GONZO studios planning business strategy change?
Bear in mind that these are just rumours at this stage. Although looking at GONZO’s recent records and the current economic situation, these rumours could very well be true.
It seems that the company that brought us BS6 10 years ago is having serious financial difficulties as of late, perhaps partly due to the economic crisis. As a person who’s only watched 2 anime shows produced by GONZO – the other being Seto No Hanayome, I’m not going to try and deduce why the studio is facing bankruptcy troubles. But according to a friend who’s been a diehard anime fanatic since 1995: “GONZO anime titles are usually a different breed, catering to a niche group of viewers who prefer something different from the usual Fullmetal Alchemist fare (good) or Naruto (dumb). Unfortunately, such viewers don’t exist in large numbers, and it didn’t help that many of GONZO’s recent shows, while being nice to look at (GONZO animation and graphics are very high quality) simply weren’t that enjoyable to watch.”
Sounds like a typical description of how BS6 was regarded by the majority of anime fans i.e. the Narutards 😦
As a result of their troubles, it was also rumoured that GONZO may be planning to divert their resources entirely into producing adult i.e. hentai animation, which generally sells better. The news doesn’t sound that bad, on first hearing. Hentai is almost always enjoyable, so what could possibly go wrong for GONZO it they took this route? Hell…their company name is already an American slang term for a certain genre of porn, and the possibility of seeing BS6 Episode 5: Sex & Fish (sounds familiar…) looks delicious. Or maybe not (more on that later).
Unfortunately, while focusing on porn may seem like a sure-profit move for GONZO (given how there’s always a demand for hentai), the bad news is that the ero-anime scene in Japan is already saturated, with many production companies fighting fiercely for viewership and sales. As a natural consequence of oversupply, consumers, having been spoilt with tons of choices, are growing increasingly picky and demanding. Yes, even hentai can be subjected to minimum standards, and sex doesn’t always sell. Factor in software piracy and the economic downturn, its not gonna be any much easier for GONZO to turn its fortunes around IMO…UNLESS it manages to produce a groundbreaking and immensely popular ero title/series – something along the lines of La Blue Girl. I don’t forsee this happening, because all the good ideas have already been taken. Another possibility would be for GONZO to focus on producing high quality, graphically pleasing hentai animation as a means of differentiating themselves from the existing competition, and hopefully stand out. Again, this seems unlikely, given that the rumour also mentioned that their ‘best’ staff have already left the company. You can’t help but wonder who they have left, if these HR rumours are indeed true. Nonetheless, GONZO will always have a special place in this BS6 fan’s heart, for obvious reasons, and I wish them the best in the turbulent years ahead.
What about BS6?
As first mentioned earlier above, I think one of the first few questions that would come into any BS6 fan’s mind after hearing this rumour would be whether GONZO will produce some BS6 hentai. My assessment after some careful thought? They won’t, and they shouldn’t.
Firstly, an anime company doing an erotic parody of its OWN franchise is simply unheard of, and may be regarded as downright desperate and insulting. Imagine Sunrise Studios doing Gundam porn. Or Narutard hentai by Studio Pierrot? It won’t happen. More importantly, to do such a thing would be disrespecting both the author(s) of BS6 as well a significant proportion of its fanbase – the folks (such as myself) who were drawn to BS6 because of its graphics, storyline and characters; i.e. because of reasons other than porn. While I, like most other sexually-functional guys, enjoy TASTEFUL hentai parody works of BS6 characters, I’m certainly not in favor of seeing the BS6 story be continued via a pornographic format. I’d rather GONZO (or someone) produce new clean episodes of BS6 that are consistent to the atmosphere of the first four, and leave the hentai to the fans and horndogs 😛
Will BS6 hentai become a reality? Unlikely.
Should GONZO indeed go bust, its still possible for another anime company to buy the rights to BS6 and do whatever it wants to the franchise. Satoro Ozawa could bring his BS6 material to another anime company. This is assuming he owns the major rights to the franchise, although I would think that GONZO has some stakes in it as well. In any case, both scenarios seems highly unlikely. So the most probable outlook from all this as far as BS6 is concerned, is that the series is officially over. Its sad, but not surprising really. There hasn’t been any new official Blue Submarine No. 6 material since 2002, and thats as good as it being ‘dead’ already.
I still hope to be proven wrong and spanked hard though. Hope hope hope…
[Thanks to KingLear for highlighting this piece of news]