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Anime Central - Geneon Industry Panel

By Marc Lunden     May 15, 2007

The panel was led by Stephen Tang, Andrew Huang, and Satoshi Fujii.

The Steelbook cases for Hellsing Ultimate volume 2 and Black Lagoon volume 1 were showed off and passed around, followed by the boxes for When They Cry, Karin, and Rozen Maiden. Pencilboards from KamiChu! and the first Cardcaptor Sakura movie were also handed out to the audience.

A slideshow DVD was used for the main presentation. Despite technical difficulties, including the absence of a DVD player, bad sound, and some amusingly slow software functionality, the presentation moved right along, covering a number of upcoming releases though no new licenses. Information was presented and short clips were played for Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, Karin, Rozen Maiden, Black Lagoon, and When They Cry. Princess Raccoon, a live-action film, was also discussed. The slate of upcoming Geneon Classics titles was covered, including the El-Hazard OVA (receiving much applause), the Doki Doki School Hours box set, the I My Me! Strawberry Eggs box set, Dog Warriors, the Ikki Tousen thinpak set, 3x3 Eyes, the Tenchi movies, the Tenchi Universe set, the Tenchi in Tokyo set, the Tetsujin 28 box set, and the Vandread complete set.

Stephen then decided to play the clip that he'd originally selected for When They Cry (which was voted down for the presentation disc), the first scene of episode 5, which was decidedly more violent and perhaps more indicative of the show's true nature. Also shown was a portion of a roundtable interview session with Taliesin Jaffe, Patrick Seitz, and Josh Phillips from the Hellsing Ultimate volume 2 extras disc, and a selected scene from the second episode. The R1 release of volume 3 was mentioned as being targeted for a release later this year.

Q&A covered a range of subjects. Questions were asked at several points during the presentation. Geneon confirmed that they did have both TV seasons of Rozen Maiden, but were still working on getting the OVAs. They also confirmed both seasons of Black Lagoon, and noted that there would be no break in the release schedule between seasons.

The very first question during the actual Q&A time was about the recently-discovered Nanoha domain name. Geneon had no information about acquiring the license, but mentioned they "would like to." Likewise, there was no information to give about the retracted Diamond Comics listing for Maria-sama ga Miteru. Licensing and releasing the second season of When They Cry is dependent on sales of the first season, but they do know that fan support is there for the series. They have looked at Monster, but pitching the license to the decision-makers is difficult due to lack of support for Master Keaton. The "odds are not good right now" for licensing the OVA and episode 76 of Fighting Spirit since the TV series did not perform well. Toei currently has a lockdown on all Sailor Moon licenses, but Geneon may be interested if the situation changes.

There won't be any pack-in extras with When They Cry, but Satoshi did point out the 5 episodes on the first disc and mentioned that including more content was important to help new fans get a better taste of the show. It hasn't yet been decided how the multilingual scenes in later episodes of Black Lagoon will be handled for the dub. Someone asked about the mistimed subtitles in the original El-Hazard set and whether or not they would be fixed for the re-releases, and Andrew replied that it would be looked into. Another fan asked about more titles, specifically the Tenchi OVAs, being released as part of the Anime Classics line. There aren't any more titles specifically planned at the moment, but there will be others.

Geneon isn't planning on any Blu-ray or HD-DVD releases at the moment, but Andrew did briefly mention the distribution deal with Bandai Visual USA and their Freedom HD-DVD/DVD hybrid release. There are no plans for a manga line, since Geneon recognizes that they don't have the infrastructure to compete with the established publishers and so will stick to what they do best for now. Future CD releases will be looked at on a case-by-case basis since the market for CDs has diminished, largely due to the Musicland bankruptcy. Chances are better for something like a Hellsing Ultimate soundtrack to get a release here than other things.

Geneon does currently have plans in the works for digital distribution of their titles. As far as TV is concerned, they are currently working on TV deals, and would like to get more of their shows on the Encore Channel.

Someone asked about releasing niche titles as sub-only. Andrew mentioned that the Princess Raccoon film would be sub-only, and then asked the audience if they would buy sub-only titles (there were a lot of raised hands and yes's being called out). Geneon will be looking at such releases on a case-by-case basis.

Someone asked a question about whether or not Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya overlapping with Geneon releases later this month might impact sales, to which Andrew replied that different people will have an interest in different sorts of shows, and that "our titles will still sell well."

At the end of the panel, Stephen handed out rose-scented postcards from Paradise Kiss.

Panel report verified by Geneon.

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