Anime Central 2007
by Mikhail Koulikov,
Studio Representative: Adam Sheehan
Despite a delay of more than an hour that was caused by several other events in the day running over schedule, fans filled up the Funimation panel's entire room. The sole panelist, Adam Sheehan, opened it by showing a pie chart taken from the Nielsen VideoScan ratings for the first quarter of 2007. According to VideoScan, Funimation has a share of 31% of the US market for Japanese animation releases. Through the same time span, the Dragon Ball Z season one box set has been the best-selling anime in the United States.
Moving on, Adam featured Funimation's further plans for distributing anime on iTunes. On May 15, Trinity Blood and Galaxy Railways will join the shows that are already available for purchase there. The next section of the presentation covered Afro Samurai, which is being released on May 22. DC Unlimited, the new collectibles division of DC Comics, holds the license to design and produce a set of character figures based on the show
School Rumble is being scheduled for an August 21 release. The collector's box for the release will be made of tin, like the one used for Fullmetal Alchemist, and designed to look like a school locker. Extras on the DVD will consist of four Japanese TV commercial spots for the series and two interviews with the Japanese voice actresses who play the show's leads.
The first season of Slayers is now confirmed for July 17, and Slayers Next will follow approximately eight weeks later. There will not be any new extras made for either series beyond those that were developed when Central Park Media first put them out on DVD.
As first announced at Anime Boston, Funimation is working to provide Tsubasa-themed content to Gaia Online. This will take the form of in-game quests based on Tsubasa that will give users various character items related to the series, such as a Mokona hat. Funimation will announce further quests and items throughout the year as the DVDs of the series are released.
Funimation's one new license announcement is Black Blood Brothers, a 12-episode adaptation of a series of light novels by Kouhei Azano which ran on Japanese television from September 6 to November 24 of last year. Current plans are to have the first DVD of the three-disc release ready sometime early in 2008. The xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa theatrical movies that Funimation has licensed will be released at that time as well.
This report has not been verified with the studio representative.
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