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NYCC2010 NYAF2010: Day 2 Impressions

Day 2 at New York Comic Con was much more
eventful and lively than Day 1. As the weekend had officially kicked off, the
crowds were large and dense, especially in the artist alleys and showrooms.
Lines for highly-anticipated panels such as Durarara!! and Young Justice wound far into the
distance of the Javits Center hallways, making navigation through the
convention nearly impossible at some junctures. But despite some setbacks, Day
2 qualified as a success.

Bandai
Entertainment
: After missing the first twenty or so
minutes of the panel (lesson learned: parking in NYC is a Herculean task not
for the faint of heart), we arrived just in time to hear Bandai’s big
announcements: an Anime Legends release of the original Mobile Suit Gundam with a subtitled Japanese track; the license of Gundam Unicorn, which will be released
in three parts with two episodes per set; the debut of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time on Blu-Ray; the tentative release
schedule and initial dub cast for K-On;
and the license of Gundam 00 the Movie: A
wakening of the Trailblazer
. Bandai also promoted the Sunday, October 10
screening of the Gundam 00 film—its
North American debut.

FUNimation
Entertainment

I was highly anticipating the FUNimation panel, as they have definitely
taken the lead in the anime industry recently. Though the sneak peek hadn’t
proved eventful, my hopes were high for the actual panel. Unfortunately, there
wasn’t much going on. The panel opened with a plug for the upcoming FUNimation
social networking site (funimation.com/beta) which will have both free and
Elite memberships. Perks for the paid membership include access to dubbed
episodes before their release date, ad-free streaming, and additional giveaways
above and beyond those that the free members are eligible for. After promoting
several upcoming titles, including Kaleido
Star
, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein
Girl
, Trigun, and Evaneglion 2.22 (available in 2011), the
panelists moved on to their limited announcements: the cast list for Sekirei, which will be available
November 20; and, the announcement by ADR director Mike McFarland of Summer Wars and its cast. The
award-winning film will have a theatrical release in December 2010, beginning
in LA and New York, and will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray in spring
2011. The dub trailer for Summer Wars also premiered—and the film looks excellent. I’m highly-anticipating it and
would love to see a theatrical screening. The FUNi panelists also stressed the
importance of coming out to see anime on the big screen in order to show
theaters that there is an audience for the product so there can be more films
with theatrical releases.

Star Driver North American Premiere: The much-anticipated fall mecha anime
from Aniplex and Studio BONES made its North American premiere at NYCC, only
days after its first episode aired in Japan. Star Driver is the product of an anime dream team including
director Takuya Igarashi (Soul Eater, Ouran High School Host Club),
screenwriter Yoji Enokido (Revolutionary Girl Utena, Gunbuster 2),
character designer Yoshiyuki Ito (Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater),
featuring music by Satoru Kousaki (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya,
Bakemonogatari
). The animation is done by Studio BONES, whose work
includes Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, Cowboy Bebop the Movie, and Sword of the Stranger.

With these industry powerhouses behind
the helm of this series, nothing short of awesomeness can be expected follow.
And indeed, pure awesome was what we got. After a few words of welcome from Studio
BONES’ president, Masahiko Minami, the lights went down and the action began.
This flamboyant series, which Mr. Minami said was created with the desire to
mix the high school life of Ouran with the mecha fights of Evangelion in
order to portray “normal school life” where high school and robots coexist. The
result? The story of Takuto Tsunashi, a boy who washes up, half-dead, on the
beach of Southern Cross Isle, where he is enrolled as a student. He is also a
Star Driver, the pilot of Tauburn (a mech known as a Cybody) and renowned as
the “Ginga Bishonen” or “Galactic Pretty Boy.” The subtitles did not translate
his nickname, though we were given a translation during the question and answer
session after the episode. An evil organization of mask-wearers called
“Kiraboshi,” whose members identify one another through Sailor Moon-esque poses, works underground the island where the
Cybodies reside. The Cybodies, according to Mr. Minami, were designed to be
“stylish” with identical bases but with changing silhouettes based on its
driver.

Though the first episode moved quickly
with little to no explanation, it was simply great fun.  We were left with many questions about just
who everybody was and what was happening with the space-time continuum, but
that somehow didn’t deter from the experience. It was outlandish, ostentatious
, and outright ridiculous at some points, but that is its appeal.
Unfortunately, no streaming has been announced for the title yet, so we will
have to wait to find out exactly what is going on beneath Southern Cross Isle.
But the wait will be worth it as this series seems poised to be a hit. Highly
recommended for mecha fans—and even for non-mecha fans because it is simply…
fabulous!

Crunchyroll Panel: After braving the long lines
in the overpriced food court, we headed to the Crunchyroll panel. Gundam’s
return to Crunchyroll was announced, as Mobile
Suit Gundam
, Z Gundam, and Gundam 00 have been added to the
catalog. Tantei Opera Milky Holmes was also announced for simulcast, airing Sundays at 1:00 pm PDT.

New simulcasts for the fall season were
also discussed (all times given are PDT):

The
World God Only Knows
(airing Wednesdays, 11:30 am)

Sora
no Otoshimono Forte
(Fridays, 10:30 am)

Super
Robot Taisen OG: The Inspector
(Sundays, 7:30 am)

Otome
Yokai Zakuro
(Mondays, 8:00 am)

Yumeiro
Patisserie Professional
(Saturdays, 4:30 pm)

Fortune
Arterial
(Fridays, 11:00 am)

Tegami
Bachi Reverse
(Saturdays, 9:30 am)

Squid
Girl
(Saturdays, 12:30 pm)

Panty
& Stocking and Garterbelt (
Fridays, 12:30 pm)

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