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Anime Expo 2009

by Bamboo Dong,

Panelist: Adam Sheehan

Speaking to a packed room, brand manager Adam Sheehan updated fans with news and upcoming releases from Funimation. Regarding their video portal, while it has been undergoing maintenance as of late, it is available again, with new episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Sheehan also assured fans that Funimation still had the license for One Piece, and that issues regarding new episodes were being sorted out. Much of their video library is currently available as free streams from Hulu, Joost, Gaia, and Anime News Network. Episodes can also be downloaded for a price from several online distributors, including Amazon, iTunes, Xbox Marketplace, and Playstation Network. For Comcast digital cable subscribers, episodes can be viewed on VOD.

Afterwards, trailers were also shown for upcoming DVD releases, including Kaze no Stigma (7/7), the Fullmetal Alchemist: Premium OVA collection (8/4), Gunslinger Girl II: Teatrino (8/18), Big Wind Up (8/18), and Sergeant Frog season 1, part 1 (9/22). Funimation will also be releasing the original Dragon Ball series (including the long-awaited first 13 episodes that sat in licensing limbo for years), with the first season hitting shelves on September 15. Sands of Destruction will be released on DVD in Spring 2010, along with the Nintendo DS game.

This summer, Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone will be released in select theaters around the country. The DVD will be available in the fall, while a director's cut will be available on DVD and Blu-ray in the spring of 2010. Sheehan said that while they don't have the license for Evangelion 2.0, they are interested in acquiring it. Although they made an effort to obtain the original English cast from the ADV dub of Neon Genesis Evangelion, some of the characters will feature new voices. The dub will directed by Mike McFarland.

Earlier this weekend, Funimation also announced the cast list for the upcoming release of Slayers Revolution. Mike Sinterniklaas will be the ADR Director, and the cast list is as follows: Lisa Ortiz (Lina), Eric Stuart (Gourry), Veronica Taylor (Amelia), Crispin Freeman (Zelgadis), Mike Sinterniklaas (Xellos).

Working in collaboration with Viz, the One Piece manga will be on a faster release schedule, with five volumes being released per month, with the goal of catching up with the Japanese release. Other minor announcements included the launch of an Afro Samurai t-shirt line with Jinx. Funimation is also currently working on a beta version of Sho Dojo, a social networking site that will allow fans to create their own manga-styled avatars, make their own manga, as well as watch anime episodes online.

Their big new licensing announcement was Sengoku Basara, a Production I.G series based on the popular historical strategy game from CAPCOM.

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