Earlier this week Funimation let out a rare note announcing that Sekirei sold out at retail.
Sekirei The Complete Series, an action anime featuring voluptuous vixens, sold out at retail in its first week following its release on November 23. The title ranked #1 for new anime series releases for Nielsen VideoScan First Alert Week Ending Nov 28, 2010!
We at FUNimation have rushed manufacturing and are now replenishing our accounts with more DVD’s of Sekirei The Complete Series. Please check with your favorite retailer or online store for availability. We give thanks to the fans that bought Sekirei last week and our apologies to the fans that have had to wait for this second shipment to hit stores. We love the series and are glad that you do also. Happy viewing!
While this is big news in the industry that sees breaking even as a massive success, I have to wonder how it was accomplished.
Typically, initial production runs for anime DVDs hover around the 2-5000 boxed unit mark so assuming the Nielsen VideoScan numbers are correct, this means that majority of sales happened outside of the typical online marketplaces and most of the inventory went to brick & mortar retailers. Making an optimistic assumption of a 5000 unit run at $59.99 MSRP, this means that Sekirei made $299,950 for Funimation, which would be a good amount depending on the license fee paid to Aniplex. Considering the state of the industry and the shrinking pool of customers, any series that can break $50K in sales in the US is considered a bonafide hit now thanks to the aftermath of the bubble and the move to complete series sets.
How much of this was also due to the advertising blitzes on sites such as Japanator, ANN and Sankaku Complex is a bit more nebulous due to the fact that those numbers are harder to quantify thanks to the amount of traffic involved as well as the differences in audience attitudes towards buying anime. Sankaku curries the favor of the “hardcore anime fan” that relishes piracy, while Japanator and ANN proudly brandish their pro-industry support and review fansubs as a matter of entertaining its audience while featuring ads from the company for its latest titles.
I’m still on the fence as to whether this is a good thing, but the fact that Funimation even bothered to send out a note congratulating themselves for Sekirei selling out its initial shipment tells me that either they are doing really well as a company, or that the rest of the industry is in such bad shape that one B grade title selling through its initial manufacturing run is a good thing.