Anyone who keeps up to date with anime and manga news knows that the last few years have been rough. The anime and manga bubble both burst and we have seen several major companies as well as dozens of minor companies go under in the U.S. Even the companies that survived have become a good deal more selective in their offerings.
While they still take chances they are mostly sticking to what they know sells. In the manga world Vertical, Inc. operates a bit outside the norm with licensing decisions. It tends to pick up older prestige titles and newer off beat titles than the other manga licensing companies. But with a careful selection process and effective niche marketing they turn titles that would be utter failures into money makers. They do not sell like Naruto but they often make a tidy little profit. It might not seem that impressive but to most people it is like turning straw into gold.
We here at the Reverse Thieves often wondered in the past could an anime company take the same strategy and use it in the anime market. There are some older series that still have a small but dedicated fandom that would happily buy an English release of vintage titles. You would just have to be smart in which titles you pick up and how you release them. It turns out that Discotek is that company in the anime market.
While licensing the unexpected aligns Discotek and Vertical, Inc., their strategies when it comes to the market are different. Unlike Vertical whose eclectic library is not (generally) aimed specifically at manga fans, Discotek seems to have their sights set on old school anime fans in particular. Sure old school anime fans are a niche in a niche, but they also seem to be the ones willing to put their money where their mouth is. Everyone’s practically pledged allegiance to the empire that is Discotek already; people only half-joking there should be a subscription service because they’d buy everything Discotek are releasing.
It seems that Discotek is the most exciting company currently releasing anime!