This is a post that has been simmering in my mind for some time; however, I have been unable to articulate my thoughts in the past few drafts. Time to just boil things down to the simple core of what I want to say. Two things set me to wondering about the benefits and drawbacks of box sets for the anime industry. First, my review pile remarkably contains only box sets (until the Inu Yasha volume 235 arrives). Second, I have noticed in my review threads that someone almost always comments "Great series; can’t wait for the box set".
As a consumer, I’ve purchased box sets in any number of ways – single volume + box, full season/series collection, etc. However, the people in the threads are referring specifically to a full season/series box set. These box sets are a blessing to consumers; usually priced lower than the single volumes, it gives one a chance to pick up a title they might not have been able to afford or collect when the single volumes were released.
Working against these collections though is the glut of anime available today. By the time one series is finished and collected into a box set, there are already many more shiny new titles competing for the consumer’s eye and dollar. How many people that “can’t wait for the box set” end up purchasing the box set when it is available? Most companies are good about releasing box set collections, but what about titles released by companies that do not create boxes? How many decent series like Project ARMS go unnoticed because a box is never released?
I would be interested in hearing from both sides of the fence on this. Have you ever said you would wait for a box but never picked one up? Or are you the opposite? Are companies generally pleased with how box set collections perform? Personally, if I do not collect a series right away, I find that I seldom go back and pick it up. My Tenchi Universe singles and their lonely finger puppet inserts can attest to this.