Funimation gains Geneon, ADV anime
With the conclusion of Otakon in Baltimore earlier this month, the three largest conventions for anime and manga news -- Anime Expo in Los Angeles in early July, Comic-Con International in San Diego in late July and Otakon -- are all in the books.
Which means that now is the perfect time -- before any more news breaks (and there's been quite a bit lately, believe me) -- to take stock of what has happened and look ahead to what this all means. And any discussion of convention announcements has to begin with Funimation taking over the anime world.
"Funimation Now Owns Every Anime Ever" was the headline that Gia Manry posted during Anime Expo on her industry blog "A Geek by Any Other Name" (giapet.net; check it out sometime, it's a fun read).
It certainly seemed that way when, over a span of two days, Funimation announced that it had picked up 19 anime titles and one live-action movie left orphaned when Geneon pulled out of the U.S. market. Funimation then turned around and snatched away 32 former ADV titles.
The Geneon announcement wasn't too surprising. There weren't many options, other than Geneon reopening a U.S. branch, as the number of companies actively licensing anime has dropped off in recent months. Bandai is the most prominent player, with Right Stuf's Nozomi Entertainment imprint, Media Blasters' Anime Works imprint and Viz holding their own. At least U.S. audiences can now see excellent series -- like the mercenary thriller "Black Lagoon," the vampire-slaying action-adventure "Hellsing Ultimate" and the psychological splatterfest "When They Cry" -- through to their completion.
The ADV development, though, takes a bit more explanation. In June 2006, ADV entered a strategic partnership with Sojitz Corp., a producer and investor in the Japanese anime industry.
Some of the series licensed under this arrangement included "Devil May Cry" and "Xenosaga," anime adaptation of popular video games; "Kanon" and "Air," a pair of supernatural romances based on interactive visual novels; the wacky school comedy "Pani Poni Dash"; and the anime musical "Nerima Daikon Brothers."
But something clearly was amiss when 30 of those 32 titles suddenly vanished from ADV's online store in January. (The other two, "Murder Princess" and "Sgt. Frog," had been licensed but were never formally released.) The explanation back then was that the company was "working through a few short-term challenges."
While those series eventually returned to the Web site for a little while, it's safe to say those "short-term challenges" ended up being irreconcilable differences that led to the end of the ADV alliance.
More convention news, including what's next for ADV, next week ...
Meeting roll call
Oahu Anime Explorer: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at HMC Academy, 555 N. King St. Visit www.oahuanimeexplorer.com
for details ...
Coming up Sunday
It's a maid-to-order "Drawn & Quartered" column as Wilma J. looks at the Victorian era-themed manga and anime series "Emma."
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao