My day started off with the Production I.G panel. With trailers for the Bunny Drop anime and Blood C, a collaboration with CLAMP and the Blood franchise. While the highlight of the panel is definitely Maki Terishima and her complete honesty with the crowd, Maki revealed that Yen Press would be giving out lots of copies of Avi Arad’s The Innocent at Comic Con International.
Next up was the Anime Manga Trivia Battle: U.S. Executives vs. Japanese Executives panel. The panelists included Lance Heiskell of FUNimation, Patrick Macias of Crunchyroll/Otaku USA, Michelle Hwang of Crunchyroll, Mikako Ogata of Wowmax Media, Atsushi Yanai of Viz, Ken Iyadomi of Bandai and Henry Goto of Aniplex of America.
Although the title made it seem like it would be a battle of anime and manga knowledge, the panel run by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) was more like an audience feedback section. Interspersed between five or six trivia questions, the attending executives asked the audience their opinions about whether they would want to see classic anime or manga on the market, whether they preferred digital manga to print manga and what kind of online streaming sites they liked. Not only did the audience answer yes or no with signs passed out by JETRO at the beginning of the panel, but the industry folks called upon different audience members to state their opinions on the questions to get more insight into why the audience answered one way or another. There was also a paper survey given out asking about how the audience members bought and consumed anime and manga. While Anime Expo is too small a sampling to base corporate decisions on, I think JETRO and the executives should continue to poll con attendees around the country to see where the broader tastes of the U.S. Market lie. If nothing else, it was fun to interact with the bigwigs and feel like your opinion counts somewhere. Too often, industry panels are only a means to pump out trailers and release dates for new anime and manga hitting the market, so getting to actually share opinions and discuss them with higher-ups felt good.
Atsushi Yanai of Viz also stated that the company is looking to offer their manga app on systems other than the iPhone/iPad, so manga lovers who hate iOS might not be left without Viz’s growing digital manga catalog for much longer.
During the Anime Manga Trivia Battle, there was a suspected bomb threat in the South Hall food court of the convention center. It seems like most of the South Hall corridors and the food court itself were promptly evacuated, but not the Dealer’s Hall. Anime News Network later reported that the object was an unmarked basket and that it was thankfully nothing serious.
Since the bomb scare didn’t affect anyone in the West Hall, I went on ahead to the Anime News Network panel and then to the Digital Manga Publishing panel. Unfortunately, the Digital Manga Publishing panel focused entirely on the Digital Manga Guild. While they announced the first 23 titles to be sent out for localization through the Digital Manga Guild, the publisher announced no new manga licenses for print.
Here’s the DMG list that I found on Anime News Network:
Tired of Waiting for Love By author Saki Aida and artist Yugi Yamada
Rule of Standing on Tiptoe By Puku Okuyama
Again Tomorrow By Nabako Kamo
Second Night of a Thousand Nights By Keiko Kinoshita
You and Tonight by Keiko Kinoshita
Steadfast Candy Heart Love by Satomi Konno
Neck-Tie by Asahi Shima
I Love Love Too by Himeko Shindo
Only the Flower Knows by Rihito Takarai
My Sempai by Hebiko Habuyama
Courtesan Kings by Souya Himawari
The Reason Why He Loves Him So Much by Saori Mieno
The Faithful Dog Waits for Flowers by Mario Yamada
Chirp Chirp by Kotetsuko Yamamoto
Mad Cinderella by Kotetsuko Yamamoto
Blooming Darling by Kotetsuko Yamamoto
Full Bloom by Rio and Saori Mieno
The Kneeling Butler by Ikue Ishida
The Song of Rainfall by Nawo Inoue
A Passion of Oranges by Ruis Maki
Interval by Kanami Itsuki
Dokidoki Crush by Kotetsuko Yamamoto
Curve by Kahiro Kyouda
While I believe all of these titles are yaoi, Digital Manga Publishing tried to assure the small audience that future titles would not consist solely of BL titles.
Later, at the Bandai Entertainment panel, the company announced the only new print manga licenses of the con thus far, the Gundam 001 and Booboo Kagaboo manga. Meanwhile, they announced that they would be streaming Sacred Seven on Hulu and Crunchyroll starting on July 8th and that The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya movie and Turn A Gundam series would be coming out in the fall.
Unfortunately, that’s it for Day Two! I didn’t go to the Mikunopolis concert, but I heard that those in attendance had a great time.
Industry events for the rest of the convention are few, but perhaps that will give me time to roam the Dealer’s Hall for some great deals on cheap manga!
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