This has nothing to do with Aniplex of USA. They’re fine folks. I think. I think it has nothing to do with them anyway.
This has everything to do with Aniplex Japan’s approach for their value-added home video release. And specifically, when they bundle the show’s soundtrack and make it available only when you purchase the home video release. I like my Kara no Kyoukai box, but more because those films look great on Blu-ray, and that’s more because they were produced in a certain way to begin with. And that’s not to mention the actual content, the film themselves, and what the “origin of Nasuverse” those stories represented. It’s nice that it came with an art collection and very posh packaging. (Admittedly, warping posh packing.) But it’s not why I pull the trigger. It just makes pulling the trigger less painful.
What I don’t like is how you can’t buy any of the Bakemonogatari OP tracks separately from the LE DVD/BD releases. Because a track like Renai Circulation would’ve hit #1 with a bit of marketing push, easily. Because it’s what the people wanted. Because I really don’t want to buy those LE releases, given what I get versus what I pay for. I mean, in other words, I want to pay for those songs, just not $60-80 a pop kind of want.
If you recall, Aniplex did the same thing for Kara no Kyoukai DVD LE release too. Accompany each LE DVD release was the soundtracks used for each of the films. They were rough cuts, so it felt more like bonuses than individual products. Aniplex went back and released a proper soundtrack album for Rakkyo earlier this year, and it really soothed the nerves. Because, again, I guess I may pay $300 or whatever and buy the DVDs used today, but it would just be for the bonus items.
I think it’s just unfair and crazy to attach actual legit items along as a bonus for a larger package, without making the separate items available. I mean, what’s with that? I suppose it’s okay to do it if it doesn’t make owning the package prohibitively difficult. Black Rock Shooter with the nendo was maybe twice as expensive as the nendo by itself, but it was not outrageous. I bought Working R2 DVD #1 because it was priced about as much as a CD after discounts, just for the OP single. And it works. But I don’t think I would pay twice that for a single, and certainly not 5 times that to get an album full of OP songs.
The weird thing is, I used to be more RAEG over this, but with Rakkyo OST, it doesn’t feel so bad. That soundtrack was arranged well; I would pay big bucks if, say, Eminence, would pull out a couple long ones out of that CD and took their own spin. It’s perfect for an orchestra. That was something entirely not present in the DVD omake. It justified an individual release.
With Madoka, Kajiura pulls another trick out of her rear; will it be treated the same way? Are those of us buying into volume two, biting into an unseasoned sandwich? A diamond unpolished? I hope so; because by making the stuff available separately later can only Aniplex make me RAGE less.
It’s really ironic though. On one end of the industry you’re trying to fight piracy by making things more available, with more choices. On the other end you are making things more scarce to drive up margins. FML.