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Aniplex America Sells Gurren Lagann Movie DVDs in July

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
1st film on July 1, 2nd film on July 30; limited editions add Parallel Works videos

Aniplex of America has announced that it will release Gurren Lagann the Movie –Childhood's End- and Gurren Lagann the Movie – The Lights in the Sky Are Stars- on July 1 and July 30, respectively, in the United States and Canada.

Aniplex of America itself is releasing the DVDs, and is not licensing them to another company. However, Bandai Entertainment will offer them exclusively on its online store with discounts for early pre-orders. The first movie's DVDs will also be available at Anime Expo, which runs from July 1 to July 4 at Los Angeles. Aniplex of America's channel on the YouTube website is streaming trailers for both movies.

Both movies will come in limited and regular editions, and both editions will have 5.1-ch Japanese soundtracks with English subtitles. However, the limited edition for each movie will add a bonus disc, a 32-page reproduction of the movie program from Japanese theaters, and the same postcards that the Special Edition DVDs in Japan had. The first movie's limited edition will contain four of the eight music videos in Japan's Gurren Lagann Parallel Works collection, while the second movie's limited edition will contain the remaining four music videos.

Aniplex plans to release about five more titles by next March. ANN interviewed Hideki 'Henry' Goto, Aniplex's President of Animation Business, regarding his company's new initiative:

ANN: Why are you releasing these titles yourselves?

Goto: Aniplex produces many animated theatrical films and TV series in Japan. On the other hand, in North America, the number of anime distributors and video releases has decreased in recent years. So we thought it would be necessary to introduce Aniplex titles ourselves directly to fans in North America and release DVD and Blu-ray discs here. As you may have noticed, you don't see many U.S. distributors' booths or panels at conventions, and we had the impression that communication opportunities between anime companies like ourselves and fans had lessened in recent years.

Since Aniplex has a very close relationship with anime creators and producers, we feel it is our responsibility to convey their passion and love for their work to American fans.

As a start, Aniplex will partner with Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) to host a back-to-back double feature of Gurren Lagann the Movie –Childhood's End- and Gurren Lagann the Movie – The Lights in the Sky Are Stars- on Saturday, April 17, and we will also hold a panel on Sunday, April 18. We are looking forward to seeing fans and getting a lot of feedback from them.

From now on, we are going to start releasing selected titles in North America, and we will try our best to meet fans' high expectations and keep up our good brand image.

In addition, we plan to market unique products, such as including the same bonus items as Japan's products in our Limited Edition versions, for example. At the same time, we will try our best to offer a good price for the value.

Why are you selling directly to consumers exclusively on Bandai Entertainment's e-commerce site?

Because shelf space for anime at retail stores has shrunk; you don't see as many titles as you used to. As a result, many new titles have never been displayed in stores, and you may have given up shopping for certain titles. By selling our titles exclusively on Bandai Entertainment's Store, we can make clear which Aniplex titles are and will be available at a glance. In addition, Bandai Entertainment is cooperating with us in manufacturing and marketing as a good business partner.

At the same time, we consider our own marketing strategy just as important to let fans know of our upcoming releases. We plan to launch a homepage of each title we release as well as Aniplex USA's official homepage. We have also just launched AniplexUS at YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/AniplexUS. We will upload trailers, episodes and other videos, so please stay tuned!

Will you be licensing future titles to licensees, or will all future titles be released this way?

Absolutely. Aniplex's goal is to deliver wonderful works that are made from many staff's passion and hard work to as many fans as possible. We are always appreciative of our local business partners and licensees for their great work, and we would like to keep good relationships with them to bring more Aniplex titles to North American fans.

Why is there no English dub? Will you release and English dub version later? Will any future Aniplex releases have dubs? How will you determine what titles get dubbed?

Of course, it is ideal to make an English dub. However, there is also a trend that fans want to see new titles as fast as possible. Making an English dub takes a long time and costs a lot, so we may miss the release timing for future releases. If a title has a chance for TV broadcasting, it is possible to create an English dub, however, we don't plan to make a dub version and release it later.

Will you release all the unlicensed titles that Aniplex has rights to?

That's our goal and dream. But since we just started, we don't know how it will go. In the meantime, please give us your support! If you have any particular titles you want us to release, please let us know!

Will the DVDs be made available through other retailers at a later time?

At this point, most likely no.

What other titles will you release this way?

We are going to release five more series or so between now and March, 2011. We will keep all of you posted.

Will any of the titles be released on Blu-ray?

Yes, they will. However, we will have to carefully look into the release timing and the price since Japan and North America share the same region code.

Where will you ship these DVDs? Will they be for USA and Canada only?

Yes, North America (USA and Canada) only.

To the Fans:

Your support for Aniplex's products will be a driving force and encouragement for us to create the next wonderful animation. Your contribution will be a big part of it. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at conventions.


Image © Gainax, Kazuki Nakashima/Theatrical Gurren Lagann Production Committee

Update 2: Hideki 'Henry' Goto's title fixed. Thanks, Hiroe.

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