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Anime Expo 2008
Kadokawa Pictures USA

by Mikhail Koulikov,

As the third day of the 2008 Anime Expo wound down, and the convention's thousands of attendes began to look forward to the night's cosplay contest, dinner, parties, or just sleep, the staff of Kadokawa USA hosted their company's industry panel.

The company is a subsidiary of Kadokawa Shoten, one of Japan's oldest publishing houses. Generally, it does not directly produce any anime DVDs in America but subcontracts to other established anime distributors. American anime fans know it best for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Lucky Star, both released in the U.S. through Bandai, but Kadokawa USA has also worked with Right Stuf, Funimation, and the now-defunct Geneon Entertainment.

Last month, Kadokawa USA sent a cease-and-desist letter to the AnimeSuki website asking it to remove links to unauthorized fansubs of eleven different anime series. Now, it is also able to officially confirm that six of those will be distributed in the U.S.

H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~, which aired on Japanese television from January to March, is a 12-episode romance series based on a adult-rated dating simulation about a high school student who has been blinded by an unknown medical condition. His eyesight begins to return after he moves to a new town and meets several different girls.

The plot of My Heartfelt Sympathy, Ninomiya-kun (which Kadokawa USA is presenting as Good Luck! Ninomiya-kun) launches when a high school student living alone in a huge house has to host a girl who has an actual phobia of males. D.N.Angel's Kōji Yoshikawa directed this 12-episode series.

A third addition to Kadokawa's slate is Coo: Our Guardian, originally known as Wagaya no Oinari-sama, a 24-episode project that is still currently airing in Japap, helmed by Love Hina director Yoshiaki Iwasaki.

Romantica ~Pure Love~ will be the English title for the boys-love Junjō Romantica anime, adapted from the manga that has sold over three million copies in Japan and has been published in English by Tokyopop's Blu imprint.

Rental Magica is a thoroughly different type of series from the previous four, an adventure comedy in which a young man inherits and struggles to run his father's "magician dispatch service" that sends out all sorts of wiches and supernatural beings to help clients with their daily issues.

The last anime Kadokawa is currently offering for North American distribution is Spice and Wolf, frequently described as an anime lesson in the basic laws of economics. Its thirteen episodes take place in a setting much like that of medieval Europe and the two main characters are a traveling peddler and a pagan deity who looks like a human girl but has a wolf tail and ears.

Interestingly, the Kadokawa USA website lists another series as being available for distribution - Venus to Mamoru - but it has never been mentioned in a press release or convention presentation.

During thh rest of the panel, it was also mentioned that theatrical release of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is expanding to Boston and Seattle and other cities in the fall, while a Blu-ray version of the movie will hopefully be released next year.

Finally, Kadokawa USA is also able to confirm the recent magazine mentions of a Lucky Star OAV that is currently being produced in Japan.

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