HomeAnimeHanabee Entertainment Announce Plans for 2020, End Rooster Teeth Partnership

Hanabee Entertainment Announce Plans for 2020, End Rooster Teeth Partnership

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Founded by Eric Cherry almost eight years ago to service the Australian and New Zealand markets, Hanabee Entertainment was an anime publisher which brought a number of acclaimed works to audiences including Bakemonogatari, Kokoro Connect, Gatchaman Crowds, No Game No Life among others. Later in its history, the team served as the regional distributor for other products, most notably those of Rooster Teeth. In the last couple of years however the company have gone increasingly quiet, no longer appearing at conventions and having less of a presence – despite their older works still being reliably easy to find in stores.

In an email sent out recently titled Whatever Happened to Hanabee?, Eric Cherry confirmed that Hanabee was “All Good” and laid out their agenda for 2020 and beyond. The full email is included at the bottom of the email as I think it is well thought out and his learnings are of interest, but the big takeaway was that while they “fought like hell”, they were unable to keep up with the Rooster Teeth Online Store and that they have begun the progress of “untying Hanabee and Rooster Teeth’s long-standing relationship”. What this means for the availability of Rooster Teeth merchandise in Australia is unknown.

Hanabee Entertainment Announce Plans for 2020, End Rooster Teeth Partnership 1

Looking forward towards 2020 and with a goal to “improve each day”, Mr. Cherry outlined the seven point agenda for what Hanabee Entertainment will aim to achieve in 2020:

  1. Replenish and bring in new products in support of Kojima Productions, in time for Xmas.
     
  2. Work with Rooster Teeth to initiate a final store closure. Everything (I mean everything) must go.
  3. Replenish the anime range and identify what new opportunities there may be in that highly competitive space. 
  4. Expand our product offerings and distribution; market them more effectively. 
  5. Establish a regular cadence of communication, primarily through our newsletter.
  6. Offer solutions for companies looking to grow their businesses in Australia. 
  7. Attend the odd convention, but not 16 per year like before.
Hanabee Entertainment Announce Plans for 2020, End Rooster Teeth Partnership 2

With Madman Entertainment really the only Australian anime publisher publishing works from Japan on a monthly basis, it would be nice to have Hanabee Entertainment go closer to their roots and bring a more consistent stream of unique works to the Australian and New Zealand markets. Expect to hear more in the coming months.


Full Original Email

Hanabee Entertainment Announce Plans for 2020, End Rooster Teeth Partnership 3

Everyone

As you may have noticed, Hanabee hasn’t been overly active throughout the last few months. I owe you an explanation. 

I founded the company nearly eight years ago. From the very get-go, Hanabee had a dual-purpose: representing anime as well as Rooster Teeth in Australia. The brilliant and talented staff – Karen, Zi, Cameron, Claire, Miki, Carl, Tambo, Maddie, John, Andrew, and Tero – took on whatever challenges came about in stride. Working with that group has – by far – been my most cherished part of the company’s history to date. 

The first challenges were a lot of fun. The conventions, RTOZ events, boat cruises, pub crawls, YouTube channel, animation lectures, and afterparties created something. It established a bond with Hanabee and an incomparable group of people known as “Roo Teeth.” Collaborating with Caiti, Nelly, and others on these events, which themselves founded lifelong friendships and memories, satisfied me to no end. 

Then I think about RTX Sydney, and it blows my mind. We stumbled through the first one, made a lot of mistakes, and reflected heavily on them. With a lot to prove, we regrouped and rebounded strongly in year two with Hideo Kojima, the Nintendo Switch, and air conditioning. This was probably the most impressive accomplishment our small team was able to achieve, and the result I’m most proud of (except for that time I pissed off Karen…sorry Karen!)

After all this time and all these projects, we found our team was getting more and more focused on Rooster Teeth, who became our biggest client. I took on a new project with them in the UK, and the team took over the responsibilities in Australia, embracing the chaos.

It became clear over the last year that Rooster Teeth’s global growth would lead to a crossroads. Their merchandise team is world-class, and they started pumping out a range of products as fast as Zara. Even Amazon struggles to keep up with those logistical demands. 

Although we fought like hell, ultimately, the Australian store couldn’t keep up. So the hard decision was made, and we started the process of untying Hanabee and Rooster Teeth’s long-standing relationship. That lead to a restructure; the original staff since moved on to a variety of new challenges. I know what they’re capable of, and I am certain they will all do amazing things. 

Hanabee survived. There are some bruises and scars, but also wisdom and maturity. The company is more sustainable, and at the end of 2019, we have a clear agenda: 

  1. Replenish and bring in new products in support of Kojima Productions, in time for Xmas. 
  2. Work with Rooster Teeth to initiate a final store closure. Everything (I mean everything) must go.
  3. Replenish the anime range and identify what new opportunities there may be in that highly competitive space. 
  4. Expand our product offerings and distribution; market them more effectively. 
  5. Establish a regular cadence of communication, primarily through our newsletter.
  6. Offer solutions for companies looking to grow their businesses in Australia. 
  7. Attend the odd convention, but not 16 per year like before.

Fundamentally, you are the only reason Hanabee exists. Our 2020 goal is a simple one: improve each day. 

Thanks for reading and be safe during this year’s silly season!

Very best, 
Eric Cherry
Founder & CEO

Hanabee Entertainment Announce Plans for 2020, End Rooster Teeth Partnership 6
Sam
Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fourteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.

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