and over five for me. We had gotten everything we needed fulfilment wise and knew it was time for something new and different.

Jerome: Don’t forget! We are still operating very closely with Manga, so I think people should consider Animatsu and Manga essentially as one super-distributor for anime in the UK.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job at Animatsu that few people know about?

Andrew: The coffee! You should taste it. We have this machine in the office that makes awesome coffee. Seriously though, for me it is being a part of something you helped create from the very beginning. It is a wonderful and satisfying feeling. Then there’s the travel which is fantastic as well – Jerome and I are both off to Tokyo in March for Anime Japan.

How does your deal with Manga UK work? I understand they will be your sales agent and distributor but how will brand management work for you? What does brand management entail for a primarily anime driven company?

Andrew: It basically means keeping the brand strong amongst the anime community by correcting the negative feedback Manga has received since our departure. We will do this by assessing and then actioning all the problems customers have recently had with certain releases. We will make sure the products that get into fans hands are of the highest possible quality!

Jerome: We market Manga and its products, but they sell in, warehouse and distribute all Animatsu Blu-ray and DVD releases. We will also jointly acquire new anime for release in the UK and elsewhere hopefully.

With Gatchaman Crowds, Blade and Soul, Akame Ga Kill, Chaika - The Coffin Princess, Halo: Nightfall and The Comic Artist and His Assistants already on your release plate, you've gotten off to a strong start. Will all Animatsu titles for the next while be relatively new or will you be releasing any classic titles?

Andrew: A high percentage is new but we have been toying with the idea of classic releases. However, if we were to do that then we’d want to do something no one else has done before, which is tricky as there’s only so much you can do with a physical product.

Jerome: We will take whatever we can get our hands on and whatever doesn’t stink. We have one classic anime series to announce imminently. We’ll see what else we pick up.

I know it’s hard to pick favourites but what titles are you looking forward to getting out to the public?

Andrew: Akame ga Kill! has become quite a surprise hit in Japan and we’re hoping that it will translate just as well with fans in the UK. It is a bad-ass show!

Jerome: What he said. That’s a cheeky question because you’re trying to get us to tell you what else we have coming out this year. Sadly we can’t tell you anything yet. We need to sign contracts and then we can share more with you.

Are there any other live action titles on the horizon for Animatsu this year? Are you allowed to give clues?

Andrew: Yes. Keep a watch out, it’s guaranteed to tower over the competition. *Winky face!*

Jerome: They’re pretty significant titles too.

Moving forward, what are your plans for content channels? Will we see any theatrical screenings for films? Digital providers like iTunes or Google Play? Netflix?

Andrew: Possibly and most definitely. Digital services are on the top of our priority list, it is an important space to be in.

Jerome: If we can make money putting out our content through any channel we’ll do it. Theatrical will be worth investing in if we can make a return on it. Digital is our priority after improving the DVD and Blu-ray experience for fans.

Jerome and Andrew figure out their business plan from Animatsu

Speaking on content, will you be doing separate Blu-ray and DVD releases exclusively or will you be doing combo releases at some point?

Andrew: No more combo packs, they didn’t seem to work for us at Manga. That strategy works extremely well for Funimation in the US but unfortunately didn’t here. If we decide to bring out a title on both DVD and Blu-ray then they will be out separately.

Jerome: Which is a shame as I’m a big fan of combo packs. But like Andrew said, we tried some at Manga and they performed poorly. I’m not interested in releasing on Blu-ray if only a handful of vocal fans on social media request it. Manga gets a lot of stick for cancelling Blu-ray lines for shows like Fairy Tail, but the sad fact of the matter is that Shonen series like this, Naruto and Bleach have sold poorly on Blu-ray. Releasing anime on Blu-ray, particularly long running shows like Fairy Tail is essentially an excuse to dig your own grave as far as fandom is concerned. Because if you choose to cancel it in the future you will have those fans who have continued to support the series on that format becoming very, very annoyed with you. I actually have no interest in releasing any series longer than 24 episodes on Blu-ray unless there is a good reason to do it. The episode count should be a good clue as to what titles will and won’t get an Animatsu Blu-ray release.

Otaku News:
The fine people at Fetch Publicity, especially Kelly, are to be thanked for setting up this interview and as always, we thank Andrew and Jerome for taking time out to answer our questions.

Halo: Nightfall is out on DVD, Blu-ray & Collector’s Edition 16th March. Gatchaman Crowds is out on DVD & Blu-ray 27th April. Both titles are available to pre-order now.

Stay up to date with all things Animatsu by following them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram - @AnimatsuEnt and coming soon, their official website

Source: Otaku News
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