by Bamboo Dong,
Co-hosting the Funimation panel at Otakon this year was Senior Manager of Social Strategy and Development at Funimation Entertainment Justin Rojas and Social Media Manager Michelle Lee. They talked about all the different ways that fans could watch Funimation shows, including several online options such as Funimation.com, Hulu, Youtube, and others. Funimation shows can be watched on several apps as well, including Roku, mobile phones, and others. They will be launching a new version of their Funimation.com video portal as well, which will support faster loading, better browsing, a merchandise shop, integrated social media, and other features.
Some of the simulcasts that are available from Funimation include the continuing series Attack on Titan and One Piece. There are several new offerings this season as well, including the murder mystery Danganronpa: The Animation, the shoujo series Brothers Conflict, and the adventure game-based Hyperdimension Neptunia.
The panelists talked about some of the company's current and upcoming catalogue releases, including the Dragonball Z: Rock the Dragon edition, which includes the original Ocean Dub run of the series that aired on North American TV in the 90s. For many anime fans, who grew up watching Dragonball Z on TV, they may fondly remember that edit of the series as the one that popularized the, “Over 9000” meme, as well as the “Rock the Dragon” theme.
Other new releases that are currently available include the Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail OVA, and Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends.
Introduced to the stage to help introduce Funimation's release of Eureka Seven AO was series chief producer Masahiko Minami, who is also the president of Bones Inc.
“I'm Minami from Bones. I'm the producer of Eureka Seven AO. It's a sequel to Eureka Seven. Eureka Seven AO is set on Earth, twelve years later in 2015. The main character is Ao, spelled A.O. He grew up on a small island in Okinawa, and always thought there was something different about him. There have been encounters of the Nirvash, and they've been battling the Secrets. The story begins on a small island, but through battle, Aso discovers other parts of the world. Like the previous series, the robot action in Eureka Seven AO is very well done. Like with previous science fiction series, and with this also, we wanted to put heart into it. The character designs are passed over from Kenichi Ishida, who worked on the original series, to Hiroyuki Oda. As you saw in the trailer, Eureka will make an appearance in this next chapter as well.”
Out later this month is Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, the newest addition to the Lupin III franchise that focuses exclusively on Fujiko Mine. Also available later this month is High School DxD, and Guilty Crown. Late August also sees the release of the Japan Collector's Edition of Ghost in the Shell: ARISE, which will be an imported version of the BD boxset that was released in Japan. It will be subtitled-only, and will include all of the extras that were packaged with the Japanese release.
September will see the release of Last Exile ~Fam, the Silver Wing~, The Future Diary, Michiko & Hatchin, and Is This a Zombie? Of the Dead.
For fans eagerly anticipating Wolf Children, the release date has been revealed to be November 12, 2013. It will be released as a BD/DVD combo pack. The English dub will premiere later tonight at Otakon, at 7:00 PM in Video 1.
More Fairy Tail has been licensed as well, all the way up to episode 165, which is all that's currently available.
Another special guest was announced, Masayuki Ozaki from Sunrise. He was there to introduce the title acquisitions that were announced earlier at the Sunrise panel, including Tales of the Abyss, Witch Hunter Robin, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2, Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, Angel Links, Crest of the Stars, Banner of the Stars, Banner of the Stars II, and Passage of the Stars - Birth.
He was also on hand to announce more new title acquisitions, including Outlaw Star, the Visions of Escaflowne TV series, Escaflowne the movie, and all of the My HiME series: My-HiME, My-Otome, My-Otome 0~S.ifr, and My-Otome Zwei.
Near the end of the panel, Mr. Ozaki had one more new Funimation title to announce, which he did so by playing the iconic opening theme from Cowboy Bebop. The series, which was previously released in North America by Bandai Entertainment, will be released on Blu-ray and digitally.
Regarding Cowboy Bebop, Mr. Ozaki said the following,
“At Shinichiro Watanabe's panel today, he told an interesting story about Cowboy Bebop. When Bandai asked him to make the series, they said, “We want you to make a series so we can create some toys and spaceships. We don't care what it is, as long as there are spaceships.” So he said, “Okay, I can work with that.” And so he created a show with the producer of Bones (Mr. Minami), and this is what they ended up with. Once Bandai took a look at the first episode, they said, “We can't sell these spaceships.” Thankfully, even though Bandai stepped out as the producers of the show, Bandai Visual stepped in, and continued to have the show released.”
About the show's re-acquisition, Mr. Ozaki mentioned:
“Recently Bandai USA had been releasing the series, but now that Funimation has the license, we are extremely happy. I've really come to reaffirm my belief that good titles will endure one way or another. There are many coincidences. The music is by Yoko Kanno, who is here as a guest. Mr. Minami is here. The director is here. So this is a great place to make this announcement.”
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