New York Anime Festival and ICv2 Conference on Anime and Manga
by Mikhail Koulikov,
Adam Sheehan opened Funimation's panel by talking about the anime that his company is now making available for digital download on iTunes and Xbox Live. These include Basilisk, Desert Punk, Gunslinger Girl, Samurai 7, Speed Grapher, Moon Phase, Kiddy Grade, Rumbling Hearts, Burst Angel, Galaxy Railways, Trinity Blood, and Afro Samurai. All of these are intended to introduce casual viewers to anime, rather than replacing stand-alone DVDs on the shelves of collectors.
As Funimation's digitally remastered re-releases of Dragon Ball Z have continued to sell strongly, the company is now also planning to start giving the same kind of treatment to the DBZ movies and specials. The first two that are scheduled are the History of Trunks and Bardock: Father of Goku specials. These will be brought out in February as one collectors' set, with special tin packaging. On February 19, these will be joined by the Season 4 uncut box set, collecting the 32 episodes of the Trunks, Garlic Jr., and Androids sagas.
Under the 'Viridian Collection' label, Funimation will begin a repricing of many of its most well-known series. Discount-priced thinpack box sets of Gunslinger Girl and Spiral are already available, and these will be joined by Kiddy Grade, Trinity Blood and Basilisk, as well as many others, in 2008. Funimation's other upcoming initiative is "Foreign Exchange", which will bring screenings of Vexille, the eighth One Piece movie, and the live-action Ghenghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea to over 100 movie theaters around the country in February.
The DVD release for the One Piece movie is also scheduled for February 19 as well. On the same day, the Tsubasa and xxxHolic movies will come out too, packaged together on the same DVD as a "CLAMP Double Feature." Black Blood Brothers and Shuffle will both premiere a week earlier, on February 12, and several weeks after that date, on March 11, they will be followed by the first release of Aquarion. Joining several other North American anime companies in experimenting with new packaging and price points, Funimation will bring out the entire 26-episode Aquarion series in two DVD sets, rather than the usual five to seven DVDs with around five episodes each.
The release date for the xxxHolic television series is also finally available. It is now set for March 25.
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