FUNimation’s panel was a touch awkward before it even started tonight as Geneon Universal Entertainment let the cat out of the bag regarding some titles that will be distributed through them with Black Lagoon OVA: Robert’s Blood Trail, Hellsing Ultimate 5+ and To Aru Kagakuno Railgun. FUNimation’s twitter feed did confirm the information later in the day prior to the panel but also indicated that fans should, jokingly, act surprised when these announcements were made at the con. They also indicated that they have more to share than just this so attendance should still be high on the list for fans of FUNimation (and dubbed anime!).
FUNimation had a lot of staff on hand for this panel as approximately seven of them were noted either on stage or in the immediate audience when there’s normally two or three. The panel was run by Adam Sheehan, the outgoing conventions organizer who is moving on to other parts of the company.
Adam spent some time talking about the state of the industry and fandom itself, based on the response cards they get from DVD/BD buyers. He indicated that they believe the domestic anime industry is strong right now and that they're going to continue with that and that FUNimation itself is doing well. This was something they worked on back in 2008 in their "Don't Panic" campaign and which they carried into 2009 by bringing out more new shows that have come out this year on both formats. According to the feedback they get on the cards, it says that the majority of buyers are dub fans (or, as can be guessed, people who send back the cards are dub fans and are being more proactive and vocal), but as Adam said, "this doesn't say which is better.. we take subtitling just as serious as we take dubs" and "this is to say we aren't going to stop doing dubs."
Looking at basic consumer data by the response cards, buyers are generally older than 25 years by 51% and 40% in the 18-24 range. Naturally, the largest online segment of fans is the 13-17 year olds. And time spent o social media sites and YouTube has shown that this group is pretty strong in what they'll watch online. It's plainly obvious as it has been in the past that the younger fans are the consumers of the future and "since we understand that anime can be expensive, hopefully when you do have income, you have to make the tough decision between eat and anime..."
An interesting statistic regarding FUNimation titles, fans buy Blu-rays at twice the rate that other movie consumers.
Looking at their web presence, FUNimation has 6800 twitter followers, over 3.6 million in monthly impressions on Facebook with 69000+ fans and 20% growth over month. With their YouTube presence, they have 154k subscribers which places them in the 54th ranked position worldwide for subscriptions.
Adam then began to run down various announced titles with their dates and basic specs that readers here are familiar with.
FUNimation is set to do more simulcasts and is kicking off their announcements by saying they'll be doing the Moyashimon live action series from the Noitamina block. It will run for eleven episodes at 30 minutes each.
The other part of the block is Shiki as well as doing the simulcast for Kuroshitsuji 2, aka Black Butler (though no date is set for that yet).Sekirei Season 2 and The Legend of the Legendary Heroes are also planned for simulcast. Sengoku Basara Season 2 is being prepared as well for simulcast.
FUNimation is also doing a push into shows from the old Geneon catalog and have announced for release in 2011:
Adam then proceeded to delve into brand new materials by announcing the acquisition of Darker Than Black Season 2 and Shakugan no Shana Season 2 as well as the OVA and movie, all of which is slated for 2011.
Adam then talked about the Geneon Universal Entertainment revelations from earlier by stating that those weren't leaked (it was intentional, if you believe that) and that they will be releasing Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail, Hellsing Ultimate 5-7 and To Aru Majutsu no Railgun and Index in 2011.
After all of that was announced, Adam then proceeded to make the revelation that in 2011 they'll be releasing the new Trigun movie, Badlands Rumble, with an English subtitled premier this Saturday at Anime Expo.
Some Q&A questions worth bringing up:
Q: trigun in theaters?
A; stay tuned for wonderful news
Q; Oh edo Rocket?
Q; Birdy the Mighty: Decode?
Q: Dance in the Vampire Bund unedited?
A: 100% yes. We will do an unedited version as it was in japan
Q: Anything you can say about Sgt Frog? Still going? stalled?
A: we have s1 and 2, nothing beyond that.... it's doing well on DVD
Check out the full raw liveblogging of the panel by Bayoab here!