First a little background on me, I actually just stumbled across this series about three weeks ago and began watching it. I'm currently to episode 100 and have about 30 left outside of the movies. Now I'm a person who enjoys watching Anime in my native tongue, English of course. So when I read that Funimation dropped the series I questioned why.
First the series, while simple is fun to watch. Appropriate for all ages really, including adults. So I "Googled" the subject and was surprised that the series is actually running strong still, from 1996-2013. So why did the dubbing get dropped?
Some speculate that the series didn't do well in North America and therefore Funimation dropped the series due to its ratings. Other believe that the sales for the box sets were too low. These may have been a contributing factor in this instance, but I however have another theory or rather an augmentation to the existing one.
I sincerely believe that while the two before mentioned issues did contribute, and of course add in "Stream Pirating" or uploading and streaming the series for free, made it worse. However I believe that the real culprit (Trying NOT to sound too much like the show) is actually licensing costs. These are factored in when they are making the decision to continue carrying the series or not. Of course with Adultswim airing so late the series really didn't get a fair shake at exposure while it was being aired.
However I've noticed a trend with Japanese Animation Production Companies in the past 10 years. That is when a show becomes popular, and this one exploded overseas, they tend to raise the licensing and royalty fees. For instance, wherein they were charging (And not exact amt, just used as example) $100,000 dollars for the license, when the shows popularity increased, they increased the licensing as well.
With poor numbers due to poor selling Funimation concluded that the show would not return the amounts needed to see a profit, even if the profit was small. Odds are, the License probably went to the grand figure of $500,000 or better due to the popularity of the series in Japan. This coupled with poor exposure and licensing in North America made Funimation drop a litter of kittens, so they pulled the plug, and we the dedicated viewer are left wonder what the rest of the story is.
Now that being said, as I spend some time researching and of course this is all purely speculative, I believe that there is a possibility that with the right marketing, this show could be "Rebooted" and English dubbing resumed. Of course you can't market the show to Toonami AKA Adultswim due to the time slot its in. The show should be marketed to Cartoon Network to air on one of its affiliate stations in a time slot that would allow a greater exposure. Negotiations of a lower licensing fee would also be needed as well. If you research some of these fees, you would find your jaw on the ground at the immense cost Japanese Production Companies are charging.
So with that being said, I now digress and discontinue pontification on this subject. I have become a fan of the show, and now am greatly saddened that I cannot continue to view the show and enjoy it to the fullest extent. I hope that maybe enough exposure can be wrought and more fans can be added, persuading Funimation to continue the project.
Thanks for listening and "With a Keen Eye for Detail, One Truth Prevails."