Kamikazecon

by Jeff La Vergne, Mar 27th 2005
Billed as "Houston's Premier Anime Convention," Kamikazecon certainly lived up to the hype. While not as large as many anime conventions, Kamikazecon was a chance for Funimation and ADV Films to showcase their works and talent. While there were no licensing announcements from either studio, there were some announcements of interest.

Funimation:
Funimation announced that "98% of the original cast" of the Tenchi Muyo! OVAs have returned to work on Tenchi Muyo! OVA 3, but declined to go into specifics of who did not return. Funimation also announced that, at upcoming cons, they would be circulating petitions in order to bring the Sakura Taisen games to the US.

A.D. Vision:
The ADV panel, primarily run by ADV co-founder Matt Greenfield and producer/director David Williams, was a source of a plethora of information regarding ADV's future plans.

Greenfield confirmed that Monster Island, ADV's Austin studio, had indeed been shutdown. Williams explained the reasons behind the move were that ADV had managed to get through the "huge backlog" of work that they have had for the past several years, and that there would no longer be enough work to support two studios. Williams also confirmed that the Monster Island voice actor pool will be allowed to relocate to Houston, to continue dubbing for ADV, and that several actors have done so.

Greenfield talked about the future of ADV, specifically a new section of the ADV website which will offer "web exclusives," DVDs which will be sold online through ADV only, and will not be available through retail stores. "Web exclusive" items will be sold at a lower price, although there were no numbers mentioned. Greenfield explained that the current saturation of the market, along with the upcoming introduction of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, were in the process of bottlenecking the selection of titles that are able to be carried by retail stores, due to limited anime shelf-space. Titles slated for web exclusive sale include Princess Tutu, Pettite Princess Yucie, and Wedding Peach.

When asked of the effect of fansubs on the market, Greenfield described it as "devastating." He then went on to describe the current state of the Japanese market, in which less then 24 hours after a fansub is put online, it is already being sold on bootleg DVDs. He also mentioned that Japanese studios are looking to American companies increasingly more for production money, and that ADV is currently funding, in some manner and portion, nearly 1/3 of anime shows currently airing in Japan.

Greenfield then went on to talk about The Anime Network, ADV's 24 hour network. He described video-on-demand as "the future," and that ADV's main focus was on the VOD version of TAN. The linear channel was introduced primarily because cable providers indicated that TAN had a better chance of being picked up if there was a linear channel to compliment the VOD portion. Greenfield cites carrier's limited bandwidth as the major reason TAN is not more widely available. He went on to announce that there were some new ways to deliver programming, that did not involve "paying 39.99 a month to watch," that TAN would be on the forefront of.

As expected, a large portion of questions revolved around the live-action version of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Greenfield confirmed that the project was very much alive, and they were currently in the process of finding a director. While naming no names, Greenfield did confirm that interest has been shown by several major directors, including one who has won an Oscar. He also mentioned that the probable location of the shoot would be New Zealand, the same country where WETA, the studio slated to create special effects for Evangelion, is located. When asked how soon the movie would be finished, Greenfield indicated it would be at least a year, most likely 3 or 4.

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