Ken started the panel by introducing himself and thanked everyone for coming. He mentioned the announcement they made on July 1st regarding Bandai Entertainment taking over a number of Bandai Visual USA titles via the Honneamise label. Robert briefly talked about the origins of the label / brand name. The Honneamise label will remain mostly the same. Ken highlighted the changes while showing some PowerPoint slides. Here's a rundown of the new and improved Honneamise brand.
Simultaneous release - same day release in Japan and US
Imported products from Japan - higher quality of print, product and packaging
Pricing strategy - lower pricing from previous BV USA line for customers in US
Dual language format - English dub track on a title by title basis
Robert and Ken then covered some announcements by playing trailers. The first announcement was for the simultaneous blu-ray release of Freedom in Japan and US. Details and specs are as follows:
Release Date - November 11, 2008
Price: $140 (20,000 yen in Japan)
4 disc Limited Edition box set
English and Japanese language tracks
English and French subtitles
16:9 1080p HD video
Dolby True HD 5.1 and LPCM Stereo audio tracks
Ken stated that a regular dvd version will be released in 2009 under the general BEI label. Both versions will include OAV 7. The second announcement was for the blu-ray release of Gunbuster vs Diebuster. Here are some details on it.
Release Date - November 25, 2008
Price: $100 (14,800 yen in Japan)
3 disc boxset
2 movie discs
1 bonus / extras disc
Ken also noted that the Gunbuster and Diebuster movies would be released separately on blu-ray for $50 each on the same date. He also mentioned that all three will be subtitled only.
Ken also announced the merger of the AnimeVillage.com and dot-anime.us on-line stores. BEI will use dot-anime.us to handle all direct on-line retail sales for the company. That was the last announcement before they took questions from the audience.
One person asked about a separate release for Freedom OAV 7. Ken stated that there are no plans to release it separately, however the dvd version will be released as two volumes (vol.1 1-3, vol.2 4-7). A couple audience members asked about the status and possibility of dvd releases for True Tears, Sola and Shigofumi. Ken answered that they haven't decided what to do with those 3 titles yet and they are still on hold for now.
Someone asked if they plan to finish releasing Super Robot Wars, and Ken replied with a simple "yes". I asked for clarification on how the Freedom dub would be produced. Ken stated the dub would be produced in the US, and then sent to Japan for encoding and pressing the blu-ray discs. I also asked if moving the Honneamise label under BEI would affect future licensing negotiations. Ken replied that the process will basically remain the same, but may be slightly easier due to less competition now that BV USA is under the same company.
During the middle of Q&A, Ken solicited feedback from the audience regarding the revised pricing model. A few people responded and expressed the new pricing was good (especially if the same production quality is maintained).