Anime Next Panel Reports

by Mikhail Koulikov,
Since Anime Next takes place during one of the few lulls in the convention season, none of the industry representatives present at this weekend's event were able to announce new titles. On the other hand, quite a number of interesting details about release plans and schedules for various titles were revealed throughout the weekend:

Viz Entertainment
(Toshifumi Yoshida – video producer; Mari Morimoto – manga translator)

The first Inu-Yasha movie will be released in September. The Season 1 digipac box set, to include a possible bonus item and remastered episodes, will be made available in September as well. Maison Ikkoku Box Set 4 is currently in production. Talks are currently underway regarding possible theatrical release of certain Viz properties, but no titles can be specifically mentioned.

Anime Crash
(James Veronico, VP Sales & Marketing)

The 26-episode series Shiden, set to be air in Japan some time in 2005, has been renamed Jikoo. Current U.S. release plans include a broadcast TV run before the DVD's are made available. Anime Crash's other anime title, the Japanese-Korean coproduction Geisters - Fractions of the Earth, will continue being released throughout the rest of 2004 and into 2005. Each volume will include a postcard redeemable, after all six volumes have been purchased, for character figurines that will interact with the DVD cases using Anime Crash's patented “talking ink” technology. The same technology, which allows ink on a page or package to reproduce recorded sounds, including speech, will be used in manga, starting with Japanese-only titles but eventually available on titles released in the U.S. as well. The Anime Crash representative also discussed company acquisition policies. Unlike other players in the industry, Anime Crash is interested only in properties where it can hold global release rights across all types of media. He also mentioned that Anime Crash, which throughout the mid-1990's operated an anime/manga store in New York City is interested in re-establishing a presence in the retail market.

ADV Films
(David L. Williams)

Starting in September, Martian Successor Nadesico will be rereleased. Each two-disk set will retail at $19.99, contain 5.1 audio and commentary, and correct issues with the video that were present in the original release.

Central Park Media
(Ross Lefko, Steven Pakula)

On the anime side of things, two new titles specifically mentioned at the panel are Ichi the Killer: Episode 0 (set to be released in September), and Shin-fighter Tekken. As far as CPM's manga titles are concerned, over sixty volumes are set to be released throughout 2004.

Media Blasters

Giant Robo will be released starting in October. A “super” box, with space for the three volumes and the Gin Rei OVA will also be made available. The Berserk manga is currently on hiatus, but it is expected that creator Kentarou Miura will restart working on it sometime in mid 2005 to early 2006.

Voyager Entertainment

The entire Star Blazers TV series as well as all five Space Battleship Yamato movies will be made available online through the MovieLink download service. A “Making of Yamato” documentary is also being created.

ImaginAsian TV
(Justin Sevakis)

ImaginAsian TV, America's first cable channel devoted exclusively to Asian-themed programming, will debut on August 15 on basic cable (and, in the New York City area, as a broadcast channel). Final negotiations are underway for it to be carried on digital cable as well. Anime programming on ImaginAsian will be presented in three general timeslots: weekday mornings and early afternoons, primetime (one night per week), and Saturday mornings. A majority of all animated and live-action programming on the channel will be subtitled, and anime titles that will be shown include Figure 17, Twelve Kingdoms, Kurogane Communication, and Armored Trooper Votoms.

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