FanimeCon 2008 Bandai Entertainment (Updated)
by Jeremy Snow,
Note Please see this article for points that Bandai Entertainment clarified after the convention.
Presenter: Robert Napton - Director of Marketing
Bandai Entertainment wasted no time in presenting the latest news for its current and upcoming releases. First on the agenda was Code Geass. After showing a trailer of the dub, Napton announced that the first DVD of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion would be released on August 5. There will be three variations sold concurrently: a bundle that will include nine episodes for US$39.98, a limited edition box, and a single DVD with episodes 1-5 for US$24.98. Napton also announced that the second bundle set would be ready for release by October 7, with the entire first season being released by January of 2009.
The second volume of Lucky Star will be out in July. The limited edition boxes of Lucky Star will come with a shirt and the "crayon drawing" covers for the DVDs.
Ghost Slayers Ayashi will be released on September 9 in a limited edition and single format. The limited edition box will contain the first 10 episodes, the first volume of the Ghost Slayers Ayashi manga and a 16-page guidebook for US$64.98. The singles will also be sold at US$24.98 each.
Toward the Terra will be released on July 15. There will be a bundle release, containing 10 episodes over two DVDs for US $34.98. Two singles will also be concurrently released for $19.98 each containing episodes 1-5 and 6-10 accordingly.
The first episode of the My-Otome Zwei OVA series will be released in October in a limited edition box for US$49.98. The remaining 3 episodes do not have a tentative release date as of yet.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, one of the most critically acclaimed films to come out of Japan in the last two years, will be showing in a limited theatrical release starting in June. The DVD is scheduled to be released on November 10. The limited edition will be a two-disc release that will also include the soundtrack for the film for US$49.98. A regular version will also be sold for US$29.98.
The four-episode OVA series for Gundam Seed Destiny was also announced, with the first episode being released on June 17. Limited edition copies will be sold for US$49.98, with regular copies on sale for US$29.98. Napton said he was excited to make this announcement because fans who had watched both the original series and the alternate OVA episodes felt that the different perspectives enriched the story for them.
Rocket Girls, a 12-episode comedy anime about a young girl who becomes an astronaut in her quest to find her missing father, will be released in a 12 episode volume on October 7. No price has been given for the set at this time.
Napton briefly mentioned a TV broadcasting deal for Gundam 00, saying that his company was in the final stages of an agreement, but he could not say anything more specific than that.
The attention then turned to the title everyone in the room had been waiting for: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Regarding the series, Mr. Napton reviewed the release strategy of Gurren Lagann, which consists of three 9-episode box-sets to be released in July, August and September. Additional information regarding Gurren Lagann's American release (including a possible dub cast list) will be revealed tomorrow afternoon after the premiere of the subtitled American version. The dub casting list at this time is not guaranteed, more information will be available tomorrow night.
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is slated for a Fall re-release with a brand new english dub and a Blu-ray Disc release in addition to the standard DVD.
Following the Gurren Lagann information was the announcement of Bandai's new title: Sword of a Stranger. This title, along with The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, will be showing in a limited theatrical release starting July 18th. Though no release dates are set as of this moment, DVD and Blu-ray releases are planned for this title.
Opening up to questions, one of the first was regarding Bandai's announcements regarding upcoming Blu-ray releases, and if this was an indicator of things to come. Napton replied that with the format war being over, Bandai will undoubtedly be looking into more Blu-ray releases for its upcoming (and previous) titles.
Responding to a question regarding the subtitle-only release of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann over the summer, Napton explained that Bandai is constantly working with a changing market. American fans want shows faster, especially shows as popular as Gurren Lagann. By releasing the show as subtitled-only in the summer, Bandai can insure that the show reaches the hands of their fans in the fastest way possible.
Napton also commented on acquiring the Code Geass manga series. They will be able to publish all three Code Geass manga titles: Nightmare of Nunnaly, Suzaku's Counterattack and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.
Regarding digital distribution in the form of iTunes or Xbox Live downloads, Napton commented that no decisions have been made as of yet as to how they will progress in that area.
Update: The 9-episode Code Geass bundle will include a English subtitle track and an English dub track, but no additional features. The price for the limited edition box will be US$74.98, and it will included two DVDs which will contain the first 9 episodes, a manga volume, and a soundtrack. As for the incentive for buying singles, Napton commented that Bandai wishes to preserve the way that it releases series. Newcomers to the series, for example, may just want the first 5 episodes, as opposed to spending $39.98 for 9 episodes or $74.98 for the large limited edition box. The prices for the Toward the Terra release have been corrected.
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