NYCC: Central Park Media is "Back, Live, and Kicking"
Toon Zone News caught up with Central Park Media’s John O’Donnell at the New York Comic Con to see how things were going for the company. O’Donnell stated that they were back to their full production schedule in the comic book line, with Be Beautiful manga putting out a new release once a month. The manga and manhwa publishing will continue as well, with O’Donnell being particularly excited about getting Hyun Se Lee’s Nambul war manhwa back on track. O’Donnell referred to the distribution issues that plagued the company last year, as the bankruptcy of some of their biggest customers caused them significant financial strain, and had high praise for the New York Comic Con organizers’ support for his company.
On the anime front, O’Donnell said that CPM will continue their “price leadership” program for the next few months, so the anime fan can “legally go out and obtain the kind of entertainment they want” rather than downloading material from shadier Internet sites. Also, while it isn’t anime as such, O’Donnell did want to highlight the Akihabara Trilogy: three live-action films set in Tokyo’s famous Akihabara shopping district that will focus on different aspects of the otaku lifestyle. The first movie, Legend of the Doll, focuses on an otaku whose life-sized doll turns into a real woman. It will premiere at New York’s ImaginAsian Theatre on March 19 at 7:00 PM, and O’Donnell said that anybody who showed up in Akihabara clothing or cosplay costumes would get in for free. He said that fans of Train Man: Densha Otoko should definitely check out the Akihabara Trilogy, and pointed out that all the Akihabara movies were produced by Tetsuya Ikeda, who also produced the original Japanese Shall We Dance? movie and a producer of the original Gamera movies.
Following up on the VOTOMS release that was the highlight of last year’s con, O’Donnell said that CPM was sold out of the limited edition boxed set of the series. Ironically, CPM is now in a position where they are hoping for returns of existing VOTOMS product from their distributors (especially in the wake of high-profile bankruptcies such as Musicland and Tower Records) so it can be sold to fans who want it. O’Donnell reiterated the story that Sunrise intended Gundam to be a child-oriented robot story, and went back to do VOTOMS as the adult-oriented giant robot story after the success of Gundam.
O’Donnell also made sure to thank the anime fans out there who continued to support Central Park Media through their troubles last year, and that “we hope to be brining out more of these sorts of products in the future.”