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San Diego Comic-Con 2011
Bandai Entertainment

by Bamboo Dong,

Panelists: Robert Napton, Ken Iyadomi, Loy Fruel

Bandai Entertainment packed their room Friday afternoon, starting strong with the introduction of a special guest, voice actress Stephanie Sheh. Promising a panel filled with information and announcements, Napton launched immediately into the announcement for the release date of Gundam Unicorn episode 4, which will be released on Blu-Ray internationally on December 2 of this year.

Other notable new releases include The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, which will be released on both DVD and Blu-Ray on September 30. The movie premiered earlier this month at Anime Expo. After the trailer was shown, Sheh entertained the crowd by leading everyone in a chant of, “Mi-mi-mi… Mikuru beam!”

Before talking more about the next title, K-ON!, Napton introduced another special guest, voice actress Christina Vee, who plays the voice of Mio Akiyama in the series. Together, she and Sheh, who voices Yui Hirasawa, sang an a capella version of “Fuwa Fuwa Time,” an insert song featured in the sixth episode of the series. An English version of the song is included in the DVD Extras. In the upcoming third season, the cast will also be recording an English version of “Watashi no Koi wa Hocchikisu (My Love is a Stapler).” For fans attending Otakon next week, the English cast of K-ON! Will be performing a concert of songs from the series.

The panelists also introduced some of the other Bandai properties currently available, either on DVD and Blu-Ray or streaming online. Titles mentioned included Sacred Seven, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer.

At this point, Iyadomi showed a trailer for Star Driver, a recent series from Aniplex that was licensed earlier this year by Bandai. He also introduced two special guests from Japan, mecha designer Shigeto Koyama and Bandai Namco Games producer Hirofumi Inagaki. Inagaki said that, “Star Driver is a new animation genre that involves a school drama and robot action. When the students are at school, they interact during the day, but at night, they're enemies. Everyone has two sides to their persona except the main character. We think you'll enjoy the interaction between the characters.”

Koyama added, “I was involved in the planning process from the beginning. The concept was to create a robot show with a lot of flash, and something that was fun to watch. As you've seen in the trailer, the color of the hair changes. It's something that doesn't make any sense, but we wanted to make it fun. As for the mechanical aspect of the show, I think Star Driver has the best mecha animation amongst all the recent anime series. A lot of top animators in Japan collaborated on this, so it's worth seeing it just for the action sequences. That's what I want you to look forward to.”

For the anime fans that haven't added Akira to their DVD shelves yet, the film will be re-released on DVD. The last release of this classic was for Blu-Ray only, which left many fans out in the cold. There was no mention of whether or not anything will be updated for this release.

The panel ended with some trailers and a clip from Tekken: Blood Vengeance. Finishing out the hour, Bandai brought on several more special guests, including Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada, game designer Michael Murray, screenwriter Dai Satō, and voice actors Christina Vee, Carrie Keranen,and David Vincent.

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