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Otakon 2009

by Bamboo Dong,

Panelist: Adam Sheehan

Although several hundred anime fans waited eagerly outside the door to the Funimation panel, only 300 or so actually managed to find a seat in the small room, located in the Hilton adjacent to the convention center. With Anime Expo barely two weeks in the past, brand manager Adam Sheehan reiterated many of the talking points he presented then, with the exception of a new licensing announcement.

Starting with video news, Funimation's video streaming portal, Funimation.com/Video recently had some issues with region blocking and buffering times, but that has since been looked at. Sheehan reminded fans that in the meantime, they could also watch free episodes online at Hulu, YouTube, Gaia Online, and Anime News Network. Meanwhile, episodes can also be downloaded from Amazon, Drive2Drive, Playstation Network, XBox Live, and iTunes.

Afterwards, Sheehan promoted some of Funimation's current and upcoming releases, starting with Kaze no Stigma, which was released two weeks ago. He continued with the Fullmetal Alchemist OVA Collection (8/14), Big Windup! (8/18), Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino (8/18), the Mushi-Shi live-action film (8/25), Sgt. Frog (9/22), and Nabari no Ou (9/22). Evangelion 1.0: You are [not] alone will be released in theaters this summer, with the DVD release to follow in the fall, but it is also being screened multiple times at Otakon. Four new Case Closed movies were recently licensed, and will be released starting this winter.

In Dragon Ball news, the first season of Dragon Ball will be released on September 15, after spending several years in licensing limbo. Video games for the franchise will also be available from Bandai Namco. Funimation also announced the fall release of the Dragon Ball Z “Dragon Box,” produced from the original Dragon Ball Z masters. With 42 episodes per release, at a $79.98 MSRP, it will also include the complete opening and closing credits, the original episode previews, and will be presented with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

Titles planned for a 2010 release include Sands of Destruction, which will be released concurrently with the Nintendo DS game. Slayers Revolution will also get an early 2010 release, using the original English dub cast. Also slated for release is Sengoku Basara, a title that was announced at Anime Expo.

New licensing announcements included Casshern Sins, Madhouse's remake of the classic sci-fi series, and Production I.G's Eden of the East. There is yet no news on whether Funimation has also obtained the rights to Eden's opening theme song, which was performed by the band Oasis. Funimation will also be releasing Daytime Drinking, a Korean live-action film.

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