Anime Expo 2008
by Bamboo Dong,
The atmosphere was somber at the ADV Films panel, and it was packed to the last seat with fans wanting to know about the status of the company. Earlier in the morning, North American distributor Funimation announced through a press release that they had picked up 30 anime titles, all of which had been previous ADV titles. John Ledford acknowledged that their former business partner Sojitz had withdrawn their financial support and management, and several anime licenses.
Ledford started the panel with a prepared speech, thanking the fans for all their support throughout the years, and for showing up to the panel, which marked ADV's 16th year at Anime Expo. “It's no secret that it's been a very bad year for ADV,” said Ledford, but assured fans that they already found a replacement for Sojitz. He also said that they were in active negotiation for a “large quantity of new titles.” No announcements have been made about those acquisitions yet, but the representatives said that some news may be ready by Otakon. The representatives are also waiting until Otakon to announce who their new business partner is, citing that “we're waiting for the blood to dry.”
When an attendee asked for reasons the partnership with Sojitz went sour, Greenfield commented that, “from the very beginning, it was difficult working in their world where everything is run by spreadsheets and so on,” and knew that, “this is simply not going to work out.”
During the questions and answers portion, the panelists said that a live-action Evangelion was still in the works, and that they had pitched the project to three studios. Weta is still on board to work on the movie.
Along those lines, ADV has several original productions that are “in the works.” As for new Japanese products, their in-house dub studios won't be producing anything “in the new future” until negotiations for new titles are finished. However, it was mentioned that with some of the new titles, ADV is working with Japanese companies to have simultaneous broadcasts in Japan and the US by releasing titles online with English subtitles.
ADV is still planning on releasing titles on Blu-Ray, but aren't able to do so until the Japanese licensors give the green light.
As for their manga department, Greenfield confessed that he didn't know what was happening there, but said that there wouldn't be any new acquisitions in the next year. They're still eager to continue the series that have already been started, meaning their remaining ongoing titles, like Yotsuba&!
A short question & answer session was followed by a screening of the first episode of Kiba, which had also screened at ADV's Thursday panel.
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