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San Diego Comic-Con International 2005
Comic Con - Bandai Entertainment

by Bamboo Dong,
Representatives: Jerry Chu, Ken Iyadomi, Robert Napton

The panelists started the Bandai presentation right on time with a bit of information about their upcoming titles. Currently, one of their biggest projects is Eureka Seven, a co-production between Bandai and Studio BONES, the animation house behind hits like Fullmetal Alchemist, Wolf's Rain, and Cowboy Bebop. Iyadomi also mentioned that Bandai would like to do more co-productions in the future.

A promo for the series was then shown to a captive audience. The sound didn't work the first few attempts, but Chu entertained the audience with his sound effects.

Eureka Seven started in Japan in April, and is being well received by the Japanese audience. A BONES original, it's being treated as a multimedia release, with plans for a manga, action figures, and video games.

During the Q&A session, it was revealed that the second volume of Yukikaze, containing episodes 3 and 4, would be released on December 12. The DVD is currently in production. Meanwhile, the fifth episode is currently in production in Japan, and is slated for an August release. That episode will be included on the third American DVD, along with Mave-chan.

As for other upcoming releases, Chu told the audience to look forward to IGPX, the Cartoon Network and Production I.G co-production that Bandai is partnering up with. Another anticipated release is Cowboy Bebop REMIX, remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, with additional never before seen extras including: Commentary by the Shinichiro Watanabe, Yoko Kanno, the Japanese and English voice casts, television promo collections, trailer collections, and more.

Gundam Seed Destiny is not confirmed for Cartoon Network yet, but it will retain the same voice cast.

September 27 will see the release of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG. The special edition version will come with the CD soundtrack. Future volumes may see PVC figures, including a Tachikoma.

Napton, editor at Bandai's manga division, showed audiences a copy of the first title they would be releasing. Called Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Official Log #1, it will be an “anime compendium” containing a 148 page booklet with episode and character profiles, and other in-depth features. There will also be a DVD that contains a making of feature, interviews, and other treats.

The first log book will be released in October, with the second one released early next year. It will be distributed in the DVD sections of retail chains, as a DVD with “lots of extra paper.” It carries an MSRP of $49.98.

When asked about the Eureka Seven manga, Napton couldn't comment on it but said, “Don't be surprised if that's one of the first titles [Bandai manga] release.”

As far as Gundam goes, there is currently no possibility of releasing a bilingual version of the original Gundam series. However, Bandai will be releasing single volumes of Zeta starting this Fall. There are currently no release dates set for the other not yet released Gundam series.

The panelists also briefly discussed the state of the anime industry. They acknowledged the decrease in DVD sales, commenting that fansubs continue to be a huge problem, as well as bootlegs. The company had taken action at Anime Expo 2004 against several retailers accused of selling/distributing counterfeit DVDs and merchandise, since then, all judgments have been settled in favor of Bandai.

When asked about if the company had the license for Stratos 4 Advance, they replied that they didn't.

Near the end of the panel, Chu mentioned that there was currently a new .hack anime project going on in Japan right now, but couldn't divulge any more information. No comments could be made as to whether or not it was related to .hack//GU.

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