AN Entertainment

by Isaac Alexander,
Anime News Network has completed an interview with Anime Nation's John Oppliger. John is best known on the AnimeNation website for his column "Ask John".

ANN: What can you tell us about your new title?

John: The show, Risky Safety, is a short show, only 10 minutes long. It aired 4 years ago in Japan, and was fansubbed shortly thereafter by Sachi Distribution. The series is very cute, but is also very solid. The official website for the series has more information on it.

We believe lots of people who like anime will enjoy it, partially because it's not too well known. I know fans want as much cultural integrity as possible, so we contacted a well-known fansubber of the series and asked them to use their script as the basis for the commercial release. While we haven't decided on the final dubbing studio to handle the release, it will be from a dub studio that releases high-quality work.

ANN: What led to your company choosing to enter the anime market?

John: We wanted this series to be our premier show to launch our new business. Anime Nation has been a retailer since 1995, and we've seen lots of competition both in the retail industry, and increasingly in the anime licensing industry. We felt we needed to expand our market. To expand our company, we had the option to franchise our store across North America. But we don't want to do that at this time. Instead of expanding our retail efforts, instead we we chose to acquire anime properties.

ANN: Why did you choose the name AN Entertainment?

John: Our foundation is in retail with Anime Nation. We wanted to extend the brand name. We chose a shortened acronym of the name (AN), and added "Entertainment". While our primary focus is on anime, we didn't want to limit ourselves to only doing anime. We want to remain open to possibly licensing live action and other types of shows.

John: We want our new label to bring Japanese animation to North America, not just the niche market of anime. AN Entertainment won't be a subsidiary company at this time, but it will be a part of Anime Nation.

ANN: What will be the official website for this new company?

John: We haven't decided as to what the official website will be like. Also, we're still working on what the label of the company will be, as well as what ratings system we'll use to rate our titles.

ANN: What other types (genre's) of anime series can we expect from your company?

John: Our first release, Risky Safety, is a light drama. We really don't know what other types of titles we'll be releasing, we just want to make sure we release quality titles. AN Entertainment is looking for shows that are high-quality, and deserve to be shown in North America.

ANN: Do you have the TV rights for this series?

John: Yes, we have the TV rights.

ANN: How will your company stand out compared to other anime companies?

John: Hopefully our titles speak for ourselves. We want to push the title's quality. We don't have a specific marketing plan but we have lots of determination, and we just plan to do our best.

ANN: Besides the series websites, what type of promotions do you plan to have?

John: At this time, we're just pushing the website. We only just sent out the press release today! We're assembling our options as to how we can plan further promotions. Of course, we have lots of contests from our retail website.

ANN: How many titles do they have plans to license, release?

John: Again, just Risky Safety for now. We plan to release the first volume in July, hopefully in time for the big conventions such as Anime Expo. Risky Safety will be released on three dics with eight episodes each. There will not be any VHS release, as Anime Nation stopped selling them in mid-2002.

ANN: Do you plan to distribute other anime companies titles like what ADV, Funimation and Pioneer do, or will you be your own distributer?

John: We're working on that right now, but we know we'll do limited distribution. We're also looking for external distribution channels so that you can buy our products in stores. We're not looking to distribute the title for wholesale ourselves, but to have someone else do the wholesale portion in the future. We don't plan to distribute wholesale for other company.

ANN: Do you have any final statements you wish to make?

John: If you have further questions about our new series, please feel free to hit the forums on Anime Nations website.

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