Held in the lavish Plantinum Suite of the ExCel, the Gundam panel was overseen by Sunrise International Sales representative Eri Suzuki, Anime Limited president Andrew Partridge and interpreter Bethan Jones translating Eri’s comments.
Eri began by briefly introducing herself and Sunrise, explaining the studio was founded in 1972 and that its work is primarily focussed on television series. She offered Cowboy Bebop, Code Geass and Escaflowne as examples of series they have sold to other countries, with each receiving a positive response from the panel audience. Her role is to get the titles into foreign countries by way of deals with regional partners such as Anime Limited, online simulcasting, etc. Gundam The Origin was cited as an example this work, Eri highlighting that regional subtitled and dubbed versions were being produced right alongside the original Japanese version.
The audience were then shown ‘The World of Gundam’, an English narrated video which offered a beginner’s guide to the franchise, its multi-generational history and core concepts. Successes such as Gundam SEED, Gundam 00, Gundam Build Fighters and Gundam Unicorn were singled out, with the video ending with a call to “Join the new Gundam generation” and receiving a round of applause.
Eri next discussed the current Gundam productions, starting with Gundam The Origin. She highlighted that a special advanced screening had been held the day before with Anime Limited at their MCM Loves Anime film festival, making it the world debut of the episode outside of Japan and in advance of the 31st October general international release date. Outlining that the story concerns the years leading into the original series, Eri asked for a show of hands regarding who in the audience had watched the 1979 show to which a large number went up. Alongside the streaming releases available through services such as Daisuki and games consoles, regional partners such as Anime Limited and Right Stuf are allowing fans to buy collector editions of each Blu-ray volume produced by Bandai Visual.
Next to be highlighted was the currently airing Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.
The series is currently available to watch in the UK on Daisuki and with a one week delay on Crunchyroll. Eri also reiterated the information announced at NYCC that Sunrise were working with Bang Zoom! Entertainment to produce an English dub of the show, planned for release in early 2016.
Discussion then moved to Sunrise partnering with Anime Limited to release Gundam titles in the UK once again, Eri commenting that although select titles had been released here in the past there hadn’t consistently been any for a long time due to various factors and that the new partnership would address this. Anime Limited were chosen given Andrew’s history with Sunrise and the company’s success with releasing Sunrise titles such as Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star in the UK. The first title to be released will be the original Mobile Suit Gundam, released in two Blu-ray sets with the first due 3rd November and the first 1000 units coming with a UK exclusive collectors box to house both volumes. 100 copies from this first run were available for sale at Anime Limited’s stand, additionally coming with a Gundam themed shopping bag. Anime Limited later confirmed that the first 1000 units of the second volume will come with an exclusive booklet.
Following this the plan is to stick with the Universal Century titles for 2016 with releases of Zeta Gundam (Blu-ray), Gundam ZZ (DVD), Turn A (DVD) and Reconguista in G (Blu-ray).
The panel was planned to end with a video message from original creator Yoshiyuki Tomino himself but regrettably the file was corrupted, leading to a brief Q & A.
The first question asked about the possibility for a UK release of Mobile Fighter G Gundam, prompting laughter from the panel and Andrew to comment he knew someone would ask. Eri responded that with so many varying timelines across the franchise for now they want to focus on the establishing UC timeline and hopefully release other series as they get to them. Out of curiosity Andrew asked who had seen G Gundam and in turn would be interested in a Blu-ray release (stressing the question was theoretical, not a confirmation), explaining for the unfamiliar the base premise of a tournament where every country enters its own national identity Gundam.
On favourite series, Eri offered The Origin as given its international production requirements it’s the series she knows the most intimately. The final question concerned Iron-Blooded Orphans seeing a UK home media release, an idea to which both Eri and Andrew were positive towards. The panel ended with Andrew advising anyone interested in learning more about Gundam to view Gundam Global Portal on Facebook, an official social media channel for which Eri took a photo of the audience: