A few months ago I released on my blog a personal list of New Year’s Wishes: Anime And Light Novels Wish Could Get Licensed in North America. A lot of the anime wished got licensed as of February 4. 2015 have just been that but with that also comes a deep sadness as an anime fan. Leading me to feel a little depressed. Kind of shocking really since on the whole I get easily depressed in life but this one is quite a blow as a fan of anime.
For a few months back mainly October (2014)-January (2015) the news that Free! Iwatobi Swim Club would never get licensed seem to be a very constant worry especially coupled with the fact that for all intents and purposes Free! Eternal Summer (Season 2 of Free!) was understood to be licensed by FUNimation Entertainment. It has a guaranteed home video release plan but not Free! Iwatobi Swim Club.
But! On February 4. 2015 this has now stopped being a problem with the breaking news that Free! Iwatobi Swim Club will be released on home video but not by FUNimation Entertainment but by Discotek Media. This is all great since from what can be gathered is that this release will be the complete series. So all 12 episodes and English Subbed.
Yet, I am so not happy about this merely for the fact unlike other anime fans who are unhappy about there not being an English Dub or a Blu-ray release. I am simply unhappy that the collections will likely look dissimilar to each other. FUNimation Entertainment has been a stable anime distributing company for years and as such I have been buying anime from them and I do notice they have very visually attractive cover art designs to their anime releases. They also happen to release Limited Editions adding to the presentation. Meanwhile on the other hand Discotek Media is a company have never heard much about, so it leads me to believe they are likely a smaller company like Sentai Filmworks which would make their release kind of like the ones Sentai Filmworks releases. While not bad they will look really different in terms of cover art design. And since I have never heard of this company either way it likely would look very plain and not on the level of FUNimation Entertainment cover artwork.
I am kind of sad that this has happened since last had heard FUNimation Entertainment approached Crunchyroll on releasing Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. So the fact that things are the way they are really shows who made the overall decision in the end. Crunchyroll did. And I feel that this really disregards the fans. I mean they care more about their interests than the fans. Fans who will be dissatisfied with having a release to a series that has two different companies since visually it will make the series in physical format look totally different despite this being the same series.
keichitsu0305 from Anime News Network sums it up perfectly in the way, I, as an anime fan am so deeply hurt:
I do not want to buy these two separate series and see them on my book table look alarmingly visually dissimilar because of the stamp and differing quality look that will invariably happen over having two different anime distributing companies work on the same anime series.
Quite frankly I am so disappointed in Crunchyroll. For them really not thinking about the fans and not working on releasing Free! Iwatobi Swim Club with FUNimation Entertainment. I do not want to be dramatic about this but they really ruined the happiness I have in regards to Free! Which is why I am only going to buy Free! Eternal Summer but from FUNimation Entertainment. Hopefully in Limited Edition with some kind of chipboard box.
Still on the upside. I discovered that Discotek Media will also be releasing Strike the Blood and Recently, My Sister is Unusual on home video. All as a complete series and English Subbed. And while I do fault Crunchyroll for being trivial I cannot really fault Discotek Media especially since they do seem to do pickups of anime titles that are not as widely known but still have a lot of potential. What good taste Discotek Media has!
Updated and Edited on April 26. 2015