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Anime Boston 2006

by Mikhail Koulikov,
Presenters: Adam Sheehan, Jonathan Brands, Clarine Harp, Christopher Bevins

After over a year and a half of efforts to clarify rights, Funimation is finally able to announce the acquisition of BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad. The Beck dub will most likely be rated TV-MA, Chris Bevins and Taliesin Jaffe will co-direct while Mike McFarland will act as music director. Funimation has been working on the rights for BECK and all the attached music for two years now, most of which was spent securing rights to the various music and trademarks used throughout the anime.

As announced via press release, Funimation will also be distributing Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, with the first volume currently scheduled for October 10. Since most of the cast of the first two seasons is already working with Funimation, it is very highly likely that there will be no cast changes.

Box sets for Basilisk, Negima and Kodocha are currently being developed. The Basilisk box will be made of wood (similar to that Media Blasters used for Samurai Deeper Kyo), while the metal Negima box will include a set of vinyl character stickers. The first stand-alone DVD volume of Negima will contact six episodes, and each volume will also be available as a collector's limited edition. Extras will include a unique character figurine for every new volume. The extras for the upcoming second Season 2 box of Kodocha will be a Babbit plush doll and an exclusive DVD gallery of artwork and sketches.

On the Funimation Films side of the business, the current goal is to feature the Fullmetal Alchemist movie in “all major cities”. This will be followed by SHINOBI, which is inspired by the same novel (Kouga Ninja Scrolls) as Basilisk, and Funimation will be gauging SHINOBI's popularity to determine whether to pursue any other live-action titles. However, anime will always remain “the strength and core” of both Funimation Films and Funimation in general.

Two new Funimation initiatives are FuniGirls, a website/online community aimed at female anime fans, and, in almost total opposition, “Babes – Blades – Blood – Beauty”, a cross-media promotional campaign for Funimation's four Gonzo titles (Basilisk, Desert Punk, Speed Grapher, Trinity Blood). The FuniGirls website (www.funigirls.com) will feature exclusive articles and interviews, promotions, and giveaways, and it is possible that FuniGirls DVD packs will be offered, but it is not a formal label.

Finally, despite the launch of the FUNimation Channel, it is only one vector in the company's overall anime distribution strategy, and getting Funimation shows on other broadcast and cable TV channels will always be a priority.

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