So last night I was watching a Devil Hunter Yohko VHS tape. It doesn’t age super well, but it got me thinking about something. What was stopping a company like ADV from extending their licensing deals to cover anime-based games and putting them in rental shops?
A property like Sailor Moon would’ve been too much, but consider Devil Hunter Yohko. There was a genesis game published by Masaya, which had no US distributor. If ADV had secured this license they could’ve cross-promoted the vhs tapes in the back of the game manual, and the game on the back of the VHS tape.
This would be especially effective in that time period. There weren’t many anime you could get commercially at the time, and they were all grouped together in one small section of blockbuster or wherever. Many of us (of a certain vintage) have seen every anime that got a promo on an ADV or Manga or Century Park Media tape because that was basically the main way to even know what anime was out there! A game promo in one of these tapes would’ve been gold. Imagining myself as a kid watching these things, I would log this stuff away as “things that exist that I can look for.” If there were a genesis game among those I’d have been like - oh, there’s a Yohko game!? You can bet I would’ve gone out and gotten it or rented it or something else.
My assumption is the difficulty stemmed from three things:
1) rights for the games were probably more complex and included multiple companies
2) the tape localizers had no dev experience of course.
3) nobody tried hard enough to make it happen.
I’m leaning on 3 here because #s 1 and 2 are solvable, and somebody trying hard enough would’ve figured it out. I wonder, maybe this happened in countries outside america? I could totally see this going down in Brazil or France or somewhere that had anime in wider syndication in the 80s/90s.
It makes a lot of sense, no?