I got to Anime Expo this year pretty early. Too early to partake in the Dealers Hall and too early for the first panel I wanted to see. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait in the crazy two-hour line snaking in and out of the convention center. The benefits of being an industry member. Heh heh heh.
If you’re looking for a fun way to start a convention for most of the people attending your panel, may I suggest dressing up as some of the wackiest characters from your wackiest anime?
That’s what the “special guests” of the NIS America panel did with their costumes from Arakawa Under the Bridge and it certainly made the panel memorable. They were just two company executives, but it was a special touch that showed they cared about entertaining the crowd.
They talked a little bit about what kind of anime they liked to pick, specifically ones that are story-driven, a little bit silly and “anti-fanservice” (although the executive dressed as a Kappa said that he liked to see boobs and asses.) When asked about whether or not they considered the popularity of a title in Japan, the Kappa remarked in an excellent deadpan that they didn’t care about that kind of thing. Their license announcements included Family Restaurant Wagnaria (also called Working!), Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera originally by Go Nagai and my favorite license announcement of the day: Kimi ni Todoke. (SERIOUSLY, I’M SO EXCITED!!!)
Next up was the Right Stuf/Nozomi Entertainment panel. Although Right Stuf president Shawne Kleckner could not attend Anime Expo this year, he spiced up the panel by showing up in slightly cryptic messages throughout the panel, giving the panel a little bit of spice. Right Stuf revealed months ago that customers who purchased all three box sets of Revolutionary Girl Utena would receive a special gift with the third box set. Today they let fans know that the special gift would be a replica of the rose seal ring from the show. Right Stuf will also be bringing out more remastered versions of the original Dirty Pair as well as remastered versions of Dirty Pair Flash. Other highlights included a re-release of the complete collection of Gasaraki and a re-release and remastering of Martian Successor Nadesico.
Unfortunately, the Aniplex of America panel was mostly a rehashing of their Fanime announcements, including Rurouni Kenshin on Blu-ray and Durarara! showing on Cartoon Network. They did, however, reveal that they had licensed Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but most Twitter-savvy fans had discovered the news when a Madoka Magica website popped up under their name earlier in the day. Aniplex will also have their own channel on the newly released NicoNico.com, the English version of Nico Nico Douga.
After the Aniplex panel, I headed down to the food trucks and sampled the lomo saltado from Lomo Arigato. It might be too much starch for some people (the dish includes french fries and rice), but the Peruvian dish is like comfort food for me and it kept me going for the rest of the day.
After that came the Viz Media panel, which was delayed for almost an hour. Although many were expecting manga license announcements, Viz did not have anything new to share other than Grand Guignol Orchestra and Solanin were coming to their iPad app, and that Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan vol. 4 would be released digitally before it would be released in print. (Also that volume one of Nura will be available on their iPad app for free for a limited time to celebrate the second season of the anime.) Viz will also be releasing the Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva movie sometime this fall, as well as the first live action Gantz movie. It’s a shame that Viz didn’t announce any new manga licenses, but my guess is they’ll just have more to share with us at San Diego Comic-Con later this month.
Over at the FUNimation panel (also delayed), they announced a multi-platform Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood game called Fullmetal Battle. The game will be available on Facebook, iPhone/iPad and Android, as well as a few other places. They also plan to release Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Tenkaichi this October. Some anime highlights included the release of Last Exile-Fam, the Silverwing-, which will be simulcast as well as released on blu-ray and DVD, plus season two of both Spice and Wolf and Baka & Test (which also includes the OVA releases.) FUNimation’s new licenses were Cat Planet Cuties, B Gata H Kei, Steins;Gate and Deadman Wonderland.
I wrapped up my day by listening to Casey Brienza talk about Tokyopop, their achievements and their demise at the Anime and Manga Studies Symposium before heading home. Unfortunately, I didn’t do anything but sit in panels all day, so I didn’t get a chance to check out anything else. Maybe tomorrow!
While day two will not be as filled with industry panels, the day does promise that there will be more manga licenses announcements than day one, what with the Digital Manga Publishing panel and the eigoMANGA panel. As usual, I’ll be live tweeting most of the industry events and news as they happen.