2005 - Bandai Entertainment

by Bamboo Dong,
Bandai Entertainment's Jerry Chu held a panel on Saturday evening to a small crowd at this year's Katsucon.

He started things off with a list of upcoming Bandai releases for the next few months. Of note were first volume titles like Magical Meow Meow Taruto, Overman King Gainer, Di Gi Charat Nyo, Avenger, Planetes, D.I.C.E., Dear Boys, and Scrapped Princess, for which he also showed sizzle reels.

Scrapped Princess will have a limited edition release for every volume, and will include figures. Dear Boys will be renamed Hoop Days, but each disc will come with a reversible cover with the original title.

The fifth Yukikaze OVA will be finished in Japan in either April or May. Originally, Bandai was planning on releasing the series on two DVDs, but because of the delay in the production schedule, they will be changing the release format to three volumes. The second Yukikaze DVD will come out soon with episodes 3 and 4. The third volume will contain the last OVA, and also Mave-chan, a short spin-off of the series.

So far, there are no plans to put the Gundam Seed epilogue on the end of the DVD release, as it was not given to Bandai by Sunrise.

As for acquisitions, Chu said that Bandai was working on a number of things. Their first co-production, D.I.C.E., was with Xebec. All of Bandai's divisions, including their toy branches, are working with Bones to produce Eureka 7, which will broadcast in Japan this April.

The only new acquisition that Chu had to announce was Panda-Z.

Chu mentioned that the anime industry had suffered slightly in 2004, and apologized for any problems fans felt there were on the release of Zeta Gundam. He said, however, that there will be many big changes in 2005. Foremost would be a change in the way that business would be conducted with the Japanese companies, including more co-productions.

Afterwards, Chu opened up the panel to a question and answer session. From the answers given, the Cowboy Bebop video game is still being developed, and there is no release date for it yet. As for Cowboy Bebop Remix, there will be commentary by many of the Japanese voice actors, and production staff like Shinichiro Watanabe and Yoko Kanno. There will also be features that give a “behind-the-scenes” look at the show.

As for Bandai Manga, there was no news available for this convention, but there should be some press releases coming in the next few weeks. The branch is planning on bringing out three to four titles this summer, but there are no details yet.

As a last word, Chu said that Bandai has not yet taken any action towards the fansub community, but there is currently pending litigation for several defendants in last year's bootleg DVD lawsuits from Anime Expo.

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