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Anime Boston 2013

by Crystalyn Hodgkins,

Director of Sunrise Masayuki Ozaki hosted the Sunrise panel on Saturday morning to a somewhat sparse crowd at first that eventually became a packed room. This is the first time that Sunrise hosted a panel at Anime Boston.

Loy Fruel from Bandai Visual co-hosted the panel, and he introduced Ozaki and the shows Ozaki had worked on. Then Ozaki spoke, in English, to introduce himself and thanked the fans for coming. He noted that Sunrise has created more than 200 titles. Ozaki said he just arrived in Boston last night, so he hasn't been able to walk around much, but while traveling around in a taxi, he got a very clear sense of Boston as a sophisticated city and he said he was really falling in love with the city despite the rain.

Fruel and Ozaki then both began discussing more recent titles from Sunrise. For each title, Ozaki showed a brief trailer. The first show discussed was Tiger & Bunny, which is currently available in North America on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in two box sets. Tiger & Bunny is the most recent show that Ozaki directly produced, so he was very happy to see that many of the audience had seen the series. Ozaki said that he cannot go into future story plots for Tiger & Bunny at this time, and asked the audience not to ask him about that during the Q&A at the end of the panel. Tiger & Bunny is now streaming on Neon Alley and on Viz's website, and is also available for download-to-own.

The first Tiger & Bunny film, Tiger & Bunny The Movie - The Beginning, had its premiere in Japan last September, and it also had a showing around that same time in San Francisco. Ozaki said he was hoping to have a special announcement about the film today, but unfortunately he cannot yet make his announcement. Ozaki said Sunrise is currently in negotiations with Viz for a U.S. release of the film, and Viz should be making an announcement in the near future.

Ozaki then talked about the Daily Lives of High School Boys anime. This series marked the first time Sunrise is collaborating with NIS America (NISA), and NISA will release the series in a boxset on Blu-ray Disc on August 6 for US$64.99.

Next Ozaki then about Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God. There have been two seasons of the series, and a third season has been confirmed in Japan. Sentai Filmworks has released first BD collection of season 1, and the second collection will ship on May 28 in North America. Ozaki also talked about Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere and Binbogami ga!. Crunchyroll is streaming Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, and Binbogami ga! is available on Funimation and Hulu.

Next Ozaki and Fruel discussed Sunrise's new series. First up was Valvrave the Liberator, which is available for streaming now with English subtitles on Hulu and Crunchyroll. Valvrave the Liberator marks the first collaboration between Sunrise and Aniplex of America. Aniplex of America is helping to distribute the series in North America. Ozaki then discussed Battle Spirits: Sword Eyes. The series isn't licensed in the U.S., but it's a Sunrise original series that is oriented toward kids and is about a trading card game similar to Yu-Gi-Oh!.

The next series Ozaki discussed was Aikatsu. The series premiered in October 2012 in Japan, and Ozaki said Aikatsu is probably the first product from Sunrise that is really targeted toward girls. There's no U.S. license for the series yet, but if fans like it enough and are vocal about it, it may get a U.S. release, so Ozaki asked fans to please support it.

Next up was Gintama the Final Movie (Gekijōban Gintama Kanketsu-hen: Yorozuya yo Eien Nare). The film will be released in Japanese theaters on July 6. This is the second Gintama movie, and Hideki Sorachi wrote the film's story himself. The film's story is a completely original side story. The Gintama television anime series is currently streaming on Crunchyroll. Also available now for streaming on Crunchyroll is Love Live! School idol project. NIS America will release the series on BD in North America.

Next Ozaki discussed Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising-. The film will be released in Japan on February 8. Sunrise is currently in talks with Viz about releasing this film in North America.

Ozaki then talked about Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, the Code Geass four-episode side story video anime series. Ozaki confirmed that the second episode will be released this summer in Japan. Ozaki said Sunrise was hoping to release the anime sooner, but the production has been delayed. Ozaki said Sunrise hopes to bring both Code Geass: Akito the Exiled and the original Geass series to America shortly.

Ozaki and Fruel then showed a sizzle reel with English narration of every Gundam series made thus far, and then discussed various Gundam series. First was Gundam AGE Memory of Eden, which is an OVA that has been re-edited to focus on Asemu and also contains new scenes. Ozaki said he hopes to bring Gundam AGE to the U.S.

Ozaki then talked about the Gundam SEED Destiny HD remaster project, which is currently being streamed on gundam.info. He then talked about Gundam Unicorn. Currently, episodes 1-6 are available via Right Stuf. The series is also getting released by Sunrise via RightStuf on DVD. Each DVD will contain two episodes, and the first two volumes (episodes 1-4) will ship on August 20. The final seventh episode in the series will be released in Japan spring 2014. The director of the series will be at Anime Expo in July.

Then Fruel talked about Daisuki, the streaming website that just launched. Daisuki is a joint venture of several large anime production companies in Japan who have come together to provide free streaming anime in North America. The HD remaster of Gundam SEED and Zeta Gundam are both available on Daisuki from Sunrise.

Ozaki then talked about what would happen to old Bandai Entertainment titles. He said that Sunrise itself plans to release the titles, and is currently in talks with Sentai Filmworks and Funimation in deals to distribute them. Ozaki could not comment on any specific titles at this time, but he asked the audience what shows they would like to see re-released.

Ozaki then launched into a Q&A. Many fans asked about future seasons of popular anime such as Big O and Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, and Ozaki said he could not comment on any future seasons at this time, although he did mention that he has gotten offers from American companies about making a live-action adaptation of Big O. When asked if the recently-released Cowboy Bebop Blu-ray Disc box set would be released in America, Ozaki said he really wanted to make an announcement today about that, but Sunrise couldn't conclude the negotiations in time. But Ozaki added he hopes that in the near future he'll be able to make an announcement about it.

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