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Anime Expo 2010: Toonzone Interviews FUNimation's Adam Sheehan

US anime distributor, FUNimation Entertainment, definitely presented one of the best, if not the best, showings of any company represented at the 2010 Anime Expo. On Saturday, I caught up with FUNimation’s Marketing Manager, Adam Sheehan, to talk about the company’s business and big announcements at the convention. This interview shortly took place before the official screening of the Trigun movie at the convention:

TOONZONE NEWS: How did the sneak peek panel for FUNimation go?

ADAM SHEEHAN: It was good; it was good. We showed a lot of clips of Master of Martial Arts and Oh! Edo Rocket. The biggest thing was, we showed three minutes of the Hetalia dub which a lot of people were like “Oh my God! Oh my God!” We picked the right clip where you can barely hear them all talking over each other so it’s hard to guess it, and they were about to play the voice for Italy, and then we cut it right there because we’re announcing the cast next week.

TZN: I’ve been really impressed with the way FUNimation has been handling everything this weekend. I just really appreciate positive outlooks.

ADAM SHEEHAN: Thank you so much.

TZN: I’m not really seeing it from all the other companies, but FUNimation seems to be putting their best foot forward as far as supporting the anime industry.

ADAM SHEEHAN: Absolutely. Thank you so much. Yeah, there’s a little doom and gloom out there, but I will say as far as this weekend for Anime Expo, for all the news coming out of ourselves and every other company, this was a great weekend for the anime industry overall.

TZN: Aniplex announced that they are bringing over Durarara!!

ADAM SHEEHAN: And a dub, which is great. Bandai has announced stuff like that. Section 23 has announced stuff. We had a slew of announcements like Trigun, Black Lagoon, all the Geneon stuff, so there’s a lot of new stuff out there.

TZN: OK, Johnny Yong Bosch is signing autographs right over there (At the Bandai/Aniplex booth).

ADAM SHEEHAN: He’s a great guy.

TZN: I went over there and I talked to him. And I asked him, do you want to work on the new Trigun movie? And he said, “Yes I would.” Would you like to comment?

ADAM SHEEHAN: I would love to have him involved. Now, we don’t know what’s going on yet with this because it’s so early. We haven’t even gotten the materials to work on it yet. We did a quick subtitling for the premiere today at four o’clock, but now it’s too early to tell. Would we want to? Absolutely, but I’m not the person to make that decision, and we just don’t know until we see the materials, contracts, timelines, and availability. Good God, we would love to have him, but we’ll see.

TZN: So sometime next year for the Trigun movie?

ADAM SHEEHAN: Yes. Definitely next year. Hopefully early next year.

TZN: Do you think there will be a theatrical release for the movie?

ADAM SHEEHAN: Yes, there will be theatrical for Trigun.

TZN: How did the deal get done for Trigun?

ADAM SHEEHAN: Basically, Flying Dog, one of our people actually got it and brought it over to us and came and talked to us about it and saw we had the TV show beforehand. And basically, with our pedigree and everything we’ve done before being FUNimation, we started talking to them. I believe they came to us with the idea, and we just kept talking, “Well, it’s Trigun. How are you going to pass on Trigun?” Obviously we didn’t. So, because of that is exactly why we picked it up. It was just such a great relationship on the start.

TZN: Does FUNimation plan on re-releasing the Trigun TV series in time for the movie?

ADAM SHEEHAN: We’ll have the TV series on DVD before the movie comes out. That’s the plan.

TZN: Is Blu-ray possible for the series at all?

ADAM SHEEHAN: Yes, possible.

TZN: So what can fans do if they are interested in getting the FUNimation Channel in their area?

ADAM SHEEHAN: The best thing fans can do is go to getFUNimationchannel.com and just fill out a little thing that says I want the channel. Not only do you get a chance to actually help get the channel in your area, which really does matter, you also get a chance to possibly win a flatscreen TV, and five $250 gift cards.

TZN: Besides that and possibly calling up and harassing and haranging cable and satellite companies do you have any other possible ideas for mindgames so they get the message?

ADAM SHEEHAN: I want to say stay off the illegal list. The annoying list is fine, but actually contacting them through our site or calling them directly is by far the best way to do it and just keep doing it, keep doing it, keep doing it. It’s less quality, but it’s quantity now. Bombard them until you get it. That’s the best way to do it, legally.

TZN: FUNimation also seems to be on the ball in using anime simulcasts. Do you think this will also start happening with the bigger manga titles, because now there’s a big debate going on regarding the scanlation sites for manga? Do you think the publishers of the big manga titles that eventually become anime need to start things like anime simulcasts with manga chapters?

ADAM SHEEHAN: Being that anime and manga are sister industries, they are not really exactly the same, I really don’t know their timelines on how that could work. Would that help? I think so because it’s a lot like our industry. We’re missing the same type of fans with the same type of problems. But the possibility and likely of it? I just don’t know that industry enough to actually comment on exactly that. But here’s hoping they figure out something to help them out. I know the big thing in Japan now is teaming up and going after all the scanlation sites. I think that’s great. Just like we’ve worked with different companies here to go after different fansubs or communities or direct download sites. So working together to get legal stuff done, however it works, simulcasts or early stuff is a positive.

TZN: Last year FUNimation had Shodojo.com set up at your booth.

ADAM SHEEHAN: Yes.

TZN: Are you still working with Shodojo?

ADAM SHEEHAN: Well, Shodojo was the name for our social media site, but we got rid of everything we are doing. We’re starting over which is why we took so long. Actually now, that’s my new thing, I’m the marketing manager for our new social media sites.

TZN: Which will be what?

ADAM SHEEHAN: Oh, you got to wait and see. We haven’t announced that yet. We’ll have news on it this summer. Hopefully maybe by the end of this month, beginning of next month, we’ll have some new update on our social media site. I cannot wait to start talking about stuff. I’ve been working on it nonstop. A whole bunch of people in our office have been.

TZN: What did you not like about Shodojo?

ADAM SHEEHAN: Shodojo was all an external company, so the stuff we saw for it just wasn’t really…it’s what they thought anime was. It wasn’t what anime was. So we being anime fans in the company said, “That’s not right. That’s not right.” And every time they would do something, it would come back just not exactly what we needed. It was good, but not for what we needed. So we said, “we need to take this internal if we are going to do this right.”

Toonzone News would like to thank Mr. Sheehan and all the representatives of FUNimation for taking the time to speak with us.

Return to Toonzone’s Anime Expo 2010 Coverage

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