Anime Central 2003
Saturday Industry Panels

by George Phillips, May 26th 2003
Notes by George Phillips and Mikhail Koulikov



Lance Heiskell, representative for FUNimation, discussed his companies' current and future plans for their titles.

First, Lance announced that FUNimation will be taking pictures of FUNimation cosplayers and keeping a log of interesting things during this summer's anime conventions. Dress up like a FUNimation character, and you might end up on their website!

Dragon Ball Z movie #8, featuring Brolly, is due out August 26th. The DVD will include 3 Brolly cards for use in the DBZ Card Game.

FUNimation intends to release Dragon Ball GT beginning with the 16th episode. Mr. Heiskell explained that the business executives at FUNimation felt it would be better to jump straight into more action-packed GT episodes, after the non-stop fighting during the Buu Saga of Dragon Ball Z. The first 15 episodes will be translated and released afterwards.

If you enjoy DBZ merchandise, this summer and fall will provide plenty of opportunity to stock up on new products. From Japanese-style Calendars to Candy, Dragon Ball Z has plenty of newly licensed products for sale. Some of the tastes to look forward to include "Spirit Bombs", sour hard candy, and "Fusion Bars", containing almonds and milk chocolate. If you truly want to "live your life in Dragon Ball Z", a company is producing DBZ loungewear. Also, Diamond will be releasing exclusive Lupin III merchandise, although Mr. Heiskell didn't elaborate further.

The final volume of Fruits Basket should be available in stores very shortly. It will contain the last 7 episodes of the series, interviews and a picture gallery. A Fruits Basket box may be in the works, but as of yet no plans have been set. If a successful Fruits Basket box is produced, FUNimation will consider boxes for other titles, including Blue Gender.

Tenchi Muyo GXP is currently undergoing translation. FUNimation is attempting to bring back the original Pioneer voice actors for episode 17, in which Tenchi, Aeka and the rest make a cameo appearance.

Although it may not always succeed, FUNimation aims to get every title it licenses on TV, and likewise it can be expected to license titles that it feels will have a good chance of being picked up by North American broadcasters. Also in regards to licensing, FUNimation aims to license all the original Japanese extras for all its titles.






Central Park Media's industry panel covered a wide variety of upcoming anime titles. Yami no Matsuei (Descendent of Darkness) is finishing up production, and the 4th volume will be out in July. DNA2 is due out this fall. A box will be available from RightStuf.com. Also, Utena's dubbing has concluded, which means the final three volumes of Utena are progressing to a bi-monthly release beginning this July.

Alien 9 appears to be a big title for CPM this summer, as the DVD is due out in July. The DVD will include the original Japanese promotional spots, as well as an interview with the creator. If you can't wait for the DVD release, CPM is showing a sneak preview of Alien 9 at Yuri-Con, June 13th-15th. The first Alien 9 graphic novel, which is unflipped, came out this past wednesday. The second graphic novel will be available later this summer, and then continue on a bi-monthly release schedule.

Amongst CPM's other acquisitions, Cat Soup (Nekojirusou) will be premiering at BAAF this fall. Not to be alone, CPM will also screen Animation Runner Kuromi-chan at BAAF as well. Kuromi-chan's domestic DVD release will include an interview with the Japanese director, alternate-angle storyboards, and a "discussion on creating anime in the US and Japan" by animator Matt Sheraton.

Also, keep an eye out for re-release of older CPM Manga titles in current formats.






Scott Carlson (AnimEigo DVD Producer) hosted the AnimEigo panel.

First up, the next batch of Urusei Yatsura DVD boxed sets are finishing up production. DVD Box 3 is set to ship by 5/31, with the 4th box only weeks later. The 5th Urusei Yatsura box is on target for an August 8th release.

The Kimagure Orange Road OAVs and Movie are in pre-production with authoring beginning this week. The KOR Box will include space for the Shin KOR DVD produced by ADV Films.

This fall, expect to see DVD versions of Arcadia of My Youth and MADDOX-01, the latter of which was AnimEigo's first released anime title.

AD Police is set to enter DVD production this fall.

As a special treat, Scott brought along a rough mix of Urusei Yatsura Movie #1: "Only You". The dub featured new voices for Lum and Ataru, produced by a new voice actor studio called "Swirl". The decision to re-cast Lum and Ataru was made so that the characters could be identified for their voice, not for the actor who portrayed them.

If the Urusei Yatsura movie sells well, the other movies may be dubbed and released in kind. Future plans concerning the dubbing Urusei Yatsura depend on the sales of the dub.

When asked to guess about the amount of time until all of Urusei Yatsura is released on DVD, Mr. Carlson guessed at approximately two more years -- except for the last episode, which he jokingly said Robert Woodhead, CEO of AnimEigo, would hold on to as an artificial means of extending his life. Mr. Woodhead's been known to say that all of UY will be released before he dies, and therefore if he holds the final episode captive, he will live forever.

Although not commenting on the existence or non-existence of rumored new Oh My Goddess! OAVs, Mr. Carlson said that if these OVAs were to exist, that AnimEigo would be interested in acquiring the rights to them. However, he cautioned the audience by reading a prepared statement by Mr. Woodhead, who said that he could "neither confirm nor deny" this or many other things, ranging from the existence of AnimEigo and Japan, to the Internet and beyond.




ADV Films

Matt Greenfield and David Williams of ADV hosted the ADV Films panel.

ADV Films has acquired the North American rights to the Nuku Nuku TV series and the Happy Lesson TV series and OVA. They also announced the acquisition of the Japanese live action show, “Gun Crazy.”

As is typical for ADV, Mr. Greenfield began with an extended listing of upcoming releases by the company. Most of these titles are expected to be on sale within the next 12 months:

All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku Dash OAV
Blue Seed 2 OAVs
Dirty Pair OAVs (including 005, Affair of Nolandia, Project Eden)
MazinKaizer OAVs
Puni Puni Poemi OAVs
Queen Esmereldas OVAs
All of The Slayers Movies, including Slayers Premium
Sorcerer Hunters OAV (which recently finished dubbing)
Spectral Force (Soon, although no date is currently available)
The Martian Successor Nadesico movie (In production)
The You're Under Arrest Movie
Zaion: I Wish You Were Here ~
King of Bandits Jing
Angelic Layer
Mospeada (June)
Southern Cross (Also "very soon")
Aura Battler Dunbine
Eden's Bowy
Full Metal Panic! (The first episode is available as a DVD insert in the latest Newtype magazine)
Let's Dance With Papa
Najica
Pretear
Sailor Moon subtitled DVDs ("This summer")
Saint Seiya
Sorcerous Stabber Orphen, season 2
Steam Detectives (In production)
Super GALS (In production)
Super Milk-chan (In production, but almost done)
Ushi and Tora boxed set
City Hunter boxed set

Some of the titles ADV is currently working together with Japanese companies on are:
Lady Death
SIN II
Kaleido Star (a co-production with GONZO)
Bubble Gum Crisis 2041
Mutineer's Moon
Farscape Anime

One of the titles asked about, by a person in a position to know what ADV is working on, was the Nadesico Gekiganger OVA, to which the only reply was "Ssssh!"

ADV has expanded to 12 ADR directors (up from the 10 mentioned at AnimeBoston), and has 7 studios dedicated to dubbing anime.

The Anime Network will be available in 6 more markets very shortly, and will continue to expand across the country quickly. Initial ratings for TAN are some of the highest ever seen for a newly-deployed channel. While the future of TAN is not entirely set in stone, the cable market is slowly shifting towards an On Demand market. Each month, TAN offers a number of titles that may be streamed for free.

The manga currently running in Newtype USA will be released in Graphic Novel format. However, ADV Films could not comment on specifics relating to how the manga would be released. This suggests a return by ADV to the manga publishing business

If you're interested in Najica, take a look at DLW's Najica Live Journal, with pictures and commentary about the dubbing process.

ADV is mostly finished converting its catalog to DVD. The only remaining exceptions are those few titles that still need a dub or have rights issues.






AN Entertainment's first title, Risky Safety, is on schedule for a July release. Risky Safety will be a 3 DVD release, with 8 episodes per DVD, each episode running 10 minutes.

At the panel, AN Entertainment showed the audience a rough test tape of the dub. The voices matched the original Japanese in tone and style. Surprisingly, a number of Japanese words were left untranslated in the English dub, including "Shinigami" (Death God) and Safety's next episode tag line -- "Yoroshiku baby, desu no".

Bang Zoom, who is also known for their Rurouni Kenshin dub, is working on Risky Safety.

AN Entertainment has gone all-out to make their first DVD fan-friendly. The DVD cases will have thick, durable covers for better color transfers. It will be reversible, with the English and Japanese logos, as well as song lyrics and a staff and cast list. The DVD itself will have an image gallery and outtakes as extras.

The second Risky Safety disc is due out in October, with the third following in December.

When asked about a Risky Safety box, AN Entertainment stated that they do not like the idea of charging extra for a box, so if the first two volumes sell well, the third volume may include the DVD box, free of charge.

When asked about plans beyond Risky Safety, AN Entertainment stated "We have other projects lined up." Unfortunately they did not disclose the nature of these projects.

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