Anime Expo 2006

by Sean Broestl,
Gonzo Entertainment Panel

Just like in previous years, Gonzo's panel at Anime Expo 2006 was in a room jam-packed with enthusiastic fans. Representatives from both Gonzo and Top Cow were present.

Gonzo started their panel by giving a brief overview of who their company is and where it's come from. Building themselves from a tiny studio, Gonzo is now a huge animation firm having produced 25-26 TV series, one feature film, one music video, and numerous collaborations. Gonzo works on 10 TV shows a year and employs 250 3-D animators in Japan, another 2000 in a Korean animation studio they own.

A portion of the panel was devoted to showing trailers of Gonzo's recent properties. The trailer reel included: Origin ~Spirits of the Past~, Trinity Blood, Basilisk, Solty Rei, Black Cat, Pinky St., Glass Fleet, and Witchblade.

Origin ~Spirits of the Past~ is Gonzo's first movie. Moving into features was just a part of their massive growth over the past couple years. It's part of a plan for five movies they have going right now. The next movie will be Brave Story, a co-production between Gonzo and Warner Bros. Japan.

Gonzo next talked about their collaborations. Like the Pinky St. animation, this is there first collaboration with a Taiwanese studio. Glass Fleet is a co-production with Satelight. Finally, Witchblade is a collaboration with Top Cow. During the panel, the relationship with FUNimation was brought up. They said to expect a Gonzo title from FUNimation every 3-6 months.

Before getting to the Q&A portion of the panel, another video was shown to introduce Witchblade to the audience. Series director Yoshimitsu Ohashi was unable to make it to Anime Expo, and he had some comments to make about the show before the preview clip began.

Witchblade creator David Wahl joined the panelists to go into a little more depth about the show. Both Gonzo and Top Cow are excited about how Witchblade is turning out. Wahl explained how the anime, placed in the future, fit into the comic's continuity. From a later question, it was also added that the DVD version of Witchblade is going to be “a little sexier”.

Gonzo wrapped up with a few words about their new OVA Afro Samurai. Not many details were announced other than Samuel L. Jackson being involved and that there would be more details at San Diego Comic Con.

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