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Who Owns The Rights To The Sonic OVA?


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Ok, this is a question that has puzzled me for a long time. When ADV Films split into separate companies after its bankruptcy, no one knew what happened to the Sonic OVA. However, someone on the Sonic Retro Forums said that Sega owned the rights. Is this true? If so, why hasn't a company like Discotek re-released the OVA on Blu-Ray if Sega now owns it?

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I don't have a definitive answer on this, but I'd say there's a solid chance Sega does own the rights.

As far as the Japanese version goes, there's a VERY good chance Sega either owns it outright or has a significant claim to it. I checked Studio Pierrot's website, and they don't even list it under their works.

There's also a solid chance they own the dub too. Dub licensing terms will differ from production to production, but broadly, there is usually a stipulation that after a certain time, the rights to the dub itself will return to the Japanese property owner. I don't know for sure if it would be the case here, but there's a good chance considering a number of other ADV properties have seen reprints and digital releases.

If any company would be willing to re-license that OVA, you're on the right track with Discotek since they must have a pretty decent relationship with Sega Sammy with all the Lupin the 3rd and Detective Conan they release (and that Sonic X blu-ray set from 2019), though who knows how well the timing works out, especially now that they've published one of the original DiC Sonic series. Don't know what the hierarchy of interest is, but it wouldn't surprise me if SATAM would be in their sights.

Of course, all of this still relies on the whims of Sega, and what they do and don't want reissued. But here's hoping we eventually get something. It would be nice to get an upgraded version from my 1999 copy and isn't from YouTube.

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8 hours ago, GX Echidna said:

I don't have a definitive answer on this, but I'd say there's a solid chance Sega does own the rights.

As far as the Japanese version goes, there's a VERY good chance Sega either owns it outright or has a significant claim to it. I checked Studio Pierrot's website, and they don't even list it under their works.

There's also a solid chance they own the dub too. Dub licensing terms will differ from production to production, but broadly, there is usually a stipulation that after a certain time, the rights to the dub itself will return to the Japanese property owner. I don't know for sure if it would be the case here, but there's a good chance considering a number of other ADV properties have seen reprints and digital releases.

If any company would be willing to re-license that OVA, you're on the right track with Discotek since they must have a pretty decent relationship with Sega Sammy with all the Lupin the 3rd and Detective Conan they release (and that Sonic X blu-ray set from 2019), though who knows how well the timing works out, especially now that they've published one of the original DiC Sonic series. Don't know what the hierarchy of interest is, but it wouldn't surprise me if SATAM would be in their sights.

Of course, all of this still relies on the whims of Sega, and what they do and don't want reissued. But here's hoping we eventually get something. It would be nice to get an upgraded version from my 1999 copy and isn't from YouTube.

Well, if Sega owns it, why don't they release it? Many people grew up with this, and it is in desperate need of a high quality Blu-Ray remaster.

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The answer to any question like this can be summarized as "Because business."

"Many people" in this scenario is still a very niche group, and Sega themselves don't exactly have a pipeline to just put stuff out on DVD/Blu-Ray themselves. They work with licensees and partners. Someone would have to actually want to put it out, they'd have to agree on a price to manage the license, someone would have to distribute it, someone would have to put together the whole package of the disc and box and everything, plus printing the media itself.

Beyond that, it's not like this series plays into any current marketing plans Sega has. Their primary promotional focus has been split among two Paramount movies, a Netflix series, and a handful of YouTube shorts.

Discotek is definitely the best candidate for re-publishing something like this, and they're a godsend for keeping old, weird, and obscure anime alive. But they only have so much bandwidth as a company. It would have to fit somewhere in their production pipeline, and it would have to make return-on-investment (we are still talking about the most niche of all Sonic TV animation, even more than Underground).

I might argue that its lack of availability on streaming services is weird, but it's probably not wise to have a bizarre 1996 OVA called "Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie" on streaming platforms right now, save for maybe Crunchyroll.

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I really hope Discotek releases the OVA as well as SATAM on Blu-Ray at some point.

I’m from the UK and bough a multi region player so I could import and watch their Sonic X and Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog complete season  sets.

Unfortunately the UK got screwed when it came to Sonic X, we only got 8!! Episodes releases on DVD..

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8 hours ago, DanGreen said:

I really hope Discotek releases the OVA as well as SATAM on Blu-Ray at some point.

I’m from the UK and bough a multi region player so I could import and watch their Sonic X and Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog complete season  sets.

Unfortunately the UK got screwed when it came to Sonic X, we only got 8!! Episodes releases on DVD..

Yeah. Warner Home Video screwed you guys over with that.

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54 minutes ago, Badnik Mechanic said:

I actually know the answer to this but can't say right now.

Just that it's more likely to see the light of day again than you think.

Phew.. that leaves me with hope of a release either this year or next. I have it on DVD but would love to have it on Blu-Ray with my other Sonic Collections. I hope SATAM gets a release from Discotek someday.

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2 hours ago, Badnik Mechanic said:

I actually know the answer to this but can't say right now.

Just that it's more likely to see the light of day again than you think.

Oooh interesting. Similar note any idea if Japanese Sonic X has any hope of a western release? I seem to recall Discotek said "stay tuned" when asked but there's not even been any hints at one 

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