Home Channels Anime Toonzone @ MCM London Comic Con October 2014: Anime Industry Panel

Toonzone @ MCM London Comic Con October 2014: Anime Industry Panel

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Presided over by Anime Limited’s Andrew Partridge and Manga Entertainment’s Jeremy Graves (MVM’s Tony Allen was unfortunately unable to attend the panel due to the sheer number of customers shopping at the MVM booth), the panel began with the now traditional summary of announcements for the major UK anime companies for the year ahead. MVM announced No Game No Life, Otorimonogatari, Koimonogatari, Infinite Stratos 2, Kamisama Dolls, Battle Girls, Tsuritama and Michiko & Hatchin.

Manga will be releasing the dubbed version of Yu-Gi-Oh! , with season 1 being released on 17th November. They will also be releasing Samurai Bride, the second season of Samurai Girls, on DVD and Blu-ray. Jeremy clarified that although Samurai Girls was a title released in partnership with Kaze, Bride will be released solely by Manga sub licensed from FUNimation. Anime Limited revealed licenses for Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, Short Peace and Baccano!

The first audience question concerned the possibilities of UK licenses/dubs for Tokyo Ghoul and Nisekoi . Ghoul will be released by Anime Limited on DVD and Blu-ray in 2015, whereas Nisekoi’s rights are held by Aniplex who are currently focussed only on a subtitled release. Asked if there were any plans to license JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure both reps coyly replied ‘Maybe’, with Andrew elaborating that the biggest challenge is that the rights are held by Warner Brothers who have certain views about the issue of distribution outside Japan. Jeremy added that he encourages people to go and watch the show on Crunchyroll, believing it will completely change how you view anime by its amazing insanity.

Andrew confirmed that Anime Limited’s license for Kill la Kill does contain the extra OVA episode. Asked about the chances of a release of the recent Hunter X Hunter remake, he revealed that he had tested the market by showing one of the spinoff movies at the recent Scotland Loves Anime in addition to Lupin the 3rd vs Detective Conan. While he expected Hunter to do well and the latter less so, to his surprise the reverse happened. As such although he’s a fan of the series there doesn’t seem to be the market for a physical media release sadly and believes it’s best option is its current streaming release on Netflix.

Questioned as to if Manga would be releasing anymore of Fairy Tail, Jeremy confirmed that Collection 3 (consisting of the previously released volumes 5 and 6) will be released in January, with volume 9 expected to follow in late Feb-early March. Asked about the chances of seeing licenses for any Gundam titles such as Build Fighters, Andrew responded that he’s a big fan of the franchise (quipping that he has Stockholm syndrome from his involvement with it back at beez Entertainment) and that while Anime Limited is currently releasing Reconguista in G, he is attempting to convince Sunrise to allow them to release complete series Blu-rays of the various Gundam titles. Jeremy added Right Stuf’s recent announcement of releases for the Gundam catalogue, citing that a US license/release is always a positive sign for the UK to follow suit.

Both Captain Earth and Log Horizon might be being looked at for licenses, but there is currently nothing concrete on by whom. Asked about the actual decision making process that goes into deciding what titles get a UK license, it generally boils down to a mix of what is successful within Japan but also popular with UK fans via social media.

Regarding older anime that were released on VHS but haven’t transitioned to Blu-ray/DVD, both Jeremy and Andrew were enthusiastic about the idea (highlighting Dominion Tank Police and Cyber City Oedo, respectively). Andrew admitted he’d consider the idea of a sub brand for such titles, as all the UK anime companies are aware of retro titles they’d love to share with younger fans. A question following this asked about UK releases for Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and Ranma ½. Andrew admitted the latter is very much a title he’d like to see a release for but the international rights situation would likely mean it would be a Kaze release. Nadia was considered to be a title that one of the companies will likely license eventually.

Similar to the earlier question regarding Gundam, a fan asked about the chances of Macross seeing a license. Andrew spoke about how the rights are still tied up with US based Robotech producer Harmony Gold and although he sees how US licensing affecting the UK and Europe is silly and annoying, it’s sadly still an issue that currently people will have to hope someday changes. Asked next if anyone would be licensing further Trigger produced titles such as Inferno Cop and Little Witch Academia, he admitted he had been attempting to license Inferno Cop for a while. Similar interest was voiced for Academia, the biggest issues being the exclusivity deal with the Japanese distributor and the productions short length making it uncertain how to release it on physical media.

Andrew also fielded a question regarding fans negative opinion of Aniplex’s involvement with UK releases. He summarised that although their practices were sometimes unfortunate for consumers, they were mostly influenced by the company’s involvement in producing these shows in the first place and the need not to devalue their domestically Japanese released home media versions of them in order to make their money back from a niche market. He further clarified that Aniplex do not set out to alienate their international customers and that in turn UK licensors who release one of their titles in collaboration do all they can to ensure the resulting releases are value for money for consumers, even if they themselves take some minor loss of profit.

No plans for a release of the Strike Witches movie but Manga are aware there is interest from fans for it. No current licensing plans for Kamigami no Asobi or to dub the Persona 3 movies either.

A question about Full Metal Panic! led to renewed confirmation that Anime Limited are still looking into what high quality extras they can source from Japan, with a release planned for next year. With apps for streaming services becoming increasingly common on a range of devices and companies such as Manga launching their own, both reps spoke briefly about how useful they are for broadening the existing anime niche and how they enable their shows to be seen by people who previously would have been unaware, maximising exposure.

Concerning the topic of dream licenses Andrew answered that Baccano! being licensed is one off his wish list and he’d love to add Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors and Record of Lodoss War with Attack on Titan being another if poaching was allowed. Jeremy chose the first season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, mainly due to the sheer demand he receives for the title. He’d personally shoot for older titles, again referencing Dominion Tank Police.

General confirmation was given that Space Dandy season 2 will join season 1 on home media and Netflix. Andrew mentioned that it was currently being dubbed in French, with care being taken to rework cultural references and the need for decent singing voice actors for the musical episode. At the same time Jeremy confirmed that Jerome is working on getting Manga Entertainment titles added to the Netflix service as well.