Speculating On A New English-Dubbed Fate/Zero Blu-ray

Neon Saber

Is there a new English-dubbed Fate/Zero Blu-ray in the works? Will it be cheaper than the Japanese Blu-ray? And when is it safe to assume it will be released? Join us for an intellectual speculation storm.

The fated dub

Last week on Wednesday Aniplex of America announced that the upcoming livestream of Fate/Zero on Viz Media’s Neon Alley will be getting an English dub. The news traveled quickly and rumors were fast to follow. What does an English dub symbolizes? A lot of people regard it as a harbinger to a future native U.S. Fate/Zero Blu-ray. As a reminders for those who forgot or simply didn’t know the original Fate/Zero Blu-ray collections (there were two) came out last year with English subtitles, but no dub. They were released in Japan and directly imported to the U.S. short after. They offered a quality package for those who loved Fate/Zero dearly, but since that package retained the absurd high price point it had in Japan (which was considered expensive even in the eyes of many Japanese) it fared poorly here. Even though only a small quantity of the Fate/Zero boxes were imported from Japan copies of Fate/Zero can still be found aplenty in Right Stuf, to the point that a stock counter hasn’t even been placed on the product pages there.

The Merits of an English dub

An English dub is a costly addition, and one would think a company will not go about dubbing the text-mountain that is Fate/Zero without thinking of a future Blu-ray release. After all, Neon Alley isn’t exactly a shining star in the anime skies yet and will arguably not return the high production costs a dub entails. This reasoning led people to believe that a native U.S. Blu-ray must be in the works, or at least on some planning board. I for one would warmly welcome such a release. The implications of a U.S. Blu-ray release are substantial. It will inevitably be priced much cheaper, will not come with any frills (no Japanese only drama CD for you!), and will probably sell heaps and bounds beyond the amounts the Japanese Blu-ray sold so far in the U.S.

Will you take the leap of Fate?

But even if a Blu-ray is planned for Fate/Zero don’t expect it to come anytime soon. Japanese animation studios are known to request long “cooling periods” before their products get the much cheaper U.S. budget release. That an eventual Fate/Zero budget release would be delayed comes as no surprise considering the relatively little time that has passed since the Japanese Blu-ray came out. It would be safe to assume that if a budget release is indeed considered it will only be announced around the beginning of 2014, with a release window of late 2014 – early 2015. Another plausible outcome is a much earlier dub-only release sometime during early 2014. A dub-only release (such as the one used for the localization of Persona 4) will surely allow for  a much faster release but might be shunned by the hardcore fans (which the Fate franchise has in droves). Another possibility is a DVD-only release. Since Japan and America don’t share the same DVD region code a DVD resolves the reverse-importation problem, thus eliminating the cooling period for Fate/Zero. Of course a DVD is still just a DVD – an inferior product that in the case of native HD series such as Fate/Zero doesn’t do its source justice.

So there you have it. One announced fact that amounts to a heap of speculations. 2012 was a good year for Western fans of the Fate franchise. Let’s hope 2013 will bring even more good news, preferably in the shape of a shiny new Blu-ray.


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