New York Comic Con Bandai Entertainment
by Mikhail Koulikov,
Robert Napton was the sole Bandai Entertainment speaker on the company's panel. The panel started late right after Viz Media's press conference on the upcoming Stan Lee/Hiroyuki Takei collaboration Ultimo. Because of ongoing problems with the projector, he started with questions from the audience. As one of the co-producers of Eureka 7, Bandai is also likely going to be the company that will bring out the film version in America. Regarding older Gundam series, like Turn A Gundam and Gundam X, he noted that international release decisions for them are made by a Japanese committee. Until the committee decides to clear these older shows for international distribution, the licenses are effectively off the market.
As the video issues were fixed, Napton screened the trailer for one of Bandai's most anticipated new anime. On August 5, the first DVD of the alternate-future giant robot series Code Geass will be brought out.
For this series, Bandai will turn to an unusual release schedule, and simultaneously bring out a US$79.99 collector's box, a “Season 1, Part 1” bundle priced at US$39.98, and two traditional stand-alone DVDs marked at US$24.98 and containing five and four episodes each. The limited edition collector's box will contain the first volume of the Code Geass soundtrack, one of the Sound Episode drama CDs, and the first volume of the Code Geass manga. The second segment of the first season, containing episodes 10 to 17, is set to come out in October with the same three different versions. The final eight episodes of Geass' first season are on track for January.
The same format will also be used for Ghost Slayers Ayashi. On September 2, they will release a collector's edition containing the first ten episodes of the series, a 16-page guide book, and the first volume of the Ghost Slayers Ayashi manga, which had not been previously announced in the North American license.
On the other hand, the release schedule for Lucky Star will be fairly conventional. Starting with May 5, both collector's boxes and the standard edition DVDs will be brought out. Each special edition will include a t-shirt imprinted with an outfit from the show, such as the dance uniform, a sailor suit, or the girls' school uniforms.
The first of Bandai's two new announcements was not entirely unexpected. Bandai has released almost every single Gundam series, OVA, or movie currently available in English, and has now added Gundam 00 to that list. Discussions for a television broadcast are now underway.
The second, however, came entirely out of left field, to cheers and gasps of surprise from the audience. Aniplex and Bandai Entertainment will be bringing out the North American release of Gurren Lagann. To get this highly anticipated anime out to fans as soon as possible, there will be two separate releases. In July, August, and September, the entire series will be brought out in a bare-bones sub-only format, at nine episodes per DVD. This will be followed in the first months of 2009 by a more standard release, containing both the original Japanese audio and a completely new English dub. Scenarios for online distribution are also being considered.
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