"Reviews and Information on Japanese Animation Software"
ISSUE 13 7/6/1990
~ Special Mail Order Services Review No. 2 ~
This is the 13th in a series of files of comments and reviews of anime
(Japanese animation) items that we have bought. Please direct all comments
to us by E-mail or post us a message in the Forum. We also welcome any
reviews, artwork, or comments you would like to have included in the next
ANIME STUFF issue. Also please send us any comments about any incorrect
information contained here. A correction will be placed in the next ANIME
The ANIME STUFF Staff...
- Tom Mitchell : Editor, Writer, Graphics, CompuServe & GEnie Distributor
CompuServe Address : 75156,1067
GEnie Address : TOM-M
- Masaki Takai : Writer & BBS System Distributor
CompuServe Address : 75106,3257
- Mike & Janet Naylor : Writers
CompuServe Address : 76074,1631
- Rick Sternbach : Anime Modeler, Writer
CompuServe Address : 74616,526
- Jude George : USENET Distributor, Writer
CompuServe Address: 72307,1752
USENET Address : email@example.com
- Barry Brown : INTERNET Distributor
INTERNET Address : >INTERNET:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Albert Wong : Writer, Index Research
CompuServe Address: 72657,2103
- Dave Handy : Graphics
CompuServe Address: 72017,1703
Well, it's been quite a while since Stuff commented on the state of mail
order anime services here in the U.S. The last time I did was in Issue 4,
8/4/1987! Whew! A lot of things have changed since then. Some old favorite
anime sources have dried up, or fallen out of favor due to mis-
management. And several new ones have sprung up to replace them. It
certainly is a different and bigger anime scene then it was almost three
The reason I wanted to do another issue of reviews of mail order sources
is that I have found that many folks are still referring to Issue 4 for
places to shop! And of course by doing so, they meet with dissapointment
since most of the places we recommended back then either don't exist
anymore, or offer terrible service. Keep in mind that the places we
recommend and list addresses for in ANIME STUFF are places that the ANIME
STUFF staff actually shops at and have received excellent service from.
In this issue I'll also discuss the businesses that went bad or bust and
what happened to them. After all, some of them are still in business and
the anime fan should be cautious when dealing with them.
- Tom Mitchell.
/////////////////////////////GIF GRAPHICS NOTE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
AS13G1.GIF : The GIF format graphic "cover" for this issue featuring an
illustration of Nanmo and Mugi from the TV show DIRTY PAIR. Looks like
they've become a little impatient waiting for their anime to arrive in
the mail! Original illustration by Tom Mitchell.
You might also note that this graphic is in 640 X 400 X 2 resolution.
Well, this is a new resolution mode we are experimenting with. Just about
any system should be able to view it. And it will print out great! We've
found that a lot of folks actually take the time an paper to print Anime
Stuff out. So now the cover is in a format that will look great when
//////////////////////////////MAIL ORDER INFO\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
SIGHT & SOUND
1275 MAIN STREET
WALTHAM, MA 02154
An excellent source for anime laserdiscs. This is actually the place I
bought my first anime disc from in 1985 when they were known as THE
INSTANT REPLAY and under different management. Since then, they were
acquired a couple of years ago by WOK TALK INC. and have gotten even much
Masaki Takai and I were the first two folks to turn them on to importing
anime for us. Since then, we seem to have created a monster since they
have become the East coast source for imported anime video. Their service
has always been excellent, although their delivery of discs from Japan
can be slow at times. Recently this seems to have gotten worse. But they
are always able to get what you want eventually. Sight & Sound has also
started carrying a TON of in-stock anime laserdiscs and BGM CDs. I envy
those of you who can check out their retail store. I hear it's quite
Also, their staff may not know a lot about anime...they call Cream Lemon
"Cream and Lemon" in their catalog...and sometimes pronounce "anime" as
"aneem", but they are learning. If you order new discs from them, be sure
and provide catalog numbers for the discs if they are titles that Sight
& Sound doesn't know about yet. It will help them search for it.
In short, Sight & Sound's relatively long track record in anime have
made them one of the better and more stable anime sources for the past few
years. Orders may be slow, but their excellent service and store front
business give them a lot of credibility.
615 North 6th. St.
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA 95112
Nikaku Animart is far the best anime mail order retailer that I know of.
In fact I don't recall any of the Anime Stuff staff saying that they have
ever had an problems with Nikaku. The service is friendly and delivery of
mailed goods is surprisingly fast. Items mailed are packed so carefully
that I think guerillas could deliver it with out any harm. They also
issue a lot of anime catalog updates in their simple type-written catalog
flyer. And for the type of goods that they carry, they feature the best
prices of any place I know of.
Nikaku Animart carries a wide variety of anime goods. And in fact, is
the only reliable mail order source for some types of goods that we have
found so far. While our other sources specialize in anime laser video
discs and compact discs, Nikaku carries such things as anime books,
magazines, LOTS of compact discs, posters, and other odd bits such as
anime notebooks, pencils, idol cards, stickers, etc. They have also
started to dabble in some in-stock laserdiscs...which I don't think they
really need to do since we have so many good sources specializing in just
LD's. Nikaku should keep specializing in the items that other sources
Also, Nikaku has a retail store that you can visit. This has proved to
be a definite plus as far as long term stability goes as a business in
anime mail order. All things considered, you can't do much better than
Nikaku for excellent service.
3300 JUDAH STREET
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94122
I like to think of Laser Perceptions as the West Coast version of Sight
& Sound. Again, the specialty here is imported anime LDs. Personally, I
have less experience with Laser Perceptions than some of our other staff
members, as I have always used some of our other sources for discs.
Although, I have bought a couple discs from them and found their service
to be very similar to Sight & Sound's. Laser Perceptions is also another
retail store, so you can visit them and take advantage of their large
in-stock anime disc selection. Perhaps Laser Perseptions' biggest
advantage over Sight & Sound is that they tend to deliver special
ordered discs faster.
P.O. BOX 1235
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CALIFORNIA 91729-1235
PHONE : 1-714-941-9750
Before I get to my comments on ANIMAGIK, staff member Albert Wong also
wrote a review of their services. And he did it in the plus & minus style
that I used in Anime Stuff Issue 4...
Animagik started out in 1988. Mostly dealing with selling comic books and
games. It wasn't until July of 1989 that Animagik started dealing in
mail-order anime. Owned and operated by Patrick L. Minyard, who does
custom T-shirts, by the way, Animagik has the most complete selection of
items for the discrimating anime fan.
+ Animagik provides many shipping choices ranging from UPS Ground/US
Mail to UPS Next Day Air. COD's are also available.
+ Has a large selection of anime goods including Laser Discs, Compact
Discs, even VHS tapes. "Garage" kits and models are available. Even
really unusual items like stuffed Totoros and Jiji's can be found in
the Animagik inventory.
+ Free catalog listing current Laser discs, Compact discs and VHS tapes
that can be ordered.
+ Prices are occasional adjusted to reflect the dollar/yen ratio.
- Inventory is very limited. Usually, your order is processed and your
order is shipped from Japan. Turnaround time range from two weeks to
months depending on the scarcity of your order.
- Credit cards are not honored....yet. Only checks and money orders are
accepted. No quatloos or bright-shiny-beads, either.
Animagik can be reached by mail, phone, Compuserve and Internet computer
networks. Animagik can also be reached on the Animag BBS.
- Albert Wong
I would just like to add a few things to Albert's comments. Animagik is
one of the newer anime mail order sources on the scene. I have found the
service to be very close to what Nikaku Animart offers...fast delivery,
and personable service. The specialty here is mainly in CDs, LDs,
and...surprisingly...VHS video tapes. (In fact, it's the only source for
mail-order anime video tapes that any of us know of!) Animagik also
carries some other items such as animation cels, and model kits. I'd also
like to note that lately, Animagik seems to be the fastest source for
importing new anime video titles on LD. Another advantage that I like is
the fact that even though Animagik does not take credit cards, they will
only ask for payment when an item arrives. This is unusual and very
convenient for a smaller mail-order only business. This is a good idea
because that way if anything even happens to the business, customers
won't be stuck with lost funds. This will prevent any repeats of what
happened to many customers who shopped at another similar
business...Wyvern Web Graphics.
WYVERN WEB GRAPHICS
If you didn't know already, WWG is out of business. When it was good, WWG
was very good. When things turned bad, it really crashed and burned as a
business and took the funds of many customers with it. A situation that
has still yet to be fully resolved, and I don't think it ever will.
What happened? Basically, when the owner of the business left to try a
career in Japan and upgrade the import capabilities of the business, she
left the company in the charge of some very poor and unstable hands. The
business was neglected, communications stopped, and merchandise that was
waiting to be shipped that was already pre-paid for by customers sat
idle (and still is someplace) as the manager, from all accounts known to
me, suffered some sort of emotional breakdown.
For customers, the big problem was the pre-paid order situation. This
never seemed like much of a problem when the business was at it's best as
the owner was very competent and personable and provided excellent
service. It is a shame that she had to leave the business in such
unstable hands. The owner was originally supposed to stay in Japan for a
year and return to the US. It is going on 3 years now, and I have often
felt that perhaps this was a way of not having to deal with business
wreckage back home. Meanwhile, things remain unresolved. I know that some
of you reading this may have some comments of your own on what happened
to WWG. Please send me your comments, and perhaps I can publish them in
the next Anime Stuff.
Ever wonder why Books Nippan, such a major name in US Anime Retailing is
no longer listed as a recommended retailer in Anime Stuff? In 1986, when I
was first getting into anime, Books Nippan was THE big source for anime
goods in mail order. It would seem that I became a customer in their last
good year. The mail-order business focused on the BOOKS NIPPAN ANIMATION
FAN CLUB, and this group originally provided excellent service, regular
catalogs, and great customer communications.
Well, with a change in management, headed by David Riddick, the club
became neglected as the new group pursued projects in music and video
publishing under the US Renditions label. Service and customer relations
declined and orders were neglected. I even had problems with their anime
magazine subscription service that took a year to resolve, only to find
that they took my check but never bothered to log the order. Meanwhile,
Books Nippan became more interested in cornering the market on Robotech
related items, got stuck with old and poorly selected inventory, and
have become famous for their tremendously inflated prices on in-stock
goods...raising prices as much as 100-300% over current Yen/Dollar
exchange rates. Folks looking at their booths at conventions often refer
to BN as "Crooks Nippan" now. A real shame. Being in marketing myself, I
always cringe when I see a good business go bad due to bad marketing,
customer relations, and simple mistakes. Books Nippan is a classic
example of a small company neglecting it's core business as it
over-extends itself pursuing new markets without having staff in place to
pay attention to the core business.
A new kid on the block that has already got a reputation for it's
vapor-catalog, even before the business is underway. General Products is a
major anime retailer in Japan famous for it's specialty in model kits.
The US business is off to a rocky start with potential customers by not
honoring catalog requests on its lavish catalog pictured in an ad in
Animag. Now the company is saying that catalogs will be shipped but be
cautious in ordering from it as most of the items will not be available.
Oh, goody! We will be watching this group closely.
VIDEO SALES UP & PRICES ARE DOWN ACCORDING TO JVA REPORT
The June 2nd issue of Billboard magazine had an interesting special on
Japan's music and video markets. It covers all sorts of things from
popular Japanese music stars to the Tsutomu Miyazaki murders.
So, how are laserdiscs and anime doing in the Japanese video market?
Very, very well. Laserdiscs again are the leading configuration in home
video software sales. And anime is carving a large niche for itself as a
home video category. Here is a short quote on sales figures from the
latest report from the Japan Video Assn....
"In volume videocassette sales totalled 16,989,816 tapes, videocassette
rentals 4,441,522 tapes, and videodisc sales 20,791,290 discs. Unit
prices for sold videocassettes were 5,128 yen (down 19.2% from the year
before), for rental videocassettes, 8,734 yen (down 4.5%) and for
videodiscs, 5,224 yen (down 12.5%)
"Of 129,570 million yen in videocassette sales and rentals, the biggest
share or 38.4% was accounted for by non-Japanese movies, followed by
Japanese movies with 20.2%. Next in line were animation (anime) films
As you can see, prices for things are also dropping. The report said that
this was largely do to the decision last year to stop the uniform pricing
of video and audio software by the software companies. Companies are now
free to set their own retail prices for goods. Of course this means that
there will be further competition in the marketplace, and that prices will
continue to drop.
For anime fans, this is pretty good news on top of the recent events with
the stronger Dollar.
- Tom Mitchell
I hope all you new anime fans find this issue useful. I sure wish I had
something like this to guide me through ordering anime goods when I first
started. My dream is still to be able to walk into and shop at Animate or
some other anime store in Japan. I don't think I could handle actually
going into a store to shop for anime goods! (^_^)
Also, thank you for all of the folks who again have made comments on how
much they enjoy Anime Stuff. It really makes my day.
Next issue...A Kimagure Orange Road Special! And more reviews of more
- Tom Mitchell
Date of original publication: 7/6/1990
ANIME STUFF Copyright (C) 1990 Tom Mitchell & MIDORI COMMUNICATIONS
All rights reserved.
This publication originally appears on CompuServe Information Service's
Comic Book & Animation Forum.
USENET distribution is limited to Jude George.
USENET Address : email@example.com
INTERNET distribution is limited to Barry Brown.
INTERNET Address : firstname.lastname@example.org
Original Copyrights to the material reviewed, articles written and
graphics presented are reserved by their respective owners. The contents
of Anime Stuff may be reproduced in any form of media so long as the names
of the authors are preserved, articles remain intact, and ANIME STUFF is
mentioned as the source. The contents of this publication may not be
reproduced in publications for sale without the permission of the
copyright holders listed above.
Articles & computer artwork in Anime Stuff may be re-published in
newsletters so long as a copy of the publication in which the articles
appear are sent to:
c/o Tom Mitchell
474 Chowning Circle
Dayton, Ohio 45429
"GIF" and "GRAPHICS INTERCHANGE FORMAT"
are COPYRIGHTED (C) 1990 CompuServe Information Service
an H&R BLOCK company.