AnimeNewsNetwork has heard from Media Blasters that the company has just laid off 60% of it’s staff. The full-time staff was at 15 and has now decreased to “five or six regular employees”. The Media Blasters’ CEO, John Sirabella, said they’ve offered continued work in the form of freelance to the employees laid off.
This news following Bandai’s continues to carry 2012 off to a rocky industry start. The loss of jobs for Media Blasters’ staff is really unfortunate – my sympathies to those laid off, it’s a terrible experience. From a consumer point of view, the silver lining is that Media Blasters hasn’t shut it’s doors altogether. Surprisingly, the company has stated it will continue releasing titles as normal.
Unfortunately there’s no news of any upcoming manga publishing. Last we heard concretely from MB about their manga line was back in June 2010 when they cancelled a handful of their boys’ love titles. Stock on existing Media Blasters’ manga titles has also been difficult to get a hold of online or via the direct market with only a select few available for purchase on sites like Amazon unless you’re willing to shell out some hefty dollar values for used copies. If you’re looking to buy Media Blasters’ releases, RightStuf still has quite a few of both their manga and anime releases in stock however. Their Kitty Media titles – including their very entertaining selection of boys’ love titles – is sectioned separately on the site’s search. I also recommend finding their booth at any convention they attend, it’s often pretty sizable and stocked with just about every title they have.
Media Blasters has been running very low-key for a while, especially in the past two years following a large lay-off of full-time workers in March 2010. While they have an occasionally updated Facebook page, their Twitter account has been silent since July 2010 and their website – though broken as it was – was replaced with only ads to standalone promotions for anime titles and a link to their Facebook account. Their only recently updated website seems to be their Kitty Media (18+ only!) website which was relaunched in December as a member-only site to watch their hentai titles.
Hopefully we’ve got some good news coming our way after these two industry blows. I’m grateful Media Blasters has at least survived its latest belt tightening. With all companies in flux, hopefully they can get a more solid footing in time, helped in part by some great recent anime releases like Magic Knight Rayearth Remastered and Bakuman in their hands.