GONZO has thrown down the gauntlets and has enlisted the help of real live fansubber(s) to distribute its anime to the English-literate world with near-synchronized-with-Japanese-television releases of its new show, Tower of Druaga. As such, there are two important things to talk about: the possible benefits and consequences of this new distribution method, and the content of the show itself.
While GONZO would not exactly be my first choice as the pioneer company (such as Geneon), I applaud GONZO for doing this, though I think they should excise Crunchy Roll like a nasty boil. It’s not the kind of site that I think any animation studio should be associated with, and it may come back to bite them in the ass. As for the actual distribution method of Official Subs on Youtube and Other Places, I feel that even if I personally do not buy the show, I have been exposed to the series enough to begin making a decision, and that is very important to me as a consumer and as a fan. The other thing is that I really have no motivation to pursue higher quality fansubs when I am being provided episodes, translated, straight from the studio much faster than any speedsubber can manage. I don’t know how much of a loss GONZO is taking on this, but if their goal was to beat out the fansubbers, they’ve done so rather effectively. On top of that, the subs are actually quite good, and do not suffer at all from our fears of Engrish.
The actual show is surprisingly entertaining, as nothing in the show seems to quite make sense a la Haruhi Episode 1. While I suspect there’s going to be some shenanigans regarding what’s fantasy and what’s reality, the real highlight of this first episode is how terribly contrived the main character Gil’s idea of an epic tale is. It points out the main flaw in a lot of this sort of entertainment, as well as the fact that D&D games do not translate well to actually compelling stories because everyone will want their limelight in a D&D game, while in a story there should only be one protagonist at a time. It makes me wonder if GONZO is somehow also poking fun at itself and its reputation for plots which fall apart due to contradictions and hasty decisions.