Otakon 2004
AN Entertainment

by Mikhail Koulikov and Christopher Macdonald, Aug 12th 2004
Company Representative: Gene Field - President, Connie Field - Vice President and John Oppliger - Production Development

With a rather late panel on Saturday night, AN Entertainment decided to do something original and brought pizza for everyone present to enjoy. Once the pizza was distributed, a fan-subbed copy of the first episode of Haré+Guu was shown. For most people present, this was the first time they had seen the show, and the audience was very receptive, laughing continuously for most of the showing.

As announced at Anime Expo, AN will be releasing Jungle Wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu, under the title Haré+Guu. The English name has been selected to match the name the series is currently being marketed under in Japan. The original manga was called Hare Nochi Guu for the first 10 volumes, at which point its name was changed to Haré+Guu. The Japanese licensors requested that AN Entertainment use this name. The first DVD will be out some time in 2005, and the disc count is uncertain at this point, due to the number of extras that may be considered. Although AN's license does not yet extend to the Guu Final OVA (they have the TV series and the first OVA series), the company does hold an option on it. According to Mr. Oppliger, this option is expected to be exercised by the time release of the series commences, so AN should be able to release the entire series in order with no large delay between the second and the third OVA series. AN does hold the rights to the Guu pilot OVA, as well as all the extra material that appeared on the Japanese DVD release. In answer to Guu-related audience questions, he stated that every effort will be made to place Guu on American television. On the other hand, making the first episode of Guu available for download (as they did with Risky Safety) will probably not be possible because of contract restrictions. Presently AN does not have any production material for Haré+Guu, so they don't know when it will be released, or how many DVDs it will be released over.

Dubbing on the last volume of AN's second series, Miami Guns, is currently complete, and production of the fourth and final DVD is expected to be finished very soon. The expected street date for the third volume is September 14, and the expected street date for the last volume is October 26. There are currently no plans to release a standalone Miami Guns box, as producing the free Risky Safety box did not seem to have a significant, quantifiable effect on sales of the individual volumes. However, AN is “very receptive to opinion and suggestion,” and if and when, “in a year or two,” Miami Guns is re-released, a box will most likely be made available then.

Although AN does hold TV rights for Risky Saftey, and they have had some very [minimal] discussion with The Anime Network, the short episode length (10 minutes each) makes a TV broadcast unlikely. They do not have the TV broadcast rights for Miami Guns, but they do have the TV broadcast rights for Haré+Guu and they will "make every effort" to get it on American TV.

Regarding directors commentaries and such, it was stated that right now that is not an extra they are looking into. They are putting as much effort as possible into the most accurate possible translations, quality transfers and the best dubbing. They are going to try to progress to more extra features, but right now they don't know if and when they will start doing them.

Regarding licensing, it was explained that at the moment, AN will be focusing on one title at a time, trying to get the best titles possible and do the best job possible on it. Their selection process was explained as follows, "We do things in the company as a comittee. We figure that if everybody at the company likes a title, and we have a lot of very different kinds of people that work for us, we feel that it will probably appeal to almost every fan." Sometimes there are titles that they like but don't think would sell, but in general they feel that if they like it, it should sell.

Officially, Anime Nation and AN Entertainment do not have a strong position on fansubs. They don't want to see fan-subs or DVD rips floating around after a North American release and directly competing with domestic sales and the funds they need to continue licensing and releasing more anime. However, from their background in retail they know that fansubs do have an effect on what sells and becomes popular. "When there are not fansubs out there, its a problem. People don't want to buy what they've never heard of."

Gene Field expressed his thanks to everyone who bought Risky Safety and is buying Miami Guns. "It really has an effect when you buy the product and support the smaller companies." Although he often jokingly says that, "the faster you buy Miami Guns, the faster Guu will come out, " he explained that, "but it really is true to a degree because it helps us license more titles and put more effort into them."

After finishing the Q&A they went about giving away some prizes. Oppliger has one of the more interesting methods of asking trivia questions, being "Ask John". He'd rather not use pre-made trivia questions as many other people do, instead, as he put it, "You tell me the show, I'll make up the trivia."

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