Anime Next 2008 Media Blasters
by Mikhail Koulikov,
Media Blasters was the only other anime/manga distributor to make a panel appearance at this year's Anime Next - although ADV Films had several employees working a set of Dealer's Room tables. Neither Vertical nor Yen Press, although both based right across the Hudson River in midtown Manhattan, participated in the convention. Frank Pannone and Clark Cheng briefly went over their company's anime and manga releases, also noting that there are several announcements Media Blasters is saving for the summer's bigger conventions.
The major project the entire company is currently involved with is the launch of Seirei no Moribito, which was originally licensed for North American distribution by Geneon. As revealed several months ago, starting in August, it will begin airing on the Adult Swim cable block, with the DVD release to follow shortly thereafter. No details about how exactly it will be brought to DVD have been specified, but according to Cheng, it will not be a standard package of several episodes per individual volume. Because of the work that is going into producing Seirei no Moribito, however, plans for Ikkitousen: Dragon Destiny, the sequel to the high school fighting series that was also released by Geneon have been put on hold, although Media Blasters does retain the license to it. Genshiken 2 is also farther down on the release calendar, but expected to become available no later than the beginning of next year.
Another recent acquisition, Dokuro-chan, is set for September. All eight thirteen-minute episodes of the original 2005 series about an avenging angel with a spiked club, as well as the four of the 2007 sequel series will be brought out on the same one-volume release.
In the last several years, Media Blasters has made a name for itself putting out DVDs of classic giant robot shows. After releasing five individual Gaogaigar volumes and a premium box set that covers the first twenty-five episodes of the series, the remaining episodes (26-49) are coming out in a second sub-only box, with no individual volume releases. This is due to become avalable in August as well.
With five Lion Voltron now out, the first Vehicle Voltron DVD set is set for September 30. Subsequent volumes will come out at three-month intervals, and the intention is to wrap that series up by the end of next year, leading into the Armored Squad Dairugger XV anime that Voltron was partially adapted from.
On the manga side of the business, the license for the remaining volumes of the Eiken manga is being finalized. The Akihabara @ Deep manga is also in the works, as is the live-action movie. Finally, Media Blasters plans to publish Maka Maka, a yuri manga about two art school students that was originally an online comic. It is a rare manga that is produced in full color, and in a larger B5 (260 mm x 185 mm) size. This will retail at $20 per volume.
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