Last week, I did a top 10 on the best Limited Edition releases (or Premium/Special/Collector's Edition as some of them are called) with the requirement being that they are released on BD in order to keep things limited to recent releases. While there are a lot of great LEs out there, sadly there are a number of duds either due to it not fitting on the shelf, being vulnerable to damage, costing way too much, or just plain looking bad. So in putting together this list, here are some criteria that I have laid down in constructing this list.
  • Only limited, premium, special, and collector's editions are considered where the show was released on Blu-ray. So any such releases that are DVD-only and don't include BDs like those Right Stuf LEs are not considered as I added this constraint so that it only focuses on the recent stuff rather than stuff that came out in the DVD singles era.
  • A release is considered a LE if it is released with something more than the standard case, sleeve, BDs (and DVDs if released as a combo), and an O-ring slipcover (like those that come with all Funimation releases). If a release has only that or less, then it's not considered. Also, standard edition releases that come with a gift with purchase (ex. Hunter x Hunter vol. 1 that comes with a hunter's license card as a GWP) are ineligible. However, GWPs that come with LEs (ex. those bonus items for stuff purchased at the NISA store) are factored into this evaluation.
  • Anything that has been solicited through September is eligible.
  • These rankings are determined by several criteria that include:
    • Artistic Quality: How great does the artwork look on the physical items (cover, discs, box, etc.)
    • Design: How well is the LE designed in terms of practicality, aesthetics, and functionality
    • Physical Items: What items come with the LEs like posters, art cards, artbook, soundtracks etc.
    • Dubbing and On-disc Extras
    • Value: How fair is the price tag on the item (mainly means Aniplex and Pony Canyon releases are hurt by this)
  • How good or bad a show is does not factor into a show's inclusion or ranking. This list is intended to evaluate the LE releases and not the shows themselves.
  • On-disc glitches and other problems are not factored in as those are things that are usually fixed and replaced. Again, the main consideration is the LE releases themselves.
  • I'll try and keep things as diverse as possible and not mention the same type of release more than once (ex. I will only put one NIS America release in those tall boxsets).

So with that, here is my Not Top 10 least. Here are some quick notes. While Onigiri, which was just announced yesterday with a bundle released exclusively on the Sentai shop, would have made this list of worst releases, I excluded it from that list as all of the bonus stuff feels more like a GWP and is not a true LE. However, all those standard Aniplex releases that includes a box and postcards are despite the absence of the label.

10. Infinite Stratos 2 Premium Edition (Sentai)
To start off this list, here is a release that is actually nicely constructed, and hence it appears here and not anywhere higher. So why is this release on this list? The answer is the exorbitant price tag as this is just a ripoff of a release (albeit not as bad as anything Aniplex releases). This release is a replication of the Japanese release, so that can be nothing but great, but replicating the price tag along with it, now that's another matter entirely. While it's not a bad value in the Aniplex territory, still it is something that out of line.

9. Card Captor Sakura (NIS America)
Here is another show where based on design alone it belongs more to the best than the worst list. So why does it land on this list? Two things: the case that holds the BDs and the translations. The cases have been reported to make discs really tough to get out as to conserve space, the discs are stacked on top of each other, which makes getting them out really difficult to do. And then there are the translations as NISA did a really bad job on them. And then there's also the dub as while it's good for them to include one, unfortunately it's the Animax one, where the quality is usually terrible considering the only other option is the heavily Americanized version made for kids TV.

8. Akame ga Kill! Premium Edition (Sentai)
I could put this or Parasyte on this list, but as I have stated before that I'm looking for diversity and as such I won't put multiple things for the same reason. With Akame ga Kill! being the worse of those two that I went with this. While everything looks nice and all, where it gets dinged is on the design as this is just no way to do a LE release for a two-cour series. Now, if it were two seasons then it would work. At least Aniplex can get away with it because they don't have the slots in the box reserved for the extras that hog up shelf space. But for this, not so much. With the MSRP being $140, that means the whole series costs $280 for LEs. Sentai would later learn from this mistake and release future two-cour series in one box starting with My Love Story. At least with IS2 Sentai had no choice but to release it like that per request from TBS, but with this release Sentai just made a poor decision.

7. Assassination Classroom Limited Edition (Funimation)
This is a great example of how not to do an artbox. On the sides of the box are the many faces of Koro-sensei, and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, there were better ways to represent this show on the box. But what really gets this release on the bad side is the black lettering on the black box. It's in glossy print to stand out, but that's just not the way to design a box when you need to look closely in order to see the show title. And on top of that, the bonus items are nothing special all while the second season didn't get one. Hopefully Funi can release a collector's edition with both seasons and Koro-sensei Quest someday, but until then there's this monstrosity and the SE route only.

6. Kill la Kill Limited Edition (Aniplex)
Aniplex was totally misguided in releasing everything in singles at one time before settling into their current business model. And so, the next entry is a release that is released in five installments, and this is a needless space-hogger as each volume is released with a CD or bonus DVD that goes in a separate case, thus it gets dinged for its design more so than the other singles that at least have only one case. And of course, the box quality is not chipboard, while the price tag for the whole series is $300. This is definitely something that only the most devoted of fans would want to buy as the design is bad, and the value is even worse as typical of Aniplex.

5. Denki-gai no Honya-san Collector's Edition (Pony Canyon)
Here is the first of three Pony Canyon releases as everything about this release smells ripoff. With all Pony Canyon releases, the problems are the high price tag, the tall cases, the three-volume release pattern, the lack of a chipboard box to hold everything in, sub-only release (except for Yuki Yuna), and the apparent need to lock subtitles despite being priced to discourage reverse importing. This release started it all and while it was released at the same time as YYY, at least that show got a dub and the subs were not locked. This release, everything that can go wrong with a release does go wrong. To add insult to injury, you needed to preorder this in order to get the key frames for Mimori Togo, and that is what puts this release on this list more so than the other Pony Canyon releases save for the next two.

4. Rokka: Six Braves of the Flowers Collector's Edition (Pony Canyon)
Another one of Pony Canyon's duds as once again, there's the high price tag, the tall cases, the three-volume release pattern, the lack of a chipboard box to hold everything in, sub-only release, and the locked subtitles. What stands out about this release is that two things in that while this show got pretty good ratings in America, it bombed horribly in Japan and it felt like Pony Canyon was reacting to that. It should have gotten a dub, but instead Pony Canyon opted to get this released as quickly as possible in order to try and salvage what they could get after this show horribly underperformed in Japan. And the second knock on this release is that they had a SE version available to order for awhile before they cancelled it to make this dud the only option for purchasing and supporting this show just like with other Pony Canyon releases. Just when it looked like they were at least going to make a change for the better, nothing eventually happened of it.

3. Darker Than Black Premium Edition (Funimation)
This is just poorly designed all-around. While I give credit for at least trying to be creative, they definitely approached this LE release all wrong. First of all, the materials are cheap and flimsy, and not to mention it just doesn't fit quite right on the shelf. But above all, it's the fact that discs have been reported to arrive all dislodged due to the way this release is designed. There's absolutely no excuse for a release not having the kind of security that traditional cases give. While I could also put Soul Eater and the Funimation shop exclusive of Cowboy Bebop for the same reason, at least the problem isn't as widespread while the discs are somewhat secure. But with this, it's loose and the result is a potential scratched disc. No question Funimation screwed up big time with this dud.


2. Durarara! x2 (Aniplex)
Aniplex has had a steady release pattern of putting out everything in half-cour sets packaging them in thin artboxes, and putting a booklet and artcards inside, and in occasional instances an OST, while charging roughly $10 per episode sub-only and $13 per episode bilingual. While there's no LE designation for these releases, it meets my criteria that I put out for a LE release as it has a box, a booklet, and art cards that gives it a lot more than what SEs typically give you. While I could fill the list with those, the biggest offender is Durarara!! x2 for the simple matter of being a total mismatch with the first season BD release. Instead of having two cours in one, it is in six half-cour sets and ideally, it should have been released in one-cour sets inside a chipboard box that matches it. But this is Aniplex, and they decided that this is the way to go, and that has undoubtedly made potential buyers want to stay away as while the price is one thing, it's all about the design. They did it perfectly with the first season, but they did it all wrong with the second.

1. Sound Euphonium Collector's Edition (Pony Canyon)
Of all the monstrosities that Pony Canyon has put out, Sound! Euphonium is by far the worst of them. There are the usual complaints with their LE releases with the high price tag, the tall cases, the three-volume release pattern, the lack of a chipboard box to hold everything in, sub-only release, and the apparent need to lock subtitles despite being priced to discourage reverse importing. But in addition to tall that, the one thing that puts this in the worst of the worst is the lack of extras. The Japanese release has a lot of extras and you would think that with what Pony Canyon is charging for their stuff that at the very least they would be included to make purchasing this worthwhile. But no, it's as bare bones as it could possibly be on-disc, and of course those tall cases and high price tag make it all the worse, putting this the worst of the worst when it comes to releases. At least the artwork looks great, but the design is about as bad as it could get, and the value is among the worst among all the releases out there. To make matters worse, there was a long wait until solicitation when Pony Canyon has solicited the first volume shortly after the show ended.