The Anime Expo is apparently in a state of shock.
FUNimation Entertainment, announced that not only they have acquired a number of anime titles from the recently closed doors of Geneon, but approximately 30 recent titles from what is now the former (as of 2007) #1 distributor of Japanese animation in the United States, ADV.
Under the terms of the agreement with Geneon, FUNimation Entertainment obtains the exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of a number of established Geneon titles. This includes Ergo Proxy, Hellsing Ultimate and Black Lagoon.
Hellsing Ultimate, directed by Tomokazu Tokoro and produced by Satelight, apparently is among the first of these titles to be seeing mass distribution, although as to when has not been officially announced. Follow up releases include Black Lagoon Second Barrage, Karin, Kyo Kara Maoh Season 2, and Lyrical Nanoha.
“Geneon is a strong producer, known for excellent production and quality of its anime series,“ said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO of FUNimation Entertainment. “We are pleased to partner with them and we are committed to the successful release of these series.”
"FUNimation’s momentum as the leading anime distributor continues to build," said Yushin Soga, president and CEO of Geneon. "We are sure this partnership will only grow the prominence of our portfolio."
Additional titles will include: Elemental Gelade, Fate Stay Night, Kamichu, Ninja Vixens, Paradise Kiss, Rozen Maiden, Rozen Maiden Traumend, Shana, Shonen Onmyouji, The Familiar of Zero, The Story of Saiunkoku, When They Cry, and The Law of Ueki. About the only recent title that seems to be missing from the mix is Zipang, although you never know.
As for ADV, things are looking pretty grim for the Houston-based company. While it has not officially closed doors, according to informed sources a lot of office furniture and other items have been /are being auctioned off. This is due to a number of personnel layoffs that have already occurred.
In a release from FUNimation, the following ADV titles have been transferred:
* Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy
* Air Gear
* Air movie
* Air TV
* Blade of the Phantom Master
* Comic Party Revolution
* Coyote Ragtime Show
* Devil May Cry
* Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor TV
* Jing, King of Bandits: Seventh Heaven
* Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora
* Le Chevalier D'Eon
* Moeyo Ken TV
* Moonlight Mile
* Murder Princess
* Nerima Daikon Brothers
* Pani Poni Dash!
* Project Blue Earth SOS
* Pumpkin Scissors
* Red Garden
* Sgt. Keroro 1st & 2nd
* Tokyo Majin
* UFO Princess Valkyrie
* Venus Versus Virus
* The Wallflower
* Welcome to the NHK
“We are very enthusiastic about these titles,” said Fukunaga. “Not only are these excellent series, but they also fuel FUNimation’s major initiatives in social networking, the FUNimation Channel and internet VOD. These new titles cement FUNimation as the leading anime provider for television broadcast and legitimate online content. These shows allow us to increasingly provide the best anime to our fans on their own terms.”
Still, with this transfer of titles, the anime distribution picture is now left to primarily FUNimation, Viz Media, Media Blasters and Bandai Entertainment. Certain other formerly steady firms, such as Manga Entertainment, CPM and AnimEigo are still in business, but have not released any anime since this January (AnimEigo has continued to supply classic Japanese live action moves such as the Baby Cart series though).
What’s interesting though is while sales of anime DVDs are in a quandary, it looks like convention attendance is on the up. Locally, the recently held Florida SuperCon brought in over 5,200 people, a big jump from the previous year’s attendance. Apparently attendance at the Expo is doing well too, although final numbers are no where near known as of this time.
“I know this is good news for FUNimation,” said Mike Broder, promoter of Florida’s Anime and Super Cons. “There are some excellent titles in there. I’m also happy these titles will be finally be getting good distribution in the U.S, titles that have been held up will finally get released.
“What I also find interesting is these are titles, especially on the ADV side, that they had been pushing on the fan community for the last year or so and now they don’t have them. These titles are changing hands. ADV just doesn’t seem to be a relevant player anymore. Biggest supplier of anime in the country? Not anymore.
“Then again, from my experience in the film industry, one thing I should also remind people is the entertainment business is cyclical. One decade you have a bunch of independent studios, then the next decade you don’t. In the business film distribution, there has always been this pattern. The major studios are always around, but with the independents there’s always been ones that rise and ones that fall. So I think it’s bad for ADV, but I don’t think it’s bad for the industry as a whole. It’s going to hurt friends of mine at ADV, and I feel bad there are people there who are going to suffer, hopefully ADV can recover.”
LAST MINUTE NOTES: It seems the news from AX just keeps coming. Multiple sources report the following:
• Before AX, FUNimation parent company Navarre reported its subsidiary has been enjoying “double digit growth” over the last year. With the acquisition of the Geneon and ADV titles, FUNimation will control 2/3’s of all releases this year.
• In a keynote speech at AX, Fukunaga stated his company is going to be looking more into producing Blu Ray DVDs, download-to-own and developing anime community sites. Part of this is developing their own site with YouTube. They are also developing deals with Sprint and AT&T.
• ADV held its own seminar on July 4. They admit they are not publishing any NEW manga titles for the next year. They also announced they have a new business partner, who they did not name. All the previous titles that had been picked up by FUNimation were with a partner named Soljnitz/ARM.