The co-founder and President of RightStuf will be leaving the company on Wednesday December 14th, making the hard decision to retire after 35 years since officially starting the company in 1987. In early August, Clownfish TV shared the news that RightStuf had been sold to Crunchyroll, immediately moving all their 18+ “erotica products” to the Ero Anime Store website. At the time, it was stated that both companies would operate separately “for the moment.”
Shawne Kleckner shared an email to Crunchyroll staff, as well as to Anime News Network, this week in which he described to fellow employees that he will be leaving Right Stuf and Crunchyroll on December 14th, expressing his confidence in the current Right Stuf management team at Crunchyroll. He also highlighted the customer-focused approached that he referred to as “Super Service”. Kleckner said Rightstuf has maintained a reputation of personalized customer response as well as secure packaging and shipping to customers.
On November 18th, Right Stuf Anime sent an email to customers hinting that “Dark Lord Kleckner”, as he is affectionately nicknamed, would not be staying with the company for much too long in the last paragraph:
“Some of you may be wondering about the Dark Lords plans for the future. Well, we have it on good authority that he plans on spending a good deal of time relaxing in the not-so-distant future. So, if you would like to shower him with your gratitude for bringing your favorite products over the past 35 years, we are certain he would enjoy cards or letters from you. They can be sent to our mailing address. This will ensure if he sneaks off, we can still get the notes to him.”
In the beginning, Right Stuf began as a shell company started by a Des Moines entrepreneur named Todd Ferson, who wanted to find a less expensive way of acquiring telescopes. He named his company “The Right Stuff“, inspired by one of his favorite movies from 1983 of the same name The Right Stuff. Soon after, his business started to grow, which led him to an idea to try to acquire the distribution rights his favorite childhood series Astro Boy. He could not find any copies of it for himself as a fan, so he thought he could try to do it with his growing young company. Ferson needed help finding English dub copies, so he called his friend Iowa State University student Shawne Kleckner. Kleckner liked the idea and agreed to help.
After acquiring the license in 1987, it would take two years to search, find and piece together the English dub of Astro Boy. The English dubs were found scattered all around the world by fellow fans who shared the loved of the series. Reels turned up as far as Australia, Zimbabwe, and Tibet.
Also in 1987, they decided to change the name of the company into something that would stand out a bit more in the business world: The Right Stuf, now with only one f. The idea was that the misspelling would help the new company be more memorable, with spellcheck always there to remind you, and thus making you never forget the company with the purposely misspelled word.
Right Stuf’s very first anime to be made available for purchase by fans in 1989 was a VHS tape that had two episodes of Astro Boy. Since then, they’ve continued to learn and grow and help change the anime industry in America into what it has become today.
Shawne Kleckner made two tweets hinting at how leaving Right Stuf was not an easy thing to do:
Thank you to Shawne Kleckner for helping to grow the love of anime and manga in America. Your excitement and honesty as a fellow fan of anime was felt in the way products were shipped and special Ultra and Collector’s Editions were created for the fans, by the fans. We wish you well as you journey into the next adventure in your life after dedicating 35 years in the anime and manga industry.
What do you think about Shawne Kleckner leaving? Does this make you more concerned about the future of Right Stuf? If you would like to read more into the history of how Right Stuf grew to be what it is today, check out a two-part post created on the 20th anniversary in 2007 on the history of Right Stuf Anime: Part 1 Part 2