Has Nelvana’s Medabots anime license expired?

4 04 2012

With the recent news that Amazon Instant Video was headed to PS3 I decided to be a bit nosy and look around the US Amazon website to check out their library of content. I don’t know why I would do that since there isn’t even a Canadian equivalent of that service for me to bemoan about the lack of content on our version. Anyways, Medabots was one of the series on there. In fact, it was part of our campaign last year to bring Medabots back to the spotlight with a top 100 break. Unfortunately, we didn’t reach that goal. While the first series got a Canada-only VHS, and DVD release (courtesty of Kaboom), alongside a complete U.S. release from ADV, and a partial DVD release from Shout! Factory the second series (known as “Medarot Damashii” in Japan) never received a DVD release here. That’s why Amazon Instant Video interested me. You see, that was the only legal way someone could watch those episodes, though given that’s the terrible part of the series I’m not sure why anyone would want to watch it… Anyways, the news of the PS3 application got me interested in checking to see if it was compatible. Instead of finding out our American Medafighters could watch the misadventures of Ikki Tenyrou and Coach Mountain, I was greeted with this:

Yeah, the series is no longer available due to licensing issues. Some of you guys might think this is some region-locking stuff. It’s not. Look at another Amazon Instant Video series and you’ll at least be given the purchase options at this stage. Not so with Medabots.

But, okay maybe Nelvana’s deal with Amazon expired? Streaming rights do that some times. Then I noticed something, Nelvana.com no longer lists Medabots as a property. According to the WayBack Machine, the last time Nelvana included it was a property on their website was in 2011, prior to the current site design.

I guess it would be careless of me to post this story without pointing out that Medabots.com is still a domain owned by Corus (Nelvana’s parent company), and one that they just extended a few months ago. It’s also important to note that Kidsco, an international channel owned partially by Nelvana still has a few local affiliates list it as a show. Though, it needs to be stated that Corus still owns the domain name for their Cardcaptors website, even though it’s clear they no longer have that series, and Kidsco’s website isn’t one that’s heavily updated. The most damning evidence of all would be the fact it has been 11 years to the day that Nelvana licensed Medabots (under the title Medabot: Techno Robot Battle Adventures) on a global scale. Licenses rarely last forever.

The worst thing about this is that is signifies Nelvana not seeing a future for the property.

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1 10 2012
Medarot Episode 1 anime fansub now available « Project Rising Beetle

[…] Japanese version of the anime outside of importing the Japanese R2 DVDs, and add in the fact that the rights holder for the anime in the west appears to have relinquished those rights back to Japan leads me to come to this decision. Fansub group Robo.ms (Note: Language warning) are in the process […]

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