10 Uncertain Anime With Some Of The Sketchiest Licenses In The Western Market

Gintama Anime Wallpaper 1 1

Featured image credits: zerochan.net


Many titles are licensed and then forgotten about while others even go unlicensed in spite of demand and popularity. This article looks at 10 of the licenses which are currently uncertain on the Western market.


1 – Concrete Revolutio

Concrete Revolutio Web Pic

Image Source: Official Website

Licensed by FUNimation a while back, we have not heard anything about this title since it finished airing. While FUNimation has taken its time before and could be said to be unlikely to allow a licensed they paid good money for to simply linger, it seems strange that no progress has been made for this title, at all.

Perhaps the Japanese side of things is holding up the release but one thing is certain, the time frame for the release of Concrete Revolutio appears to be running out.


2 – Gintama

Gintama Website Pic

Image Source: Official Website

Largely ignored in the West, Gintama eventually received its first release within Western territories when Sentai Filmworks released the first 49 episodes on subtitled DVD in 2010 and 2011.

Eventually, the animated movie would also see a release, this time dubbed in English, by Sentai; but since then they have not released a single Gintama property. It is safe to assume that the franchise, in Sentai’s agenda, is dead. But then hope was recently revived for fans when Crunchyroll began to release dubbed episodes of the series and then FUNimation made a DVD/BD release of a recent batch of episodes as well.

So what’s the problem? The problem is Funimation only released episodes from latter parts of the series, not the beginning.

So now we have well over a hundred episodes which Crunchyroll admitted not having the rights to, we can only guess because of Sentai holding on to the license they aren’t using anymore, with no idea if they ever will be dubbed, let alone released on physical media.

Not to mention it might very well not even be financially worth releasing those episodes although this is something only Crunchy and Funi would know at this point.


3 – Lyrical Nanoha

Nanoha Scene from Series

Image Source: Taken from Lyrical Nanoha TV series

Both the first and second season of the franchise were licensed by Geneon Entertainment and released with a dub in the mid to late 2000s.

Since the crash of the anime market though, no further development has followed the Nanoha franchise in the west. StrikerS, both seasons of Vivid and the movies remain without a physical release, let alone a dub, and all we have been allowed to get our hands on are legal streams for some of these titles.

With the franchise still going strong anything can happen, but why nothing has as of yet and what will happen to any of the unreleased series and movies is anyone’s guess at this point.

There are even speculations that Aniplex might be involved although no concrete evidence on that front. The one ray of hope is the Western theatrical release of the Nanoha movie which seems to indicate the Japanese side of the industry is at least still interested in the Western market.


4 – Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 3rei!! (Or season 4) + the Movie

Fate Illya Movie Web pic

Image Source: Official Website

Sentai Filmworks licensed, dubbed and released the first three seasons of this series for the West. The fourth season and the movie have yet to be released though and no word on their licensing has been made.

It is uncertain what is happening with this franchise. It is part of the greater Fate/ franchise and as thus seems unlikely to be unprofitable or abandoned.

Crunchyroll and Sentai were fighting over titles not long ago and perhaps it is FUNimation, through Crunchyroll, that now has the rights to the new entry of this franchise but if that’s the case, why haven’t they spoken up about it.

Of course, Funimation has demonstrated a severe lack of courtesy when it comes to titles they release through other companies as we’ve seen little warning for Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress and Re:Zero. Even though one was later confirmed for a physical release and Re:Zero has already been revealed to have a dub in the works.

For the moment, there’s no word as to what is going to happen with any future work of this segment of the franchise and the deadline for someone announcing that they’ve licensed it is running out fast.


5 – Phi-Brain Season 3

Phi-Brain Promo Crunchy

Image Source: Crunchyroll’s Page for the series

Both the first and second season were released on BD and DVD with a dub by Sentai Filmworks but that was back in 2013. Since then, the third and final season, even though licensed, has never been released or even talked about by Sentai for physical media.

Maybe we can guess season one and two weren’t selling well enough and so they decided to sit on the license but you’d think they would have released it anyway to recoup cost.

Of course, Sentai said that anything they start dubbing will see any future sequel or spin-off also receive a dub and as such they may have decided that if the third season wasn’t worth dubbing, it wasn’t worth releasing at all. Although dub or not, it still seems curious that when Sentai moved their titles from Anime Network to HIDIVE, season one and two of the series both transferred over but season three did not.

It seems highly unlikely at this point that we’ll see a physical release of this title in the near future but what is even more frustrating is Sentai’s refusal to update fans on the situation.


6 – Rock Lee & his Ninja Pals

Rock Lee Ninja Pals Website Pic

Image Source: TV Tokyo

Back in 2012, VIZ licensed, dubbed and then streamed Rock Lee and his Ninja Pals but unlike other properties of the Naruto franchise, it never saw a physical release.

Even Australia (Through Madman Entertainment) released the title on home video; although only on DVD.

It seems strange that VIZ never did anything with this, perhaps the streaming numbers were bad, but at this point it seems likely a release won’t surface, or not from VIZ at least.


7 – Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

Boruto Website Pic

Image Source: TV Tokyo

The popular new entry in the Naruto franchise, Boruto, seems certain to see a physical release at some point. Yet, the lack of any information on the series is somewhat disconcerting.

VIZ holds the license for Boruto and the physical release rights as well. While it is currently being streamed on Crunchyroll, there is no news of a dub or of a home video release; not even a confirmation of such projects being in the works.

While we’ve seen through Funimation’s handling of Dragon Ball Super and VIZ’s handling of Hunter x Hunter that high profile series can stay silent until they are ready to release, it can still be a long and uncertain wait for fans.

If I had to bet, an announcement will probably be made for the physical release either after they pass episode 100 or when the Shippuden DVD sets have finished their release.


8 – Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow

Strike Witches Victory Website Pic

Image Source: Official Website

Both seasons of Strike Witches and the movie have been licensed, dubbed and released by Funimation and the new Brave Witches series has already received a dub and is almost guaranteed to see a release within the near future. But what of the 2014 OVA Operation Victory Arrow?

Funimation has neither licensed nor even mentioned the OVA and with their uneven history with OVAs of even established franchises as well as the time that has gone by since its release, it makes it doubtful we will ever see a physical release of this segment of the franchise.


9 – Blood+

Blood Plus Promotional Pic

Image Source: Production IG promotional material

The series premiered in 2005 and found its way, dubbed, on American TVs in 2007. It was then released on DVD in volume releases that remain incomplete to this day and was then released in two, 25 episodes box sets in 2009.

Both of these sets are now out of print. We still don’t know what is going to happen with this series: If it will ever return, if it will get a BD release and so on… But with Sony, who holds the license, having purchased Funimation, perhaps this opens up new possibilities for the near future; or so the fans hope.


10. – Mushishi: The Next Chapter (Or Season 2)

Mushishi Next Chapter Website Pic

Image Source: Official Website

Mushishi was licensed by Funimation, dubbed and released in 2007 – 2008 in volumes, then in a box set in 2008 and finally, hit SAVE Edition in 2011.

The first season however, was not re-released on blu-ray and looks unlikely to see such treatment in the near future. The Mushishi series eventually saw a sequel 1 hour special (Hihamukage), a sequel series (Next chapter) and a movie (Adapting the last arc of the manga); all of which have been licensed by Aniplex but never released.

Like other old Aniplex licences, we haven’t heard anything about it either.

At one point, Madman Australia was listing a release for the second season and indicated it contained a dub, but this listing was removed within days.

With so much time having passed, Mushishi being an unpopular (Or at least not lucrative enough for major companies to care) franchise in the west and many conflicting signals as to the state of the license, it’s anyone’s guess if the rest of Mushishi will ever be released.

This is it, for now at least. There are countless more titles in a similar situation and perhaps I’ll make another article on the topic at some point. But for now, I want to move towards different subjects.


As usual, if you have information or an opinion on the following titles and their situation, don’t hesitate to comment.

This article was written by Gabriel Persechino-Forest from Sakura Anime News Blog.

10 Uncertain Anime With Some Of The Sketchiest Licenses In The Western Market

Original sources:

5 Uncertain Licenses (Part 1)

5 Uncertain Licenses (Part 2)

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