NYCC: Bandai Brings "Flag," "Ghost in the Shell," and "Haruhi"
Bandai executives Robert Place Napton and Ken Iyadomi hosted the Bandai Banzai panel at the New York Comic Con on Sunday afternoon, giving anime fans a taste of upcoming anime and manga from Bandai Entertainment. Bandai debuted their latest anime, titled Flag and directed by Ryosuke Takahashi (Blue Gender, Samurai 7). Bandai showed the opening sequence to the first episode of the show, which was in unsubtitled Japanese but which established the setting nevertheless. The series focuses on a photojournalist working in a war zone, with Napton calling the story poignant and the first anime to deal with current events and the world we live in now. The 13-episode series will be released in 4 volumes starting in August 2007.
The next title previewed was the Witchblade Takeru manga, based on the Witchblade anime series that was released in Japan last year. This manga will be co-published with American comic book company Top Cow, with Bandai releasing the manga in a black-and-white manga digest format and Top Cow releasing it in color in the more traditional American comic-book format. Bandai showed the audience the trailer for the Top Cow product, reminding everybody that their book will be in black-and-white. The book will be released in June.
April will bring a live-action movie starring Go Nagai’s Cutie Honey character, directed by Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion). An extended trailer for the movie was shown at the panel which had a few incomplete visual effects but still gave a good sense of the goofy flavor of the movie. The direct-to-DVD movie will be coming on April 17, and will include both dubbed and subtitled sountracks.
Next, a series of trailers were shown for upcoming DVD releases. .hack//ROOTS will continue the anime series based on the hit video games. The first volume of the new series will be released on April 3, in both a regular edition and a special edition that will contain a T-shirt, original soundtrack, art box, and more.
My-Otome was the next title previewed. Napton described it a sort of sequel to My-HiME as the original characters are “re-imagined” and set in a new scenario. This series will be 26 episodes on 6 DVDs, with the first one expected this summer.
Gundam SEED Destiny was a crowd pleasing preview. The next DVD will be volume 7, which will start season 2 of the series, but Bandai could only say that it would be released “soon.” They are currently in negotiations to release the extra 2 episodes from the TV series on DVD.
The second season of Eureka Seven will be coming soon as well. Volume 7 will also be released in a collectors special edition, which will include an art box, T-shirt, soundtrack, and manga volume. The manga volume will be available in bookstores and the new season will air on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.
The movie debut of Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society (subtitled) occurred immediately after the Bandai panel, but panel attendees got to see an unsubtitled Japanese trailer for the movie. An English trailer is in the work. The DVD is planned for a July release, with both a dubbed and subtitled sountrack. The voice cast will be the same as from the last Ghost in the Shell series. Napton also congratulated Mary Elizabeth for being named the American Anime Awards’ Best Voice Actress for her work as Motoko Kusanagi. The DVD is scheduled for release in July 2007. A soundtrack release is under negotiation now.
The last trailer shown was for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, a new series that will be coming in May. Bandai showed the audience a trailer and a promotional live-action film for the Volume 1 Special Edition boxed set, which will ship in an art box with a pencil board, iron-on, cosplay ribbon, original soundtrack, and dedicated DVDs of bonus material. Volumes 2-4 will also come with special editions that will include a variety of bonus extras, including soundtracks, art boxes, cosplay paraphenalia, and pillowcases.
In response to a question from the audience, Iyadomi stated that the Haruhi special edition DVDs will be limited to 20,000 copies each. The first volume will air the shows in the DVD order, but bonus discs will feature subtitled episodes in broadcast order starting with the volume 2 special edition.
Like many of the anime companies at the con, Bandai had no comment yet on when or if HD-DVD or BluRay DVDs were coming, or which format they would be releasing their licensed anime on.
At the moment, there are no plans for new Gundam models, Haruhi figures, or figures from My-HiME. They also stated that there was a Cowboy Bebop game planned, but it never got approval and there was no recent movement on that front.