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AX 2002: CPM Panel

posted on by Christopher Macdonald

Justin Sevakis and John O'Donnell took the stage to announce many of Central Park Media's upcoming releases.

The new acquisitions announced for their Anime line are: DNA^2, Alien 9 and Nekojiru-sō. DNA^2 has been a hot-topic the last year with rumors floating around that the original masters had been destroyed in a fire. Justin added that there was no indication whether this was true or not, but did not seem concerned that it may be true. Alien 9 is a 4-part OVA series about a group of young girls that hunt aliens at their local school. Nekojiru-sō is a 30-minute OVA described as "Hello Kitty on LSD."

Bringing a sigh of relief to many fans was the announcement that the rest of Utena is now in CPM's hands and the first DVD will be out around November. CPM will be taking their time with this release, planning out 4 volumes for the rest of the series. The original cast is set to reprise their roles for the English dub.

Commenting on The Slayers replacement, John said fans attending AX could exchange their DVDs for the new-mastered copies. This exchange is still being handled by TRSI with CPM handling the exchange at other upcoming conventions, including BAAF in New York.

CPM's DVD line is a bit Déjà vu for the next few months as many titles are seeing re-issue in the form of collector's editions. Most of the video for these releases has been cleaned up using Digital Video Noise Reduction (DVNR). Justin demonstrated the changes showing side-by-side comparison clips from many of the releases.

Among the re-releases are: Set for August are Project A-ko and Record of the Lodoss War. September sees MD Geist with a ton of extras packed in, including a look at the “Geist Rider”. October will feature Grave of the Fireflies with an anamorphic transfer. Grave of the Fireflies will also feature the original Japanese Credit crawl, a special interview with Roger Ebert, and then-and-now photographs of areas actually used in the movie. Also for October is the 20th anniversary collection of Harmagedon. Poltergeist Report, the second movie of Yū Yū Hakusho, will make its appearance in October.

The upcoming re-release of the Record of Lodoss War OAVs will feature some distinct improvements, as well as a bunch of new features. One of the biggest features is a “manga/series” comparison, showing panels from the manga as well as clips from the series, showing character design changes, plot variances, and more. Meanwhile, Project A-ko will feature behind-the-scenes interviews with Japanese staff members.

Sales for Patlabor continue to exceed company expectations so production and release of the next volumes is picking up. December sees Vol 3 while future volumes will start appearing with 3 months. CPM still refuses to guarantee all episodes will see DVD release, stating that as long as the DVDs break even the next volume will come out. CPM has extended the license for Patlabor for 5 more years, so as long as sales stay steady they are committed to its release.

Ping Pong Club will continue as disk 1 comes out in August, with the remaining disks following every 2 months. Questions were asked about editing the series due to recent legal issues. The basic response was sometimes it's not necessary to censor bad-taste.

John mentioned that for the most part, they prefer to keep their DVD region free. CPM releases with region encoding are there at the request of the original license holder.

While it may have been a little early, Justin Sevakis announced that the Big Apple Anime Fest (http://www.bigappleanimefest.com) will premiere both Millennium Actress and the dub of Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door.

Anime 18 releases will also see some collections as well as some re-mastered footage. La Blue Girl DVD collection will feature commentary and interviews with the creator and producer. September/October will see Love Lessons and Twin Angels. November/December timeframe will see La Blue Girl Returns and the Twin Angels DVD Collection.

CPM's Manga line, conveniently named CPM Manga, sees a set of regular comic size releases to the end of the year.
August: MD Geist, Geobreeders and Nadesico
September: Frontier Line, Slayers Special, Lodoss War and Maxion
November/December: Astra, Dark Angel and Deedlit's Tale
Manga 18, their adult line also has a slew of releases including: Immoral Angel, La Blue Girl and Demon Beast.

With the recent trend of companies going to un-flipped Manga, John said they are looking at going with un-flipped pages leaving in the original sound effects. John asked for a quick show of hands with the majority of the room being in favor on un-flipped pages and original sound effects.

Closing out the panel was a look at next year for CPM. Next year will see the release of the newly acquired titles: DNA^2, Alien 9 and Nekojiru-sō. Patlabor will continue to see releases as well as Utena.

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