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Funimation Acquires Bamboo Blade, Druaga, Dragonaut

posted on 2009-02-14 16:00 EST
Also: Gonzo's Blassreiter, with more announcements to come next week

The North American anime distributor Funimation has announced at Katsucon on Saturday that it has acquired the Bamboo Blade, The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk, The Tower of Druaga: the Sword of Uruk, Dragonaut - The Resonance, and Blassreiter television series. Bamboo Blade comes from the licensor D. Rights, while the other four projects come from GDH, the parent company of the Gonzo anime studio. Funimation will make still more announcements next week through its new official blog.

AIC A.S.T.A. and director Hisashi Saito adapted Masahiro Totsuka and Aguri Igarashi's Bamboo Blade manga into 26 episodes from October 2007 to March 2008. In the story, a kendō (Japanese fencing) advisor has to recruit five high school girls and turn them into a kendo team that can beat his friend's high school team — all to win a bet for a year's worth of food. The original manga has been running since the inaugural issue of Square Enix's Young Gangan magazine in 2004, and it spawned a spinoff manga called Bamboo Blade B in Monthly Shonen Gangan magazine last month. Yen Press is releasing the original manga in North America. The official website for the PSP game version posted a survey which asked how much do fans want a second anime season, although a second season has not been officially announced. Funimation will ship the original anime series in two half-season sets beginning in late 2009.

The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk and The Tower of Druaga: the Sword of Uruk anime series are part of a multimedia remake of Namco's classic Tower of Druaga maze adventure game. Gonzo, its game developer sibling Gonzo Rosso, and director Koichi Chigira co-developed this fantasy story about a mysterious fortified tower fraught with peril, and a party of adventurers who seek the fabled Blue Crystal Rod treasure at the tower's highest floor. Gonzo made news last spring when it announced that it would stream the anime episodes worldwide within a day of their Japanese broadcast. At the end of the series in June, Gonzo revealed the sequel series, The Tower of Druaga: the Sword of Uruk. That second series has since premiered last month in Japan and is still airing. Funimation will ship the 25 episodes of both series in two sets in late 2009.

Manabu Ono directed the Dragonaut - The Resonance science-fiction anime anime series for Gonzo from October 2007 to March 2008. The story is set on Earth after the International Solarsystem Development Agency (ISDA) breeds dragons to fend off a potential asteroid threat. However, another threat emerges in the form of dragon-like creatures from space, and Jin Kamishina must face the new foe as a "Dragonaut" pilot. Funimation will begin shipping the 25-episode series in late 2009. There is an unaired 26th episode that was released on DVD in Japan, but Funimation has not announced plans for this extra.

Saturday's last announced title is Blassreiter, which Ichiro Itano (Angel Cop, Megazone 23 Part II, Gantz) directed for Gonzo and the multimedia studio Nitroplus. Humans are being transformed into demonic creatures all over Germany, and only one man, Joseph Jobson, can control his demonic form and stop the indiscriminate killing. Joseph tries to hunt down the source of the plague and forestall the apocalypse. With this series and Druaga last April, Gonzo became the first major anime studio to release a television series nearly simultaneously on both Japanese airwaves and international streaming websites. Funimation will release all 24 episodes in two half-season sets beginning in late 2009.

Images © Masahiro Totsuka, Aguri Igarashi/Square Enix, Bamboo Blade Partners
© NBGI/Izumi Project
© Dragonaut Project
© 2008 GonzoNitroplus/Blassreiter Project

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