Anime Next 2005
Anime Next - FUNimation Entertainment

by Mikhail Koulikov and Christopher Macdonald, Jun 21st 2005
FUNimation
Company Representative: Lance Heiskell

According to Heiskell, “FUNimation is going Gonzo,” so far this summer they have announced licenses for Sunabozu (Anime Boston), Basilisk (A-Kon) and now Speed Grapher. More Gonzo announcements will follow at Anime Expo in 2 weeks.

FUNimation is looking to accelerate the first volume releases of their titles, with the first volume of Speed Grapher hopefully ready in 10 months.

Heiskell talked about operation anime, mentioning that they are expanding it a bit more into grass roots, targeted at fans. “We're currently building a program that will reward people for their fandom.”

On Monday FUNimation will be launching a Fullmetal Alchemist contest in conjunction with Viz Media, Tofu Records, Square Enix and Joyride Entertainment. The grand prize for the contest will be a trip for two to Japan to see a L'Arc~en~Ciel concert, a tour of FMA production studios, $1250 in spending cash and a $250 Hot Topic gift certificate. Ten runners up will receive “buttloads” of FMA merchandise. A press release with details will be available on Monday.

Starting this winter, the episode count on Case Closed releases will increase. More details will be available at Anime Expo in two weeks.

Heiskell went over their upcoming release schedule, highlight s of which include:
June: Baki the Grappler,
July: Galaxy Railways; Tenchi Muyo OAV 3;
August: Kodocha, Samurai 7, Sakura Taisen: Ecole de Paris, Lupin 3 Crisis in Tokyo.

In August FUNimation will also be releasing the 13-episode, CBS broadcast Wild C.A.T.S. animation based on Jim Lee's comic.

The limited edition Samurai 7 releases will mirror the Japanese releases, each volume including its own box, story boards and inserts.

In July FUNimation will release the 32nd and last volume of Yū Yū Hakusho. This volume will include extras such as cast commentary, voice actor bloopers & foul-ups.

While Dragon Ball Z is currently being released and broadcast in the “ultimate uncut format,” uncut releases of the first episodes of Dragon Ball are unlikely because the license is still up in the air.

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