Saturday, July 6, 2013

Anime Expo 2013 Coverage, Part 1

July 4 - July 7. This post covers panels from the first two days.

Anime Expo is currently going on in Los Angeles, and with it, several North American anime localization companies have held panels to make new announcements and also talk about various things going on in the industry. While information on the announcements themselves are easy enough to find, there’s also various other things each company discusses in the panel that tends to slip through the cracks. In this first installment of Anime Expo panel coverage, I will talk about some of these more interesting tidbits brought up in the panels.
Note: Some info below may come from information provided immediately after the panels, through press releases or website updates.

NIS America To Look Into Dubbing, Makes Sure The New Genshiken Anime Is In Reliable Hands
NIS America, North American licensor of such titles as Tordora!AnoHana, and Bunny Drop, has up to this point not given any of their anime releases English dubs. This is understandable, as English dubs are expensive to produce and many of NISA’s titles have been niche ones that might not have sold enough to recoup the costs. That said, at their AX panel, they did say that they are looking into dubbing an anime. Nothing is set in stone for sure, and they cannot give any particular title or say that it will happen anytime soon, but this could be something to look forward to for dub fans.
Among their new acquisition announcements is the Genshiken Nidaime anime that is airing this Summer 2013 season. The previous Genshiken anime season were released by Media Blasters, who did a good enough job on them, but lately, Media Blasters has been plagued with a number of delays and licenses they have announced only for them to be dropped; honestly, I am glad that NISA has picked it up instead, as they are overall very reliable, and that’s to say nothing of the high quality of their releases. That said, given current release trends, I would not expect the physical release of this series until at least a year later.
Of course, combine these two announcements and one does wonder if NISA might dub the new Genshiken, and if so, if they will attempt to bring back cast from the previous anime. But that would be nothing but major speculation.
Other announcements: Brave10 to be released in October, license to Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Homemovie announced
Sentai Filmworks Signs Deal with Tatsunoko, Is Aware of Recent Quality Control Issues, Plans To Release Little Busters! DVD Ahead of Blu-ray, and Is Promoting The Heck Out Of Girls Und Panzer
A lot of stuff is going on with Sentai Filmworks. One of the more notable ones is that they have signed a deal with Tatsunoko Productions for 11 of their titles. Their upcoming release of Gatchaman is one of those titles, as is the original Casshern series (the 35-episode series from 1973). One can wonder if popular titles likeSpeed Racer are included, but personally, I can’t help but wonder if the biblical children’s shows Superbookand The Flying House are included… eh, probably not.
One thing they addressed is the recent spate of quality issues on some of their releases, most notably on Kids on the Slope Blu-ray (episode 11’s Japanese audio only comes out from one side) and on Tari Tari (episode 4’s subtitles are out of sync for the last third of the episode). Understanding that this is a significant issue, they have promised to implement procedures to prevent these issues from happening again. Of course, time will tell whether these problems actually get fixed… Meanwhile, an official replacement program for Kids on the Slopeis in place and active, while Tari Tari is also reportedly fixed, though an official replacement program has not been announced yet.
Sentai also announced their November 2013 slate, and among them is a curiosity: Little Busters! Season 1 Collection on DVD only. They have said that they plan to do a Blu-ray for this show (and as such we can expect this show to be dubbed), but are still waiting on approval from the Japanese licensor… and considering the last Japanese Blu-ray won’t be released until late August, and given my notes on reverse-importation issues, it is very possible that they will not have permission to release the Blu-ray until later—perhaps much later.
On a similar note, Sentai has also stated in the panel that their October release of Kokoro Connect only includes the first 13 episodes broadcast on TV; the last 4 OVA episodes (the “Michi Random” arc) will be released separately later.
Finally, if it wasn’t obvious enough from the fact that they brought an entire tank to the convention, Sentai is really promoting Girls und Panzer… so much so, that they even produced a special dub for the first episode specifically to be shown at their booth at the convention! The official cast and director has not been set, but this all but guarantees that the show will be dubbed and released on Blu-ray. Add in the official English site they have opened for the series (something they rarely do), and I can’t help but get the feeling that this is a big show for them. (Not that I have any complaints, given how much I loved the show.)
Other announcements: Other November releases include Hiiro no Kakera Season 2, Nakaimo – My Sister Is Among ThemLa Storia de la Arcana Famiglia, and the High School of the Dead: Drifters of the Dead OVA, all on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as license rescues of Divergence Eve and Yumeria. They have also confirmed that Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions (a.k.a. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai) will be released on Blu-ray and DVD (and thus dubbed) and that the release can be expected in the first quarter of 2014.
Aniplex of America Offers Fate/Zero with Dub on Blu-ray and DVD At Possibly Somewhat Reasonable Prices
For those of you who did not want to buy the earlier Fate/Zero import releases that would set you back $700 for both seasons, Aniplex of America has offered their own, localized version that also includes the dub that premiered earlier on Neon Alley. The series will be released in two Blu-ray sets and two DVD sets (one for each season for each format), and their prices might be within what you are willing to pay for the series.
The DVD sets are the most reasonably affordable; Set 1 will cost $70, and Set 2 costs $60. Do not expect much to come with the DVD sets; you will only get the show (with no notable extras), subbed and dubbed, and with a little poster just because.
The Blu-ray sets are significantly more expensive (just one costs more than the combined cost of the DVD sets), but in addition to better video quality also comes with some nice bonuses. Set 1 costs $150, and Set 2 costs $140. Each set comes with a soundtrack CD, a bonus DVD with staff interviews, a booklet, and the usual premium packaging (namely the chipboard art box).
Set 1 for both formats will be released on November 5th, while Set 2 is released December 31st.
Other announcement: Magi will be shown on Neon Alley with an English dub this fall.
RightStuf Looking Into Blu-rays, Licenses Title Funimation Forgot About
RightStuf, whom I consider the best online retailer for anime, produces various anime such as Aria under theirNozomi Entertainment label, as well as their recent Lucky Penny label for more economic releases. Previously, they have not done any Blu-ray titles, but at their panel, they have said they are looking into it, noting that there are many difficulties in arranging for the licensing rights, including the fact that Blu-rays are expensive and the market for them is smaller.
They announced a number of series to be released soon under their various labels. Probably the one that is most unusual is Blessings of the Campanella (Shukufuku no Campanella), a title that was streamed by Funimation way back in 2010 and announced to supposedly include “home video rights”, but ever since, not a word about the series has been heard regarding any sort of a DVD release. Well, clearly, Funimation gave up the home video rights for the show (or maybe never had them in the first place), because RightStuf will release it under their Lucky Penny label. The DVD will be subtitled-only (no dub).
Other announcements: Classic anime fans will be happy to know they have rescued Cat’s Eye for a DVD release (likely subtitled-only, which the original ImaginAsian Entertainment release was) under the Nozomi Entertainment label. Other titles under their Lucky Penny label include a rescue of Princess Nine (including the original ADV dub) and the semi-recent Sengoku Collection.
Viz Media's Neon Alley to Be Available on Mac and PC, Ability to Catch Up on Episodes To Be Added, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Licensed
For those who are interested in Viz's TV-like dubbed anime streaming channel Neon Alley but do not have a PS3 or XBox 360 to access it, good news: it will be available on Mac and PC now. Also, a new feature will soon be added to allow you to watch episodes you may have missed.
Even if you have no interest in Neon Alley, one bit of news is of great interest to anyone like me who really enjoyed one of the past season's best shows: Viz Media has licensed Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet for the US. They will have a dub available on Neon Alley, and they will also release the series with the OVAs on Blu-ray and DVD in the future.
Other announcements: In addition to the aforementioned Magi, Neon Alley will also have the dub of Puella Magi Madoka Magica available in the fall. Viz Media has also licensed Blood Lad, one of the shows for the current Summer 2013 season, and will simulcast the show on their site and on Hulu as well as have a Blu-ray and DVD release in the future.
Other: Studio Trigger To Start Kickstarter for Episode 2 of Little Witch Academia
In the latest news on Kickstarter being used for anime, Studio Trigger has announced that they will start a Kickstarter for Little Witch Academia next week to produce Episode 2 of the series. The series is available on Crunchyroll for anyone who wants to check out the first episode.
And that’s all for the first two days of Anime Expo! On Monday I will cover the latter two days, including such companies as Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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