Anime fans have plenty of fun ahead
ANIME EXPO, the nation's largest anime convention, has come and gone, and in its wake comes the usual array of fresh licenses announced by assorted U.S. anime companies.
While I didn't attend this year's convention -- and I'm not sure I ever would, the thought of having to deal with large crowds and long lines to do pretty much anything not exactly being my cup of milk tea -- several news sources online, including Anime on DVD, Anime News Network and Anime Online, had the convention pretty well covered. Here are the highlights:
» Licenses resurrected: Several series previously released stateside by one company will be brought back by a different company. Former ADV properties "Lost Universe" and "Golden Boy" will be re-released by Right Stuf and Media Blasters, respectively, while the "Love Hina" franchise has gone from Pioneer/Geneon to Funimation. Bandai picked up "AIKa," formerly known as "Agent Aika" when it was released by Central Park Media.
"Love Hina" should make for a nice marketing tie-in for Funimation. The company also now owns the rights to both seasons of the "Negima" anime, and since "Love Hina" and "Negima" were based on manga by Ken Akamatsu, don't be surprised if the box for one series prominently mentions the other series.
» Familiar franchises, new forms: Fans of the sprawling "Gundam" universe, rejoice: Your favorite series is about to sprawl out even more with the addition of the "Gundam Seed Destiny" specials courtesy of Bandai Entertainment, as well as "Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079" from Bandai Visual USA.
Also coming: the "Silent Mobius" theatrical films, courtesy of Bandai Entertainment; the "Shakugan no Shana" special, from Geneon; and "Ikki-Tosen: Dragon Destiny" and the "Genshiken" special from Media Blasters.
>> The hot list: Any discussion of potential future hits has to start with the "XXXHolic" TV series, licensed by Funimation. Again, there's licensing synergy at work here; both this series and "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle," currently being released by Funimation, are based on the manga by the popular female collective CLAMP.
For fans of transforming magical girls, Geneon's pickup of "Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha" looks promising. ADV's acquisition of "Gurren Lagann," a new series from "Neon Genesis Evangelion" and "FLCL" studio Gainax, likely also will prove to be quite intriguing ...
» The MIA list: The three biggest buzz series of recent vintage -- the slice-of-life, somewhat random comedy "Lucky Star"; the pretty boy-filled "Ouran High School Host Club"; and the revision of Shakespeare's classic "Romeo X Juliet" -- have yet to earn tickets stateside. Are announcements lurking at Otakon in a few weeks? We shall see ...
In Sunday's 'D&Q'
Saving the world is no easy thing, but someone's gotta do it. Wilma J. takes a look at two forced heroes in "Guardian of Darkness" and "Detonator Orgun" ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao