Friday, March 14, 2014

Kin'youbi Mosaic: 3/14/14 White Tiger Day Edition

In case you don't know what the post title refers to, in Japan, March 14th, one month after Valentine's Day, is White Day. Whereas on Valentine's Day, girls traditionally give chocolates to guys, on White Day, guys return the favor by giving the girls that gave them chocolates various gifts in return.

As for the Tiger part, that refers to the big news that will be the focus of today's weekly ramblings: NIS America will release Toradora! on Blu-ray with an English dub this July!

For a bit of history: Toradora! was NIS America's first anime release, being released on DVD with subtitles only in 2010, albeit with an extra-fancy Premium Edition that included a large artbox and an artbook with extensive artwork and info on the show. Due to the demand for the title exceeding expectations, the first half's Premium Edition sold out quickly; not too long afterwards, NIS America released standard editions for the show. Meanwhile, in Japan, a Blu-ray set for the show was released in late 2011.

Now, as to why this news is so huge:

First of all, it's Toradora!, which is an excellent straight-up romantic comedy that develops its cast of characters and their relationships well. It is a favorite among many anime fans (including other ani-bloggers) and it is definitely worth watching.

Second, for all of you who like their anime in high-definition whenever possible, this is the first time the show will be released on Blu-ray in North America.

Third, the Japanese Blu-ray release came with an additional OVA episode, which this release will include, so this release will contain new material if all you are familiar with are the 25 episodes from the original broadcast and DVD release.

The big news here is, of course, the fact that the show is being dubbed. Even if you are not a big fan of Toradora!, this news is huge because it is the first anime series from NIS America to be dubbed. This opens the door for future titles of theirs to be dubbed, which I am sure will please many anime fans who dislike how none of NIS America's releases have been dubbed up to now. Of course, there's still the matter of which shows could be profitable enough to make back the money from a dub; I would not, for example, expect Chronicles of the Going Home Club to even be considered for a dub. But shows like The Pilot's Love Song or Genshiken Nidaime? A dub for those is definitely not out of the question.

There is also, of course, the question of whether they will re-release any past titles of theirs with dubs, a question which I cannot give any real predictions on. Toradora! was somewhat expected for this simply because of the sheer popularity of the title, but as for whether any other show in their catalog could be given the same treatment, it is too hard to say at the moment. The possibility is definitely there, though.

Now to go over some pre-order and release information. The bilingual Blu-ray/DVD combo re-release of Toradora! will be available in the following ways: a Standard Edition Vol. 1 containing the first 13 episodes, a Standard Edition Vol. 2 containing the last 12 episodes plus the OVA, and a Premium Edition containing all 26 episodes, plus a chipboard artbox and a hardcover artbook. The Standard Editions retail for $60 MSRP each, while the Premium Edition retails for $130 MSRP; actual prices may vary depending on the retailer, but will typically be lower.

Online retailers selling this release are somewhat limited, with Amazon notably not selling the series. Rightstuf does sell it, though, as does Robert's Anime Corner Store. For an additional option, consider buying this release directly from the NISA store. The prices are slightly more expensive than elsewhere (though still 20% below MSRP), but if you pre-order either the Premium Edition or the Standard Edition Vol. 1 & 2 Bundle there, you can get a free, exclusive bonus item in the form of a poster.

It is also worth noting that, compared to NIS America's typical Premium Edition releases, which are large and relatively flat, the Premium Edition for Toradora! here is sized more like a typical limited-edition-style release, with a thicker DVD-sized box that holds both the disc case and the artbook. Here's a look at what the Premium Edition looks like:

And if you are curious about the dub cast, here's what's been announced:

Taiga Aisaka - Cassandra Lee Morris
Ryuji Takasu - Erik Scott Kimerer
Minori Kushieda - Christine Marie Cabanos
Yusaku Kitamura - Johnny Yong Bosch
Ami Kawashima - Erika Harlacher
Yasuko Takasu/Nanako Kashii - Karen Strassman
Yuri Koigakubo - Elizabeth Thomas
Koji Haruta - Brian Beacock
Hisamitsu Noto - Jason Baker
Maya Kihara - Mela Lee
Sumire Kano/Inko - Wendee Lee

Finally, have a sample of the dub in the dub trailer:

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