Geneon is dead.

For those who may not know, over the past couple of weeks US anime distributor Geneon has made a couple of strange business decisions. It started with their merger with ADV, to their immediate breaking off with ADV, to their withdrawal from the US anime market just today. All the fine details can be found at the usual places.

I am actually really quite bummed about this, as Geneon titles make up a decent part of my collection. Not only that, but I had my sights set on Karin, Black Lagoon, Zero no Tsukaima and the Nanoha shows. What really bothers me is that Karin and Black Lagoon are being canceled mid-run. I can kind of stand having Karin incomplete (I’ll be slightly angry over the half-empty box) as its animation quality doesn’t really demand a DVD release, but I’m pretty mad over Black Lagoon. The DVD video is such a quantum leap in quality from the fansub video, that it’s a shame to see it crap out, and right before the best bits, too.

Another thing that bothers me is that Geneon had such a great con presence. I couldn’t really get close to a lot of other companies, but I could easily talk with the guys at Geneon. In fact, I had a lot of great conversations with them at this past Otakon. I loved their panels (especially After Dark) so it’s just a shame to see their personality up and leave the industry. I hope they have plans for their out-standing licenses. I can see other companies picking up some, but I worry for the fate of prelicensed titles like Black Lagoon. I kind of hope they rebuild themselves under a new name, but I doubt it.

It’s rather strange how they dropped off so suddenly. I guess they were keeping their financial troubles as secret as possible. All the DVDs I’ve gotten from them seemed to be of awesome quality, so I assumed they had money to burn. Maybe that’s just it– they were putting in too much effort and not getting decent outcome.

With the fall of a such a big player in the industry, I fear for the rest of the US anime industry. In 10 years will we have to go back to only watching anime on unofficial releases? I hope not…