Home News Toonzone At MCM London Comic Con May 2015 – Anime Industry Panel

Toonzone At MCM London Comic Con May 2015 – Anime Industry Panel


As has become tradition at London Comic Con, the closing Sunday played host to the Anime Industry panel. Regulars Andrew Partridge and Jeremy Graves of Anime Limited and Tony Allan of MVM were joined by MyM journalist and MCM Comic Con press officer David Axeby.

MVM announced planned releases for Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (by the end of the year), Nagi-Asu: A Lull In The Sea (planned for Blu-ray and DVD collections) Love Live! School Idol Project (initially sub only, with a dubbed release to follow later), Captain Earth, No Game No Life, Amnesia, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, Flowers of Evil, So I Can’t Play H, Busou Shinki, Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen, Sasami-san Ganbaranai, Photokano, Re-Kan!, Outbreak Company, Kamisama Kiss @, Nyan Koi!, Love, Election and Chocolate, Hidamari Sketch, Kampfer Kampfer, Kill Me Baby, Maid-Sama and Samurai Harem.

Anime Limited announced Sword Art Online II (Blu-ray DVD, 17th August), Durarara!! X2, Aldnoah.Zero, Fuse: Memoirs of a Huntress (Blu-ray and DVD, August 2015), Miss Hokusai, Tokyo Ghoul (Blu-ray collector’s edition and DVD, 28TH September) Full Metal Panic (planned to be available in time for the October London Comic Con) .

Be sure to keep up with both companies on Twitter (MVM, Anime Limited) and Facebook (MVM, Anime Limited) for the latest details, dates and deals.

The first question concerned if the panel felt anime being available on Netflix would help promote it to a wider audience. Andrew commented that online streaming as a whole is certainly currently more viable for anime in the UK than television broadcast and that Netflix was particularly well balanced to introduce new viewers given its broad focus, whereas anime specific streaming sites such as Crunchyroll are more about legally streaming anime for people already aware of it. He also highlighted Viewster as a platform that is experimenting with crossing anime streaming with other titles/demographics.

The next question concerned the likelihood of the UK seeing a release of the Sgt. Frog anime. Andrew mentioned that the series has a lot of episodes, which led Tony to comment that the obvious problem that would present is BBFC fees to classify all those episodes for release. Andrew believes it might be seen in the UK one day, but most likely as a streaming release.

Asked about potential UK market for anime inspired stage musicals and Korean dramas, musicals are currently seen as limited return and unlikely due to that and likeness related licensing costs. K-dramas are currently being experimented with by selecting online streaming platforms.

Questioned as to if simulcasts and select ‘simuldubs’ mean the industry has radically changed, Andrew doesn’t believe it has. He mentioned that anime production committees are of course concerned with making their money back/profit, so there is often a grace period of anywhere from 3 months to a year after the final home media volume of a series in Japan before a UK release can occur. He also referred to shows such as Tokyo Ghoul where edited and uncensored versions of episodes are produced, meaning producing a dub too fast could result in having recording for one version but not the other.

On if they see Western media taking influence from anime and manga as a good thing, Tony commented he believed it was. He referred to a period a few years ago where it was particularly in the mainstream conscience with products such as Garnier’s Manga hair gel. Although he hoped this attention would cause a spike in anime sales it never really did and the fad eventually died off.  Andrew and David discussed the cross pollination of ideas from both cultures with Andrew highlighting that although there is a long held idea of how anime looks, many creators in Japan eschew that that style for their own unique takes. He in turn highlighted that Studio Pierrot, famous for having worked on Naruto, Bleach and Tokyo Ghoul, also worked on the Nickelodeon produced The Legend of Korra. David added that there was similar crossover in how many of us have grown up watching shows in our childhood that were nominally anime without even realising it.

Asked about the chances of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure coming to the UK, Andrew referred to Jerome’s fielding of the question at the earlier Manga/Animatsu panel (referencing UK Anime Network’s own coverage). He reiterated that currently the decision was down to how Warner Brothers wished to proceed with the show internationally and recommended questions about the potential license were best put to Animatsu.

Asked for his feelings on Ghost in the Shell: Arise, Andrew said he was a fan but explained that its release schedule where new content was added to the TV run after initially being an OVA had thrown a curveball at the French release that had followed the OVA version.

Full Metal Panic will likely see an Ultimate release containing all full series, in addition to solo releases for the first series and Second Raid. Tony added that FMP has long been requested by fans so he was looking forward to Anime Limited’s eventual release.

On the likelihood of seeing a return to the days of tie in merchandise such as shirts and posters, Andrew commented that such things are now mostly handled by companies such as Yen Press, Viz Media and Kodansha. Tony in turn mentioned the more involved ‘Ultimate Edition’ releases that Anime Limited produced for some of their titles and that the impressive sales for said releases had convinced MVM to try similar with some of their own titles in the future.

Concerning fan dubs of currently unlicensed/undubbed shows Andrew fielded the question while saying he and the rest of the local industry understood the reasons why fans would choose to make them, the big issue from the Japanese side to acknowledging them would be how does their existence create revenue to produce more of these shows. He thinks there could be a way for rights holders to monetise these productions

Asked if the age of fansubs was over, Andrew acknowledged that fansubbing’s roots began in the noble desire of fans to want to help other fans see content that wasn’t easily available years ago. However, simulcasts now mean that a wide majority of shows from each season are now available by easy, legal streams. He does personally believe that there is more that could be done with the streaming business model. David added that the issue is a moral one, seeing a vast difference between fansubbing a title that is almost certain to go unlicensed and undermining an official simulcast.

Asked about their thoughts on Leonardo DiCaprio wanting to remake Akira, Andrew initially joked that maybe it’d finally win the actor an Oscar before continuing that he’s known to be incredibly passionate about projects, citing evidence from his involvement with The Wolf of Wall Street as an example. Tony quipped that he wondered whatever became of the plans for a live action Battle Angel Alita floated so long ago, while both of them were intrigued to see the forthcoming live action Ghost in the Shell. David chimed in that although he could understand long time fans being wary of Hollywood dipping into the anime well, the best option was to simply ignore it if it’s bad and celebrate it if it’s good. This led Andrew to share a rumour that the pair of recent animated Dragon Ball Z movies were prompted by the production committee in Japan being unwilling to allow the infamous Dragonball Evolution stand as the final word of movies for the franchise. He also spoke of a passion for the works of the late Project Itoh, a Japanese author of whom three of his works (Genocidal Organ, Harmony and The Empire of Corpses) will receive film adaptations.

Regarding unexpected successes, Tony revealed this to be the case for both the Monogatari series and Girls und Panzer, a series he passed on three times due to its curious premise of school girls driving tanks.  Andrew commented that Samurai Flamenco wasn’t quite the hit he had expected, whereas Kill la Kill had proven a smash on all formats. Tony rounded up that it was very rare to license a title that absolutely fails, just that some titles sell better than others and as businesses the more successful titles financially balance out the ‘failures’.

A handsome young scholar of our times questioned if Anime Limited’s work with releasing both Reconguista in G and Gundam The Origin would mean they would do similar to Right Stuf and release the existing Gundam back catalogue. After initially coyly commenting to ask again in October, Andrew referred to his existing relationship with Sunrise. Although he couldn’t reveal anything further at this time both Anime Limited and Sunrise see potential in the Gundam license and although it may not emerge as a mainstream release they’d like to do something with it.

Concerning what fans should do if no official release is available in the UK and torrents seem the only option, Tony enthusiastically suggested e-mailing the UK licensing companies and saying you want to see the show legally available here. He revealed he receives lots of such communication from fans and it helps MVM as a company narrow down which titles to go for. In turn Andrew suggested that if the title isn’t available here currently take the option of importing the American releases or support other forms of official merchandise for the show in question.

The final question concerned the fact the industry is reusing so many older properties. Andrew agreed that this was certainly partly the case, led not only by nostalgia and proven success in Japan but also in other countries. For instance, Italy funding a new Lupin III anime set within the country.