Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
FUNimation Entertainment acquired the North American licensing and merchandising rights for Toei Animation's One Piece pirate adventure anime series. Funimation already acquired the television and home video rights to the anime series itself and has been running the anime on Cartoon Network since last September. 4Kids previously acquired the North American rights in 2004, and Mattel licensed the rights to make action figures (pictured at right) and accessories in 2005 and 2006. The Mattel line has since been discontinued. Funimation is seeking partners in toys, games, collectible figures, and other categories. The One Piece: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventure in Alabasta film ran in 98 theaters two weeks before today's DVD release, and the television series itself will get its first uncut North American DVD release on May 27.
Separately, Bandai announced that it is showcasing new Dragon Ball Z, Digimon, and Blue Dragon toys at the Toy Fair 2008 event in New York City this week. Last October, Bandai America announced that it is partnering with Funimation to release Dragon Ball Z toys for the first time since 2000. The Dragon Ball toy line will continue with the import of 2.5” Ultimate Spark and 4.5” Real Works Figures from Japan this spring. In the fall, there will be 2.5” Flash Changer Figures, 4” Extreme Dragon Figures, and 8” Power Boost Figures. Finally, Bandai America will release electronic, motion-sensing Kamehameha Wrist Bands and the interactive Energy Battle Set.
Bandai America will also release the Digimon Digivice Data Link role-playing toy, 1.5” Digimon character figures, 3.5” lightning Digivolving figures, and 5” ultra-Digivolving character figures starting this fall. This July, the company will release 3”, 4”, and 7” action figures based on the Blue Dragon anime, which itself is based on a Xbox 360 role-playing game.