Sakura Con 2010 Funimation Industry Panel
by Crystalyn Hodgkins,
Panelists: Lance Heiskell, Amber Barnes, Amanda Nanawa
Lance Heiskell, Director of Marketing at Funimation, ran the industry panel with Brand Manager Amber Barnes and Funimation Channel's Amanda Nanawa. Lance started out the panel by explaining how fans can keep in touch with Funimation, through their blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Lance also mentioned the FuniCon, Funimation's online panels that are held intermittently. Last week was the third such panel, and more are planned in the future.
Next Lance discussed the Hong Kong Connection, Funimation's acquisition of a number of Shaw Brothers' classic Kung Fu films announced a few months back. Next he discussed the S.A.V.E. (Super Amazing Value Edition) collection, which are titles that have gone through boxsets multiple times, but retailers aren't putting them in stores as Funimation would like, and so Funimation will be selling them at a very discounted price. OVAs and movies will be sold for US$10, 13-episode titles are US$20 and 26-episode titles are US$30. Some of the titles include Moon Phase, Jing: King of Bandits, Pumpkin Scissors, and Blade of the Phantom Master.
Lance then discussed a few titles recently released or soon to be released. With Soul Eater, the first boxset is available now and comes with an exclusive sticker. The second season of KenIchi the Mightiest Disciple is also already on sale, and it surprised Funimation with how well it has done. Next was Evangelion 1.11, out now on both DVD and Blu-Ray. Slayers Revolution is also already out on DVD, and that title apparently took some convincing to the CEO of Funimation to get the old cast back. Strike Witches just came out as well, and the boxset comes with an emblem patch. Funimation also showed a trailer for Dragonball Z Kai, which will be on both DVD and Blu-Ray, and showed a trailer for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood as well, which is now on Adult Swim. The first thirteen episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will be available on May 25. Next was Initial D, which will have new translations, and a new voice cast. Funimation has the first through fourth stages, and the extra stage. The original Eurobeat music will be left in tact as well. The rescue license for X will be available on June 15 for US$50, and it will include the episode 0 OVA. Lastly, My Bride is a Mermaid part one boxset will be released on July 20, also for US$50.
Next Funimation talked about the Funimation channel, which is expanding to HD starting this summer. Funimation is also working with Comcast to become a full-on channel, but Funimation needs fans to voice that there is a demand for it.
Next Lance talked about the recent Black Butler acquisition, which was announced last week. He said the cast will be announced probably at one of the summer conventions, and the series should be released in early 2011. Then he announced three new titles: First was Spice and Wolf II, then the license-rescue of Chobits, and lastly the Eden of the East movies. The movies will be released on both DVD and Blu-Ray.
During the Q&A session after the announcements, Lance said that, while not being able to name the song or artist directly, that Funimation has the rights to the original Japanese opening theme song for the Eden of the East TV anime series. Also, an update on the social networking site that used to be ShoDojo will be announced in the next two months. Regarding the Funimation co-productions, there will be news in the next few months that Lance says fans will be quite pleased about. Lance also revealed that Funimation is not involved in the Afro Samurai live-action movie. Lastly, Funimation is currently working on some Spring simulcasts, and is hoping they will come through.