In the current anime and manga market a little good news is nice to hear among all the doom and gloom. Despite major hits to the anime and manga markets in the last year I was happy to see a larger industry presence at the convention this year. Yen Press was able to make it this year which is hopefully a good sign since I was worried when they did not show up at the NYAF last year. There were hardly an Anime Expo level of announcements but there were some interesting tidbits in the mix.
Right off the bat the most interesting announcements for me came from Bandai Entertainment. Bandai is finally releasing the original Mobile Suit Gundam with Japanese audio. Amazing that the Japanese audio tracks are no longer impossible to get now. I guess that Bandai has sold enough original Gundam DVDs in Japan that they are no longer worried about reverse importation cutting into their profits. Still I will be happy to get rid of my dub only DVDs and get the dual audio DVDs I always wanted. Bandai also picked up the Gundam 00 movie and announced the U.S. DVD release of Gundam Unicorn. Some asked if they would be dubbing Turn A or giving a new dub the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Someone else asked if they were going to pick up old robot shows. They said they had no plans to do so which proves that while Bandai might be crazy they are not UTTERLY suicidal. Still overall it was a good day for American Gundam fans. Aniplex and Funimation did not have a new licenses and mostly gave more details on titles they already had. Still no Kara no Kyoukai announcement but I assume we will not hear anything until they sell their insanely expensive DVD and Blu-Ray sets in Japan for a while. Summer Wars is getting a theatrical release from Funimation so if you have not had a chance to watch that I really suggest you check that out. The Crunchyroll panel had to be the most boring event I went to all weekend. While questions were asked and answered I feel not a lot was really said. People asked about things like the manga program and streaming outside of the US but they mostly got variations on “We will see what the future holds.” If I had been more awake I might have been able to ask some good questions but the weekend started catching up with me at that panel. I assume that ANN would have had announcements and future plans for the streaming initiatives at their panel but the whole Oreimo leak debacle scuttled anything and utterly transformed the panel they had.
On the manga Manga front Vertical unveiled two titles. The Book of Human Insects is distinctly one of Tezuka’s gekiga influenced manga just by the cover. Usamaru Furuya’s manga of the Japanese classic No Longer Human which inspired Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei and was featured in the Blue Literature series. Dark Horse picked up two obvious but surely anticipated titles from Yasuhiro Nightow of Trigun fame and Kouta Hirano of Hellsing. I was a little surprised I had not heard of Kekkai Sensen or Drifters but they seem like great choices to pick up considering how well both author’s previous works have done. Yen Press mostly talked about manga adaptions of English books and their new iPad application. I am very curious how their attempt to enter the digital distribution game will work out for them. There has been talk that the Kodansha panel was never canceled but in fact never scheduled in the first place. I think that Kodansha just did not want to spend an hour not answering questions about the death of Del Rey manga but I would have liked them to just come and say that if that were the case.
If this had taken place a few years ago there would have been half a dozen of titles from everyone involved. Even the once seemingly invincible manga companies had less to say then they would have two years ago. But in these troubled times I understand and appreciate the need to buckle down and be conservative. At the same time companies are finding ways to innovate and adapt and hopefully we will see all these companies next year with slightly better news to report as well.
More NY Anime Festival and Comic Con 2010 posts:
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Tweets
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: General Impressions
NY Anime Festival 2010: Artist Alley – Making it Big! (guest post)
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Exhibitors Hall
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Premieres
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Panels
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Minori Chihara