ANN on why AIR and Kanon coming stateside is troublesome
The quick summary is that they're overpriced licenses and the audience who would buy the DVDs are a bunch of annoying fags like you and me.
>>Anime News Network SOURCE<< (you'll have to scroll down)
You manage to do a pretty good job summing up why shows like AIR or Kanon are unlikely to be licensed for release in the States, actually. From what I've heard speaking with various and sundry industry folk involved in such things, the licenses for those shows are pretty overpriced - especially so considering the nature of those series, which would have a very limited audience here. The Japanese license holders are overestimating the profit potential, I'd wager.
Those nitpicky mega-otaku who see vast depth and meaning behind every utterance of "UGUU~" are the only people who would potentially buy these shows; they're the target market, and as you described, they're pretty particular about what they want and generally are happier with the fan translations, living under the notion that fansubs are "always" more accurate than official subs. That "stupid otaku stuff" is precisely what attracts a certain (small) portion of the population to these shows, and if there's any discrepancy between the fansub and the official release, they'll likely cry foul and call for a boycott. It's lose-lose for any company looking to actually make a buck off the license.
That last jab seems kinda dick'ish.. but then perhaps that's because it is also partially true. I probably would complain if my subtitles were dumbed down.
But then I also think, if companies can put series like Pani Poni Dash! and Ichigo Mashimaro (top of my head) out there, keeping the nuances and cultural stuff pretty much intact and make money... well, AIR and Kanon (and let's just throw in Rozen Maiden--"desu" anyone?) can't exactly be rocket science to translate.
You're too pricey, bitch!