Sakura-Con 2012 FUNimation Panel
by Bamboo Dong,
Panelists: Lance Heiskell, Joel Rodriguez
Funimation kicked off the industry panels at Sakuracon this year, and although there was a rash of technical problems at the beginning, marketing director Lance Heiskell entertained the audience with a trivia giveaway featuring questions about Washington state and Seattle-based grunge bands.
The actual panel began with a summary of Funimation's social media presence, including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and a few of their streaming sites, including the Funimation Channel and their simulcast collaboration with Niconico. Fans wanting to watch HD, commercial-free streams of titles licensed for distribution can also sign up for a paid monthly subscription at funimation.com, where episodes of new DVD releases will be available on release day.
Afterwards, Heiskell ran through some of Funimation's recent releases, starting with Princess Jellyfish. Fans attending Sakuracon wanting to make their own Clara jellyfish dolls can stop by the Princess Jellyfish Workshop in room 601 on Saturday, April 7 from 4 – 5PM. There, participants will be able to make their own Clara, similar to those made by protagonist Tsukimi, and take home their creations. Heiskell also briefly talked about other recent and upcoming DVD and BD releases, including Okami-san, Black Butler, Heaven's Lost Property: Forte, Legend of the Legendary Heroes, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVAs, and Cat Planet Cuties.
Heiskell also showed a trailer for Shiki, which will be released on DVD and BD on May 29, followed by a trailer of the upcoming Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker movie, which is a co-production between Funimation, BioWare, EA Games, and T.O Entertainment, with animation by Oxybot. The movie will star Cassandra, and focus on her life before the beginning of the game. Both the DVD and BD will also be available on May 29.
Funimation had two new announcements to make at Sakuracon. They recently acquired the distribution rights to Shangri-La, Gonzo's TV anime adaptation of Eiichi Ikegami's novel of the same name. The series takes place in the near future, when global warming has turned Tokyo into a tropical city, but plans to turn the city into a forest city is not without social and political problems. Funimation has the broadcast, home entertainment, mobile, as well as streaming rights to Shangri-La.
Through their partnership with Niconico, Funimation will also be simulcasting the new Spring series Sankarea, a zombie romantic comedy based on a manga by Mitsuru Hattori. The series follows a high school freshman who's obsessed with zombies, and soon gets the chance to encounter a girl with her own fascination with zombies. The anime recently premiered in Japan on April 5 on TBS.
The panel ended with a Q&A with the audience.
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