Sakura-con
FUNimation

by Chris Fey, May 14th 2004
The panel started with the FUNimation representative, Lance Heiskell, leading the entire audience in Aerobic stretching. It was a mix of side stretches, toe touches, and breathing exercises. With the warm-up out of the way, he then started the panel with trailers for the current FUNimation projects.

The first trailer was for Case Closed. It was dark and edgy and then switched to a humorous beat. It seems Conan will also be called Jimmy for part of the show. The date listed in the trailer was August 24th. Another trailer was for Tenchi GXP. Interestingly, nearly half the footage was from episode 17 and seemed to be design to cash in on fans of Tenchi. It seemed to imply, rather falsely, that most of the show was focused on Tenchi with new women, rather than Seina, a different character. Heiskell later explained (after the panel) that this was somewhat unintentional but due to deadlines the trailer could not be re-mixed. Trailers for Dragon Ball GT, Kiddy Grade, Yū Yū Hakusho and Blue Gender: The Warrior were also shown. Lance said something interesting when the Kiddy Grade trailer was playing, "Episode 9 will slap you in the face, Episode 11 will kick you in the balls."

Uncut releases of 4Kids titles that FUNimation distributes was briefly discussed. No titles in particular were discussed. However, Tokyo Mew Mew was raised and Lance stated that they have no plans to include it at this time.

Heiskell displayed the Fruits Basket hats shown at Anime Boston. They plan to sell them at ACen in May and at subsequent conventions.

He then announced the acquisition of Spiral and showed its opening and ending themes. The first disc will be out in November.

Following the announcement, Heiskell opened the floor to questions from the audience. The first question was regarding the third Sakura Wars OAV. Heiskell stated that the release was being slowed down by casting process. FUNimation is attempting to use as much of the original, Geneon cast as possible, but some of the cast members could not be found and recast and FUNimation is still awaiting on casting approvals (The casting process has to be approved by the Japanese license holder).

Another question was asked about the third Tenchi OVA and whether FUNimation had acquired it. He deflected the question and instead predicted that someone would make an announcement regarding it sometime this summer.

Finally he stated that Kodacha is in the works, but will be a project for 2005, and no work is being done on it now.

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