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Funimation Adds Sekirei, Tetsuwan Birdy Decode & Decode:02 (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo

The North American anime distributor Funimation has announced at the Anime USA convention on Saturday that it has licensed the home entertainment, broadcast, and digital rights to the first 12-episode Sekirei anime series and both 13-episode seasons of Tetsuwan Birdy Decode from Aniplex. Funimation plans to release both projects on DVD in 2010. Funimation also acquired the home entertainment, broadcast, digital, and merchandise rights to the first 24-episode Full Metal Panic! anime series and its 12-episode Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu”sequel.

The 2008 Sekirei anime adapts Sakurako Gokurakuin's manga of the same name. The story begins when Minato Sahashi, a hapless man who has failed at getting into college or getting a love life, suddenly meets a beautiful girl named Musubi. Minato learns he can become an Ashikabi, a master of the 108 artificial, humanlike creatures in the Sekirei project. The 108 Sekirei fight each other to their dying breaths in competitions held by a mysterious corporation — and Musubi happens to be a Sekirei herself.

Director Keizou Kusakawa (Inukami!, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS) and the Seven Arcs anime studio animated the Sekirei scripts that Takao Yoshioka (DearS, Elfen Lied, The Familiar of Zero) wrote. A second season, Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~, has been green-lit but not scheduled for release yet. Broccoli Books released Gokurakuin's Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion manga in North America, and DrMaster has been releasing her Category: Freaks manga. Gokurakuin also created the Sensitive Pornograph boys-love manga and anime under the penname Ashika Sakura; 801 Media licensed the manga, and Media Blasters released the anime version on DVD in North America.

The 2008 Birdy the Mighty Decode anime series is the second anime adaptation of the Birdy the Mighty manga from Masami Yuuki, the manga artist of Mobile Police Patlabor. The story revolves around a space police officer named Birdy who accidentally kills an Earth boy named Tsutomu. Birdy shares her body with Tsutomu's spirit so he can continue living his life. However, when duty calls on this planet or elsewhere, Birdy reverts their shared body back to her form and takes over.

Director Kazuki Akane (Escaflowne, Noein - to your other self, Heat Guy J, Geneshaft) and A-1 Pictures Inc. worked on Tetsuwan Birdy Decode with scriptwriter Hiroshi Ohnogi (Macross Zero, Aquarion, Arjuna, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Noein - to your other self). The first 13 episodes aired in Japan in 2008, and the second set of 13 episodes just aired from January to March of this year. Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri and the Madhouse anime studio had previously adapted Yuuki's manga into a 1996 Birdy the Mighty video series which Central Park Media released in North America. Viz Media published Yuuki's Mobile Police Patlabor manga.

The Full Metal Panic anime franchise adapts Shoji Gatoh's high school action comedy light novels of the same name. The story centers around a brusque young sergeant named Sousuke Sagara who must protect an assertive high school girl named Chidori Kaname by masquerading (somewhat unsuccessfully) as a high school student himself. Funimation plans to begin streaming the Full Metal Panic! series next month at its own website and at its streaming partners. DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases will ship in 2010.

Shikidouji illustrated the original novels which Tokyopop published. ADV Manga released both the first manga adaptation from Retsu Tateo and Full Metal Panic: Overload! manga spinoff from Tomohiro Nagai in North America. ADV FIlms used to release the first Full Metal Panic anime series and Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (pictured at left), while Funimation already released the third televisions series, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, and its video spinoff. As recently as this past May, A.D. Vision's Anime Network was streaming the first Full Metal Panic! anime series on its online player.

The Hollywood Reporter newspaper revealed in April that Mandalay Pictures acquired the live-action film rights to the novels. Actor and self-professed "huge comic book and manga fan" Zac Efron (High School Musical, Hairspray, 17 Again) acknowledged that he had a meeting on the project but noted it is not "likely" to happen.

Images © Sakurako Gokurakuin / SQUARE ENIX • SEKIREI Project 
© YUUKI Masami • Shogakukan / PROJECT BIRDY
© Shoji Gatoh • Shikidouji / Mithril
© Gato Shoji • Shikidoji/Jindai High School Student Committee

Update: More background information added.

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