Anime Expo 2008
Aniplex Industry Panel

by Egan Loo,

Aniplex producer Hiroe Tsukamoto opened the panel by promising to talk about Gurren Lagann, but she first asked the audience to watch a preview of Aniplex's newer titles. She showed the role-playing-game-inspired Persona trinity soul, the RH Plus live-action boys-love vampire drama, the new anime version of Birdy the Mighty, the male-oriented romantic comedy Sekirei, and the Kara no Kyoukai supernatural suspense films.

Tsukamoto then introduced the panelists: voice actor and director Tony Oliver, Bandai Entertainment release producer Toshifumi Yoshida, Gurren Lagann's Japanese promoter Shin Nomura, and Japanese producer Yosuke Kodaka. Yoshida led the audience in a game of guessing the Gurren Lagann voice cast with English-dubbed clips as hints. The results are listed here.

During the question-and-answer portion of the panel, Aniplex and Bandai Entertainment indicated that it is possible to include the materials from the Japanese releases and merchandising, such as the Parallel Works collection of net-released music videos. However, Yoshida said that they will stay away from T-shirts and half-jokingly noted that sunglasses will not fit in a DVD case.

Bandai Entertainment's publishing team is hoping to acquire the manga version for North America, but Yoshida noted that his friends in other companies are also interested.

Bandai Entertainment said that it chose to use the Greek/French pronunciation of the main character's name "Simon" (with the short "i" vowel), as opposed to the English pronunciation (with the long "i" vowel), to better reflect the Japanese pronunciation. Bandai Entertainment chose to use the shorter Gurren Lagann title because there is no easy translation for the "Tengen Toppa" phrase in the full title. Yoshida pointed out that the common unofficial translation of "Tengen Toppa" — "Piercing the Heavens" — is not an accurate one. "Tengen" does not mean the heavens, but the ultimate source of all life in Japanese.

Bandai Entertainment will keep dubbing without pausing when it gets to the mid-series point. Yoshida also said that Bandai Entertainment has no plans to change the voice cast for the second half of the series.

Bandai Entertainment reiterated that the Sci-Fi Channel will premiere the series on July 28, and will run two episodes a week at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT. The distributor will start releasing the three subtitled volumes this month and the six dubbed volumes starting in November. Bandai Entertainment is considering Blu-ray Disc plans for Gurren Lagann and other series. However, many of the original series were released for standard-definition television and were not prepared for high definition. Aniplex is contemplating it for the film versions. There are no official announcement on the two Gurren Lagann movies yet.

Finally, when asked if the Gurren Lagann Parallel Works will be released on DVD as one of the last questions, Tsukamoto ended the panel by showing one of the Gurren Lagann Parallel Works for the first time in public on the big screen.

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