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Otakon 2002: Bandai Panel

posted on by George Phillips
.hack//SIGN, more Gundam, Arjuna, and more to lead Bandai into and through 2003.

Jerry Chu lead Bandai's panel this year.

He opened the panel with a trailer of Arjuna, Shōji Kawamori's visually stunning tale about a girl who died one summer day, and saw the world as it died around her. However, he accidentally also played a few seconds of the .hack//SIGN trailer, which received loud applause and cheers from the entire room. Arjuna is set to be released in October this year, while .hack//SIGN is due out in early 2003.

Next, Jerry listed the biggest releases for the next few months. In August, look for Kazemakaze Tsukikage Ran (Carried with the Wind), and Char's Counterattack. Char's Counterattack has been dubbed in 5.1 Dolby Digital, for people with advanced audio setups.

If you haven't gotten your fix of Cowboy Bebop yet, there's another Cowboy Bebop release in November. This release, called "Best Sessions", will feature the best 6 episodes of the show, remastered in 5.1 and DTS sound.

Look for another Love Hina DVD by Christmas, too. This early Winter release will include the 25th Love Hina episode, as well as the Christmas special. Bandai is looking at the possibility of releasing the remaining Love Hina special and the Love Hina OVAs, but they depend on Production I.G for the production work.

In the future, look for .hack//SIGN, Infinite Ryvius, Argento Soma, the Kikaider OAVs, Banner of the Stars (the sequel series to Crest of the Stars), Melty Lancer and Ghost in the Shell TV.

On Ghost in the Shell TV, Jerry had little to say. It's in production in Japan, but there is no set airdate yet. Moreover, the episode count hasn't even been firmly established. The production cost of 800 million yen, however, makes it one of the most expensive series made. In fact, the budget is higher than that of many anime movies.

This fall, the .hack PS2 game will be released, and the game will include an OVA on the disc. It seems that additional .hack games may be in the work, with stories that will build on one another. The .hack//SIGN TV series will be released in early 2003, although Jerry has hinted that Bandai may be attempting to put the show on TV, to which the audience applauded loudly. There was no confirmation with whom Bandai is discussing, although several audience members called out requests for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block.

To clarify the TV rights of Escaflowne: Once the contract expires, the broadcast rights will return to Bandai -- they were sublicensed to Saban Entertainment, but will be returning to Bandai. Once the contract expires, then Bandai can shop the series elsewhere. Bandai has not lost the rights to the TV broadcast, nor are they obligated to use the edited version that aired on Fox Kids. As we mentioned two years ago, Escaflowne was not pulled from Fox Kids due to poor ratings. On the contrary, Escaflowne's ratings were better than many other Saturday morning shows on other networks. Jerry suggested that the sale of Saban Entertainment to Disney may have had a greater impact on why the series never finished its run on Fox.

Additional empty Escaflowne TV boxes will be available via the Right Stuf website this monday. Check Right Stuf's website for more information as it becomes available.

Speaking of Escaflowne, there is a glitch on a small number of Escaflowne movie DVDs. Check the inside rim of the disc for the serial number: "C 02". If it's present, try playing the DVD from the 12th chapter. If the DVD freezes, go to Bandai's website for more information about getting an exchanged DVD. Approximately 6,000 DVDs were affected by this error.

Outlaw Star is receiving a boxed DVD release. Although no date of release was mentioned, the box will be a foil box. It's not guaranteed at this time if empty boxes will also be released or not.

The Kikaider OAVs are not coming out this year. "There's a good reason why it's not coming out this year, but I can't talk about it. Production is finished, we're just waiting for one thing. Fans will be very pleased if it comes around." was all Jerry said on the matter.

The original Mobile Suit Gundam still has not been cleared for a subtitled release. The Japanese license holder has refused to grant Bandai Entertainment the Japanese audio rights thus far, and so Bandai cannot put out the original series in its original Japanese language with English subtitles.

Bandai repeated that G Gundam will be on Toonami, starting in early August. A boxed set will be released in November featuring the first 3 volumes of the series. Individual discs will also be sold for $19.98. The G Gundam dub on Cartoon Network will be the same dub found on the DVDs. Fans of the series will be happy to know that the DVDs will also feature an uncut subtitled release with the original Japanese names. Some of the Gundam names have been toned down for the English dub, due to TV standards.

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