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FUNimation Talks Anime At Otakon

By Chris Beveridge     July 30, 2010


Girls Bravo
© FUNimation

FUNimation has had quite the busy day before Otakon even fully got rolling. In the hours leading up to the opening of the convention center and in the time before their panel at 6:00 PM ET, they covered a lot of things. They introduced Branded Prepaid Cards so fans who don't have credit cards can buy anime online, a place where more and more of it is becoming the only place to buy. They then introduced the cast lists for upcoming dubs for the series Black Butler, Oh Edo Rocket and Phantom. And after that they started talking about their planned beta and new community video social network site to replace what they currently use.

And then if that wasn't enough, they slid out a license rescue in the form of Girls Bravo by placing the first couple of episodes online at YouTube to check out, thereby adding another Geneon license to their stable of rescues.

The panel for Otakon was handled by Adam Sheehan, who has moved over to the social media side of the company, and new convention events coordinator Joshua Morris, who has had himself a good introduction to anime conventions this summer.

When discussion came up about the social media site for videos and the like, Adam commented that they scrapped the plans for the Shodojo.com domain they talked about in the past since the branding for FUNimation.com is strong and people are already going there. Also mentioned was that before the end of the year they will have an elite membership subscription plan as part of the website. This level of membership, something that every site of this nature does to varying degrees, will offer early access to English dubs, will be advertisement free and have exclusive forums and additional content.

The panel then went heavily into new announcements for streaming and home video material:

Strike Witches Season 2 which will have streaming episodes coming soon and they will be streaming it a week after it airs while the DVDs will come in 2011.

 

FUNimation Entertainment has been tapped for the online simulcast of the 13 episode World War II adventure anime “Strike Witches 2”.  Through an agreement with Kadokawa Pictures, Inc. fans can catch new episodes, in addition to already aired episodes of the series through the FUNimation video portal at www.funimation.com/video.

In addition to the simulcast, FUNimation has been awarded home entertainment, digital, broadcast and merchandise rights for the series.

Directed by Kazuhiro Takamura (“Strike Witches”, “Cardcaptor Sakura”), animation for “Strike Witches 2” is done by studio AIC (“Shuffle”, “Heaven’s Lost Property”).  The anime continues the adventures of the Strike Witches, the group of young woman fighting to liberate war torn Europe from deadly aliens.  With jet pack boots and supernatural powers, it is up to them to take on the powerful Neuroi before they take over the earth and enslave humanity.

FUNimation Entertainment previously released the first series, “Strike Witches”, on DVD in North America earlier this year and will release “Strike Witches 2” on DVD in 2011.

 

 

Blessing of the Campanella will have streaming episodes coming soon and will be coming in 2011

 

FUNimation Entertainment, the leading distributor of Japanese animation in North America, announced today it will partner with Marvelous Entertainment for the online simulcast of the “Blessing of the Campanella” exclusively in the United States. 

FUNimation has also acquired home entertainment, digital, broadcast and merchandise rights for the 12 episode fantasy anime series.

Known as “Shukufuku no Campanella” in its native Japan, “Blessing of the Campanella” is based on the popular Japanese visual novel of the same name.  The series takes place in the magical city of Ert’Aria.  As the residents prepare for a harvest festival, a young technician named Leicester Maycraft witnesses the crash of a mysterious shooting star.  Upon further investigation, Leicester is surprised to find a young woman at the site of the crash.  Now the young man must figure out who this mysterious girl is, and why she keeps calling him Father.  

Animation for the series is done by studio AIC (“Strike Witches 2”, “Heaven’s Lost Property”).  The series features as Nobuhiko Okamoto (“Air Gear”, “Sacred Blacksmith”) as Leicester Maycraft and is directed by Shinji Uchiro.

 

Okamisan (aka Ookami-san no shichinin no nakamatachi) will be streaming episodes coming soon and will be coming in 2011

 

The FUNimation.com video portal will also soon be the online simulcast home for the fairy-tale-ish parody, “Okamisan”, exclusively in the U.S. on behalf of Media Factory, Inc.  

FUNimation Entertainment’s rights also include home entertainment, digital, broadcast and merchandise for the 13 episode series with plans to release the title on DVD in 2011.

Known as “�kami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tach” in its native Japan, the series is animated by Japanese animation studio J.C Staff and directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki (“Love Hina”, “The Familiar of Zero”).  The show features an all star cast including veteran voice actress Shizuka Itou (“xxxHOLiC”, “Blassreiter”) and actress Kanae Itou (“Queen’s Blade”, “Tetsuwan Birdy Decode”).

Based on the light novels released by ASCII in Japan, the anime follows tomboy Ookami Ryouko and her spunky best friend, Akai Ringo.  Both work for a special club at their high school that specializes in solving students’ problems, no matter how dangerous.  The anime is well known for parodying famous children’s stories including Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood.

 

Hetalia World Series (Seasons 3 and 4) will have streaming episodes coming soon and will be released on DVD in 2011.

Hetalia Movie, Paint It, White will be coming in 2011.

 

FUNimation Entertainment, the leading distributor of Japanese anime in North America, announced today it has reached an agreement with Japanese production studio Media Factory, Inc. for the online simulcast and home entertainment release of the comedy series “Hetalia World Series” in the United States.   

 Starting in August, FUNimation Entertainment will premiere the newest episode of “Hetalia World Series” shortly after its initial digital download premiere in Japan.  The anime will be available with its original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles through FUNimation.com and FUNimation streaming partners.  A date and time for its U.S. debut will be coming soon.

"Hetalia World Series” continues the off-beat tradition of its predecessor, “Axis Powers Hetalia”, following Italy, Germany, and now joined more prominently by Prussia on their escapades re-interpreting the past.  Colorful, cute, and crass; this is world history as you have never seen it before. 

 Created by Hidekaz Himaruya, Hetalia World Series reunites the voice cast “Axis Powers Hetalia”.  The anime stars Daisuke Namikawa, as Italy, Hiroki Yasumoto voicing Germany, and new addition Atsushi Kousaka as Prussia.  The series is produced by Studio Deen (“Fruits Basket”, “Vampire Knight”).

FUNimation has also acquired to first animated feature-length adaptation of the series “Axis Powers Hetalia.” The film is called HETALIA AXIS POWERS: PAINT IT, WHITE and is the first appearance of the character Iceland. The nations must ward off aliens and save mankind as we know it from extinction and the draining of color throughout the world.

FUNimation will release the movie on DVD in 2011.

 

Summer Wars will be coming in 2011 (site)

 

FUNimation Entertainment today announced that it has acquired the home entertainment, theatrical, broadcast and merchandise rights to the animated sci-fi action film SUMMER WARS from NTV.

Released in August 2009 in Japan by Warner Brothers, SUMMER WARS is produced by Madhouse and directed by Mamoru Hosoda.  SUMMER WARS is the second full-length film that Hosoda has made as a freelance director. The first, THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME, an animated movie in which the teenage heroine discovers that she can travel to the past, received rave reviews from critics and audiences worldwide.

SUMMER WARS reunites many who worked on that film, including scriptwriter Satoko Okudera and character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.

The SUMMER WARS story begins with Kenji, a timid math prodigy who seems better suited for virtual worlds than his more intimidating high school. When class cutie Natsuki asks Kenji to accompany her on a family trip to celebrate her great-grandmother’s 90th birthday, he instantly agrees, not realizing she intends to present him to her family as her fiance - a ruse that forces Kenji, who hides behind an avatar online, to role-play in the real world as well.

The plot thickens after Kenji solves a math riddle that inadvertently brings a worldwide social networking site to its knees and throws the real world into confusion. Suddenly, this large family in rural Japan must work together to stave off a world crisis.

SUMMER WARS has screened at film festivals worldwide, including the Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia, the Berlin International Film Festival, the Sydney Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival, and the New York International Children’s Festival and was nominated for an award at the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Hosoda’s previous offering, THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME, won the Special Distinction for Feature Films in 2007.

SUMMER WARS also won the prize for Best Animated Film at the 33rd Japanese Academy Awards earlier this year and made an impressive $18.3 million at the Japanese box office.

FUNimation Entertainment will release the film theatrically in 2010 and on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011. 

 

Evangelion 2.22 Movie will be coming in 2011. They're going to try for a theatrical release on this one as well.

 

FUNimation Entertainment today announced that it has acquired the home entertainment, broadcast, digital  and merchandise rights to the animated sci-fi action film EVANGELION: 2.0 YOU CAN (NOT) ADVANCE from NTV.

EVANGELION: 2.0 YOU CAN (NOT) ADVANCE is the second of four films by Hideaki Anno and Studio Khara based on the 1990’s Gainax “Neon Genesis Evangelion” anime series, a long-running anime about teenagers defending the world from machines and mass destruction.

The film is produced by Toshimichi Otsuki and directed by Hideaki Anno, Masayuki, and Kazuya Tsurumaki from the screenplay written by Anno. The mechanical designer is Ikuto Yamashita. 

The setting is Tokyo 3, an outpost in a future world devastated by the "Second Impact." Attacked by shape-shifting mecha-behemoths known as “Angels”, what's left of Earth is defended by giant "Eva" robots piloted by high school students. Selected for duty by NERV, a top-secret military organization, the children are linked to their Evas by a design feature that channels the spirits of deceased family members into the machine's circuitry. The lead pilot is Shinji (voiced by Ogata), the troubled son of emotionally distant NERV scientist Gendou Ikari. Rebelling against his predestined path, Shinji is brought back into the fold by teacher-mother figure Misato Katsuragi (Mitsuishi) and fellow pilot Rei (Hayashibara).

EVANGELION: 2.0 YOU CAN (NOT) ADVANCE. opened as the #1 film at Japan the week of its debut in October 2009. 

FUNimation Entertainment will release the film on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011. 

 

 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
Hectotane 7/30/2010 7:14:22 PM

Jeez, I don't know.  FUNi's been filling themselves with more garbage than Nevada's mountains as of late.  And I've made that clear on their PR blog.

The only anime worth getting was Strike Witches II and Shuku Camp.  So yeah.

METR0lD 7/30/2010 10:01:10 PM

You must have awfully strange taste in anime then. Freaking Summer Wars and Eva 2.  Been waiting for both of those forever. Funi has practically become a god of the anime industry in my opinion. Without them, there would be no anime industry in the US. Everyone else has just been failing hard on all levels. With only Sentai finally starting to make things right again.

Keith 7/30/2010 11:28:34 PM

Summer Wars, Eva 2.0 (which will hopefully be 2.22 since that was the only version that had a home release), even Girl's Bravo, this has been the best announcement summer in years.

METR0lD 7/31/2010 7:47:59 AM

According to ANN, Funi has confirmed that it is indeed the 2.22 version of the film that they have obtained. Great news indeed.

Hectotane 7/31/2010 8:05:37 AM

@ Metr0id:  "You must have awfully strange taste in anime then."

And you must have constant memory loss.  Else; you would've understood me by now from my "MyAnimeList" list (under Tyrenol).

Also: No.  Flooding the American anime market with "young guy hating" garbage does not a God make.  I wonder if ANYBODY at the top had learned from Geneon and "Snickering...'s" past mistakes.  Or do we need another recession to snap everybody from out of their fantasy worlds?

 

METR0lD 7/31/2010 11:27:12 AM

All I need is good anime. And that's exactly what Funi brings to the table. And they actually release it with dubs. I'll always be there to hand my money over to them to support them.

And I don't know what you're talking about with the memory loss thing. I don't even know you, so how would I understand you? Nor have I ever looked at this my anime list of yours (or care for that matter). I only pointed out the rather odd belief of yours that Funi is putting out garbage, when that vast vast majority of real anime fans would highly disagree (myself included).

shavedog 7/31/2010 2:59:36 PM

Now Im not here commenting to diss anyones tastes in anime but it gets me riled when people badmouth companies for what they get as if there is one "exact" taste out there.  Lots of people don't get into anime like Striek Witches, but whats the point to bitch about Funimation licensing more of it if there are lots who do and it sells well?  Id love more creative and compelling series like Eden Of The East, Summer Wars, Evangelion to get licensed or finally get the rest of Higurashi but lots of people dont share this opinion.  They want boobs, hordes of one dimension girls, and ecchi content in their anime.  So thats what we get.  But for some of you to say f*** you to a company because of what you think is crap is short sighted.  Am I really supposed to agree with a person who comes out and says its all garbage EXCEPT licensing a show like Shukufuku no Campanella which has been a pretty crappy show.  Its been rather universally regarded as a very subpar anime, one of the worst of this anime season.  They at least give some of the things I do really love a chance besides a lot of the things that appeal to a certain unmentioned crowd of anime fans.  They are a company and they want to make money and stick around foremost so they will license things that are not really good but will be eaten up by fans.  Blame the fans....i might blame those who are willing to spend their cash on a lame anime like Shukufuku no Campanella when similiar premised shows are licensed in the future and a show like House of Five Leaves or Shiki doesnt get put out on DVD instead.  At least Funimation seems to try and give a nice variety of anime to appeal to most.  People need to just stop thinking what they regard as crap must be crap even when they themselves like stuff that the majority of reviews say is crap itself!

Hectotane 7/31/2010 3:46:19 PM

@ Metr0id:  Okay, fine.  Sure.  Whatever.  (-_-)_/

@ shavedog:  And all I've been saying was that the lot of anime is pure garbage.  I'm not saying that people should agree with my opinion.  I'm just stating my opinion despite the lot of people who'd enjoy garbage.

It's a shame that nobody reads about what goes on in Japan and why the anime industry over there is churning out 90% garbage.  Everyone over there is in a mess; high unemployment amongst 20-somethings and high suicide rates.  And said 20-somethings who are unable to compete withdraw from the outside world and become NEETs and animu fans.

We've been getting a lot of crap:

  • Anime done by the mentally thin-skinned (Evangelion, Gundam 00...)
  • Anime based on bad-fanfiction-esque dating sims (CLANNAD and everything else from Key...)
  • Anime done by otaku who know NOTHING about good storyboarding (Gundam Seed Destiny...)
  • Anime whose creators seem to hate foreigners (Hetalia, Senko no Night Raid...)
  • Anime whose target audience is reality-fearing otaku (Kannagi, Lucky Star, Haruhi, K-on...)
  • Anime that doesn't have the heart in its body along with the fanservice (Girls Bravo, Seikirei, Mermaid Bride, Shuffle...)
  • AND.  The lot of the anime I stated feature young (supporting) male leads who get beaten up (for the sake of comedy), are spineless pansies, or usually don't exist.  Because the audience for anime (who are mainly young men who failed to succeed at something) basically have issues when a young guy is featured and he does way better than them.

Finally:  Am I really suppose to take seriously someone who doesn't know how to check their spelling?  Or atleast practice proper sentence structure?  I know i should talk, but atleast I try.

Should I have to apologize every time my acquired taste radar acts up whenever something like this happens?  I wonder if "creativity" or "innovation" (when it comes to making worthwhile stories and characters) is dead or if it's just mainly the efforts of the otaku-tachi, and the industry that caters to them, to kill it.

I made the complaint that the anime industry is like the rap industry:  A bunch of fat-headed, greedy pigs who churn out tons of disposable garbage and, at the end of the day, care nothing about the true inner-value of what they create.

I wanna be a fan of some anime title that features a (supporting) male lead that doesn't get his butt kicked (and in fact does his own butt-kicking).  "Fight!  Ippatsu!  Juuden-chan!!" was atleast a good start and I would like to see it licensed and dubbed in English.  That's my wish; and I'd wish for Japan to make more anime like this.  Not gonna happen.  But hey.  That's my wish.

shavedog 7/31/2010 9:04:21 PM

Hey thats a lot of anger you unleashed I think.  I wasn't trying to harp on you or anything, and I hope you know that.  If I was the one with bad spelling and grammar I apologize.  I just don't really try that hard to be correct when its just a comment on a forum or something.  =P

I just get tired of complaining in general when it comes to anime fans because it just happens so often.  People complain about a show getting bad reviews, about shows not getting licensed (or dubs if they do), about what does get licensed instead.  And most of the tension seems to get directed towards other fans and all heck breaks loose.  I would love it if fans could get along more and be more collective in their tastes and why they like anime.  I do actually agree with all you said.  I want anime that has good realisitc characters, a meaningful coherent plot, good production values, and most of all creativity and something that is different than whats been done.  At least I think the Noitamina time slot in Japan has been very solid in what they are offering up and Funimation being willing to simulcast their shows has made me very happy.  Overall I used to harbor a lot of anger about what was being made in Japan and thus what was being licensed here as anime fans here seemed to start to want the same tired trends that Japanese fans are.  Heck I hope most anime fans do realise a lot of whats going on with the lack of creativity in Japan has to do with a bad economy and the industry over there not doing well.  Unlike the heyday of anime (mid 80's through early 90's) new directors with the ability to try to do what they want and unique ideas do not just pop out of the woodwork anymore and companies arent willing to experiment and go outside the norm.  They plop together the same old shows that are barely different than what was the hit shows the season before and put little effort into caring if its made well or not just hoping it brings in the finances they need.  We should be taking a stand against this and not supporting it.

But personally I dont think there is one avenue that the problem lies.  Moe shows are very popular, ecchi shows are prevalent, most shonen jump shows that come out are boring copies of the others but are still very popular.  I for one would try an anime that had any of these in them as long as it was intelligent, thought provoking, and wasnt just made to pander to the otaku who wants cute girls doing sexy things and beating the crap out of the poor lead male.  Thinking and innovation are not the in thing and rarely ever would be unfortunately.  Ive accepted that and just pray that a small percentage of what a company releases will be what I'm wanting to see.  I personally feel Funimation does this since I seem to find at least a dozen or so shows every year from them to either buy or watch streaming.  I only really took offense to the criticisms you gave of Funimation.  I think if they have to license anime that is utter crap to make sure they make money and stay around and that allows them to then give us some good shows that wont be huge hits like Eden Of The East, Summer Wars, Baccano, House Of Five Leaves, Phantom, etc then I support what they do.  It is after all better than not having any good anime get licensed here at all or as a dub over sub fan, not get any of the shows I love afforded a dub.  If something thats a well made anime like Spice And Wolf can become pretty popular here there could be hope for shows being made that can appeal to all sides of anime fandom yet.

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