Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
Funimation's Comic-Con panel began with a look at the series it has licensed recently, such as Ouran High School Host Club and Witchblade, But Funimation has always been active as a distributor of non-anime titles, and three of its four Comic-Con announcements are for live-action films. Working with Shochiku Co., FUNimation Entertainment will be releasing Hirokazu Kore-eda's Hana, a samurai film that is set in 1702. Junichi Okada, who recently voiced one of the leads in Studio Ghibli's Gedo Senki will play the main character. The second of the three is also a samurai drama, entitled Love and Honor (released originally as Bushi no Ichibun). Love and Honor concludes a trilogy directed by Oscar nominee Yoji Yamada that takes a revisionist approach to samurai-era Japanese society. Starring in this film are SMAP's Takuya Kimura (also the voice of Howl in Howl's Moving Castle) and takarazuka actress Rei Dan. Finally, Funimation has licensed the $30 million Japanese-Mongolian co-production Genghis Khan – To the Ends of the Earth and Sea.
The fourth title Heiskell unveiled is Vexille, the upcoming all-CG feature film from the production team behind 2004's Appleseed. Fumihiko Sori and Haruka Handa will reprise their work as director and screenwriter, while Paul Oakenfold will again compose the score. Funimation will premiere the film at various film festivals throughout North America, and will then give it a theatrical release. The DVD will follow later in 2008.
To wrap up the panel, Heiskell and Sheehan answered a few audience questions that dealt primarily with upcoming release dates reconfirmed plans to for a high-definition (Blu-Ray) release of the Dragon Ball Z movies Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan and Broly: Second Coming, and showed trailers for the titles they talked about throughout the panel.