by Crystalyn Hodgkins,
Robert Napton and Daisuki PR Director Eri Maruyama hosted the Daisuki panel at Otakon on Saturday afternoon. All attendees at the panel got a free T-shirt. Napton started the panel by showing a video of the various anime that Daisuki is currently streaming, including Bakemonogatari, Nekomonogatari (Black), Nisemonogatari, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Sword Art Online, Dragon Ball Z, Lupin the 3rd, One Piece, The Prince of Tennis, Mobile Suit Z Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, and Mobile Suit Gundam Seed. The video also showed some of the figures currently available on the Daisuki store.
Napton noted that Daisuki launched in May and is a legal website where fans can stream anime for free. Daisuki was created with the support of companies such as Aniplex, Sunrise, Toei, TMS, and NAS. Napton then invited to the stage Sunrise producer Masayuki Ozaki to talk about future streaming on Daisuki. Ozaki introduced himself and noted that Sunrise is involved with the other companies that support Daisuki as a venture and to help it grow. Currently Sunrise is involved in the Z Gundam, Gundam ZZ, and Gundam Seed HD Remaster streams on Daisuki. Ozaki noted that as negotiations for other series get finalized, fans will see more and more Sunrise shows on Daisuki.net. Napton and Ozaki added that Gundam ZZ has never been released in the U.S. before it started streaming on Daisuki. Ozaki said that Sunrise has more than 300 titles in its library, and of those, many are Gundam shows. He added that some of those Gundam shows have never been released in N. America, like Gundam ZZ. Ozaki noted that for a dubbed release for these titles, Sunrise would like to take it under consideration based on what the company hears from fans.
Ozaki then talked about the merchandise that Sunrise is providing for the Daisuki store. Ozaki noted that while Sunrise's focus is currently the streaming part of Daisuki, he hopes that soon fans can click and buy products like a mobile suit toy based on the show fans are watching on Daisuki. Ozaki noted that because Sunrise is under the Bandai umbrella, there is a lot of merchandise available for many of Sunrise's titles. Ozaki said he also hopes that in the future Daisuki will be both the home for fans to watch anime and buy merchandise.
Napton and Ozaki then moved on to their special announcement. Ozaki said that Funimation had just announced in a panel right before the Daisuki panel that it would release Cowboy Bebop on DVD and Blu-ray Disc next year. Ozaki noted that Sunrise will stream Cowboy Bebop on Daisuki right before the re-release of the series.
Napton then asked Ozaki what he thinks is the reason why Cowboy Bebop is so special and why it has endured for so long. Ozaki said that one of the reasons is certainly the strength of its characters. Ozaki said that director Shinichiro Watanabe told him that he likes to create a character, and then develop a story around that character. So, the first character that Watanabe came up with was Spike. And once Watanabe came up with the depth of the character, backstory, and supporting facts, he was able to create a story around a complex character who is very lively, and experience his life through the storytelling. Ozaki said that he doesn't think though that a character alone would make for an enduring show, however. He added that along with a good character you need a well-designed world with depth and things that can be discovered within that world. Additionally, the range of stories from the serious to the comedic gives Cowboy Bebop the ability to be accepted around the world.
Napton then announced that all attendees who were given a stamp card as they entered the panel would receive an Ein plush to commemorate the announcement. Daisuki then streamed the first English-dubbed episode of Cowboy Bebop for the audience.
After the episode was over, Napton noted that all shows on Daisuki are in HD. He then thanked the audience for attending, asked fans to look forward to more classic and new content on Daisuki.net, and handed out the Ein plushes to end the panel.
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