Siren Visual Panel from Wai-Con 2013

posted on by Jon Hayward
Siren Visual Panel presented by Elio Fois at Wai-Con 2013 covering the new acquisitions and many audience questions;

To begin with Elio spoke about how he decided to start offering pre-order give-aways for new titles, the Black Rock Shooter promotion was well received and Elio ended up with an inbox full of fans commenting that they themselves had not won the merchandise pack. That, alongside the fact that when you order a DVD to be mailed out receiving a huge box filled with related products is pretty awesome, made Elio decide to continue the promotion through all possible titles. Siren will also be attempting to match English language manga, soundtracks and artbooks for title give-aways through facebook to give something back to the fans.

New Acquisitions

Hakaba Kitarō

Kitarō is a youkai boy born in a cemetery and is the last living member of the ghost tribe. So it is up to Kitarō to ensure the peace is kept between humans and yokai. But he does not do this alone, he's joined by the ghost of his father whose encyclopaedic knowledge of the yokai world comes in handy and a collection of yokai friends.

This adaptation of Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro goes back to the original 1959 supernatural manga of the same name by Shigeru Mizuki. Originally aired in Fuji TV's Noitamina slot, this 2008 series was produced at Toei Animation and directed by Kimitoshi Chioka (Kamisama Kazoku, C – Control – The Money and Soul of Possibility). Hakaba Kitarō also shares the same art director as Mononoke, Takashi Kurahashi, animation director and character design were handled by Tadayoshi Yamamuro (Digimon Frontier, One Piece) with music by Kaoru Wada (Gegege no Kitarō, Harlock Saga).

Voice actor Masako Nozawa returns to the role of Kitarō, a role previously performed up to the 2nd Gegege no Kitarō series alongside Chikao Ohtsuka as Nezumi Otoko.

The series runs for 11 episodes and the original manga has recently been published in English by Drawn & Quarterly as Kitaro. No further information on release dates or information has been supplied by Siren Visual.

Image © MIZUKI Production/hakaba-kitaro committee


In Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, Bakeneko followed a nameless character known as the "Medicine seller" as he faces off against a mysterious cat monster. Mononoke continues his story as he uses his knowledge of the supernatural to defeat the "Mononoke", spirits that linger in the human world. His methods are always the same, he learns the Mononoke's Form (Katachi), Truth (Matoko) and Regret (Kotowari) and then the Medicine seller can exorcise the demon.

The series originally aired in 2007 and ran for 12 episodes. Mononoke was produced at Toei Animation and directed by Kenji Nakamura (tsuritama, C – Control – The Money and Soul of Possibility) with screenplays by Chiaki J. Konaka (Big O), Ikuko Takahashi (Library War), Manabu Ishikawa (Transformers: Cybertron) and Michiko Yokote (Genshiken). Animation direction and character design by Takashi Hashimoto with music by Yasuharu Takanashi (Hell Girl, (The) Wallflower). The Medicine seller is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai (Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk as Neeba and Polar Bear in Polar Bear's Café) with additional voices supplied by Aiko Hibi, Eiji Takemoto and Daisuke Namikawa.

Tiger & Bunny The Movie - The Beginning

Wild Tiger is a seasoned hero who considers the public good to be greater than personal fame, Barnaby Brooks Jr is a rookie hero who has entered into Hero TV to discover the secret behind his parents death and thinks Wild Tiger is outdated. Together they fight crime on a city wide reality TV show called Hero TV!

Tiger & Bunny is the 2011 hit anime produced by Sunrise following the story of Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks Jr as they fight to keep Sternbild City safe. Tiger & Bunny The Movie - The Beginning is a hybrid retelling of the TV series involving new plot and characters mixed in with the story of the original series. The movie reunites the original voice actor cast with Hiroaki Hirata (Sha Gojyo - Saiyuki) as Wild Tiger, Masakazu Morita (Ichigo Kurosaki - Bleach) as Barnaby Brooks Jr, Minako Kotobuki (Tsumugi Kotobuki - K-On) as Blue Rose and Go Inoue as Sky High. Kappei Yamaguchi (Shinichi Kudoh in Detective Conan) voices the new character Robin Baxter.

The Tiger & Bunny series was originally screened in Australia on Anime News Network in conjunction with Siren Visual. Tiger & Bunny The Movie - The Beginning was released in September 2012 and and opened to 117.65 million yen and close to 75 thousand people watching the film on it's first weekend in theatres. The film's sequel, Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising-, will follow sometime in Fall, 2013. Siren Visual confirmed that they will be releasing Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising- in the future as well. Tiger & Bunny will start it's release on both DVD and Blu-ray with Part 1 being released on the 21st of February, Siren will then move onto Part 2 and finish with the two movies.

You can view a trailer for Tiger & Bunny The Movie - The Beginning here, the trailer for Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising- here and view the original announcement from Wai-Con 2013 here.


Panel Questions

Q: Will you be releasing Penguindrum on DVD and Blu-ray?

A: We will most definitely release Penguindrum on Blu-ray, it's a big title and successful in Japan.

Q: Will you be releasing the manga adaptation of Penguindrum? More to the point, will you be moving into publishing manga in Australia?

A: That's something I've been looking into, I think Madman publish manga if I'm not mistaken and we should be doing that as well. If we're getting interesting titles we should be pairing that with the manga where possible. But we are only toying with the idea.

Q: Will there be Blu-ray releases for any titles that you already have out on DVD?

A: We have been looking into Black Rock Shooter as it's done rather well and justifies spending money on a Blu-ray release and the same goes for Durarara!! So we should go back and do a re-release on Blu-ray, but no decisions have been made.

Q: Before deciding on how to release a title, do you predict how much a title will sell first? Or do you see how well it performs after its first release on DVD. For example I know in Australia we have received Arakawa under the Bridge on DVD but the US market has a Blu-ray release.

A: The first thing we do is see how good the anime title is and how popular it is around the world based on reviews and fan interaction, that's our initial assessment on how we make our decisions.

It's hard to directly compare the United States market to the Australian market, the US market being much larger can afford to release anything on Blu-ray while in Australia we need to think about if it makes financial sense.

If I had my way I would release everything on Blu-ray. I made a decision to price Blu-ray the same as DVD as I wanted people in Australia to fully convert to Blu-ray so I don't always have to make the hard decisions on if we should or shouldn't release on Bluray. That's one strategy and I see it working. Hopefully this will make it easier for consumers to switch to Bluray and hopefully convince everyone at Siren that even though Blu-ray is more expensive to produce, it guarantees that people will buy Blu-ray over the DVD.

Q: So in the future you think you will move into a Blu-ray only model?

A: I don't know what it will be like in the future if consumers would entirely convert to Blu-ray and make DVD obsolete. But for now I want to convince the people above me that producing the Blu-ray together with the DVD is viable and it won't hurt the company financially.

I'll hopefully revisit older titles and release them in Blu-ray and on a month to month basis we'll asses how titles go on Blu-ray.

Q: Will you be releasing titles in digital formats?

A: We are looking at putting titles up for digital downloads, especially through iTunes.

Q; Now that you've finished releasing Higurashi Kai, are you looking at the OVA series.

A: No decision has been made, but it's something that we're looking into.

Q: Along the lines of OVAs, if you do a re-release of a series, would you guys look at packaging the OVA in as well.

A: That would make sense if we did re-release Black Rock Shooter on Blu-ray.

Q: You have previously released an excellent set releases of noitamina titles, will you be continuing to do so in the future as new titles come to light? Is there a deal you have worked out there as to first pick?

A: Always, I think we have been offered the titles because they are unique titles and storylines and while they're not the most commercially marketable titles noitamina releases are intelligently scripted and animated. Maybe we've been lucky in getting them, there are a few we have missed but we will continue to pick them up, they do well and they help create and establish what Siren stands for in the industry.

Q: You previously released Aria, will you release Aria - The Natural, Aria the OVA ~Arietta~ and Aria the Origination?

A: There has been no discussion back at the office in regards to those titles, but now that you've brought it up I'll see what I can do.

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