An Open Letter to Funimation (From Kevin F.)

Dear Funimation,

I’ve been a supporter and buyer of your content for quite some time. My first anime DVD ever was One Piece: The Desert Princess and the Pirates — Adventures in Alabasta, way back in 2008. I own many series and films from your catalog, including Strike Witches (both seasons plus movie), Ai Yori Aoshi, Casshern Sins, Birdy the Mighty: DECODE, Full Metal Panic, Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and these are simply the releases I can name off the top of my head. I’ve spoken the gospel of many of your releases, and have shown my utmost thanks and gratitude for your excellent treatment of the One Piece license after it had such a rocky first three years in the US.

And yet, I am concerned.

I am concerned, because many of your releases and actions of the last few years show an alarming trend. I wish to think the best of your company and the people who work there, and I understand the immense workload necessary to keep production of so many releases, both physically and digitally, consistent.

But the fact of the matter is, quality control has slipped. And in more than one place.

Your Blu-ray of Code Geass R2 initially suffered terrible mono audio problems for the dub. Your Blu-ray of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time has the sound effects overpowering the dialogue on both Japanese and English audio tracks. Your Strike Witches: The Movie Blu-ray has awful video quality. The altered meaning in dubs such as Prison School, Maid Dragon and My First Girlfriend is a Gal are well documented, and have caused significant backlash. Your dub of Free: Eternal Summer became a laughing stock amongst fans and non-fans alike for its dramatically different tone and dialogue from the Japanese version. Your dubs of Danganronpa: The Animation and Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School frequently wedge in jokes and change characterization to the detriment of their respective story and characters. And your indifference towards releasing Dragon Ball Z in its original, unaltered aspect ratio to a wider audience has caused that show’s fans no shortage of irritation.

Funimation, I’m concerned because the quality of what you do has dropped dramatically from what it used to be. For the largest anime company in the US, purveyor of many beloved franchises, to allow so many problems to slip through the cracks like this is distressing. To those outside the system of your business, it may seem like mass indifference, or even outright distaste for the series you release. And I don’t want to believe this is the case. I want to continue to support your company and their endeavors as much as I can, but I’ve resorted to waiting well after many releases are out in the open to see if they’re significantly botched or have something unforgivably amiss. And sadly, the number of those problematic releases grows exponentially. I’ve not purchased much from you in the last couple of years, and my hesitation is shared by many who wish for better releases and overall quality.

I send this letter as a statement of discontent. My discontent with your recent dubbing practices, my discontent with your subpar home media showings… but most importantly, my discontent with your silence. For every instance of you making a mistake and fixing it, a large swath of other issues go unchecked. Of the above listed problems, only two (the Prison School dub and the Code Geass R2 audio problem) have been addressed and fixed. You’re batting a low average for customer satisfaction, Funimation. And as the longtime buyer of your wares as I am, I hope — even pray — that this changes.

Make me confident in your output once again. You’ve done it before. You can certainly do it again.

Kevin Faultner


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