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Otakon - 2003

by Bamboo Dong,
Representative: Lance Heiskell

Greeting an audience of over one hundred fans on Friday night, Lance said that no new announcements would be made. This was a disappointment to many of the attendees, who had heard rumors of a big acquisition.

He kicked off the panel by mentioning some of the upcoming release dates for the next few months. Among these included game releases, such as Budokai for the Gamecube, complete with the Toriyama-style shading feature, which will be available on September 15. A PS2 version of Budokai will hit stores on December 9. Also, Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu on September 28 for the Gameboy Advance.

In terms of DVD releases, Heiskell mentioned that the Sakura Wars discs would include all the extras that appeared on the Japanese DVDs, 12 minutes on Sumire and 12 each on all 3 releases of Ecole de Paris. The American release of this series will start at the end of February for $24.98.

Blue Gender will be released in boxsets, packaged in a sturdy box, with possibly holofoils and autographed posters of Eric Vale or Laura Bailey. The set will retail for $120.

FUNimation is looking into putting more extras into their box + 1 releases, such as pencil boards, cards, plushies, and others.

For fans who want to purchase the Blue Gender box alone, it will hopefully be available online at the Z Store.

Heiskell also mentioned that Detective Conan was aiming for an early summer release, pending television airing plans. Heiskell said that FUNimation licensed all of the properties for Detective Conan, including all of the episodes and movies. He requested fansubbers to please stop distributing the series.

As for television plans, Dragon Ball GT will being airing on Cartoon Network starting October 3, Fridays at 6:30 ET/PT. The series will start at episode 16, the same as the Funimation DVD release. Heiskell did assure that the first 15 episodes would eventually be released.

New Dragon Ball Episodes will begin airing in October at a 5:30PM timeslot. There are also four new Dragon Ball Z movies that will start airing on September 5, including Bardock: Father of Goku, the History of Trunks, Cooler's Revenge, and Return of Cooler.

The first 56 episodes of Dragon Ball Z are being redubbed and already in production. Chuck Huber will be the ADR Director for the project.

Currently, there is a Yū Yū Hakusho sweepstakes online worth $100,000. There is also a contest for people to write 50 words on why they are the biggest Dragon Ball Z fan. The winner will get a “kick ass” Broly statue.

FUNimation is still pursuing its Operation Anime program, which is now affiliated with over 300 clubs. More information can be found at its website.

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