by Crystalyn Hodgkins,
Panelist: Adam Sheehan
This panel was originally scheduled in the main events area, which could easily fit around 600 people (and had wireless), but for some reason it was moved to a panel room that could fit about 50 people at the most (and didn't have wireless), which means a lot of people were left out in the cold. Brand manager Adam Sheehan conducted the panel.
Sheehan started out by informing fans how they can keep up with Funimation, through its blog, and its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube websites. He then talked about the history of Funimation's “online panels,” where Funimation would bring guests on fans could submit questions. Sheehan said Funimation hopes to do these every 2-3 months, with the next one set for March.
Afterwards, Sheehan promoted some of Funimation's current and upcoming releases, starting with Linebarrels of Iron (available now), Rin ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~ (available now), Sands of Destruction (available now), Soul Eater (available now), History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi Season 2 (3/9), Evangelion: 1.11 You Are [Not] Alone (3/9), Slayers Revolution (3/16), and Strike Witches (3/30). Sheehan also showed a trailer from one of the recently acquired Shaw Brothers' Hong Kong martial arts movies, the first two of which will come out on March 23.
Brand Manager Charlene Ingram then came up to talk about the S.A.V.E. line. In the new S.A.V.E. line, Funimation is lowering the price on a lot of series that it has too many of, with 26-episode series selling for $29.98, 13-episode series selling for $19.98, and OVAs or movies selling for $9.98. Some of the series included in this new line include: Kanon, Moon Phase, Pumpkin Scissors, and Suzuka. The S.A.V.E. line will not omit any of the features of the regular edition DVDs. The new line will debut in March, with new titles being added each quarter.
Sheehan also mentioned the new partnership with Shocker Toys, which will create Mallow figures for One Piece, Dragonball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Soul Eater. There is currently no street date for these figures. Sheehan next mentioned the recent announcement of Dragonball Z Kai, and explained why they renamed the series to add the “Z” in the title. Sheehan explained that the brand Dragonball Z is well-known in the US, and the casual fanbase for Dragonball Z would easier understand that the two series were related if they see Dragonball Z on the cover. The first 13 episodes will release on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 18.
Sheehan then announced the changes made to the English voice cast in the first 20 episodes of the series. Most of the main cast will return except for the following: Bulma will be played by Monica Rial, Gohan will be played by Colleen Clinkenbeard, Chiaotzu and Puar will be played by Brina Palencia, and the Narrator will be played by Doc Morgan.
Sheehan then announced one new license, the rerelease of Trigun for both DVD and Blu-Ray. Sheehan said the entire series should release this year.
Some highlights from the Q&A session: Funimation's relationship with Toei is doing much better now after the fiasco with the leaked One Piece episode a few months back, Dragonball Z Kai will be released in full-frame format, and Funimation still plans to launch its social networking site this year, but it definitely will not be called ShoDojo.
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