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SakuraCon 2008 Bandai Ent. Panel - Nothing New But Good News

Bandai Entertainment fielded company representative Robert Napton at SakuraCon this year, and while there were no new announcements (other than reconfirming the previously announced Rocket Girls,) there was good news as the trailer reel rolled.

First off, they ran the trailer for otaku favorite Lucky Star. Napton noted that while it will not be getting a Haruhi-style treatment with Limited Edition DVDs and a deluxe starter box, each disc will include extensive and heavily reference notes that should cover almost every obscure reference in the show.

Next up was another otaku favorite, Sunrise Animation’s Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion; Napton noted that not only would it be airing on Adult Swim as of April 26th, but that it would be available streaming the day before on adultswim.com. However, it was also noted that they currently talking to Pizza Hut for clearance to use it’s brand in the show, that there would be some nominal edits to the Adult Swim run, and that said edits would be done by Adult Swim’s staff. On the flipside, Bandai also worked very closely with Sunrise’s staff to ensure that all the names and pronunciation in the show is exactly as the original Japanese creators intended. DVDs and manga should be available in August for the series as well.

Geass was followed on the trailer reel by Ghost Slayers Ayashi, which should hit DVD in July or August. After that was a trailer for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, a theatrical anime film. The film should get a theatrical run (both dubbed and subtitled) through various cities starting in June, though the final line up of cities is still being worked out. The dub and sub versions will be in different cities at different times, and while the dub will be digitally projected, the sub will be a 35mm print. The DVD should hit in late Fall, probably in November. However, the dub should premiere at the upcoming New York Comic Con.

They then screened trailers for Toward The Terra, My-Otome Zwei and recent acquisition Rocket Girls right before opening the floor to Q&A. Bandai responded to questions about the state of the industry with a somewhat cryptic assertion that, “it’s in transition and flux,” but reassured the audience that they’ve maintained about the same level of business. They also noted they have no fixed time table for high-definition video releases, but will be looking into them much more aggressively now that the format war is over. Additionally, they’re also continuing to look at digital distribution channels, noting they’ve experimented before with that via Amazon Unbox, and that it is getting easier to obtain the appropriate rights and pursue digital distribution channels since the Japanese licensors are getting more savvy to digital distribution. Additionally, while they continue to work very heavily with Cartoon Network, they are keeping their broadcaster options open by actively soliciting titles to other channels. Speaking of Cartoon Network, when asked why IGPX never turned up on Toonami Jetstream, he said he had no idea why it didn’t come together. Meanwhile, titles like Haruhi and Gundam SEED are doing very well for Bandai, with Haruhi exceeding sales expectations and Gundam continuing to captivate it’s hardcore fanbase.

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