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Otakon 2010
Bandai Entertainment Industry Panel

by Gia Manry,

Bandai Entertainment's "After Dark" panel was moderated by marketing director Robert Napton, Bandai Entertainment president and CEO Ken Iyadomi, ADR Director Taku Otsuka, and marketer Loy Fruel. Also on the panel were voice actress Stephanie Sheh and voice actor/ADR Director Mike Sinterniklaas. At the panel's opening, each seat had a t-shirt folded on it, mostly from the TV anime Lucky Star, but also from several other Bandai titles.

After introductions, Napton praised the Otakon staff's handling of the earlier fire alarm incident.

Stephanie Sheh then proceeded to teach the audience how to perform the "Mikuru Beam" movement her character performs in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Napton then spoke about Bandai's new online store before listing current and upcoming releases:

  • Gurren-Lagann the Movie -Childhood's End- (currently available)
  • Gurren-Lagann the Movie -The Lights in the Sky are Stars- (currently available)
  • Gurren-Lagann Anime Legends Complete Series (currently available)
  • Tales of the Abyss (TBA)
  • Turn-A Gundam (TBA)
  • Gundam Unicorn 1 (available now)

Napton gave away a Gurren-Lagann banner signed by Kamina voice actor Hiroshi Kamiya.

During discussion of Gundam Unicorn, Napton asked Sinterniklaas and Sheh to speak about the project. Sinterniklaas said it was like a dream come true to work on something he's a fan of, and also discussed the simultaneous release of the Gundam Unicorn dub, something only accomplished once before-- by Kurokami, which Sinterniklaas was also involved in. Sheh agreed and added that it was very different to work on something mid-production, which involves more people in the control room. As such it takes longer, but only because they want to make it perfect.

Iyadomi pointed out Sunrise's Mr. Ozaki in the audience before Napton announced that they would show a new trailer for Gundam Unicorn volume 2, never before seen outside of Sunrise's offices, as an Otakon exclusive. They also announced the following specs for the release:

  • Audio: Japanese and English
  • Subtitles: Japanese, English, French, Spanish, Traditional Mandarin, Traditional Cantonese
  • Runtime: 80 minutes (60 minutes feature + 20 minutes bonus materials)
  • Release date: October 30, 2010 (PlayStation Store); November (Blu-Ray)

Sinterniklaas and Sheh talked about recording the second episode; Sheh was happy to not be sick as she had been for the first episode, and Sinterniklaas recalled that there were many small hurdles that all managed to be passed. Sinterniklaas also talked about the auditions for the character of "Full Frontal," whose name mislead some of the actors into thinking the series was an adult project.

Napton conducted a Gundam trivia contest to give away three Gundam Unicorn posters signed by Sheh and Sinterniklaas, then continued with current and upcoming releases:

Before talking about a new upcoming theatrical release for Disappearance Napton showed a short blooper reel for second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and the Haruhi-chan/Churuya-san shorts. Napton spoke about the events revolving around Minori Chihara, Japanese voice actress for Haruhi Suzumiya's Yuki Nagato, and then announced that The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya will screen at the New York Anime Festival.

A special message from Minori Chihara was then played for the panel attendees, and Napton then ran another contest: six men and five women made their way to the audience microphone. Napton ran two clips from the Haruhi's second season. Sheh then repeated the lines said by Mikuru, and the fans responded with the original line or their own made-up version. The three winners, decided by applause, each took home a prize: second and third prize took home passes to the New York Anime Festival, while the grand prize winner got a VIP ticket to Chihara's concert.

Next, Napton played the K-ON! ending "Don't Say Lazy" before moving on to a new announcement::

Napton actually offered the role of K-ON!'s Yui to Stephanie Sheh during the panel, confirming that the series will be dubbed in English. Sheh accepted the role. They are also currently planning to tentatively release the series on Blu-Ray and DVD simultaneously. Cristina Vee, who was "smuggled" into the convention, will play the role of Mio, and sang several songs after the announcement.

After running through currently-released manga like Kannagi, Code Geass Knight and Code Geass: Queen, Gundam 00 Season 2, Gurren-Lagann, and Lucky Star.

The next announcement was the 26-episode TV anime Sora Kake Girl (Sora wo Kakeru Shojo), to be titled The Girl Who Leapt Through Space, with more news TBA.

Also licensed is the prequel series My Otome 0~S.ifr~, a three-episode OVA which will be released on one disc in the near future.

Vee was given the opportunity to say hello and express her enthusiasm for the role of Mio and for Otakon. Napton announced that she will be singing at Bandai's booth, and then opened up the floor for a very brief Q&A session.

The first fan asked whether a CD of Vee and the rest of the cast performing the K-ON! songs would be released, and Iyadomi said it was uncertain at this time. Next came a question for Sheh about the Endless Eight arc of the second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Sheh responded that it was easier for her than for other characters, particularly Haruhi (played by Wendee Lee).

Another questioner asked about Blu-Ray and DVD licenses for anime in general, having heard at another panel that they had to be licensed separately. Iyadomi responded that it depended on the company and the title, and that sometimes Blu-Ray was included in the original contract

The question of whether the original Mobile Suit Gundam series would be released in the U.S. and Iyadomi said that he'd had a meeting at Otakon with Sunrise's Ozaki and requested the title due to fan demand.

The final question was whether the Gundam 00 movie would be released in the U.S. Iyadomi said that they couldn't announce anything at this time.

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