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Companies make announcements at A-kon

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Anime News Network was proud to be there at the tenth anniversary of Project A-kon this year, and since it seems that this is the only con we can visit this year, we went all out in our coverage. Since it's the most important, here are the announcements from all of the companies...

  • ADV Films announced the popular Lost Universe TV series as well as the Burn Up Excess TV series, which was based on the Burn Up! W series they co-produced. No estimated time of arrival on either of these, but common sense mandates it'll be at least a year. They also took the opportunity to plug their newest co-productions, including the AD Police Files TV series and the feature "Sin" based on the not-so-hot-seller computer game (produced by the Giant Robo team).

    ADV also graced us with their COMPLETE list of upcoming titles, which is mind-boggling to say the least. This includes Master Mosquiton OAV AND TV series), Compiler (August), Sonic the Hedgehog (again, actually OAVs, which they emphasize has NOTHING to do with the American TV series), Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Returns (July), Dragoon (not to be confused with Panzer Dragoon), Variable Geo, Powerdolls II, Ninja Resurrection II, Tattoon Master, The Samurai, Original Dirty Pair OAV's (The TV series will come someday), the second set of Slayers OAV's as well as the second two movies, Queen Emeraldas (next month), Burn Up Excess, Sorcerer Hunters (now shipping), Those Who Hunt Elves (now shipping), City Hunter TV specials as well as the entire 140-episode TV series (the first TV special is now shipping), Bubblegum Crisis 2040 (starting in August), Martian Successor Nadesico (starting in November), Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water (early 2000), Princess Nine, Sakura Diaries, AD Police, Gasaraki, Generator Gawl, Burn Up Excess, Lost Universe, Spriggan (their first major theatrical release), Tokyo Blue (live action, September), Those Who Hunt Elves II (released as volumes 7-12), Orochi the Eight-Headded Dragon (live action, July), Dragon Blue (live action), Can-Can Bunny (Softcel... it's back from the dead), Idol Singer of Darkness (Softcel), more Countdown (Softcel), Virtual Call (Softcel), and more Shuten Doji (Softcel... not sure about this one, I can barely make out the recording...), and THAT'S IT!! (Pant, pant... )

  • ADV Films also announced several new DVD releases of its back catalog (to much applause), including Ruin Explorers, Battle Angel, Ninja Resurrection, Cutey Honey, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Destroy All Mosters, which are all due out in the next six to eight months (along with others that could not yet be confirmed). They are WORKING on Evangelion DVD's, and they're still ironing out the details but it should make it out (the first volume at least) by the end of the year.

  • Viz Communications had a panel featuring a jovial Toshifumi Yoshida and a slightly tardy (and noticably less genki) Trish Ledoux. Mr. Yoshida summed things up nicely: "ADV gets everything, and AnimeVillage gets what's left over." The good news: A new manga magazine aimed at younger audiences (tentatively called Viz Kids) that will feature Pokémon as a main title. ("Milk that cash cow while you can!" Yoshida said.) Top-seller Ranma 1/2 TV series will return to a monthly release as they start the fifth season of the series (out of seven), to be called "Martial Mayhem" ("We're running out of names! Please e-mail us suggestions!" said Ms. Ledoux). Fans of the Please Save My Earth OAV series have something to celebrate -- although the current release date for a subtitled VHS release is officially "someday", Pioneer has approached Viz to license the series for a bilingual DVD version! Fans are urged to e-mail Pioneer to beg for them to follow through. Other DVDs in the "possible" file include the Ranma 1/2 OAV's, Fatal Fury OAV's, and Video Girl Ai (which, since distributed by Pioneer, is an "automatic").

  • Viz Communications also had some bad news... First of all, sales of the dubbed version of Maison Ikkoku have fallen so short of expectations that they cannot justify further production of the product. Although the time of the discontinuation has not been specified, it is assumed that it will coincide with the monthly release of the fifth Ranma 1/2 TV series. The subtitled version will resume release after the contract has been renegotiated, and will see more episodes per tape (probably 4, according to Ledoux). When asked if a DVD release was possible, Yoshida replied, "I don't see that happening. It has to sell enough to pay for itself," however they did not rule out an AnimEigo-style sponsorship program. Secondly, the popular Neon Genesis Evangelion manga series is going on hiatus, since the original manga artist only recently resumed the series in Shōnen Ace magazine and graphic novels have to be printed before Viz can get the proofs.

  • More episodes per tape turned out to be a running theme this convention, as not only Viz announced possibly four subtitled episodes per tape (three at the least) of Maison Ikkoku, but ADV Films also announced that the forthcoming Bubblegum Crisis 2040 will be three episodes per tape, and Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water TV series will be four episodes per tape! Central Park Media also reaffirmed that the Record of Lodoss War TV series will be three episodes per tape. (When asked if AnimeVillage would follow suit, representative Jerry Chu didn't see it happening in the near future.)

  • AnimEigo, although not actually in attendance, announced that same weekend plans to release Kimagure Orange Road TV series in separate volumes. Volume 1 will go on sale in August, and will contain four episodes.

  • AnimeVillage had nothing new to announce (but hinted at one in the near future), and representative Jerry Chu tried to explain their new marketing strategy, as well as the troubles they've had negotiating with their Japanese parent company. More dubs are on the way, as well as the hot TV series Cowboy Bebop, the OAV series Blue Submarine #6 and a plethora of others.

  • Mixx Entertainment announced a name-change of its flagship magazine Mixxzine to "Tokyo-Pop". The new name, according to CEO Stu Levy, better reflects the direction of the magazine, which is no longer considered a manga magazine by any party (including Mixx). The magazine will work together with the web site to provide information. The magazine also might get a new addition soon, as Levy hinted that Cardcaptor Sakura could very well be on its way.

  • Central Park Media really didn't have anything new to announce, but provided some new answers to some burning questions. Any hopes of a Slayers DVD release were quickly extinguished when the representative announced that it "would not be coming -- ever" due to the licensor's hording of the DVD rights (which is happening a lot nowadays). Revolutionary Girl Utena is doing very well, but the much touted Black Rose saga is not licensed... yet. They did tout some new releases, including their co-produced Midnight Panther OAV (which will be released in a cut and uncut version, as it turned out a bit more intense than they had hoped), the Record of Lodoss War TV series (to be dubbed by Taj Productions), the Maze TV series and OAV series, Garzey's Wing, and the remainder of Ogenki Clinic, as well as the Urotsukidoji DVD (their most extra-packed DVD yet) and several manga series, including Dark Angel and Martian Successor Nadesico.

  • TO CLEAR UP SOME RUMORS: ADV flatly denied getting any complaints from fans who thought Ninja Resurrection was the sequel to Ninja Scroll. Also, neither ADV nor Central Park Media could comment about possibly getting fan favorite Ruroni Kenshin (and we all know what that means, since the only reason they would have to keep mum on the subject is if they were in negotiations).

  • Media Blasters missed their own panel discussion!! Apparently the guys that came weren't notified of the event ahead of time.

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