Report : New York Anime Fest 2008 - Day 1
by Steve Fritz
Date: 27 September 2008 Time: 12:52 PM ET
New York Anime Fest 2008 - Wrapup
It was a classic fall day in New York City.The temperature stayed in the 60s, the rain never really went away, but it didn't pour like cats and dogs either. The big talk was what was going on in Washington D.C. and on Wall Street. Still, the hustle and bustle of the East Coast megalopolis carried on as if it was business as usual. Pedestrians fought for cabs, crowded the subways and busses, and in general quickstepped it from point A to point B. One of these destinations was the city's Jacob Javits Center for the New York Anime Fest, 2008 edition. It sported a typical wide variety of guests, from master artist Yoshitaka Amano and Hideyuki Kikuuch to renowned voice artist Rie Tanaka. Music acts included TM Revolution. Major sponsors included the city's Japan Society, which was celebrating its centennial this year. Also there were the likes of such anime distributors as Bandai Entertainment, FUNimation, Manga Entertainment, and Media Blasters (the only notable absences were Viz, who were doing a convention in Germany) and ADV, who are just getting ready for next year. Manga publishers included Del Rey to Yen Press. American guests, besides the publishers and distributors, included the likes of Bang Zoom!, Animation Collective, and the School of Visual Arts. There were also a number of voice artists, from golden agers like Peter Fernandez and Corinne Orr on through the likes of MC Chris.
In other words, like the city itself, there was something for just about any otaku's tastes, and upon opening on Friday afternoon there was just the right capacity to fill panel rooms yet not cause anyone to stomp on someone's toes while going from one room to another. No earth-shattering news that day, but some interesting bits were surfaced, including: * SCI FI Channel's Ani-Mondays appears to be becoming quite successful, according to a spokesperson for Manga Entertainment, who supplies the programming. Future possibilities could include more Ghost in the Shell, and other Manga E. chestnuts. One might have noticed the block just recently aired another incredible blast from the past in the form of Now & Then/Here & Now, which is distributed by Central Park Media. As it turns out, Manga has just negotiated a deal for the electronic rights to a number of CPM titles. In turn, they will air on SCI FI Expect announcements as to what titles shortly. * Manga also just released two new titles in who knows how long. The first is the Straight Jacket. The other is Dead Space, which was written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. From the sounds of things, Manga will be making a few more announcements over the weekend. * Leading off the industry panels was Bandai Entertainment. They kicked the whole thing off by saying that they had closed the doors on their Honneamise division. From there though, they announced an incredible slew of new titles coming over the fall and into next year. Among the titles announced were the second season of Code Geass, two new Gundam titles, 00 and Seed Destiny OVA. There will be more Lucky Star, new series entitled Ghost Slayer Ayeshi, Rocket Girl, Sword of the Stranger, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Gunbuster v. Daibuster. The legendary title Akira is going to be released as a Blu-ray this February. Also in the works in a new chapter in the ./hack series, entitled GU. In all, Bandai is acting they are having no problems with the anime industry and have plenty more in store. * FUNimation also conducted business like they were doing fine, thank you. They reported that while there were no new developments for the FUNimation channel as of now, we should expect a number of them starting in the new year. They have also started a new format for their Dragonball series called Marathon Play. If you select this option on a DVD, you will get one title sequence and one ending sequence per disk, then absolutely no breaks, including "next episode" or recap announcements. Instead you will get non-stop action for the number of episodes on each disk. They also made a promise that if the recently acquired Geneon titles hadn't been completed by the time that company shut its doors, FUNImaiton will complete the series. They also announced that they hope to acquire such Geneon titles as Trigun, Chobits and Samurai Champloo in the future, but for now those titles have reverted back to their original Japanese creators, and are currently in negotiations. New titles to look forward to include Ghost Hunt, Jyu-Oh-Sei, Claymore, Ouran High School Host Club and Darker Than Black. Yet what got the biggest applause was the announcement and a small preview of the next chapter in Afro Samurai subtitled "Resurrection." To quote the FUNimation spokesperson, "Afro is back from the dead...and he's not happy about it." The new Afro will again feature the voice cast of Samuel L. Jackson, Lucy Liu, and Ron Perlman. The soundtrack will again be by the Wu Tang's RZA. * The last panel attended for the day was by Animation Collective. A studio rep reported that things are still go for the series Kappa Mikey and the new Speed Racer. Their production Thumb Wrestling Federation is moving from the Kids WB to Cartoon Network. They also have a fourth show on the air, entitled Three Delivery, which actually debuted at the same time as Speed. The spokesperson said they will be focusing more on this show in the future. More news from and about the New York Anime Fest tomorrow...