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Anime Boston 2004

by Christopher Macdonald,
Company Representative: Lance Heiskell – Brand Manager

FUNimation has prepared three hats from Fruits Baskets that they hope to release to the public soon. Heiskell was wearing the prototypes, which were received on Monday, throughout the convention. The hats have been sent to TV Tokyo for approval. Should the hats be approved, they will probably at first be a con exclusive, after which they will be available through FUNimation's online Z-Store, and finally they might be released through Diamond Previews. Heiskell hopes to create more of the hats themed after other Fruits Baskets characters.

FUNimation will be attending 17 cons in 2004 (including conventions that they have already attended).

Heiskell then showed a number of FUNimation trailers for Case Closed, Blue Gender – The Warrior and Kiddy Grade Volume 4. Regarding Case Closed, Heiskell reiterated that they were forced to change the name to Case Closed because “Conan” is a well known entity in the United States. He pointed out the issues that plagued Spike TV with their recent name change as an example of what they wanted to avoid. Case Closed features several character name changes, regarding which Heiskell stated, “You'll get used to it.” Blue Gender – The Warrior will be released on July 20th and will be premiered at the San Diego Comicon.

Before discussing the main announcement of his panel, Heiskell discussed FUNimation's Operation Anime project. Anime Clubs with 20+ members are encouraged to sign up online. FUNimation will send the clubs the first volume(s) of their titles and will also offer the club members coupons for 40% discounts at the Z-Store. Heiskell also pointed out that, through the Operation Anime website, FUNimation is the only anime company that allows clubs to request and receive screening permission through online forms.

Finally, Heiskell announced a new license for FUNimation, a license that he pointed out people have been requesting for years—Kodomo no Omocho. Rather than actually naming the show, Heiskell took out a baka hammer that many people immediately recognized as being from Kodocha. He then went on to state, “It was in licensing Hell... Hell has Frozen over!” and showed the original Japanese opening for Kodocha. During the opening, he gave out 120 hammers to the very excited panel attendees. The license for Kodocha was signed three weeks ago, and it is expected to be released in spring or summer 2005.

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