Sakura-Con 2012
NIS America

by Bamboo Dong, Apr 7th 2012

Panelists: Ryan Phillips, Mitsu Hiraoka, Eugene Chen

Producer Mitsu Hiraoka started the panel by asking the crowd, “How long can you discuss your favorite thing? An hour? A day?” He then presented a slide with just the words, “Let's talk about anime.” This set the tone for the panel, which showed some of NIS America's upcoming properties and discussed their business plan, which is driven by their love of anime. He addressed NIS America's decision to not dub their releases, saying that they've seen many publishers leave the market, and wanted to start with “what [they] could handle.” He followed up by saying, “We do this business because we love anime. We hope to keep doing so for as long as possible.”

After showing a trailer for their upcoming property anohana, which will be released this July, he asked the audience if anyone had already watched the series online. After a few raised their hands, he mentioned that they always factored fansubs into their business approach, handling budgeting and estimated numbers of units sold based on the knowledge that fansubs exist. However, the NIS model revolves around the belief that, “we offer something more memorable than something you can just watch online and say goodbye to,” listing their hardcover artbooks as an example.

Hiraoka also discussed how NIS America chooses which titles to license, saying up front that the company was not “anti-fanservice.” In fact, he listed his personal preference as both “boobs and butts.” The company strives to license titles that are story-driven, with an element of comedy. Throughout the presentation, he also showed trailers for Occult Academy, which will be released in May 2012, Zakuro, which will be released in June 2012, and Kimi ni Todoke, the first volume of which was released earlier this January.

Localization director Eugene Chen took over the presentation, and discussed the company's strategies for localizing their properties. He mentioned that they always read the original works that the series are based on, and try to analyze the script to deliver a translation that would be understood and appreciated by the target region.


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