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Anime Expo 2011
NISA Anime Industry Panel

by Zac Bertschy,

The NIS America Anime Panel took place in the cavernous Live Programming 1 at 12:30pm on Friday, with roughly a quarter of the room full. Nao Zook was on hand to preside over the proceedings after a slight delay due to technical difficulties.

The panel began with a trailer for one of NIS America's latest releases, Arakawa Under the Bridge, which was available early along with some special bonus items at the company's booth in the exhibit hall. Two special guests were then introduced – “Hoshi”, also known as Eugene, the localization director for the anime, in full Arakawa cosplay, and “Chief”, aka Mitsu, the producer of anime business for NIS America in a complete Kappa costume from the show.

Mitsu started the discussion by apologizing for the previous year's production issues – video problems, printing problems and delays in the schedule, and outlined NIS's mission with their anime product: “quality first, then creativity”, explaining that they have to compete with fansubs and thus need to provide fans with a “reason to buy”. They then moved on to a trailer for Katanagatari, which received hearty applause.

Mitsu then explained that he understood that NIS's prices were high, but he felt justified in the amount of value they've added to the product, and that they needed to “be responsible” with their business model by not adding English dubs, which would need to be funded by their video game revenue. This led into a trailer for Wagneria (also known as Working!!). Afterward, Mitsu talked a bit about their title selection process, which he described as focusing on “story-driven” titles, and specifically, “silly” titles. “We're very sincere to be silly”, he said, clicking over to a slide that explained that while their selection process is specifically “anti-fanservice”, he personally does “enjoy boobs and butts”. Next up was a trailer for NIS America's latest acquisition, Dororon Enma-kun, which had no release details as of yet.

Afterward, Eugene launched into a demonstration of the difficulties of localizing anime – specifically comedy anime, with a couple of tricky examples from Arakawa Under the Bridge. A Q&A session then began, with a handful of questions for the panelists, with some previously clarified statements on the reason for Wagnaria!!'s title change (answer: the title Working!! copyrighted in America already).

After the Q&A, a final trailer was shown – for their final announcement of the day, Kimi ni Todoke, which will be released in October, with pre-orders being taken at their booth in the exhibit hall.

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