Anime Central 2004
Anime Central: FUNimation

by Mikhail Koulikov, May 26th 2004
Studio Representative: Lance Heiskell (Brand Manager)

Following their recent acquisition of Detective Conan, Spiral and Fullmetal Alchemist, no new titles were announced. However, Mr. Heiskell confirmed that Fullmetal Alchemist will be appearing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, starting in October. The first DVD volume is due out in January 2005, although the number of episodes it will contain is not yet determined. FUNimation will also be dubbing the Fullmetal Alchemist videogame, set to be released by Square Enix sometime in 2005. Presumably, the same voice actors will be used for both the anime and the game. While FUNimation and Square Enix will be doing some cross-promotion of the game and series, bundling of episodes with the game (as with the .hack videogames) is not expected.

Starting in July, FUNimation will begin releasing the first sixteen episodes of Dragon Ball GT, which were skipped when the series was originally released. A box and bonus autographed poster will also be made available. The posters will be autographed by Stephanie Nadolny, Eric Vale and/or Elise Baughman (the voices of Goku, Trunks and Pan respectively). Blue Gender: The Warrior will be released on July 20, and the first volume of Case Closed (Detective Conan) is scheduled for August 24. Regarding Case Closed, FUNimation's license covers all of the episodes and movies that have aired or been released to date. The release of Spiral will commence in November, and more properties are currently being licensed as well, but cannot be announced at this time.

In the near future, the funimation.com website will be redesigned. New features will include a moderated forum. Series production staff and voice actors may also participate in discussions with fans.

Unfortunately, the Fruits Basket hats, which were expected to be available at Anime Central, had not yet been received by FUNimation. They expect to receive the hats sometime during the week following the convention and will bring them to their next convention appearance.

Regarding episode counts, when someone asked why FUNimation often releases series with only 3 episodes per disc, Heiskell explained that the biggest reason was that retailers wanted a lower cost per disc, which is why most FUNimation DVDs carry a cheaper SRP ($19.99 or $24.98). He suggested that people take a look at the cost per episode and proceeded to explain how often times FUNimation series are cheaper per episode than series released by other distributors with 4 episodes per disc.

This report was verified for accuracy by FUNimation's Jeff Dronen

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