Anime Expo Licensing Roundup: ef, Kimi ni Todoke get picked up

I didn’t follow AX day by day, mainly thanks to being out of town over the weekend, but I did want to review things that had gotten licensed.

The headline news for me as the announcement by Sentai Filmworks (aka ADV reincarnated) to license both ef series. Those had been hanging out there for a while, and I was really doubting whether they would ever be licensed, but Sentai decided to pick them up. ef – a tale of memories was a 12 episode series that aired in 2007, while it’s followup, ef – a tale of melodies, was a 12 episode series that aired in 2008.  You can read my blogging of both of my series here. Sentai Filmworks also licensed Loups-Garous, a 2010 movie, and Ro-Kyu-Bu, which started airing in Japan on July 1st.

The other semi-interesting licensing announcement for me was NIS America licensing Kimi ni Todoke, though it appears to only be the first season so far.  Kimi ni Todoke was a 25 episode series that aired in the Fall of 2009 and Winter of 2010.  NIS America also licensed the series Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera, which is a 12 episode series that just completed airing in Japan.

In other announcements:

  • Bandai Entertainment licensed Sacred Seven, which started airing July 2nd, and will stream it on Hulu and Crunchyroll
  • Viz licensed the Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva movie released in 2009 and the Bleach: Fade to Black – Kimi no Na o Yobu movie, released in 2008
  • Aniplex USA licensed Madoka Magica, a 12 episode series that aired earlier this year, and Blue Exorcist, a 24 episode series currently airing in Japan.
  • Funimation licensed Deadman Wonderland, a 12 episode series that just concluded airing in Japan; Steins;Gate, a 24 episode series currently airing in Japan; Baka and Test 2, which will start airing in Japan July 7th; B Gata H Kei, a 12 episode series that aired in 2010; and Asobi ni Ikuyo, another 12 episode series that aired in 2010.

Bandai Entertainment licenses Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens

That omgitscoming countdown? We now know what it is!

Bandai Entertainment has licensed the anime season Kannagi.

It is also streaming on Anime News Network.

Kannagi is a 13 episode series which aired between October through December 2008.

Update

Not only is Kannagi streaming on ANN, it appears like will be able to order it from RightStuf and it is ready to ship, meaning that it’s release date is, well, tomorrow.  I haven’t seen whether this is a sub-only response or not.

Bandai Entertainment licenses Eureka Seven movie

Bandai Entertainment announced that they have licensed the movie Eureka seveN: Good night, Sleep tight, Young lovers at their Anime Expo panel.  It is apparently getting a Fathom Theater release.  Viz has recently used Fathom events to release several of their movies, most notably the live action Death Note movies.

The Eureka Seven movie was released April 25, 2009.

Update:

Anime Vice reports that the Fathom Events screening will happen on September 24th in 300 to 400 theaters.  Tickets go on sale August 21st.

Update 2:

Fathom Events has their Eureka Seven movie page up now.  Showtimes are at 7:30 PM local time.  They confirm that the screening will be of the English dub of the movie “as well as behind-the-scenes bonus material from studio BONES that explores the making of this re-imagined Eureka Seven, a look into the animation production and the making of the English version.”

Bandai's Black Sunday Epic Fail

We’d been hearing about it all week: this amazingly super-huge announcement that Bandai Entertainment was going to make yesterday – an announcement so earth shattering that they took up an entire week (at least) to hype it up.

And indeed, it was a monumental announcement: an anime series would air on US television, dubbed, within 24 hours of it’s broadcast in Japan.  This isn’t necessarily the first time that either of those things has happened, but it may be the first time they occured at the same time.  This news essentially made what title they announced to do it with irrelevant.  This was part of the new business model which would help save the anime industry and make anime more widely available sooner  at the same time.

Except there was one glitch: the TV network they decided to air it on it only available to a small percentage of the US population (the network isn’t even in 10 media markets), and, as of my writing this article, there are no announced plans to distribute the episodes online, subbed or dubbed.  Which means that unless you live in one of those 8 media markets, this announcement means exactly jack…other than the fact that we may at least get the DVDs sooner (though we still don’t know at what cost).

Bandai fails at the internet

So the question must ultimately be asked: what was the point of this?  If Bandai had somehow scored getting the show on Sci-fi or Adult Swim, then this would indeed be news, as at least a good majority of anime fans probably at least get those networks.  But iATV?  With no streaming alternative?  Are they trying to encourage fansubbing (or worse – just people posting torrents of the iATV broadcasts on torrent)?  Because that is what will likely happen.  I can hear it now: “Other people get to watch it! For free (which isn’t really true, but that doesn’t stop people from saying it)!  I think this just further legitimizes my ‘right’ to download it!”

This is now the second straight half-assed attempt to have a simultaneous release without actually releasing the show in any meaningful manner.  The other example is the release of Xam’d  on the Playstation Network by Bones because, as everyone knows, all anime fans have Playstation 3s.

Look, I appreciate that these companies are trying to come up with new and innovative ways to keep anime fans happy by releasing shows for consumption in the US earlier, but preventing majorities of the anime viewing population from legally being able to watch the show is most definitely not the way to go about doing it.  It’s hard to believe that any company would actually consider a plan to license a show, only to put it on a TV station that no one watches with no online distribution as a good idea.  It probably would have been better marketing to drop the TV and just announce a simultaneous DVD release or something. Yet, that is apparently what happened.  And then the anime distribution companies all wonder why they’re being driven into the ground.

Yes, I realize that there are issues such as some of the Japanese companies being leery of putting shows online and blah-de-blah.  However, eventually they’re going to have to realize this:  people are already downloading this stuff, both in the US and Japan.  Putting a show online for people to watch legally isn’t going to cause any more people to download the show in lieu of buing DVDs any more than what is already going on.  And they might actually make money from people watching it legally who otherwise wouldn’t.  I’m not sure why this is such a difficult concept to comprehend.

I mean for god’s sake, use hulu, or have all the anime producers come together and make their own site where they can more centrally control the content.  But at this rate, it just seems like anime companies are trying everything but the obvious solution because they’re afraid of people downloading the shows instead of buying DVDs – something which is already occurring on a wide scale anyway.

Bandai can still be redeemed if they come up with some sort of online distribution, subbed or dubbed (or both), by or very shortly after the show starts airing.  But the fact that it wasn’t announced yesterday clearly indicates that it wasn’t part of the original plan.

(And just to pile on…I don’t know if it’s some sort of internet strategy to look “cool” or something, but perhaps Bandai Entertainment’s webpage should have been an early sign that they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing in regards to the internet).

Bandai licenses Kurokami

Kurokami is a new series scheduled to start airing in Japan in January 2009.  Bandai’s twitter says that the series will be dubbed into English for iATV.  No word yet on whether there will be a simultaneous online release subbed in English or not, yet.

Update

That iATV airing will be simultaneous with airings in Japan and Korea, meaning it’s already been dubbed.  That’s a first as far as I know.  Cast includes Laura Bailey, Jason Griffith, Julie Ann Taylor, Stephenie Sheh, and Christopher Kromer, via Bandai’s website.

Update 2

Press release here.

Anime Expo Round-up

So, who scored big and who lost big (if that’s the best way to put it) at Anime Expo?

Well, it looks like the convention itself scored big once again with 43,000 paid attendees, which is up from 41,500 last year, a 3.6% increase.

Now, here is the licensing round-up from the convention:

ADV Films

While none of this technically took place at Anime Expo, obviously the big loser of the weekend was ADV Films who had Sojitz leaving their agreement with ADV, taking 32 anime licenses with them.  ADV said they had a new partner in Japan and were negotiating to get 23 new licenses, but nothing new was announced at AX.

Bandai Entertainment

Bandai Enterainment announced that they have licensed the Hayate the Combat Butler anime and the Girl Who Leapt Through Time manga.

Bandai also announced the dub cast for Gurren Lagann, as well as announced details regarding their new Honneamise label, which is where most of Bandai Visual’s titles are going.

Dark Horse

Dark Horse announced the license for the Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project manga by Osamu Takahashi.

Digital Manga

Digital Manga picked up more titles than God at AX, including:

  • Utahime – Princess Song by Aki
  • Overclock: Once in a Blue Moon by Riya Hozumi and Ryouko Seki
  • Ghost Hunt Scramble by Ototachibana
  • Tale of a White Night by Tooko Miyagi
  • 1 Sakura Hill by Fujiko Kosumi
  • Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS by Maki Tsuzuki and Kōji Hasegawa
  • RH Plus by Ayako Suwa
  • Time for Magic by Morehe Yoshida
  • Princess Princess+ By Mikiyo Tsuda
  • Happy Boys By Makoto Tateno
  • Wolf God by Ai Tenkawa
  • Otodama By Youka Nitta
  • Crimson Cross By Kyoko Negishi and Sakae Maeda
  • Millennium Prime Minister By Eiki Eiki
  • Hey Class President by Kaori Monchi
  • Dog x Cat by Yoshimi Amasaki
  • Desire-Dangerous Feelings by Shinobu Gotoh
  • Moonlit Promises by Souya Himawari
  • Tricky Prince by Yukari Hashida
  • Double Trouble by Takashi Kanzaki
  • Where has Love Gone? by Ryou Tsunoda
  • Then Comes Love by Riyu Yamakami
  • Pure Heart by Hyouta Fujiyama
  • The Way to Heaven by Yamimaru Enjin
  • Clan of the Nakagamis Volume 2 by Homerun Ken
  • The Object of my Affection by Nanao Okuda
  • Love/Knot by Hiroko Ishimaru
  • The Longest Time by Tohko Tateno
  • Live for Love by Jun Mayama and Itsuki Sato
  • Eat or Be Eaten by Jinko Fuyuno and Yamimaru Enjin
  • The Spiral of Sand by Yuna Aoi
  • Honey/Chocolate by Nanao Okuda
  • Manhatten Love Story by Monoko Tenzen
  • Planet of Earthquake by Miou Takaya
  • Cut by Toko Kawai
  • The Lonely Egoist by Hikaru Masaki and Masara Minase
  • When the Heavens Smile by Aki Senoo
  • Suggestive Eyes by Momoko Tenzen
  • Hey, Sensei by Yaya Sakuragi
  • Love Syndrome by Yura Miyazawa
  • Love Potion by Sakuya Fujii

Funimation

If ADV was the big loser this weekend, then Funimation was the big winner.  Again, while none of this technically was announced at Anime Expo itself, Funimation both picked up the right to distribute 18 Geneon titles, as well as picking up the rights to the 32 Sojitz titles that used to belong to ADV, giving then the rights to distribute 50 new anime titles, some of which hadn’t been complted or even started yet.

Out of the Sojitz announcement came the news that the OVA Murder Princess has been licensed.

Funimation also announced the dub cast for Ouran High School Host Club.

Go! Comi

Go! Comi licensed:

  • Angel’s Coffin By You Higuri
  • CROWN By You Higuri and Shinji Wada
  • Bound Beauty By Mick Takeuchi

CMX

CMX licensed The Name of the Flower by Ken Saito

Kadokawa Pictures USA

Kadokawa announced licenses for:

  • Coo ~ Our Guardian
  • H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~
  • Junjou Romantica
  • My Heartfelt Sympathy, Ninomiya-kun
  • Rental Magica
  • Spice and Wolf

Right Stuf/Nozomi

Right Stuf International announced new licenses for the Gakuen Alice anime series as well as DVD rights 1980 Toward the Terra movie (they had originally released it on VHS and Laserdisc).

TokyoPop

TokyoPop announced the following new licenses, among other things:

  • Phantom Dream By Natsuki Takaya
  • Tsubasa: Those with Wings By Natsuki Takaya
  • .hack//G.U. (novel) By Tatsuya Hamasaki
  • Peacemaker Kurogane (formerly released by ADV Manga) By Nanae Chrono
  • Momo Tama By Nanae Chrono
  • Castle of Dreams By Masami Tsuda
  • NG Life by Mizuho Kusanagi
  • This Ugly Yet Beautiful World By Ashita Morimi
  • Maid-sama! by Hiro Fujiwara
  • Demon Sacred by Natsumi Itsuki

Viz

Viz announced new licenses for:

  • Honey Hunt by Miki Aihara
  • Gestalt by Yun Kouga
  • Magic Touch by Izumi Tsubaki
  • Otomen by Aya Kanno

Bandai Entertainment licenses Hayate anime

This just in.  I’ll try to fill in details when and if any are made available.

Update:

Japanator says first season of Hayate the Combat Bulter (52 episodes) with more details to be announced later.

Girl Who Leapt Through Time Licensed

This makes me very happy:

The anime distributor Bandai Entertainment has announced that it will be bringing out the DVD of Mamoru Hosoda’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time….The company’s president, Ken Iyadomi, and director of sales and marketing, Robert Napton, made the announcement at their New York Anime Festival panel Sunday.

Lucky License

Lucky Star gets licensed.

It’s the same combo as Haruhi: Kadokawa USA licenses, Bandai Entertainment to distribute.

Here is a link to the teaser trailer on the 4th Haruhi DVD.

Added Note:

If you’re gonna license an anime series, perhaps you should go register the domain before you announce it, even if it’s 15 minutes before you send out the press release (it ain’t that hard). LuckyStar.com has already been sat on since something like 1997, but luckystaranime.com was registered just today apparently – and not by Bandai Entertainment or Kadokawa USA as far as I can tell. Oops.

Added Note 2:

I should have thought of this earlier, but I should note that this announcement hasn’t been independently verified. What that means is that I haven’t seen a reputable news service independently confirm that the trailer exists, nor has Bandai officially announced (nor have I gotten DVD 4 to see for myself). All there is to verify that it’s been licensed is the trailer on YouTube.

While it certainly looks authentic (it has different subs from at least the afk release, the font type and color is consistent with a DVD sub, and it would certainly make sense to include the Haruhi scene in a trailer on the Haruhi DVD), one can’t absolutely rule out it being a hoax.

More AX licenses

Anime ExpoThis time it’s Bandai,Entertainment, Dark Horse, DrMaster, and Funimation

Bandai Entertainment
AIKa OVA
AIKa R-16 OVA
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny Special Edition
Silent Möbius
Silent Möbius 2

Dark Horse
Adaggio
Blood+
Blood+ (Novel)
Blood+ Russian Rose (Novel)
Bride of the Water God
Gantz
Ghost Talkers Daydream

DrMaster
Phantoms
Purgatory Kabuki
Metro Survive

Funimation
Darker than BLACK
Jyu Oh Sei
Negima!?
Tsubasa Chronicles Season 2