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Anime Next 2005
Anime Next - A.D. Vision, Inc.

by Mikhail Koulikov & Christopher Macdonald,
Studio Representative David L. Williams

The first thing that was covered in this panel was upcoming releases. Among those, notable titles include:

June: Noir ThinPak, Gilgamesh;
July: The Place Promised in Our Early Days, My Beautiful Girl Mari, Area 88 TV, Yugo the Negotiator;
August: Najica ThinPak, Prétear ThinPak, Final Fantasy: Unlimited ThinPak, Samurai Gun, Gantz Season 2, Orphen 2 Collection;
September: Abenobashi Magical Shopping District Thinpak, Azumanga Daioh ThinPak.

The second season of Gantz will be released on 4 discs with a 4/3/3/3 episode count. The episode count for season one (13 episode over 6 discs) was an experiment. ADV had been hearing from many people, particularly high school and college students, that $30 DVDs are too expensive. They wanted to try an experiment in lower pricing, and chose a popular series so that it could not be said that the experiment failed because the test subject show was unpopular. While Gantz sold very well, they believe it would have sold just as well regardless of the release format. Furthermore, the release format increased production costs for ADV. It is unlikely that ADV will release any more series in this manner.

Yugo the Negotiator, a relatively unknown series, will be made available at a very attractive $14.98 price point for the DVD, and $19.98 for the volume 1 + box release. ADV Films is “Very Proud” of Yugo, as are the Japanese producers who put an extensive amount of research into making the series a realistic portrayal of the exotic locations, such as Pakistan, that are its setting.

Regarding the second seasons of Kaleido Star and Super GALS! (episodes 27-52 each), ADV has the license for the second season of Kaleido Star and has done some production work on it, however they do not have the license for the second season of Super GALS!. Neither series sold as well as expected, however ADV is possibly going to release ThinPak collection of each series. If the ThinPak sales are decent enough there is a good chance they will release the second seasons. Otherwise it is unlikely that those episodes will be released by ADV.

Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is currently in production and the first volume will probably be released sometime this fall.

As for “lost licenses” ADV's license for the Master of Mosquiton OAV series has expired and has since been picked up by Media Blasters. ADV would like to release the original Sol Bianca on DVD, however first they need to clear up the required rights for a DVD release. The original rights holders to the title went bankrupt and it is currently unknown who actually owns the rights for the property.

Finally, ADV has passed on the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pich license. Mermaid Melody was a “Big Franchise” that would have required TV backing to be financially viable. While ADV was in talks with networks, these networks re-evaluated the market and it would not have been financially reasonable for ADV to license the title without at TV deal.

The Ani-Mini's will not be a regular format; however ADV will occasionally release them for promotional purposes. An Ani-Mini of Cromartie High was included in the first volume of the manga.

When mentioning extras in collected versions and initial releases, Williams confirmed what was told to ANN this past week - that ADV Films will continue to focus on extras in the initial releases of series, and that collected releases will generally not feature any extras. This is to make sure that the initial releases continue to carry the added value that goes with their higher price. Furthermore, it was stated that roughly only 31% of anime fans buy the initial releases as soon as they come out. Companies rely on those initial sales to finance the series, therefore they are looking into as many ways as possible to entice fans to buy the initial releases.

Answering a question about delays in releasing various manga titles, such as Gunslinger Girl, Williams admits that ADV was very ambitious in its entry into the manga market. Unfortunately it came at a time when several other companies also entered the market and the result was market saturation, with too much product for stores to handle. ADV is therefore slowing down its manga releases.

As far as UMD releases for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) are concerned, it is currently very expensive to author UMD discs and sales are not that great. Therefore ADV is taking a “wait and see” attitude to UMDs, but Williams is not very confident in the likelihood of the company releasing UMDs.

Finally, Williams stated that having a show air on Cartoon Network is one of the best things that can happen to a property and he hints that more of their shows will possibly be on Cartoon Network in the future.

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