Sunday, August 10, 2008

Otakon 2008 - The Good, The Bad, and the ADV Panel

I'm back from my short stint in Baltimore, and it's official, I have become a cynical old man at 38. I don't lay the blame on myself, I lay it on trying to make a living in an industry that eats it's own young and will definitely give you white hair before your time.

Did I mention that it eats it own young?... :-)

Industry announcements out of Otakon this year look almost as bored as many of the 23,000 attendees (those that could not get into the JAM Project concert) wandering aimlessly looking for something to do other than spend money in the dealer room (the cash drawers are filled with 'chirping crickets' according to some of my retailer friends there). Is it just me, or do even some of the cos-players look uninspired (what's with the cardboard box dude)? At least for them the masquerade started on time, and I hear the nightlife (ie. the Rave) was pretty good - so maybe I should have drank more coffee and hung around...

On to the show announcements. I think what we did not hear about is more important than what we did. Here's the rundown:


Funimation started off their panel with a firm pat on the back for what they have accomplished over the last few months. Among the things they discussed, they said that they will be investigating a new price and packaging model for their DVD releases, meaning that we can expect to see more full and half season boxed sets for new releases with some titles still being released as single DVD's with inventive collectors packaging. This can be seen in the 6th volume of Shuffle which will contain a set of 'God Panties' in the collectors edition.

After rehashing what we already knew about the Geneon re-releases and reaffirming that Black Lagoon 2nd Barrage will have the same dub actors as the first season, they went over some of the early fall releases like Ouran High School Host Club, Ghost Hunt, Jyu-Oh-Sei, and Claymore which they described as 'Berserk with hot chicks'. Scheduled releases that are off the end of the current schedule include Darker than BLACK and a BluRay release of Vexille, both of which will be coming in November. Finally, while apparently Funi is interested in the Tsubasa OVA, there are no plans as of now to release it.

Media Blasters

MB did not make any announcements during their panel, but during the Q&A they did say that they are working on Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan and Magical Witch Punie-chan. They are currently finishing up Kujibiki Unbalance (they'd better hurry) and then will be starting Doujin Work and Genshiken 2 in the near future. They said that Gaogaigar 2 did not get a dub due to lousy sales of the first season. Finally, John Sirabella said that they are trying to get the same voice actors to do Dragon Destiny (Ikki Tousen), but nothing has been confirmed yet. Dragon Destiny will definately be a 2009 release, dashing the hopes of everyone who wanted to see it out this year.

Bandai Entertainment

From the people that getting good DVD's from is like pulling teeth with pliers came the announcement (at a hastily arranged Saturday evening panel) of their plans to release the .hack//G.U. Trilogy anime movie 'sometime in the near future'.

VCI Entertainment

Who? Not an Anime company, these guys are the ones who are trying to get Hollywood to do something with the Voltron franchise. None the less, they are planning to release the 1984 Anime Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs (Star Musketeer Bismarck) on DVD in November. Good luck with that.


Last week we got ADV's October release schedule, and again is will be a month of 100% recycled thin-paks. Same Bat price, same Bat packaging. Still, I had hope that ADV's much hyped Otakon announcements would be spectacular and would revive everyone hopes that the company would survive. The reality could not have been more disappointing.

ADV announced only one new Anime license at their panel - the three episode OVA Indian Summer (Koharu Biyori) which is a short ecchi robot maid show (yes, another one) and a title so minor it's one that I could see even Media Blasters passing over. Hey, we'll take it though. :-)

They also announced no less that five live action titles to be released under a new label called 'Switchblade Films', appropriately named because ADV is so good at cutting their own throats. The live action films (yawn....) will be, wait, I don't remember... oh yeah - Attack Girl Swim Team vs. The Undead, Female Prisoner Epsilon, Gluttonous 1 & 2, Cruel Restaurant, and some new Kunoichi movies.

ADV will now be making many of their older titles available via DRM free download on Crunchyroll, which represents a final capitulation to current market forces - the thinking being that revenue from 'any' venue is better than no revenue at all.

In the end ADV did say that they are 'working' on at least one more new Anime license, but they could not announce it at this time. They also said that they are still working on finalizing a deal with the new license partner to replace Sojitz, but they were not ready to make any announcement on that at Otakon, which is OK, because given our sales of their titles over the last 2 months, no one seems to care much about what they are doing anymore anyway.

That's it for now. Hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed the con!

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