Wild cries of joy were to be heart at Chez Genji after Sentai Filmworks announced it had clinched a licensing deal for the Guin Saga anime. A splendid time will be had by all (who can afford it).
There are two things I hope come from this.
The first is wholly optional: the possibility that Sentai offer a BD set for the series as well as conventional DVD. I've seen episodes in HD and they're stunning; this feels like a show that was authored from the inside out, from the backgrounds to the characters themselves, to be shown that way. Many anime that have HD editions still have that simplified, for-TV look to them, since they were created at a time when the average display was low-def.
If we only get a standard-def set, I won't cry into my beer: the mere fact we have the show in a licensed version at all is enough to be happy about. But it would be nice to have the option, now that there's a sizable market for it. I just hope the touch-and-go situations involving reverse-importing don't make this unfeasible.
The second item on the wish list is the real doozy: bring us more volumes of the original novels, in English. That's something more in Vertical's hands than Sentai's, and from all that has come back my way it is tough to say they could ever fulfill such a wish with the sales of Guin Saga being what they were.
Here's an idea, which I freely admit may be impossible to enact, but I'll toss it out there anyway: a rolling licensing deal for the Guin books, one pre-paid by fans.
The process would go something like this:
Crunch the numbers and figure out how much it costs to put a decent number of copies of the next five books in the series out into the marketplace. The books are licensed in batches of five, since the plot arcs tend to span five books at a time as well. The costs should include everything — licensing of the translation, translator's fees, licensing for artwork, etc.
Set up an account somewhere — maybe with Kickstarter — to pre-fund the licensing and production of each set of books.
Do some grassroots campaigning in and among fans of both the books and the TV series to get them to contribute.
Once the funding limit is met, roll the books out into the marketplace.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
The production costs could be further alleviated by using print-on-demand, especially since we're dealing with a series that has over 120 books plus side stories and bonus material. I don't know that the Japanese licensors would be willing to set up a more flexible licensing deal, allowing for low-volume printing, but the idea is certainly worth floating.
I suggest this approach as a way to break the peculiar stalemate that has arisen with this series, where a great deal of it — over a hundred books — remains behind the wall of another language. I know I want to read it, and I'd bet there's enough people out there willing to pony up ahead of time to see more of it.