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Anime Expo 2003
Legend of the Galactic Heroes

by Mikhail Koulikov,
Presented by Tokuma Executive Producer Tokio Kikakuwa and Director Noburo Ishiguro (with Takahashi Kaharaka translating), the panel elaborated extensively on the announcement of interest in releasing an English-language version of the series. Contrary to information announced originally, the price of the English-language release will be competitive with current market prices for anime DVD's in the US, although no exact price point was made available at this time. Both Ishiguro and Kikakuwa are aware that requiring American fans to commit to purchasing the entire series would be a very difficult proposition. Accordingly, the current survey available online is meant to simply gauge interest in a US release.

Despite this, to date, approximately 570 positive replies have been received. The “green light” mark to release the DVD's, in sub-only format, is currently set at 1500 positive replies. If a release will in fact take place, it will most likely be done via a partnership with an existing North American anime production company, rather than completely in house. The survey is not a contractual obligation, and Mr. Kikakuwa stated that he would like as many fans as possible to fill out the survey, to get an idea as to how well a Legend of Galactic Heroes set might sell in the domestic market.

Additionally, the price quoted on the survey ($1925 USD) is not necessarily reflective of the North American sale price. Mr. Kikakuwa stated that “no [domestic] company would be so reckless as to commit to the Japanese price.”

If you wish to take part in the survey, go to http://www.gineigoods.com/form/ and fill it out.

One good idea that the speaker said he would return to Japan with is that of streaming an episode or two online as a means of promoting the series. Another possibility is to release a DVD with a free episode at a convention or via a print magazine.

According to Kikakuwa and Ishiguro, over the last several years, a number of US anime distributors have approached them with offers of licensing either the first season of LoGH or specific episodes to be released as some form of compilation. Either of these options conflicts with the idea Kikakuwa, Ishigoru and Tanaka have hoped to secure for LoGH English-language release; accordingly, they were not accepted. On the other hand, to date, there have been no offers of interest from any US publishing companies regarding translating and releasing the LoGH novels.

In other, non-LoGH news, Mr. Ishiguro is currently working on two projects, an unnamed series set to begin airing in the spring of 2004 and a title called “Titania”.

“Titania” is a space drama about a soldier who flees his empire and seeks refuge with a rebellion force. Based on the novel by the same name by Yoshiki Tanaka, and with mecha designs by Kazutaka Miyatake, this aims to be a high-quality production.

Director Ishigoro offered a glimpse at some of the production sketches, including a massive starport that looks down on the planet below. Another is a smooth-looking ship called the “Shoujiki Jii-san” (Honest Old Man). The bridge itself takes the form of a balding man's head, hence the ship's name. Another picture showed an elongated starship, the core of the Titanian army.

Finally, Ishigoro announced that Titania's character designs will be produced by Haruhiko Mikimoto.

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