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Anime Expo 2006
Bandai Entertainment

by Sean Broestl,
Bandai Entertainment Panel

Representatives: Ken Iyadomi, Robert Napton, and Sam Maseba.

Bandai Entertainment took the stage at AX 2006 and promptly barricaded their positions on the stage with various boxes and prizes to give away during the panel. From their embattlements, Ken Iyadomi started telling everyone about their new announcements.

The first announcement was for an older show, Karakuri Kiden Hiwou Senki, the first anime title produced by Studio BONES. Release plans were already set, with the first volume of this 26-episode series coming out September 12th, 2006. Two additional volumes will come out November 14th, 2006 and January 2nd, 2007. Each volume will retail for $39.98.

Several live-action series were also announced. A trailer was shown to announce the licensing of the live-action Cutey Honey movie. Bandai Entertainment will be releasing a complete set of Great Horror Family on October 10th.

Lots of announcements were made about Ghost in the Shell TV. Bandai Entertainment has acquired the rights to two of the OVA series: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - The Laughing Man and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Individual Eleven. They also announced the license for the movie placed in the Stand Alone Complex universe, Ghost in the ShellSolid State Society.

Since a Bandai Entertainment panel can never pass without some mention of Gundam, Ken Iyadomi had good news for fans of Zeta Gundam. They are currently negotiating the license to the Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation movies, and showed a trailer for the first movie. These will include new animation. While no DVD release date is set, they will be airing at the Chicago Internation Film Festival October 5-19, 2006. Later in the panel, a question was asked about Gundam returning to TV, but the panelists said that there are no plans for more on US TV at this time, however Gundam Seed Destiny will be airing on YTV in Canada.

Next up was new news on the .hack series. Bandai has acquired the license to the 26-episode anime series .hack//Roots. This animation ties into the three upcoming .hack//G.U. PlayStation 2 games. The series is being pushed for TV at the end of 2006 and DVD in 2007.

The trailers ended with a promo for Mai Otome, shown with the caveat that they did not actually yet have the license. Bandai is in negotiations for it though.

Bandai Entertainment finished their announcements with manga license. They will be releasing an original manga series based on the new Witchblade anime being produced by Gonzo. Witchblade started running March 2006 in Akita Shoten's Champion RED magazine.

Some points of note from the Q&A portion:

- Bandai has not committed to any of the high-definition DVD formats yet and is still evaluating them.
- No comment on the Sgt. Frog license
- All the Eureka Seven games will be released in the US.

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