San Diego Comic-Con 2011
Funimation Industry Panel
by Gia Manry,
With the room nearly full several minutes prior to the panel's official start time, marketing manager Adam Sheehan and social media manager Justin Rojas encouraged the attendees to tweet about the panel using the hashtag #funisdcc. The pair launched into their presentation a couple of minutes early, starting with Funimation's Relief for Japan auctions benefitting victims of the March 11 earthquake in Japan.
Rojas ran down Funi's social media endeavors, including the company's blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, as well as YouTube, Hulu, and Funimation's own video site. Sheehan talked the audience through all of Funi's simulcasts: One Piece, Toriko, Control-C, and Aria the Scarlet Ammo, along with their Summer of Streaming promotion previously announced at Anime Expo. Next came the FUNimation Channel, along with the usual call for fans to request the channel from their local cable providers. The guys offered up a trailer for the channel's prime-time offerings for summer and fall; it was the same trailer as shown at Anime Expo, including Gunslinger Girl, Tsubasa, Baka and Test, Rideback, Yū Yū Hakusho, and many others.
There was a great deal of audience applause for the first images of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: Fullmetal Battle, the online card combat game that Funimation intends to release this month. Fans can register at facebook.com/fullmetalbattle, and the booth will host demos of the game throughout the weekend starting tomorrow.
Sheehan ran through upcoming releases, including the anime film To, Dance in the Vampire Bund (whose Blu-ray release was already sold out at Funimation's booth), Rideback, Sgt. Frog, Shin-chan, Baka and Test - Summon the Beasts, Noir, Eden of the East: Paradise Lost (which also drew a lot of applause), and Spice and Wolf, along with new releases for Dragon Ball Z, Gungrave, One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Soul Eater, and Yū Yū Hakusho. This discussion culminated in the trailer for Funimation's Anime Classics line.
After running through announcements made at Anime Expo (the Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Tenkaichi videogame, Baka and Test season two, [C] - CONTROL's DVD and Blu-ray rights, Asobi ni Iku yo!, B Gata H Kei, Steins;Gate, and Deadman Wonderland), Sheehan and Rojas came to their newest announcement: Dragon Ball Z will be released on Blu-ray, the first time that the original television series (not Kai nor the films) will be available in HD. More information will be released tomorrow morning during the Dragon Ball Z and Yū Yū Hakusho voice actors panel at 10:00 a.m. PDT.
After DBZ, Sheehan revealed some information on Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker, Funimation's upcoming animated adaptation of BioWare's Dragon Age fantasy role-playing videogame franchise. The audience got to watch two previously unreleased trailers for the work, the first of which consisted largely of the concept art on display at Funimation's booth, and the second showing production sketches and character art. An official website has also been launched.
With ten minutes left to the panel, Sheehan opened up a question-and-answer session, during which Rojas revealed that negotiations are currently underway to acquire the rights to release more dubbed One Piece episodes.
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