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Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 11/8/2008 13:45
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    Anime Gets Conventional

    There's always anime news out there. There's some titbit, or company announcement, something to keep the fan websites ticking over, although on occasion it does verge on the wild rumour or utterly trivial. Then summer comes along, convention season, and all hell breaks loose as anime distributors compete to make the most impressive announcements, and get the fans excited as possible. The weekend just past saw major anime gatherings on both sides of the Atlantic, and news has been coming is so thick and fast that it's hard to keep up. I've been hard at work, sat by an Internet connection, waiting for a random fan to get home and start blogging, so I can snaffle a few headlines. Finer details, and snippets lost in the news rush will become clearer in the coming days and weeks, but the prominent news will certainly bring smiles to expectant faces.


    Fudce at EyeOnAnime was the quickest off the blogs when it came to reporting from this weekend's Amecon gathering in Leicester. Most of the major UK anime distributors were there, as were the cosplayers. But news of most immediate interest came from just two of the companies.

    Beez had a couple of announcements to make. They too are getting onto the online bandwagon, and their Bandai Channel is on the verge of going live, allowing fans to buy episodes to download. DVD-wise, the big announcement, which was more of an expectation than a surprise, is that the UK will be getting Gurren Lagann, the latest anime interpretation of the giant mecha genre, which is producing major fan buzz. If you recall it was originally an ADV property before the licence was lost to Bandai. Unlike the US, which is getting two versions, sub only then dual language, we'll be going straight for the dual language discs, and Beez are promising something special with the releases, following the Haruhi model. Beez have also announced Sword of the Stranger, a stand alone feature film set in the feudal era promising plenty of Samurai Sword action. You'll also be able to get your RPG on with the . hack//G.U. movie, following the US announcement of the same by Bandai.

    The other torrent of news came from MVM, who announced, well confirmed Daphne In The Brilliant Blue, which the retailers had pre-empted last week. Fortunately not all of MVM's thunder had been stolen, and they had plenty more to offer anime fans. Despite the summer resurgence of Geneon in their catalogue, they still remain Gonzo's main distributors, and this winter should see some more Gonzo animated goodness on our shop shelves. One title I've had my beady eye on for a while now is Desert Punk, a post apocalyptic adventure series that was filling fan forums in the US a couple of years back. In their next acquisition, Solty Rei, a bounty hunter tracks down cyborgs in one of those future dystopias that have dark conspiracies at their heart (very Gonzo). The US had some questionable DVD artwork, which I hope we don't get here. Their final announcement was Romeo X Juliet, which sets the tragedy in a future floating metropolis. You haven't experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Japanese. That wasn't all from MVM though, as they mentioned that they have been approached with the entire Slayers series. Manga have shown that lengthy TV series can sell in the UK, and the Slayers saga to date is pushing over a hundred episodes. MVM haven't had the best results with long series though, Sailor Moon and Yu Yu Hakusho spring to mind, and once bitten as they say. No paperwork has been signed as yet, so Slayers coming to the UK depends on if you will buy it. Yes you, in the back, scratching yourself indiscreetly.


    While hundreds of like-minded otaku gathered at Amecon this weekend, 26,000 descended on Otakon in Baltimore. Before you get performance anxiety, the Americans have more anime fans because they have more Americans. With titles taking between six months to two years to get to the UK, if at all, there was little of immediate interest to us here, although Funimation was the cat that got all the cream, after acquiring all those ADV titles, as well as the distribution rights to Geneon's catalogue.

    However, what is worth noting is that it looks as if ADV US is in the process of picking itself up and dusting itself down, after apparently being run over by a tank. ADV has started licensing again, and announced 6 new titles at Otakon on Sunday. Anime News Network. What's troubling is that only one, Indian Summer, is an anime title, and a short one at that. The others are all live action, which ADV will distribute on a new label. Diversification or a change in business?

    While we have to wait for DVDs, the Internet is immediate, and there's plenty of online anime news to be relating, most notably that of Crunchroll having a large presence at the convention. Not too long ago, Crunchyroll was seen as the enemy, an arena for illegal fansubs that was killing the anime industry. Well, a few million dollars of venture capitalism, and a drive towards legitimacy can turn sinners to saints, and it looks as if more and more distributors are looking at online distribution as the saviour of the industry. Otakon was the arena for what amounts to a revolution in anime. Following the experiment with ADV and Gonzo earlier this year to host online content, offering free streaming, and subscription or paid for downloads, it looks as if this will be a major way to access anime content in future. As Anime News Network reports, two major distributors and one producer will now be offering anime through Crunchyroll.

    12 ADV titles will be available to stream or download, including Angelic Layer, BASToF Syndrome, Best Student Council, Chance Pop Session, Lady Death animated feature, Magical Play, Martian Successor Nadesico: Prince of Darkness animated feature, Nurse Witch Komugi, Parasite Dolls animated feature, Saiyuki, Sin animated feature, and the Yesterday live-action film.

    Media Blasters offer Girls High, Ramen Fighter Miki, Kite Liberator, and the live action productions Machine Girl, Shadow: Death Riot, and Flesh For The Beast.

    Gonzo have committed to increase their output through Crunchyroll, with the immediate announcement of Kaleido Star and Peacemaker Kurogane, with more announcements to come.

    It's worth mentioning that most of these are older shows, useful in that DVDs may be going out of print, and online maybe the only way to easily access them. While most should be available to stream, most of Media Blaster's titles will be download or subscription only. It'll be on a title by title basis for all of them of course.

    Other News

    Surprisingly there was other news happening outside of the conventions, although not a lot of it admittedly.

    Funimation have added to and increased the number of series that are available to stream from their Youtube site. Slayers, Blue Gender and Kiddy Grade have now had episodes 5-8 added to their runs, while Funimation have also added episodes 1-8 of Peach Girl (currently being reviewed by Stuart), and episodes 1-4 of Mushi-shi. I shall now proceed to come around and force you to watch Mushi-shi. Yes, that's me knocking on your door right now.

    Also Manga Entertainment in the UK have teamed up with LoveFilm.com to create a microsite that will be showcasing Manga's anime DVD releases, presenting exclusive news on forthcoming releases, hosting trailers and, of course, providing consumers with the opportunity to rent and purchase Manga DVD titles.

    Also, the microsite is currently running a fantastic competition offering entrants the chance to win a Manga DVD pack worth £500, including Naruto, Bleach and Ghost in the Shell box sets, and a brand-spanking new Nintendo DS.

    Now I have to stop before my fingers bleed.


    Fudce has posted his Amecon blog, and it's nice window into the world of anime conventions. It also yields some more news (I told you there would be more.) Up till now, the only anime presence on Bluray in the UK has come from Sony, with their releases of Paprika and Tekkonkinkreet, and Warner's release of Ex Machina. Now, the anime company with the biggest global clout is getting in on the act, and Beez, aka Bandai will be bringing Freedom and Gunbuster vs. Diebuster out on Bluray in the UK this November. What's interesting is that it will be a nigh on simultaneous release with the US.

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