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Anime Expo 2006
Geneon Entertainment USA

by Evan Miller,
Even though the Geneon Panel was held during the earliest timeslot available on Sunday, there was still a line of over 200 people waiting to get into the room. The show started with a clip from Strawberry Marshmallow, which was followed with clips from Elemental Gelade, GUNxSWORD, the KOTOKO Live DVD and live action film Last Quarter, starring Chiaki Kurayama of Kill Bill fame and L'arc En Ciel frontman HYDE. Geneon also announced a few other live-action titles they are releasing. All About our House and My Secret Cache will be released August 9th, and The Family Game and Rainbow Kids will be released on August 28th.

Clips from two World War II-themed anime licensed by Geneon were screened. The first was Barefoot Gen, the story of a boy who survives the atomic bombing of Hiroshima with his mother. Geneon will release both Barefoot Gen and Barefoot Gen 2 on a single disc. The panelists mentioned that the first Barefoot Gen movie was originally released by Streamline Pictures in the 1980's, but they never released Barefoot Gen 2. The second WWII-themed anime introduced was Zipang, which tells the story of an Aegis destroyer that travels back in time to the Battle of Midway. The first volume will be released on September 5th.

The next several clips that Geneon screened were all from new or recent acquisitions. The first was Ergo Proxy, the first volume of which will street on November 21. New acquisitions include Black Lagoon (scheduled for release in 2007), Hello Kitty: Stump Village, a claymation series featuring most of the popular characters from the Sanrio line (October 2006), and the live-action feature Cool Dimensions (October 2006). Cool Dimensions will be released theatrically in Japan in July, 2006, and on DVD in North America and Japan in October, 2006.

Jon Bailey from Operations at Geneon came forward to discuss future releases in ThinPak and other release formats for DVDs. Promotional items for releases were also discussed, such as foil packaging and the first ever box set printed on wood packaging. Later, during the question and answer session, Geneon mentioned that they may experiment with different disc formats (such as “Blu-Ray”) in the future, but will not make any final decisions until the format is successful in the market.

The most popular title mentioned at the panel was Hellsing Ultimate, which earned many cheers from the crowd. After the clip, the VA for the English language dub, Crispin Freeman, came onto the stage and thanked the fans for their support. According to Geneon, all the original voice talent from the previous dub will be back, including Freeman as Alucard, K.T. Gray as Seras, Victoria Harwood as Integra and Ralph Lister as Walter. Hellsing Ultimate is currently scheduled for release on December 5.

Finally, one of the biggest acquisitions announced was Paradise Kiss. Geneon did not give a projected release date for the series, but will be screening a preview of the show during the Shojo panel at 8:30 PM Sunday.

In summary, Geneon's panel featured many fan favorites, but a somewhat smaller list of acquired licenses. However, with a strong presence at Anime Expo and an impressive lineup of titles to come, Geneon will most likely continue to be a significant force in the North American anime market.

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