They had the right stuff
We are gathered here today to get through this thing called "life" without RightStuf Anime.
For those who logged off social media and the internet for a bit (it was nice plus I had to move cross-country), RightStuf Anime, the website and brand, is dead. The store went out with a bang on October 10, 2023. Part online retailer, part video publisher, RightStuf Anime had been a staple of the North American anime, manga, and greater otaku community for 36 years.
Originally named The Right Stuff after the 1983 space film, the company went from selling telescopes wholesale to finding, acquiring, and distributing anime via nostalgic sci-fi series like Astro Boy and Gigantor before expanding upon that and becoming an otaku super store. The company also moved from mail-order catalogs to website-only. Over time, RightStuf grew thanks to its website and business savvy, responding to market tastes (like feeding budding boys love and yaoi fujin with series like Gravitation), and dedicated fans.
RightStuf Anime was that proud sponsor in your anime con program booklet. It was also that retailer in the dealer's room. It was that ad in the back of anime magazines. It was that sponsor of your favorite animanga youtuber. It's also where the old Tokyopop manga went to die.
For many, it was the online retailer we relied upon to get through season 1 of the Covid pandemic. With its infamous annual sales (Birthday in July and Winter from November to December) and randomized weekly sales, everyday low prices, impeccable shipping, and the absurd amount of products on hand, RightStuf was the one-stop shop for physical media and goods. Everything otaku neatly arranged and organized. All findable via a user-friendly website. And, it's gone now. So, what happened?
In a nutshell? Crunchyroll happened.
In case you missed it, Crunchyroll (which was bought by Sony from AT&T in 2021) acquired RightStuf in August 2022 to much fanfare and concern about the ongoing consolidation of the anime industry in North America. (Remember Sony owns Aniplex, Funimation, Crunchyroll, and now Rightstuf.) Shortly after purchasing RightStuf, the website changed. Sales tax was charged; smut and hentai stuff was moved to a new site. The President and Co-Founder Shawne Kleckner left in December of 2022. These changes were the "writing on the wall" that RightStuf was going away for good, and now a year later, it's fully gone.
As of this post, your RightStuf account should be accessible via Crunchyroll. If you have made a purchase since 2020 and live in North America, your account should be there according to the FAQ. If you're wondering about RightStuf's proprietary home video line Nozomi Entertainment, no need to panic now. The titles will be on Crunchyroll's new website, but for how long? What other changes can we expect in the future remains to be seen, but for now let's reflect on the good times and say goodbye to one of the largest (if not the largest) independent online anime distributor and store RightStuf.
Goodbye and thanks for the stuff, RightStuf.