Classic manga in general. Except for some of Osamu Tezuka's works and Dragon Ball, there's no market for classic manga in the USA. It doesn't matter how big a manga is in Japan; if it's older than twenty years it almost certainly won't get released stateside.
The same goes for classic anime (which includes adaptations of classic manga). Most shows that are older than twenty years don't get brought over here either, and even if they do, they're almost never dubbed (if there is a dub it's usually awful because it was recorded in the early 80's… but is probably uncut) and are given a limited release. The internet has only fixed this problem slightly.
It's even worse for older manga that are also Long-Runners still being published to this day. For example Kochikame; ubiquitous in its country of origin, all but impossible to find anywhere else, including the internet.
This has been rectified somewhat, with Discotek Media carving out a little niche for itself releasing (or re-releasing) older series and films. Nozomi Entertainment has also stepped into the old-school game from time to time. However, neither company commissions dubs for these titles (though they'll gladly use a preexisting one), and you're still screwed if you live outside North America or are poor since these shows do not get streamed.
Want a complete legal English release of Gintama in manga or anime form? Forget about it. Viz Media published the first 23 volumes of the long-running manga, but stopped due to poor sales. Sentai Filmworks put out the first couple seasons of the anime… but subtitled-only, and also stopped because of low sales. The fact that this is a very wordy series with a lot of puns and cultural references – making it a right pain in the ass to translate or adapt – doesn't help at all. That Viz has long had bad luck with Shonen comedies – whether in Jump or otherwise – doesn't help either.
Oddly, the Benizakura Arc movie did get an English dub. But it was given a pretty low budget even by Sentai's standards (some of the actors are multi-cast). Sentai did this as a test to see if there would be support for dubbing the series or further movies. The answer, apparently, was no.
Sailor Moon has a rather complicated history with this. Events in 2014 rendered its original entry here obsolete, necessitating a total rewrite. Still, it's worth chronicling what the situation used to be like to English-speaking fans… Sources are unclear as to whether it was Toei's call or some American suit's, but the final season of the anime, Sailor Stars, was never licensed during the original heyday of the franchise. This is despite ADV Films and Geneon both expressing interest in it (prior to both companies dying). Speculation as to why this happened abounds, but most agree that someone somewhere along the chain of command got concerned about a possible backlash from American Moral Guardians over the gender-bending Starlights (who transform from men to women). Other areas did get the final season, most notably Latin America (i.e. Mexico) and East Asia (i.e. Philippines, Korea, and Thailand… though the last two censored certain partsnote blurring out stuff, digitally adding clothes, etc.). There are rumors that there were plans to bring Stars over for a Canada-only release (not unlike the Pretty Cure franchise), as Irwin apparently was going to fund an airing on YTV, since their website had profiles for Chibi-Chibi and Princess Fireball on their site. However, months after these profiles appeared, Irwin dropped the Sailor Moon license due to poor sales. One thing that absolutely is true is that in April 2004, Toei yanked the Sailor Moon license worldwide, and forced ADV in particular to recall its uncut boxsets of Classic and R (something that is extremely rare in the world of retail). Allegedly, this was due to Toei wanting to focus all its energy on Pretty Guardian, the live-action series. Although Toei started allowing some countries to license the anime again in 2010 starting with Italy. North America – which got a rerelease of the manga in 2011 – wouldn't get the anime again until 2014 (speculation is that this was a punitive decision by Naoko Takeuchi due to her displeasure over DiC's poor treatment of the first two seasons).note More Rampant Speculation: According to the Sailor Moon panel at Otakon 2012, the reason Takeuchi pulled international rights was because of her dislike of the fact that the North American dub team didn't have any women on it, after she had insisted that at least 60% of the creative team in Japan be female. Doesn't really explain why she wanted to punish other countries for it, though. This time, however, North America got the ENTIRE series, INCLUDING Stars. With a brand new English dub. Uncut, unabridged, uncensored, unaltered, etc. Rejoice, everyone. However, Viz's all-encompassing home video license only applies to the United States and Canada, thus unintentionally shafting UK fans (Madman has the license in AUS/NZ). Moreover, while Viz does stream the series on its website, neither it's video portal, nor Neon Alley (after it become a Hulu-affiliated channel), are available in Canada. Understandably, Canadian and British fans were enraged. Luckily, on July 15, 2016, Viz began streaming the show and several other titles to Canada through a streaming site called Tubi TV, but only with Japanese audio and English subtitles. Fans in the UK are still left out in the cold, however.
Deserving of its own entry, Episode 67 (episode 21 of R) was withheld from several countries' airings of the series, most notably the DiC run. It was the only episode left off of ADV's uncut boxset, allegedly at Takeuchi's insistence. Considering that this is a pointless fillerBeach Episode with random dinosaurs, no one really missed it, and the only reason to be angry about its absence was the principle of the thing. It is included on Viz's remastered R set.
Ironically and perhaps hilariously, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is the only last piece of Sailor Moon on television that has seen no export outside of Japan, aside from a short broadcast in Mexico.
The Dutch dub of "Sailor Moon" catches hell in this regard. Word of God said that the studio in charge of Dutch Sailor Moon dubbed the first three seasons, but only the first 52 episodes were broadcast.
One of the most infamous recent examples is the manga series Kodomo No Jikan (A Child's Time)note (don't bother trying to wick it; it automatically red-links. There is a reason for that.), about a little girl who has a crush on her teacher and decides to pursue him. It had a small but vocal fanbase in America, enough that Seven Seas decided to license the series under the title Nymphet after seeing the first volume. That's when the trouble started. The series also had a significant hatedom due to its content. Someone tipped off North America's two largest booksellers, which both refused to stock it. Seven Seas initially stood by their decision to publish the title. Then the later volumes came in the direction the series took so thoroughly squicked out the folks at Seven Seas that they immediately dropped the title and publicly apologized to everyone, stating they would rather not risk arrest of themselves or their customers.
For further context, the Nymphet debacle went down at around the same time as the case of United States v. Handley. A random postal customs search of a box addressed to Iowa resident Christopher Handley turned up over a thousand Doujinshi, about a dozen of which had pornographic content of probably-underaged characters. He was arrested for violating the PROTECT Act and Iowa's obscenity laws. The first charge didn't stick (the Supreme Court had specifically struck down the section of the PROTECT Act that Handley ran afoul of), but the second charge did, and Handley pleaded guilty rather than face trial, to the horror of free speech advocates, who felt the case could've easily been thrown out on First Amendment grounds. KnJ starts out relatively innocuous, but by the later chapters it's basically softcore child porn, and could have potentially gotten Seven Seas in legal trouble.
In May 26, 2016, there was a huge turn of events. Digital Manga Inc. started a Kickstarter project in order to bring Kodomo no Jikan outside Japan. As of July 6, the project was funded completely and it'll be released in 5 omnibus volumes and a special tankoubon on 2017. The anime adaptation, however, will stay in Japan.
A brain-breakingly moronic version of this trope is the state of Go Nagai's Super Robot anime Grendizer in the French-speaking world. When Toei Animation exported it to France in The '70s, they conveniently "forgot" to notify Go Nagai of the fact and proceeded to reap a colossal fortune from merchandising without giving him one aluminum yen in royalties; since the series was only marginally popular in Japan, he only found out ten years later, which led to a long legal spat between Toei and Dynamic Planning (Nagai's personal publishing company), meaning rebroadcasts and video releases simply couldn't happen after 1985, to the chagrin of millions of fans (yes, it was that big). When they finally reconciled, it seemed that a DVD release would finally see the light of day… and then a French company issued an unauthorized box set, Toei and Dynamic sued the company, eBay, and even individual buyers for copyright violation, and it's been in limbo ever since. The entire fiasco has the French fanbase in tears.
On the bright side, this was finally subverted for the French-Canadian fanbase, when Toei and a Quebec-based company agreed on releasing complete remastered DVD box sets in 2012.
It sounds scarily similar to what happened in Spain with the series got the franchise started off. Mazinger Z was emited in 1978 and pulled out due to Moral Guardians after barely emitting thirty-two episodes of the original ninety-two. Thirty-five years later it still is popular enough licensers consider releasing the DVDs would be profitable. However, due to legal disputes between Dynamic Planning and Toei Animation, the series can not be licensed for TV broadcasts or DVD releases out of Japan. Selecta Vision has managed to publish Shin Mazinger -and made money of it- and have mentioned they would like getting Mazinkaiser licensed, and the original manga made by Go Nagai together with the Gosaku Ota version have been illegally published (the Go Nagai version twice), but releasing the original series is pretty much impossible right now. Like the French Grendizer fans, The Spanish and Latin American fanbases are very NOT pleased.
Because of Tokyopop closing down its North American division, many series will be left unfinished or not even started (including Kämpfer) and thus this trope will be invoked unless Tokyopop manages to outsource some of its titles to another company like Geneon did for Funimation when the former shut down its American operations. However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for some lucky titles, as Axis Powers Hetalia has been licensed by Right Stuf, who are now offering the first three volumes for their new Print on Demand service. If sales go well, they will look into getting the rights to other out-of-print series (not just series that were owned by Tokyo Pop) to publish as well.
While the 62-Episode TV Anime adaptation of Hunter × Hunter got an Ocean Group dub (a pretty good one too) and even a nice 4-piece DVD box set, the 3 continuation OVA's have not been dubbed and there appear to be no plans to do so.
Given the fact that Viz Media has licensed the 2011 version of the series (which not only covers the material adapted in the 62-Episode anime, it also covers the parts adapted by the 3 OVA's, as well as 2 previously unanimated arcs - the Chimera Ant Arc and the 13th Hunter Chairman Election arc) and has announced plans to dub said version, at this point it's all but officially confirmed that the OVA's will not get a dub.
Viz Media did not release the first eight volumes of the Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo manga; Americans only got a compiled volume of the Halekulani story arc. Some shady sources claim it's due to author Yoshio Sawai being ashamed of the poor artwork of those volumes, but even as the anime grew very popular stateside, there was still no release. Around a year after the anime ended its syndicated run, Viz finally decided to release more manga...starting from the middle of the Cyber City story arc, with little to no promotion. They decided to then stop releasing the manga abruptly after volume 15. One might argue that it was due to poor sales and a shaky translation, but the major facepalm-ing factor is the fact that it was in high demand once, and Viz ignored it until that demand died down. It's rather jarring if you consider that numerous other countries (namely Spain and France) have full releases of both the manga and the anime.
Given that it was unpopular to begin with, the sequel manga, Shinsetsu Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, probably won't be exported at all.
Spain isn't getting Shinsetsu despite the first series ending with a Sequel Hook. Combined with the Schedule Slip of nearly 2 years to finish the last 2 volumes, a lot of Spanish Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo fans are angry and trying to crush Planeta DeAgostini with their nosehairs.
Similarly, the anime originally got three volumes releasednote (the third volume was released in limited quantities, making it extremely rare to find); the small company that was releasing it went bankrupt rather abruptly. The only way to obtain all of the other episodes was via Keep Circulating the Tapes if someone else taped the episodes and uploaded them on the internet.
S'more Entertainment licensed the series in 2011, and released the first set on March 2012. But it suffered a case of Bad Export for You in that while it is a dual audio release, the Japanese audio track does not come with a English subtitle track. Forcing the English track to play with the Japanese audio? You can do this, but then because the subtitles are meant for the English audio track which will no doubt be woolseylized to a certain degree, what is being said in Japanese may not be what the subtitles are showing.
Both averted and played completely straight in the aforementioned VIZ case. In 2008/2009, Viz began running chapters of the original Bo-Bobo manga arc in the U.S. edition of Shonen Jump, and, subsequently, releasing the individual volumes, but only for the first three, for some inexplicable reason, leaving the remaining five volumes a clear-cut case of No Export for You.
Any anime and manga adaptations of the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise, with the most noteworthy being the The Great Mission To Rescue Princess Peach OVA. While web users have made that particular film known to other fans, there are a bunch of others that never went past Japan, including three OVA videos of the Mario cast starring in three fairy tales and the Super Mario-kun manga (which is actually ongoing because of the fact that it draws from the games themselves).
The kanzen-ban ("Perfect Edition") updated re-release of Shaman King took a year and half to start being published in Italy. That makes two countries/languages thus far. VIZ Media said they'd look into it but no word yet.
Most later manga adaptations of Slayers were never exported, possibly because of their drastic state among the series' Alternate Continuity; in particular, one manga has all six protagonists (including the two that would replace Zelgadis and Amelia in the novel series) together, which would probably create some confusion among fans. The Light Novel series had eight of its fifteen books published in English (with no promotion, so they all went out of print rather quickly) with the other seven (and a crapton of prequel novels and a crossover book) not released. There were also five video games that were never exported, but they would probably have bombed anyway because the first game was on the Super Famicom, making it outdated to audiences who would own the series in the states (the game came out in 1994, versus the anime coming out four years later), and only one (Slayers Wonderful) is on a mainstream console (the original PlayStation; one was a computer game, while the other two were for the Sega Saturn).
Macross Plus apparently only got released in the West due to the absolutely titanic pressure that fans, critics, and other distributors put on the parties involved to not completely sit on triple-A-quality material needlessly (also, rumours are that Harmony Gold, low on capital at the time, was asleep at the switch)note Macross II also had a proper Western release, but that seems to be mostly because no one considers it a proper Macross series anyways (since franchise creators Studio Nue and Shoji Kawamori had no hand in making it to begin with).
Despite the insane sales of Macross Frontier's DVDs and soundtracks (which ended up posting sales numbers that had not seen in at least a decade), any plans for export look extremely unlikely. Likewise, Macross 7, Macross Zero, and various video-game projects and the like will almost certainly never see release overseas either.
In fact, Macross Frontier's incredible popularity works against it. Even if all the parties to the legal morass were to agree to let it get licensed at all, it would cost any licensor (especially an American one) several appendages and probably a few internal organs to get it, and that's before having to deal with Harmony Gold and their notorious price-gouging. And that is before having to deal with the hell that is Japanese record companies and music rights.
As it turns out, the only part of Frontier to receive any sort of Western release were the manga.
It's gotten so bad that industry insiders have said that it's likely nobody knows who has international rights for some bits of the Macross franchise, particularly Macross: Do You Remember Love?
Robert Woodhead, AnimEigo's CEO, once said he does not expect to ever see a legal US release of Do You Remember Love? because of the titanic, multi-side battle (it's not just the usual culprits like Harmony Gold in the way, but apparently Shogakukan, Toho, and a few others who have some sort of interest in the film).
As the rest of the page shows, it's not specifically a Macross problem; it's an industry-wide phenomenon. However, Macross takes the cake for being ensnarled not only inside Japan, but outside of it too. A quick summary of the international issues:
For those readers who want to know how Harmony Gold (an American company) got into the Japanese legal snarl in the first place, you can thank some nameless, dense California judge. Harmony Gold created the Frankenstein's monster that is Robotech (see its entry), and as the legal battles over international rights heated up in Japan, they got involved to try and keep from losing the series – a Japanese court declared in 2003 that Tatsunoko never had the right to grant a license to Harmony Gold in the first place, which normally would have voided the original 1985 contract… except that American courts rarely acknowledge decisions from foreign courts (in fact, some states outright ban judges from doing so). This judge allegedly granted Harmony Gold not only exclusive control of the international distribution of the original Macross, but also inexplicably gave them permanent rights to license and distribute every Macross-related series that will ever exist. In other words, HG holds the trademark on Macross outside Japan and there's nothing the original creators can do about it except just refuse to license it out (which is exactly what they do) as a middle finger to Harmony Gold.
Tatsunoko, their bad blood having deepened since losing the fight in Japan (specifically, it was ruled that they own the original footage and international licensing rights for SDF Macross, but not the rest of the franchise), has taken advantage of the international legal confusion and continues to renew Harmony Gold's license (including the trademarks), as a middle finger to Big West and Studio Nue. At last check, Harmony Gold controls Macross outside of Japan until at least 2018... And by then there's a high chance they'd renew it again, pissing off the Macross fanbase. Big West and Studio Nue could try and get HG's contract voided in an American court… and they could win if they pressed it. But fighting complicated contract disputes in the USA is an incredibly expensive prospect, and no one in Japan wants to pay for that (there's also the not-exactly-wrong perception that American courts are inherently biased against foreign litigants – see the Apple/Samsung patent lawsuits for an example).
That said, the planned Robotech movie with Sony could finally give Studio Nue and Big West their chance to take Harmony Gold to court, because bomb or not, movie deals are potential big bucks, and movie adaptations are not something that slips under the radar so easily. Not to mention that the original creators of Macross are no doubt frowning upon this project (the same way Shotaro Ishinomori reacted to Saban's Masked Rider)note with one exception: series creator Shoji Kawamori himself has said that he would actually be perfectly willing to help with the film.
This legal snarl also caused some severe issues with the BattleTech franchise. FASA had bought (or they believed they had bought) rights to the Macross designs in good faith, and used them without molestation for 10 years. In the '90s, FASA sued Playmates Toys for copyright/trademark infringement due to their Exo Squad toys having some suspicious similarities to BattleTech's designs (this was when the BattleTech cartoon was about to be produced). However, it turned out that Harmony Gold had sublicensed Robotech's designs to Playmates, and they immediately counter-sued FASA for using the Macross designs themselves. In the end, FASA stopped using ANY design not 100% created by itself. This decision not only stopped use of the offending Macross designs, but also designs from the series Crusher Joe and Fang of the Sun Dougram, neither of which HG had the least bit of ownership in. It also blocked use of a number of bespoke designs made for FASA by outside groups, including, oddly enough, Studio Nue itself who made redesigns of the Unseens for a Japanese edition of BattleTech. Only since 2009 has Catalyst, the successor to FASA, felt comfortable in resurrecting the Dougram and Crusher Joe mechs (realizing that the law is most likely on their side there). This they did for a few months before once again relegating them to obscurity when other legal issues were surfaced around making other peripheral merchandise (such as gaming miniatures). As of late 2015, Catalyst began to redesign the Macross and other designs enough to evoke them but to be not legally actionable, and is using this new art in lieu of the no longer permitted artworks.
On a side note, Tommy Yune, representative for Harmony Gold, has stated that they're willing to license Macross Zero and sublicense it to whoever wants to pay their price; Harmony Gold may charge sublicensors out the nose, but it's actually in their interests to have as much of the Macross franchise licensed as possible, so they can earn royalties on it (they don't get squat from anything in Japan). As such, they'd no doubt also love to bring Macross 7 and every other Macross series to North America. However, the Japanese rights-holders, especially Big West, are quick to jump in and stop progress from happening, Big West having actively taken Zero's license off the market due to its massive grudge against HG for Robotech and keeping Tatsunoko relevant.
On the positive side, it seems that at least some of the parties involved may be trying to get around this with Macross Delta. The Japanese Blu-ray releases have the option for English subtitles. Unfortunately, while Macross Delta is English friendly (and the same region as the US to boot), the Blu-rays follow the traditional anime release formats: 4 episodes to a disc for just slightly south of eighty dollars - for nine volumes. Want the whole series? Get ready to drop close to 700 bucks.
Gundam, on the other hand is mostly free of legal snarls, if only because Bandai owns it lock, stock, and barrel. They even have a corporate post with an utterly awesome name of "Chief Gundam Officer", who is THE head producer for the whole franchise and makes the calls where it should go and what should be done with it, and isn't affiliated with the Japanese Agriculture Ministry.Sunrise, while having the say in policy discussions and almost free hand in production, is only a contractor. This is why something like Dynasty Warriors: Gundam (a.k.a; Gundam Musou) can see the light of day outside Japan, while something like Super Robot Wars sees nothing but a few Original Generation games. A bilingual release of the original series was announced for 2011. However, there is one Missing Episode because Yoshiyuki Tomino specifically asked it be removed from circulation (mainly because it's horrendously Off Model). The eponymous island featured in that episode ("Kukurus Doan's Island") has appeared as a location in the Gundam Vs Series of video games.
Beginning around the mid-2000s, most Gundam games became Bad Export for You since Bandai Namco couldn't/didn't bother to license the official music, meaning that they have to make do with a pool of generic tunes instead of the iconic theme songs and background tracks. Further, those three shows will probably never see any foreign release since 1) they flopped in Japan, and Sunrise would consider it a waste of time and money to try exporting them, 2) Sunrise seems to be trying their damnedest to forget that those failed shows even exist except for compilations and retrospectives (seriously, TRY to find decent merchandise for Gundam X), and 3) after their attempt to sell the West on the One Year War failed, they stopped caring, especially since Japanese merchandise sales are more than the entire rest of the world combined.
The reason that the opening themes to Zeta Gundam became No Export for You was due to Neil Sedaka, who actually wrote them. Either he refused to allow them in either as an Old Shame or to keep charges of Japandering from being leveled at him, or Sunrise/Bandai/whoever assumed he'd ask too much for royalties and dropped the subject.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE played with the trope. Two years after its original airdate, the series has finally been released online with English subtitles in the United States and Canada. By then, however, Bandai has stopped releasing DVD, Blu-Ray and Manga, making a physical release to the North American markets very unlikely. AGE's poor reception on both sides of the Pacific adds insult to injury.
The TV series Armored Trooper VOTOMS was originally released in North America via Central Park Media, but when they went under nobody picked it up again leaving it to fall out of print. None of the OVAs have been released in the States either.
More specifically, the reason that ADV gave for their dropping of Mermaid Melody was that the Japanese owners were requiring the show air on American TV (and ADV's own channel was not sufficient) before any home video release could happen. No network was willing to bite on the show, so ADV was forced to cut their losses and drop the license. The really annoying part was that they apparently dubbed all 52 episodes.
ADV had a similar situation with Sgt. Frog. They dubbed the first few episodes three different ways (which were a mass market pilot, an otaku/fan pilot, and a kids' pilot) and shopped the show around to several different kids networks with Cartoon Network liking the mass market pilot, while Nickelodeon liked the kids' pilot. Nickelodeon was very close to airing it and asked ADV to acquire the merchandising rights first before the network aired the show. However, due to ADV's bankruptcy, the show never aired there. It sat in effective Development Hell for nearly 3 years, until Funimation got the series and was able to give it a proper DVD release.
4Kids reportedly had the same problem with Futari wa Pretty Cure, with the same results, despite the Pretty Cure franchise being much less "weird" than Mermaid Melody. Considering this company and their dub jobs with Tokyo Mew Mew and Ojamajo Doremi, the fandom was thankful. This seemed to be the last that we would hear of an English-licensed Precure, until Toei did release the first season in North America... but direct download is the only way to get it.
Canada's YTVmanaged to grab the license to Pretty Cure and broadcast it in 2009. The Japanese version was also streamed on Funimation's website (only in America) and Crunchyroll, but even so, most fans do wished for the YTV dub to make it south of the 49th parallel. Though it's highly unlikely.
The subtitled version that's on Funimation's site actually was aired on commissioned for a local television station in Hawaii along with the first season of Shugo Chara! in the late 2000's. Hence the reason for why it looks like an old VHS Tape.
The true reason is that it falls on the fact that it's a Magical Girl show, and executives are very queasy about shows aimed at girls. The naked transformations MIGHT be a bit too much for American sensibilities, though. 4Kids licensed the show but gave it back to Toei because they couldn't get a TV deal (in spite of already owning a SatAM block all to themselves).
It's also region locked to America, making this a double NEFY for anyone who dares to darken Toei's doors with British money. This also applies to Fist of the North Star, Slam Dunk and Digimon Adventure 02 though, the sub quality is such that it might be a non-issue. (However, the Fist of the North Star movie was released in America, and so was its new video game).
The gods must have heard you, the Pretty Cure dub was briefly available in the UK on cable satellite channel Pop Girl! And its actually one of the highest rated shows the channel has! But still no word on America airing the show.
In full effect with the sequel, Futari Wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, which has not been dubbed at all. Effectively making the English dub of the show end in a Downer Ending.
Saban has now licensed the series, according to an Italian fan. They've localized Smile Pretty Cure! under the name Glitter Force, and dubbed forty episodes, in a similar situation to the first season of Sailor Moon's original dub. The show can be seen on Netflix.
Despite being available in animated form for close to twenty years, and the deluge of marginal manga titles hitting the shelves, Kimagure Orange Road has never been available in the US in printed form. Thankfully, the funds were raised in 2016 through Kickstarter to finally mitigate this.
Legend of Galactic Heroes isn't about to officially leave Japan any time soon – but not for any malicious reasons. The series is so mind bogglingly gigantic that the logistics of releasing the entire series are completely staggering. Though the actual number of episodes (110) isn't that large in the grand scheme of things, it's not the typical anime where a Kid Hero repeatedly saves the day; it's a show where one episode is dedicated to comparing the two superpowers' GDP, dozens are dedicated to explaining the backstory, etc. Besides, try to sell now in the Western world a series where the main villains are Space Taliban whose leader shares his name with a French politician, and where the democratic superpower is declining thanks to incompetent politicians getting elected thanks to cheap nationalistic rhetoric. Fan scuttlebutt posits that the main reason for LoGH not being brought over is that the Japanese owners are demanding exorbitant licensing fees for it.
It's not just anime and manga themselves: in Japan, EVERY, and we mean EVERY, franchise gets at least one line of collectible statues; then there's additionally one line of candy, jewelery, cosplay accessories, Transformation Trinket toys, etc., etc., etc. Also, there are countless untranslated manga to popular Video Game series. (Did you ever know that there were Super Mario Bros., Ratchet & Clank, and Sonic the Hedgehog manga? Well, now you know!) Most of this merchandise usually wouldn't leave Japan in a million years. But luckily, there are some export stores for otaku like us, who buy as much of this stuff as they can and sell it to us poor, merchandise-obsessed souls. Eventually averted in France with the Mario manga. The first volume of Super Mario-kun was released in France in 2015 (24 years after its Japanese release) as Super Mario: Manga Adventures.
Viz Media notoriously refused to release Parts 1 and 2 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure – supposedly at the request of the author – and wouldn't go any further than the end of the third. Aside from the Rohan at the Louvre short story from 2012, it was unlikely that there would have been any more official English releases for the series. However, in 2014, they announced that the first two parts were receiving a digital and print release (based on the Jojonium edition of the manga in Japan), and if sales hold up, later arcs of the series (Part 4 through 8) would be licensed as well.
Speaking of Viz, they are unable to release the last 7 volumes of the Zatch Bell! manga due to the nasty legal fight between creator Makoto Raiku and Shogakukan, which ended with Raiku having complete ownership and control of the series (and no desire to see it republished anywhere, including Japan). The side effect of this was that all international contracts immediately became null and void. Since Viz is partly owned by Raiku's enemy Shueisha, he probably would not even bother to return their calls.
Animal Crossing. The anime movie adaptation of Animal Crossing Wild World may never be dubbed, especially as it's over ten years old now and newer games have been released.
The BlazBlue manga BlazBlue, BlazBlue: Chimelical Complex, BlazBlue: Official Comics, BlazBlue: Remix Heart, and BlazBlue: Variable Heart, and yonkoma BuruMan were not exported.
Cutey Honey, despite being one of the most influential anime series ever and helping inspire the creation of the Magical Girl genre, as well as giving Japanese animation one if its first strong female leads, has had a mixed history outside of Japan. Only the second series (New Cutie Honey), the live-action movie, and eventually the original 1973 series (via Discotek) have made it to North America. Two properties are still unlicensed: Cutie Honey Flash and Re: Cutie Honey.
Transformers: Nearly all series produced exclusively for Japan haven't been exported, at least not in a timely manner. Car Robots only got exported as Transformers: Robots in Disguise because Hasbro needed a replacement for its abandoned TransTech line before Armada would be ready.
Transformers Zone (both the manga and OVA), Battlestars: Return of Convoy, Operation Combination, Beast Wars II, Beast Wars Neo, Robot Masters and Kiss Players (manga and radio drama) will probably not be released outside Japan, and there are no English dubs for them. In the case of KISS Players, that's probably a mercy…
In the case of Zone, Shout! Factory was originally going to release the OVA for North American distribution. But Toei Animation, being one of the most notorious anime companies difficult to deal with, outright refused to release the episode as they did with Scramble City for no reason.
Several episodes of Transformers: Robots in Disguise were pulled from the US broadcast due to the events of 9/11, including one where Megatron smashes through a building resembling the World Trade Center (note that this was the first episode, which actually did air originally... on 9/8). DVD releases are also not forthcoming in North America, since the dub was created by Saban, and as a result Disney currently owns the rights to the RiD dub. Maximum Entertainment has released the series on DVD in the UK, though.
4Kids was forced to drop plans to release the uncut subtitled version of Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duel Monsters online (both on Hulu and their own Toonzaki channel) because Shunsuke Kazama's (Yugi's voice actor) management. Kazama is employed by Johnny's Entertainment, an exclusive management company for male idols who not only have a monopoly on Japan's entertainment industry, but also regulates information very strictly (i.e. they will send takedown letters to people who post images of their idols without permission, they refused to release Tokio's "9 o'clock News", the first Opening Theme to Kodomo no Omocha overseas, they refused to release SMAP's "Kimi-iro Omoi", the first Opening Theme to Akazukin Chacha on home release, etc.) 5Ds was released uncut on YouTube (along with uncut Sonic X on Hulu) but the first series of Duel Monsters will never get an unedited translation. And while 4Kids announced plans to subtitle GX, nothing has come of it yet.
GX's last season was never dubbed; 4Kids skipped straight to 5Ds instead. 5Ds itself wound up missing assorted episodes late in its run, including the final arc.
Toei's Yu-Gi-Oh anime (also known as "Season 0") will probably never be licensed or dubbed.
The 5D's OVA will probably never be dubbed, but its not a big deal since it's non-canon and doesn't do anything besides show off the buster/assault modes of Stardust and Red Demon's.
It was feared that this would happen to future Yu-Gi-Oh series when 4Kids got into a legal snit with TAS, but 4Kids (unexpectedly) won a significant penalty from Japan; they ended up keeping the licenses and releasing the Bonds Beyond Time movie and Yu Gi Oh Zexal… before going bankrupt and selling all their YGO rights to Konami.
Are you a Ranma ½ fan? Living in the UK? The manga is available, but the licence holder for the Anime is MVM Entertainment and the only thing they carry is the two movies.
More so if you like Maison Ikkoku and live in the UK. Again, the manga has been released, but the anime... erm, hasn't. At all.
Are you a North American fan of Urusei Yatsura? Want to read the manga beyond the first couple dozen chapters (or unflipped at all)? Too bad. Viz never put out a 2nd edition of what little manga they published - the only one of Takahashi's RomComs to be dropped before completion.
As of 2011, it's even worse if you want to watch any of the anime, which is hard to find even on the internet (especially at a reasonable price). This is especially frustrating considering that every single bit of this anime – with one exception, see below – was translated into English and was readily available for many years. This is due to AnimEigo – which held rights to the TV series, OVA's, and five of the six movies – allowing their license to expire and holding a huge firesale of all their unsold stock (some instalments, notably early volumes and the OVA's, aren't hard to find). The second movie, Beautiful Dreamer – considered to be one of the best films Mamoru Oshii ever made – actually disappeared first; rights were held by CPM but it disappeared from the wild not long after the company went bankrupt in 2009.
The one part (only part) of the UY anime franchise that never saw the light of day outside Japan is the 2009 OVA, a massive crossover between all of Takahashi's most popular series.
Doraemon never had an official release in North America until 2014 even though the series has been around since the 70s, and still going. This was likely due to a combination of the insane length of the series (over 2000 TV episodes and more than 25 movies), and what is probably an insanely high license price for even a single season (the series is the second most popular anime in Japan, second only to Sazae-san, which did get an English manga release to teach Japanese kids the langugae). There actually was an official English release of the Doraemon manga, but it was in Singapore.
Averted recently in the US, where the 2005 anime aired on Disney XD in the summer of 2014. But, before you cry foul that Disney butchered it for content, this time it's the creators of the anime (Fujiko Pro, TV Asahi and Shin-Ei Animation) who made the changes for the US airing. And it actually got good reception from viewers for being Actually Pretty Funny and not as bad as other anime localizations.
Canada's Disney XD channel initially never got the show, but it appeared out of thin air in August 2015. Only nine episodes were aired, with eight being single-segment episodes and one of the normal 2-story format episodes. Once said 2-story episode aired, the show was suddenly replaced by another airing of Phineas and Ferb. It is unknown if any other Canadian television network will get the rights to air the dub.
The manga version is averted as well, where it was released digitally on the Amazon Kindle eBook service in North America. It was released 8 months before the aforementioned Disney XD airing of the 2005 anime.
This is almost certainly because that series is very, VERY weird and probably "too Japanese" for most foreign (or at least American) markets. Yo-kai Watch, another series based on youkai mythology was still localized though, but it has a less creepy vibe.
Not only has Good Witch Of The West only had the first two (out of eight) light novels translated, but only the first six of the manga volumes have been done. The thirteen episode Anime doesn't go any further in the story so unless you know Japanese, at the rate it is going the series will never get fully translated.
Japan is notorious for not releasing products for the international market, due to the belief that they wouldn't be understood well enough outside Japan, and therefore wouldn't sell. The producers originally considered Haruhi Suzumiya to be "too Japanese" for the international market, and had no intentions of licensing it anywhere else. They directly credited the huge cult following resulting from bootleg fansubs of the show as a major reason for the official US release (although these same fansubs may or may not have damaged its sales potential). Other companies - particularly those producing licensed figures and similar toys - have stated that they're simply not interested in offering their products to the non-Japanese market.
Even the great Hayao Miyazaki has gone on record saying that, while he appreciates that his films are enjoyed by non-Japanese fans, he is surprised and baffled that non-Japanese can 'understand' them.
Neither the manga nor the anime of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou have ever been officially released in the west – and they will likely never be.
As of current Digimon Adventure tri. is now streaming on Crunchyroll uncut, and it will get a U.S theatrical release. Unfortunately for some fans, the U.S release uses elements from the edited dub of the show, but on the plus side, some of the original cast from that dub will be reprising their roles.
While footage from the Hunters arc was used to promote the English dub of Digimon Xros Wars (aka Digimon Fusion), Hunters itself appears to have been skipped over.
V-Tamer? Still no word yet on when it'll come out.
The Legends of the True Savior movies and OVAs based on Fist of the North Star have yet to be licensed for an official English release, even though all five installments had already been dubbed in French and Italian. This may change in the future with Sentai Filmworks working on dubbing the Raoh-centric spinoff Legends of the Dark King (having already released a subbed-only DVD collection of the anime). Chances are that they may work on the True Savior movies too, but this remains to be seen.
In fact, "Fist of the North Star" in general seems to have gotten screwed out of dubbing. Let's see, only the first nine volumes of the manga were published in America, we only got the first 36 episodes dubbed (it's taken us until 2010 when Discotek Media had announced that they will finally finish the series… but sub-only from episode 37 on), and let's not forget "The Legends of the True Savior". You know, it's ironic that of all anime, "Fist of the North Star" was one of the first to get an American live action adaptation.
Only one volume of Koi Cupid was released in America due to the publisher, Broccoli Books, going out of business.
Broccoli also screwed over the anime I'm Gonna Be an Angel!. They released half of the series - at a rate of one 4-episode volume every two years - then stopped due to low sales. People who worked on the American release said that they never dubbed the second half of the series at all.
Funimation has received massive praise in their handling of the TV series (after the disastrous 4Kids run nearly torpedoed the franchise). However, they have yet to release any of the first seven movies, or the ninth.
Toei apparently really screwed the pooch when it came to setting up the series for UK distribution. What should have been a simple change of rights from A.B.Groupe (using 4Kids's edited dub) to Manga UK (using Funimation's uncut dub) turned into a five-year legal battle that had some truly baffling twists – like the 4Kids version of the series airing on Cartoon Network Too for two weeks in 2009.
Manga Entertainment have since been releasing the uncut Funimation dub in the UK on DVD in 26-episode sets. Not bad considering the price tag.
They have also, however, turned into Toei's pet company for UK releases which has had some really bad side effects for Streaming (Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 and Digimon Adventure Tri have been region locked) as Manga have a very caustic aprouch to streaming.
Importing the DVDs and Blu-Rays straight from Japan, however, has become impossible when Avex announced that certain DV Ds, One Piece included, would be restricted to their native Japan.
Kilala Princess has become this. First off, Tokyopop released the volumes split in half. What was Volume 1 in in Japan is Volumes 1 and 2 in America. Then they didn't release anything past Volume 4 – Volume 2 in Japan. There are 5 Japanese volumes.
It was finally averted in 2016 and 2017, where Tokyopop released all five volumes in full format.
The U.S. only got the first two seasons of RockMan.EXE (a.k.a. Mega Man NT Warrior). The remaining three seasons – Stream, Beast, and Beast+ – and the movies were never licensed.
A particularly nasty one occurred with the final two volumes of Cannon God Exaxxion, which was more or less the fault of an extremely vocal internet Fan Dumb.
A little background: The first five volumes were released by Dark Horse Comics to generally positive reviews, with a brilliant translation and few if any visual edits – it sometimes had sex and violence, though never really gratuitous. There was even surprisingly little bitching about the fact Dark Horse had chosen to release the English version mirrored, a practice that was already falling out of favour when they began releasing in the early '00s. Then came Volume Five, featuring a sex scene between the hero and his girlfriend that had to be trimmed down for various reasons – mostly out of fear that since not only were both of them highschool-aged, but Hoichi was considerably more mature-looking than the childlike moe Akane, it would open Dark Horse up to the depredations of increasingly fascistic law enforcement agencies trying to stamp out depictions of underage sex in the media. While nothing important to the story was cut, and some say the edits even improved the overall flow of the story, as the sex scene was a bit overlong and gratuitous, the fans still went ballistic. Dark Horse was flooded with hatemail. Frustrated by the fans turning on them after going to so much trouble to get the thing published in America in the first place, they dropped the entire series out of spite. While scanslations of the remaining chapters are available, the Woolseyism, sadly, is not. Depending on the chapter, the fan translations range in quality from So Okay, It's Average to Translation Trainwrecks that make you wonder just what the translator's first language actually was.
The M.U.S.C.L.E. toys and the NES game of the same name, both based on Kinnikuman, were exported to the US, but the anime was not. Its sequel series Kinnikuman Nisei was released stateside as Ultimate Muscle, after the toy line.
Blue Comet SPT Layzner was actually licensed by Bandai Entertainment for a North American release, but Bandai received damaged, blue-tinted masters from Sunrise and didn't acquire replacements or put out any DVDs before their license expired in 2005.
The "Renewal" edition of the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series, which featured greatly improved audio and video quality over the original DVD release, was distributed outside of Japan as the "Platinum Edition". The remastered versions of the movies Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion, however, have yet to be exported. Even worse, the rights to the movies themselves, originally held by Manga Entertainment, have now expired, meaning there is currently no legal way for Evangelion fans in the Western world to obtain the movies apart from tracking down old DVDs. Some fans are still holding out hope for Funimation (the distributor of the new movies) to rescue the license, as they have done with many other properties, but currently most are waiting for an eventual Blu-ray release of the series before seeing the original Eva movies in the West again.
This is (again) due to the absurdly high cost of the licenses. ADV passed on the movies when they were first available because Gainax was asking for over a million dollars. Although they could've afforded it at the time, they decided their money would be better spent on several TV shows instead; itwasasmartmove. Reportedly, the series and original films won't be relicensed in the West until the Rebulid film series is finished.
Despite the fact that both seasons of Ah! My Goddess were popular enough to get a second DVD print run each, the Fighting Wings episode pair made for the manga's 20th anniversary has never been dubbed into English, or released subbed to Western markets. Further, an original 7-minute OVA and a new full-length episode to be included with volume 42 of the manga are under production, with no plans for an overseas release.
The Peacemaker Kurogane manga is now released through Japan-only mobile service, making scanslation pretty much impossible. This, after a four-year hiatus. *headdesk*
This also applies to the traditional manga release. ADV started the series where the anime began (Volume 4) and printed 3 volumes before stopping. Tokyopop eventually picked up the license and printed the first 3 volumes, but nothing beyond Volume 6 has ever seen the light of day in North America.
Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin. Despite gathering a huge popularity in Japan and in Scandinavia, the series' chances making it to US are slim. The reason for this is, sadly, fairly sensible; the series is almost all about bloody violence directed towards animals, includes scenes of animal abuse by the heroes and promotes (Japanese) dogfighting.
Kingdom Hearts: The Kingdom Hearts II manga has only had three of nine volumes exported. The Kingdom Hearts Final Mix manga has not had volume 3 exported. The novels based on Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance have not been exported.
Some Studio Ghibli movies fell victim to this – Disney had home-video rights (formerly theatrical rights) to most Ghibli movies in the US, and some simply didn't make the cut until GKIDS was able to intervene. GKIDS would eventually acquire all the home-video rights in 2017 with the exception of The Wind Rises.
Most infamously, Only Yesterday was this for many years until 2016 when GKIDS (who owns theatrical rights for the Ghibli library) acquired full rights to the film from Ghibli themselves, after doing so for several other Ghibli films, including From Up on Poppy Hill (see below), The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There, all of which, like Only Yesterday, were arguably artsy enough for Disney to pass on. GKIDS gave it a similar treatment to those films, giving it an English dub with an all-star cast and a proper theatrical and home video release to boot.
Disney's reluctance towards Only Yesterday could be explained in various ways – either they were afraid for a film that openly discusses menstruation in young girls to be associated with them, or they found the film as a whole too artsy and not marketable. Or both. Frankly, as an art-house movie aimed at twenty-somethings, the latter reason would have somewhat of a point.
Then there's Ocean Waves, a Studio Ghibli Made-for-TV Movie which wasn't released in North America until GKIDS gave it a theatrical run in 2016 with a subtitled only home video release the following year.
From Up on Poppy Hill formerly fell under this trope, but fortunately GKids bought the theatrical rights and produced a dub, releasing the movie into North American theaters in March 2013 - two years after its original Japanese release.
A Dueling Dubs example: The Secret World of Arrietty has two separate English dubs, both produced by Disney – one for the UK and the other for North America, each using actors well-known in their respective countries. Naturally, English-speaking fans immediately declared the British dub superior before either saw the light of day. Even after the American dub hit cinemas to positive reviews, fans still complained because it wasn't the dub the UK had gotten a few months earlier. That Disney refused to allow the UK dub on the North American DVD/Blu-Ray release (while the UK and Japan apparently gets both) has only made American fans angrier.
American Ghibli fans are still suffering from the Fan Dumb fallout over Castle in the Sky. Here's the story – in 2003, Disney (hearing that neither Miyazaki nor Joe Hisaishi were very pleased with the sparse synths of the original 1986 score) commissioned a new score from Hisaishi with a full orchestra for the English dub. Miyazaki gave his approval and support. The result? American superfans went ballistic, complaining LOUDLY about how Disney had "ruined" the movie and "destroyed" its atmosphere. After the ensuing backlash, Disney officially discontinued the use of their score for future North American releases. However, the rescore proved popular in Japan (getting its own album) and the Japanese, European, and Australian Blu-Rays all use it. The North American Blu-Ray release retains the original score. If you're an American fan of Castle's rescore (and there's plenty, despite what Disney and detractors think) and you want to hear it set to high-definition video, you have no choice but to import.
Much of Crunchyroll's catalogue, and almost everything licensed by other web simulcast companies, is available in North America (and sometimes UK) only. It may be for language issues, but many international fans would be happy enough to have English subtitles - but they can't, at least not legally.
A number of Crunchyroll's simulcasts and archives are available worldwide (except Japan, for obvious reasons). On a show-by-show basis, this can certainly apply, though.
Originally played straight for several years with Wandering Son. After several years it finally was licensed in America. Most likely played straight with the anime adaptation, due to the Values Dissonance and controversial subject (or the fact that it's a seinen; Western anime companies never seemed too fond of 'em).
Ratchet & Clank started off as an American video game series. Japan has a manga that has never managed to make it back to the states (there are, however, other American Ratchet comics; just none with Big Ol' Eyebrows).
Saint Seiya has an odd and frustrating variation: the first 60 episodes of the 114-episode original anime series were faithfully dubbed in English and released to the US on DVD. But that's all we're ever going to see, since the Bowderized Cartoon Network version completely ruined its chances. And since it's an older series, even finding fansubs of the remaining episodes (plus the 31-episode OVA and 5 movies) can be a real pain.
Actually, ADV made it very clear they wanted to license the rest of the series, but were not allowed to. This is because Saint Seiya was a sublicense from DiC, and ADV couldn't get any more episodes beyond what they were given.
Even worse, the PlayStation 3 game Saint Seiya Senki was only available in Japan, South America, and Europe. No US date? blame it on the above. Averted with the game Saint Seiya Brave Soldiers which is available in North America as a Download-only release. (To be fair Namco Bandai are testing the game to find out how big is the anime's fanbase in the region.)
While the first two Lyrical Nanoha series were released in the West, it seems that it was unusually unpopular and so the other seasons aren't going to be released.
Blame this on original licensor Geneon going belly-up before the show could even be dubbed, let alone released. Funimation released it as part of their distribution deal with Geneon (that included several other, far more popular, shows), but gave the show next to no advertisement of any kind.
There were some issues with the dub that probably hurt sales. Specifically, the translations of some attack names are inconsistent between the two series. Also, the production of the dub was incredibly quick and cheap, so much so that it may have run afoul of California labor laws… which may explain why no person or entity other than the voice actors has any official credit.
The series premise. It's geared at men, yet the covers show a anime full of cute girls, with The Protagonist as the youngest, that happens to be a Magical Girl series. That'd work well in Japan, but in the west that'd make most men put the box back on the shelf.
Despite the popularity of the When They Cry manga series in North America (and of the original games to a lesser extent), any piece of the anime besides the first series, Higurashi, is unofficially dead in the water. This is probably due in part to its being yet another late-era Geneon title – though this one at least came out in full before the company's collapse. The unpopularity of the dub – which many consider much more wooden than is normal for an otherwise-good LA studio – might also play a role. It sold poorly and has been out of print since 2011, so copies are becoming increasingly hard to buy or find online.
Funimation's sublicense expired, and they made it very clear that releases of Kai, Umineko, etc. will not be forthcoming. Looks like it's back to the fansubs.
Freezing: Freezing: First Chronicle, Freezing: Zero, and Freezing: Pair Love Stories were not exported.
While the Future GPX Cyber Formula TV series have been licensed in the US, the OVA sequels and most of the video games based on the series are not. And the poor sales of the DVD box set in the US and it quietly went out of print ensures that the OVAs will never make it to US shores.
While Puerto Rico usually averts this – having access to both the North American and Latin American catalogues† Officially they're in DVD Region 1 just like the rest of the United States rather than Region 4 like the rest of Latin America (both share a Blu-Ray Region, "A"), but they still get broadcasts of Spanish-dubbed anime from Mexico or Argentina – some anime have not been released there in either Spanish or English. Notables include K-On! (on Blu-Ray), Durarara!! (luckily, at least it's on TV) and the third season of Koihime†Musou (despite releasing the first two seasons without a problem).
Speaking of Latin America, anime distribution in that region is very questionable, since most of the home releases on DVD or Blu-Ray are limited only to Mexico, Argentina and/or Chile, without any broad release outside those countries. If you live in a country that is not Mexico or Argentina, you have to import, and if the license is region-wide, you have to import anyway due to the high levels of piracy in that region. Cases in point:
In Argentina, they have a company called AVH. Their movie releases are region-wide and many companies through Latin America are importing their DVDs for their respective countries. However, their anime releases are very limited. Moreover, those are limited in selected stores and not anywhere else. If you miss one of them, you're completely screwed.
Releases by Chilean company Edisur'' are even more limited, making it impossible to import them.
Mexican companies are usually playing straight with this trope. Furthermore, companies like Zima Entertainment have a very clear stance about this: "our releases are exclusively for Mexico". They even state that in their DVDs, as you can see here.
Madness Films (another Mexican company) have stated that they don't have any interest in distribute their Death Note's DVD and Blu-Ray editions outside Mexico.
Other company that is going in that direction is Kora International, with their first license: Kamisama Kiss (or, as it is known in Spanish: "Soy una Diosa, ¿y ahora qué?"note I'm a Goddess, and now what?). This series has a very limited distribution in Mexican cinemas, and there is not a Blu-Ray release date on sight. We'll have to see if that one will be only for Mexico, as well. However, it's averted with The Boy and the Beast, since Videomax released the dub on Blu-Ray in late 2016.
A notable aversion is Towers Entertainment, since they have licenses for the entire Latin American region. It's even mentioned on the back cover of their DVDs, as you can see here.
Another mildly aversion is Yowu Entertainment, a Spain-based distribution company that is licensing anime for Latin America (Dance in the Vampire Bund, Zero No Tsukaima and Btooom!). Even though they have a mediocre Blu-Ray release schedule and are known for screwing up them (e.g. releasing Dance In The Vampire Bund on BD-R), their series are available on streaming platforms like Crunchyroll and Claro Video, with both Spanish subs and dubbed audio. However, some series as Seraph of the End or The Heroic Legend of Arslan, aren't available as such, since they are probably licensed by an unknown distribution company in Latin America.
It's better not to talk about anime releases from Spain's distribution companies, such as Selecta Visión. Almost every single one of their titles (with few exceptions from Yowu Entertainment) are only for Spain, and due those licenses' management in Europe, it's completely safe to say that no one of them will leave that country.
Azumanga Daioh is one of the most popular anime ever, yet aside from Japan and English-speaking regions, only one other place got a full adaptation: Germany.
Any of the Battle Spirits anime. The card game has been discontinued in America. Worse, the game came out before releasing the anime in America and Bandai used Invisible Advertising and didn't even bother to stock the cards.
The No Mercy OVA has yet to be licensed outside of Japan. It's an odd example, considering nearly every other part of the animated franchise has seen release in North America – original OVAs, first series, mini-specials, movie, second series, and third series (those last two admittedly without the well-received English dub)? Yup, all licensed at some point. But not No Mercy.
The YUA manga itself falls into this. The English release by Studio Proteus consisted of about a dozen chapters from volumes 5-7, originally released in comic book form and then compiled into two volumes (which are now long out of print). When Dark Horse – for whom Oh My Goddess is consistently one of their top-selling manga titles – was asked about the possibility of publishing more YUA, they stated that Kosuke Fujishima himself was blocking an international release, but no one knew why. If what some people involved with Goddess have said is true, Fujishima is a notorious perfectionist. He may consider YUA (his first big title) something of an Old Shame that he'd rather not see again… though he's perfectly willing to allow it to be adapted.
All three DS games have never been released in North America.
The one-shot chapter has not been translated by Viz.
Four of the collector's figures from the DVD series have only been released in Japan - Soichiro, Mikami, Takada and the King of Shinigami.
Also as-yet unreleased is the anime guidebook.
An uncut, unedited North American release of the original Space Battleship Yamato TV series is probably not going to happen anytime soon. This is not because of the difficulty in obtaining a license – most of the Leijiverse has surfaced at some point or another – but more because very few people are asking for it. Fans of the edited American version, Star Blazers, already have the version they like, and they seem to prefer to preserve their memories of rushing home from school to watch Derek Wildstar, Captain Avatar, Dr. Sane drinking his spring water, and the Desslock with the funny voice. If they're in the mood for the Japanese version with English subtitles, they have the Yamato movie collection which, like Star Blazers, is available from Voyager Entertainment. Star Blazers fans already feel like they've got the best of both worlds.
Best of three worlds, actually, now with the (arguably superior) Yamato 2199, subbed and unedited now seeing release on DVD and Blu-Ray.
None of the Tales of SymphoniaOVAs have been released outside of Japan. Fortunately, the fans have translated them.
Only 104 of the nearly 300 Hamtaro episodes were released outside of Japan. The four movies also stayed in Japan.
First 5 volumes of Tsukihime have been released in America, however the publisher doesn't seem to plan on releasing more after the series has finally finished its run in Japan. What's weird is that the publisher's site is still up and running with no updates since 2009.
Minus one episode about a graveyard, America is stuck with the first season of Ojamajo Doremi, and that's it. Why? Because in 2007, Toei pulled 4Kids's One Piece license due to their edited dub being so godawful that it almost destroyed significant chunks of the anime industry.† That's only a little bit of an exaggeration. The 4Kids dub of One Piece was despised due to its poor voice acting, poorer casting and directorial choices, poorest writing, and of course the ridiculous censorship. Because 4Kids edited their shows before recording voices, there was no uncut DVD release. Angry fans of the series turned to fansubs; the most popular group subbing the series was known to be extremely anti-localization of any kind, and encouraged a militant mindset on the subject amongst their followers – there's a reason it took four tries to get the True Companions trope renamed from "Nakama". Piracy, already a problem, became even more rampant as even people normally opposed to fansubs took part just to stick it to 4Kids. This caused a knock-on effect on both sides of the Pacific as American licensors begged the Japanese to do something to keep the English side of things from imploding (which happened anyway later that year). Meanwhile, the increasingly draconian Bowdlerization precipitated a decline in One Piece's TV viewership, which turned the show into something of a ratings black hole that threatened to take down the entire Toonami block, and with it the major way to expose anime to the masses. And of course, fans turned against 4Kids in droves, denouncing even the series they didn't edit too heavily. Thing is, 4Kids got One Piece as part of a package deal (ironically, the part of the package they never wanted to begin with). When it went, so did the series 4Kids actually cared about: Ultimate Muscle and Ojamajo Doremi…
The other episodes of Season 1, save for episode 30, were dubbed by 4Kids and shown on their website.
Cartoon Network (the USA original) has yet to air Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z. It's a bit ironic considering how the cartoon the anime is based off originated there. There are rumors saying that Craig McCracken dislikes it and has made sure it can never ever air in the US. However, the Ocean Group have made an English dub, which has only aired in a few countries, including Australia. There are also some American satellite and cable providers have a Spanish Cartoon Network channel which shows Powerpuff Girls Z in Spanish occasionally. On the French branch of Cartoon Network it airs on a daily basis.
Most of Stitch! has yet to air on the American Disney XD. The show did at one point, but they pulled it after less than a week to air Rated "A" for Awesome re-runs. With the relative success of the 2014 Doraemon anime, there was still a chance for anime to survive on Disney XD.
Sure enough, Yo-kai Watch began airing there in October of 2015, and was given unexpected treatment for an anime on that channel by being promoted on every show, having frequent marathons, and airing promos for the show on other channels.
Whilst the 02 sequel OVA for Super Dimension Century Orguss got released in the UK, the original series hasn't, despite getting an English-language dub released Stateside.note Though then again even that only seems to have been on VHS...
Discotek to the rescue! The original Orguss is slated for DVD release sometime by the end of '14.
While Harmony Gold released a dub of the first Magical Princess Minky Momo OVA (as "Gigi and the Fountain of Youth"), the other OVAs and TV series were not so lucky. Harmony Gold had actually dubbed a portion of the first TV series, but the plans fell through due to the inability to get it picked up by a network. However, a few of the international Gigi dubs (such as those released in the Netherlands, Italy, and France) based their scripts from the English adaptation.
Worth noting that, in March 2015, William Winckler annouced plans to release Harmony Gold's TV dub (which is mostly uncut, although the first few episodes have been recut into a compilation movie) on Amazon Streaming. Here.
Harmony Gold had released Demetan Croaker in the form of two compilation films in the '80s ("The Brave Frog"), and the TV series itself had been dubbed as "Adventures On Rainbow Pond" (yet also failed to get a network deal). It remains unlikely that any of this material will see a DVD release due to the license having reverted to Tatsunoko, and no one currently able to secure the rights. It should also be noted that many of Harmony Gold's master tapes for their '80s dubs were destroyed in a flood, sold back to the licensors (with some destroyed as part of the deal), or sold off in liquidation sales.
Until 2017, when Sentai Filmworks released complete DVD sets of the Gatchaman sequels, they were not available in the West in their uncut form. The Gatchaman OVAs weren't available at all in the West until Sentai's
A book for Vandread called Vandread Extra Stage containing a number of short stories based before, during, and shortly after the anime was released. Want to know how Jura and Barnette met? Or what happened to Hibiki, Dita, and the others that went to Tarak? Sadly but not surprsingly, this book was never translated and released outside of the Japan.
Some American Sanrio stores are now selling some merchandise. Characters also show up in the NDS crossover game Loving Life with Hello Kitty & Friends.
It's also practically unheard of in Malaysia, with the merchandise few and difficult to find, and the anime has never aired. This is extremely strange as Malaysian Moral Guardians has never had any problems with Magical Girl type anime, and the toys and shows can be found in Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia's immediate neighbors.
Speaking of Sanrio, just about any anime series based on a Sanrio character (in America; Europe usually gets them). From My Melody, to the "Sugarbunnies" anime from 2007, and a 44 minute long movie called "Cinnamon the Movie" released in 2007, which starred another popular Sanrio character named "Cinnamoroll". Also in the 1980's, Sanrio used to make OVA's under the name "Sanrio Video" where they had Sanrio characters in a classic Fairy Tail setting such as The Little Twin Stars in "The Blue Bird" and My Melody in "Little Red Riding Hood". Then in 2000, Sanrio made another series based on Fairy Tales called "Hello Kitty Animation Theater" that featured the same thing, but featured newer characters at the time. The series got released on DVD and VHS and was dubbed in English, but these days its an extremely rare find. So far, Sanrio hasn't made any plans on exporting these anime stateside, even though it's the company where Hello Kitty comes from. However, Viz Media did translate the manga called "Fluffy Fluffy Cinnamoroll" for western fans in 2012. The manga's been out in Japan since 2005. However Viz Media has no plans on translating a special edition of the manga called "Fluffy Fluffy Cinnamoroll: Color Edition" which features brand new stories and all pages we're in color.
The Edutainment ShowHello Kitty to Issho! (no, not the videogame) is another exception to the things Sanrio won't export. It was released in Japan from the late 90's to the early 2000's and got an English dub by AnimeEigo in 2012.
The Queen's Blade manga Queen's Blade: Exiled Warrior, Queen's Blade: Hide & Seek, and Queen's Blade Struggle were not exported. The Queen's Blade: Beautiful Fighters Biographies art books, Picture Scroll of the Musha-Miko, Tome of the Ancient Princess, and Adventure of the Exiled Warrior were not exported.
Rurouni Kenshin has a few cases. While Rurouni Kenshin has proved to be successful in the West, with Viz releasing the entire manga and then reprinting it in "Viz Big" wide-ban formats, several things have simply remained Japan-exclusive. The official guidebook, "Kenshin Kaden", was a Japan-only release, along with the three anime guidebooks. Later in 2007, the kanzenban volumes of the series were released in Japan, which included new art and character redesigns. With the recent "revival" of the Rurouni Kenshin franchise in Japan, two PSP games have been released as well as another reprinting of the manga in a bunkoban format. There have also been novelizations and one manga short that were not exported.
There were also two PlayStation games and a PlayStation 2 game released in Japan.
Fortunately, it appears that Aniplex has licensed the new Shin Kyoto Hen OVAs for a North American release.
Viz is also releasing the reboot manga, Rurouni Kenshin kinema-ban as Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration.
Same goes for the many live-action adaptations of the film. At one point, Fathom Events was rumored to release them in American theaters, but nothing has been heard since then.
Senran Kagura manga Senran Kagura Spark!, Senran Kagura: Crimson Snakes, and Senran Kagura: Portrait of Girls were not exported.
Though Media Blasters released GaoGaiGar to the States, its poor sales meant that it wasn't going to release its 7-part OVA sequel FINAL. Or dub the second half of the TV series.
The same went for Mazinkaiser's OVA sequel, Deathmatch!! Great General of Darkness, as it was passed up by ADV despite them releasing the original OVA series prior.
Ryohgo Narita's first series, Vamp!!, has no official translation. It has only recently received a proper fan translation.
The Hungarian anime market is dead, plain and simple, due to mishandled marketing, low ratings, catastrophic DVD sales and of course piracy and Moral Guardians. Discounting occasional reruns of older shows, a handful of kid-targeted anime and some relatively obscure, old (and again, child-friendly) series, nothing is released. But a few instances of denied export can be singled out from the time when anime still had a bigger presence. InuYasha's Final Act for example never made it to screens because the base-series got canceled, and they apparently couldn't be licensed separately. Seasons 2-5 of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, Pokémon (after Diamond and Pearl), and much of Beyblade and Metal Fight Beyblade have also been simply glossed over. The potential licensing deals of Naruto: Shippuden and the later parts of Bleach, Detective Conan, D.Gray-Man, Kirarin Revolution and Full Metal Panic! likewise got the axe around the time that Animax, the TV station that they had aired on, stopped being an anime channel.
Further, although the Dragon Ball is still very popular in the country, the only animated movie that ever saw a release is Dragon Ball GT's TV special, even though many of the previous movies (or at least their edited forms) had been made available through the French AB Group's licenses. The rights for Dragon Ball Kai have also been sold to the Cenrtal and Eastern European region, but it so far hasn't been picked up and dubbed in Hungary, probably due to budgetary issues, Japanese media's general unpopularity with the mainstream public, and the fact that there is currently no TV station that would air it.
The Jump Super Anime Tour 2008 special, Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return! received an official English-dubbed streaming release, but no official home release in America, likely due to rights issues.
Subverted with Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, since was co-funded by Fox as part of a deal in which Fox gets exclusive U.S. distribution rights for two years. It didn't get a release in North America until Funimation and Fox released the film in late 2014.
The first anime series, Dragon Quest: Legend of the Hero Abel, had the first thirteen of forty three episodes broadcast in the US in 1990, with no following VHS or DVD release of the series.
Dai no Daibouken: The thirty seven volume manga series, forty six episode anime series, and three movies, were not exported in the US.
Dragon Quest Biography: Emblem of Roto: The anime movie and twenty one volume manga were not exported.
Dragon Quest: Souten no Soura: The six volume manga was not exported.
Most anime that have Kadokawa Shoten as their licensee seemingly don't get a Blu-Ray release in the United States, or if they do it's way late. This is likely to combat "reverse importing" of the American version of the series back into Japannote North America and Japan share the same Bluray region code, something Japanese companies were able to stop when DVD began (they successfully fought to be in the otherwise all-PAL Region 2 rather than risk product dilution from America, which had become a problem during the VHS era, since both countries used NTSC), but failed when the Bluray format was set, which would mean less profit for an already-hurting anime industry.
A couple of examples of this are Haruhi Suzumiya and Future Diary. Averted with Full Metal Panic!, although it could be argued that the whole franchise is so old (and hasn't seen a new series entry since 2005) that the risks of an international Blu-ray release would be minimal to Kadokawa.
Persona 4: The Animation has a provisional qualifier because of its odd circumstances. The series did indeed get a normal bilingual release in the USA, but only on DVD. The Blu-Ray release was dub-only at the licensor's insistence.
There's an odd irony in the fact that Heroman, arguably one of the most American anime out there (being set in the US and being full of stereotypical American pep), has no American release. The manga has been released outside of Japan but not the anime. This is mainly because of the infighting between Buena Vista Entertainment (owned by Disney) and Studio BONES made it difficult to get a proper American home video release. Also, it was received poorly by the few American anime fans who have seen it.
Belgium, who once had it as bad, if not worse, than the Netherlands, seems less affected by this now, since a few famous manga publishers (such as Glenat) are eager to publish manga there. Anime may also become less and less of an issue. There are cases known in which Belgian networks import anime by themselves and ignore the Dutch sensibilities.
Ashita no Nadja, despite being very popular in most of Europe and Asia, has not been aired in any English-speaking countries. However, Cartoon Network's Latin American service (the same one on American cable that sometimes airs Powerpuff Girls Z) aired Nadja back in the 2000's, and William Winkler also dubbed the series as a movie.
Tama And Friends only had 13 episodes dubbed into English. The rest of the episodes are hard to find. And forget about the sequel- that one has only been exported to Asia and even at that it wasn't well liked due to the Genre Shift.
Attack No. 1 will probably never get released on DVD in the United States. It is puzzling, why, since the series is quite popular and an English dub does exist. That there's no licensing ban is proven by Germany, where all episodes got released on DVD.
Magic Tree House, despite being based on an popular North American franchise, hasn't been released there yet.
Saint Young Men reportedly will never see a U.S. release, either of the manga or the OAV series and movie, because creator Hikaru Nakamura didn't want to risk pissing off religious fundamentalists on both sides.
Toy Car hobby-based anime like Bakusou Kyoudai! Let's & Go!! and Crush Gear Turbo are this if you're not Asian, despite the fact that there's a English dub for both of them (The Filipino-English one for the former and a Asian-wide English dub for the latter which also aired in Australia).
Are you living in the UK or Australia? Want the Funimation dub of Sgt. Frog released in your country on DVD? Too bad! No anime distributor company in the UK or Australia has any plans on releasing it.
After a long wait, both the anime and visual novel versions of School Days have made it stateside, albeit without dubs – but so far there's been no word at all about the manga. Though only two volumes long, it's a popular take on the School Days story with a more relatable Makoto... and a chilling Bad End unique to this version. The spinoffs such as Cross Days and Summer Days will probably be staying in Japan too, as they're an even tougher sell than the original.
Many of the anime series produced by NHK Enterprises have barely been released anywhere outside of Asia, despite some of them being pretty popular in Japan. There's even some that have never been released outside of Japan at all.
Nintama Rantarou: With the exception of some Spanish-speaking countries, such as Latin America and Spain, the series hasn't been released anywhere in the West. Currently, NHK Enterprises has provided some English info for the series on their official website, under a slightly different title Ninjaboy Rantaro, to interest potential buyers in the Anglosphere.
Ojarumaru: The series managed to get released in only two Western countries: Italy and Spain. It did get licensed by Enoki Films' US division several years ago, under a different title Prince Mackaroo. However, they never managed to do anything with the license other than providing info for it on their official website to interest potential buyers in the US. Interestingly, Enoki Films'  for the characters were used in the Italian, Spanish, and Tagalog dubs.
Out of the few countries that did bother licensing the series, Thailand is currently the only country that has dubbed episodes beyond the 8th series due to the series being pretty popular over there.
First, the show has some Marvel characters that show up as guest characters, but those character rights are owned by both 20th Century Fox (for the Mutants) and Sony (partially for Spider-Man), esp. that Spider-Man is the mentor of the kids in the show.
Second, the toys are made by Bandai. Hasbro has most of the Marvel toy rights out of Japan, and of course Hasbro hates to share with Bandai (Considering Hasbro's ally is Takara Tomy, and Takara Tomy doesn't do Marvel Properties, also the same reason why the SH Figuarts of the Iron Man characters are not available outside of Japan), which doubles the NEFY Status of the show.
Third, there is a large slate of Marvel-based animation currently airing, including an Avengers show, and The Powers That Be are probably not going to have a second one on.
Despite the issues mentioned above, Disney has now produced an American English dub. However, at this moment in time, it's only airing on the Southeast Asian branch of Disney XD... except the Philippines. Pinoy Avengers fans are NOT PLEASED.
The only anime based on The Moomins to be released in America was the BBC dub of the 90's version, which aired for a time on Hawaii's then-UPN affiliate and was later given a series of print-on-demand DVDs.
After TokyoPop nearly got in trouble for trying to translate Flower of Eden because it plagiarized a couple of other manga, no other series serialized in Bessatsu Friend have been brought to English-speaking countries (with the exception of Peach Girl, but it was translated before the ban). Of note is the AKB0048 manga, especially since the anime it's based on has received an English dub, and Kin Kyori Rennai, which got a Live-Action Adaptation film that curb-stomped the series movie for Happiness Charge Pretty Cure at the box office.
Any of the Toei Majokko Collection shows have not been released in America. However, shirts featuring the characters are sold at some UniQlo locations in the United States, and Himitsu no Akko-chan had a currently out-of-print translation released in the 2000's to teach Japanese children English from the same product line as the English Sazae-san and GeGeGe no Kitaro mangas.
Licensing The Legend of Koizumi is not nice. Can you even imagine the shitstorm that would result? If so, we will watching what is happening next when any publisher licensed this thing...
All the TV episodes of To Love-Ru have been released in North America, however the original manga have not and, more importantly, neither have the OVAs which provide an important bridge between the TV series (so there are characters that appear from nowhere in the first episode of Motto To Love-Ru). It is even worse in the UK where To Love-Ru Darkness was legally streamed for a time despite no other part of the franchise ever having arrived there. Similarly the second TV series of WORKING!! is available to watch in the UK on Crunchroll - despite the first series never having been made available either physically or digitally.
For decades Japan has been running a Super Mario Bros. manga named "Super Mario-kun" but it's never been localized. It's probably for the best as, like the above mentioned Pocket Monsters, it's a wacky gag manga. Many western fans don't like it because of its characterization and humor anyway. The only Super Mario-kun-related material to ever make it to most of the West was a Mystery Mushroom costume of Mario's manga design in Super Mario Maker. It began release in France as Super Mario: Manga Adventures in 2015. No news on translations in other regions though.
Crash Bandicoot had a short manga in The '90s that will most likely never be officially translated. It's interesting because it gives an in-series reason for why Crash's girlfriend disappeared from the series (she dumped him for a villain).
The TokyoPop distribution of Life ended halfway through so a large chunk of the manga has never been released in English.
Yuureitou has begun translations in several languages however English is currently not one of them.
Genshiken's first series was released in Italy and garnered the attention of a small but loyal fanbase, causing its first (and only) print run to be eventually sold out. Neither its licensee nor its original editing staff (now working for other publishers) have plans for Second Season for the time being.
The 2 OVAs of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu have yet to be released anywhere besides Japan, and the manga is only in Taiwan and Japan. Fortunately, the TV series somewhat averts this, as it's currently available for legal streaming.
Eventually averted for the manga in 2016, as Kodansha USA picked it up for an English release after the success of the anime's first season.
Midori No Makibao: So far it has only been exported to Taiwan and The Philippines. Due to values dissonance caused by it's audience alienating premise, it probably wouldn't be seeing an American or European release anytime soon.
Discussed in Idols Of Anime with Viga expressing frustration at series (especially pre-2000 ones) that either aren't translated (even as fansubs) or the translation stops halfway through.
While the 70's Bannertail: The Adventures of Gray Squirrel has gotten various dubs across Europe the most notable being in German and Spanish. The anime has never gotten an English dub. This is especially egregious considering it's based on a Canadian novel, meaning people in Canada can't see the series in the language of their own country's book.
Seton Doubutsuki which based on Ernest Thompson Seton's other works such as Wild Animals I Have Known was not exported here neither.
Ultima: Manga, with stories loosely inspired by the Famicom ports, were not exported, including: Ultima: The Terror of Exodus, Ultima: The Quest of the Avatar, Ultima: The Fall of Magincia, Ultima: The Maze of Schwarzschild, and stories found in GamePlayer COMICS Vol. 4-7, Famicom 4-Panel-Comic Kingdom Vol. 2, 100man Nin no Tetsuya-Sofuto (Million People's Sleep-Avoiding Software) April 1993, Beishikun (BASIC'N) Vol. 2-3, and Hamari Michi (Road to Addiction) April 1994.
Valkyrie Drive: Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid manga and Valkyrie Drive: Siren - Breakout web manga were not exported.
Despite its popularly, Warau Salesman (Laughing Salesman) was never exported. However, the manga version get a English release to teach Japanese people to read the language.
World of Mana: The Sword of Mana Yonkoma Manga Theatre and the manga Seiken Densetsu: Princess of Mana have not been exported. A five volume manga based on Seiken Densetsu: Legend of Mana was not exported, except in Germany.
Outside of Asia and the Middle East, the preschool anime Shimajiro has never been licensed for a release, except for an alleged brief run of the first season in Australia where it was released Direct-to-Video. However, Shimajiro's Wow! has been streaming with English subtitles on the Benesse website, and the company is trying to get companies to license the show outside of Asia.
On February 15, 2017, Avex Pictures announced it would be restricting exports on certain DVDs and Blu-Rays from Japan-based stores, which included among other things, One Piece and the Initial D anime direct from source. Avex informed retailers that they must clearly classify those products that can and cannot be sold overseas.
Anpanman, one of the most popular anime amongst younger children in Japan, has not seen an English dub, except in India. A dubbed test pilot of the movie "Fly! Fly! Chibigon" was made to sell the series to English-speaking audiences and had it's credits leaked on YouTube, which revealed that Spin City actor Richard Kind played one of the characters.
Although Gamba no Bōken did get exported in few countries (Italy and the Arab world), the show was not exported in most countries. The original novel which the anime is based off was not exported neither.
One would not expect a series like Koi Kaze, which deals with Brother-Sister Incest in a very realistic way, to have much appeal abroad. However, the anime was released in the west and even included an English dub. For some reason however the original manga has never been released outside of Japan.
Despite being popular in its' native Japan, PriPara has not been released in America because it involves a game made for arcades, which are all but obsolete in most Western countries, so it would be hard to find places to put them in. However, some toys from the show have seen a release in the United States.
In the winter of 2017, William Winckler Productions produced 2 pilot episodes under the name of Prism Paradise for the series to be picked up by a television channel or distributor, meaning that it won't be much longer until PriPara comes to North American shores.