Bandai Namco has announced that it will fold its Bandai Visual subsidiary in the U.S. into Bandai Entertainment on July 1st, eliminating Bandai Visual as a separate operation by the end of September. 


Bandai Visual had been established in the U.S. to release material originally released by Bandai Visual in Japan in Criterion-style, high quality, high priced formats (see “ICv2 Interviews Tatsunori Konno, Part 1”).  Its U.S. releases never caught on and the operation was losing money, leading to the liquidation. 


The shutdown comes amid generally poor conditions for U.S. anime companies (see “Anime DVDs Down 20%”), with illegal downloads generally seen as the primary contributing factor.