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Anime Expo 2005
Anime Expo - Broccoli USA

by Christopher Macdonald,
Representatives: Shizuki Yamashita and Haname Tezuka

Broccoli's somewhat impromptu panel was hosted by Shizuki Yamashita and Haname Tezuka, the president of Broccoli's US office. As Mr. Haname doesn't speak a lot of English, Yamashita ran the panel, however Mr. Haname answered some of the questions for Yamashita.

First Yamashita spoke briefly about the history of Broccoli. The company was established in 1996 as a merchandise retailer, and now has 20 stores in Japan and one in the USA. In Japan they are also involved in the planning and production of anime and video games. In addition to the retail division, Broccoli USA also has divisions that release manga (Broccoli Books) and anime DVDs (Synch-Point). Broccoli was recently acquired by Takara, Japan's second largest toy company (after Bandai).

Mr. Tezuka Hides from the Camera

Synch-Point is of course best known for it's release of FLCL. Yamashita was up-front about the fact that Synch-Point's DVD release schedule is slower than those of other companies. Synch-Point releases about one DVD per quarter.

On July 26 Synch-Point will be releasing the first 16-episode Di Gi Charat series on one DVD (the episodes are only three minutes long). There will be a regular edition and the limited edition treasure box. The "treasure box" includes a 10-track music CD (5 songs plus karaoke versions), box, postcard, booklet, the Dejiko's Summer Vacation graphic novel and figurines. The postcard is actually a voucher for a t-shirt that can be mailed to Broccoli. The 12-page booklet includes translation notes, synopses, episode list and character notes, and English and Romanized lyrics. and is available at Anime Expo. The three figurines are Dejiko, Puchiko and Rabi. There is a Japanese commentary track with Koge Donbo across all 16 episodes. The commentary track is in Japanese with English subtitles. The set is available now at Anime Expo or in stores on July 26. The stand-alone DVD will be in stores August 23rd.

Leave it to Piyoko! will be released on DVD starting in September. The eight-episode series will be released on two DVDs. Originally a six-episode series released on two DVDs in Japan, Leave it to Piyoko! was extended with two more episodes released as extras with two video games. These DVDs will also include a Koge Donbo commentary track, however the commentary will not be across all eight episodes.

Synch-Point is also planning to release a “FLCL Ultimate Edition Boxed Set” in the relatively near future. The boxed set will include all three DVDs, re-mastered and re-authored, with new extras. The full list of features is still being finalized and is not available at this time.

On the Broccoli Books side of things Yamashita showed mockups of what are expected to be the covers of Kamui volume 1 and 2, the new manga series that they will be releasing later this year.

Other manga scheduled include Galaxy Angel Party, volume 1 of which is due in August and Galaxy Angel Beta, which should start in September. Galaxy Angel Party is an anthology parody of the anime with stories by different manga-ka. It is expected to run three volumes. Galaxy Angel Party will include fan-art and fans will be able to submit art for the second and third volumes. Galaxy Angel Beta is a sequel to the first five-volume series.

On the merchandise side of things, they are releasing some FLCL dolls in collaboration with Takara USA. Branded “Tokyo Posse,” the dolls are based on Takara's successful Jenny dolls. Haruka and Mamimi dolls are available now, and they are considering other dolls, based on other properties. They are however limited by the physique of the Jenny dolls and can not do male characters or large breasted female characters. There is a questionnaire at their booth asking what other properties fans would want to see as part of the Tokyo Posse line-up. Haruko comes with a removable helmet and gogles, while Mamimi comes with a openable courier bag. The dolls cost $40, somewhat more than the $25 retail price of a Japanese Jenny Doll, this is because licensing fees add to the cost of production.

Broccoli also creates and sells merchandise for numerous other properties belonging to other licensors. They have calendars, shot glasses, t-shirts, zipper charms, zipper straps, clear posters, screen cleaners and more for titles like Samurai Champloo, Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Tenjho Tenge, Hellsing, Read or Die the TV and so on.

Although Broccoli is involved in video game production in Japan, Broccoli USA will not produce or localize any video games. They have licensed out the Galaxy Angel game to another US company for localization. The “chose your own adventure” style game will feature subtitles, not an English dub, and they are hoping for it to be released next year.

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