Convention news ensures more in store


POSTED: Tuesday, July 07, 2009

With Anime Expo in the books and a record 44,000-plus people in attendance over the four-day event now back home again, it's time to look back on the biggest splashes made at this year's convention.

While the announcements may not have been as earth-shattering as last year, they certainly held their own. A few highlights:

Funimation launches ShoDojo.com: If you can't join them, beat them — at least, that seems to be the theory behind Funimation's new online video-streaming portal and social networking site.

As more anime publishers joined the Crunchyroll parade, Funimation was one of the largest holdouts. Now, with a more defined Internet presence for its videos (finding those videos before meant digging into the company's Web site), Funimation can now go head-to-head with Crunchyroll at its anime-broadcasting game. The winners: the fans.

Now, about fixing those “;One Piece”; episode leaks ...

...Viz makes “;One Piece”; push official: Speaking of “;One Piece,”; there's still no word on when or if Funimation's anime simulcasts will ever restart. That doesn't seem to matter to Viz, publisher of the manga version of the series, as they're pushing ahead with getting the manga in the U.S. caught up with its Japanese counterpart.

Starting in January 2010 and lasting through June, four volumes of the series will be released each month. That will get the series from volume 24 to volume 53 ... and take up a lot more space on bookstore shelves, to boot.

MangaGamer.com gets in the game: Visual novels — consider them like those “;choose your own adventure”; books, except on DVD or in a computer-game format — are one of those Japanese addictions that never really caught on in the U.S. The last company to attempt visual novel translations, Hirameki International, tried to find success for eight years before shutting down last year.

Now another publisher, MangaGamer, is trying to find success, shunning Hirameki's strategy of selling DVDs in favor of selling their games online. They're also strictly targeting the 18-and-over audience, leaving most naughty bits uncensored. And perhaps most intriguing of all, they've landed the licenses of two series familiar to U.S. audiences, “;Shuffle”; and “;Higurashi: When They Cry.”;

Meeting roll call

» MangaBento: Meetings this month for this group of anime- and manga-inspired artists are 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and July 26 at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. For more information, visit www.manga-bento.com.

» Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. This month's anime screening had yet to be determined as of press time. For more information or to RSVP, e-mail young adult librarian Diane Masaki at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


For more anime and manga news and commentary, check out “;Otaku Ohana”; at blogs. starbulletin.com/otakuohana. Follow Jason S. Yadao on Twitter at twitter.com/jsyadao or e-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)