AmeCon 2010 State of the Industry Panel

1:37:55 PM: State of the Industry panel is starting, Andrew Partridge of Beez, Tony Allen of MVM and committee leader Will Blewitt attending.

1:38:50 PM: Tony is going to kick off with some MVM news.

1:39:40 PM: No new acquisitions from MVM other than what’s already been announced. 6th Sep Moribito. First venture into departing from single discs

1:40:10 PM: October – Blade of the Immortal, cost a lot so it is coming out in single discs despite the new direction.

1:41:14 PM: Blade of the Immortal is 3 individual volumes. New Slayers series also licensed (Revolution and Evolution-R).

1:41:48 PM: MVM are hoping to have some new acquisitions in 2011. They have also started going into live-action titles.

1:42:33 PM: Tony compares live-action sales of around 20,000 units for the same effort and the same cost as an anime which may sell a few hundred.

1:42:54 PM: Even the dodgy B-movie stuff has done really well, getting into places like ASDA.

1:43:24 PM: Older series are being reissued as fatpacks at a rate of around 4 a month, at reasonable prices.

1:44:15 PM: Andrew asks the audience how many people would be interested in live-action Japanese TV series.

1:45:01 PM: Someone asks Andrew what are the chances of Turn-A Gundam, he said to ask at the Beez panel.

1:47:36 PM: Andrew asks what people think about the feasibility of international releases at Japanese price points.

1:47:47 PM: The answer is a rousing noooooo from the audience.

1:50:08 PM: Andrew asks what the audience thinks of the idea of Japanese companies directly entering into the English language market.

1:52:42 PM: The reply is a general feeling that Japanese companies may not understand Western markets. The example of Toei and Slam Dunk was cited.

1:54:06 PM: Andrew brings up the subject of Crunchyroll, it turns out there are a few people in the audience who have not heard of it.

1:55:26 PM: Fudce asks how MVM and Beez are dealing with Funimation’s apparent vacuuming up of licences.

1:56:00 PM: Andrew replies that it is a bit of a mixed bag and says that Funimation are somewhat the Madman of America now.

1:56:43 PM: Tony remarks that it was MVM who really launched Funimation into the UK market with titles such as Fullmetal Alchemist.

1:57:07 PM: This changed when Funimation was bought by Navarre who already had a UK distribution deal with Revelation.

1:57:27 PM: Tony says it is quite frustrating when the UK rights just sit there and are not available for sublicensing.

1:58:20 PM: He cites Chobits, his licence for this expired and when he went back to Kodansha, he was told it had been bolted on to the Funi US deal.

1:59:11 PM: He also mentions the case of a French company that was sitting on UK rights for Dragonball Z.

2:00:23 PM: Baccano is coming out this year from Manga, in October or so.

2:00:54 PM: I asked Tony if he has any plans for Blu-Ray releases, he says the minimum print run for them is around 3000.

2:01:20 PM: He does have some Blu-Ray rights but at this point he is just in the position of waiting and seeing.

2:01:57 PM: Apparently Evangelion 1.11 made up the bulk of 5,000 unit sales on launch.

2:03:15 PM: Andrew says that Blu-Ray production costs are very high and consequently it would be very hard to put titles out at prices people would pay.

2:04:13 PM: Andrew says that companies like Apple are more into HD downloads but the Japanese companies are leery of allowing this kind of thing.

2:05:14 PM: Someone mentions that people are willing to pay for well constructed online streaming services, Andrew says he likes Spotify.

2:07:28 PM: I asked about Bandai Channel’s yet-to-materialise European launch. Andrew says they are still working out how to adapt it to Western markets

2:07:52 PM: More user research is necessary before it becomes a viable platform.

2:08:59 PM: Tony grumbles that Andrew and Jerome are always grabbing up new titles so he tends to look towards older ones.

2:09:36 PM: Tony says that old series that have fallen through the cracks can often do really well and he cites FLCL.

2:10:04 PM: He says his contract for FLCL is entirely in Japanese, they wouldn’t give him an English version.

2:11:04 PM: He also says that it’s often possible to get reasonable deals on older titles.

2:12:34 PM: Andrew says he’s interested in looking at older titles now that he has the necessary remit to do so, he mentions Irresponsible Captain Tylor

2:13:56 PM: Andrew says that old titles can have down sides such as the difficulty of PAL masters.

2:15:34 PM: Someone asks just how bad the market in Japan is, Andrew mimes chugging from a bottle of Captain Morgan! ROFL

2:16:48 PM: Andrew says that fans are finally starting to realise there are things they can do to help, like supporting services such as Crunchyroll.

2:17:12 PM: Tony suggests that the questioner should read the half-page article from Johnathan Clements in this month’s NEO Magazine.

2:18:45 PM: Someone asks if the Emergency Budget has affected them at all, Andrew says the VAT rise affects all companies.

2:21:31 PM: Someone asks if the Funimation buy-up of the Tenchi TV shows is preventing a UK relaunch of those. Tony says it’s not something he’d revisit

2:22:02 PM: Panel is coming to an end, there will be a short break and then the Beez panel is on.

AmeCon 2010 Beez Panel

2:31:02 PM: Present are Andrew Partridge of Beez and Will Blewitt, committee leader.

2:31:53 PM: Andrew is about to announce the licenes mentioned in the guessing game earlier, he has renamed the files so nobody can tell what they are

2:32:57 PM: First up is Sora Kake Girl a.k.a The Girl Who Leapt Through Space.

2:34:25 PM: Next is Sora no Woto, which he’d renamed as “DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY”.

2:36:43 PM: He says they’ll be coordinating with Rightstuf on that. Someone asked about soundtracks, he says he’ll look into it.

2:37:38 PM: Next up is Lucky Star (renamed as “HUMAN CENTIPEDE”).

2:39:27 PM: He says he chose Lucky Star as it’s now down to a reasonable price due to having been out in the US and Oz for a while now.

2:39:40 PM: Contract includes the OVA and he plans to release it in half-season sets.

2:40:02 PM: He says he’ll have news on the exact release details by the time Expo comes around.

2:41:56 PM: The fourth video, which was already known about, is Outlaw Star.

2:42:29 PM: Unlike the other three videos which were just rips of the shows’ OPs, this one is a trailer style video complete with gravelly voiceover man

2:43:38 PM: Outlaw Star and The Big O are going straight to Anime Legends. Andrew says that if he was planning to do Turn-A that would also go there.

2:44:15 PM: Andrew thanks people in general for a 200% rise in sales due to the launch of Anime Legends.

2:44:29 PM: The next video to be shown is Durarara!!

2:46:45 PM: Both the first and second OPs to this show are shown.

2:48:31 PM: Andrew says he already knew the studio and author because of Baccano, so he licensed it before it started in Japan.

2:48:50 PM: He says it’s now not an impossibility to release titles in the same year that they get broadcast in Japan.

2:49:41 PM: A sub-only release is coming out in October time in time for Expo, across 3 sets, £24.99 RRP for each (8-9 eps in each one) including OVAs.

2:51:31 PM: Dubbed release will come later. An upgrade scheme is planned.

2:52:53 PM: Andrew also mentions Baccano which is coming out in October as well. He says they are now moving towards getting timely releases out.

2:53:40 PM: Someone asks if the UK will get the 2 Gurren Lagann movies. Andrew says he has mixed feelings, he’d like to release them.

2:54:14 PM: However it is a compilation movie.

2:54:30 PM: Someone asks about Outlaw Star, it is going to be released in a 1-pack set.

2:55:17 PM: Someone asks about translated credits on DVDs, Andrew says where a subtitle track is available they will do it.

2:57:23 PM: Andrew tells the story of Beez’s misadventures with the BBFC over the tiny Code Geass edit.

2:58:31 PM: Andrew says they try to avoid retouching video where possible, mainly for cost reasons.

2:59:08 PM: Someone asks about Dennou Coil, Andrew says he is interested in it and he really likes it, but he is concerned that it would not sell.


3:00:48 PM: Someone asks about Kaiba and Garden of Sinners (Kara no Kyoukai). Andrew says he’s not so sure about Kaiba.

3:01:15 PM: He also says Jerome of Manga would love to get Garden on Sinners and it’s already licensed in France.

3:02:11 PM: Someone asks about Guu and Utena, Andrew says there was a complication with the rights back in the day for Guu.

3:02:20 PM: He says for Utena it may be better to ask Tony of MVM.

3:03:03 PM: Someone asks if Beez are planning to do live action stuff, Andrew says he plans to stick to anime at the moment.

3:05:03 PM: Someone asks if Beez have considered doing licenses from other companies than Bandai and Andrew explains that many of the new shows are.

3:06:28 PM: I ask if there’s any chance of Gundam 00 Blu-rays, Andrew says if Bandai USA do them he may be able to.

3:07:19 PM: Someone asks if Sora no Woto will have a Blu-ray release. Andrew says he would sell his own grandmother to do one but it may not be possible

3:08:52 PM: He mentions that a lot of BONES titles are not designed for HD and are actually upscaled.

3:10:15 PM: I asked if Andrew knew if the Aniplex ROD box set was likely to be region coded, he said he thought it probably would be.

3:11:05 PM: He says that generally if there is a UK licensor for the title, it will probably be region-locked.

3:11:32 PM: Someone asks about Macross, the bottle of rum comes out again!

3:12:40 PM: Someone asks if the Code Geass incident has made Andrew more cautious about what shows to license, but he says it’s hard to predict.

3:14:47 PM: Someone asks how the removal of the BBFC would affect the anime industry. Andrew says a system like the Irish one would be better.

3:15:18 PM: In the Irish system, lower rates are charged for shows which are expected to sell only limited numbers of units.

3:16:42 PM: Someone asks about Magical Index and Scientific Railgun. Andrew says he will look into whether the US deal included the UK rights.

3:17:34 PM: Apparently there was a programme on the BBC recently where a few clips of anime were shown, someone asks if anything more is likely.

3:20:10 PM: Andrew thinks it is more likely that we could see something similar to Anime Central rather than the BBC picking up anime.

3:22:18 PM: Someone asks about The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Andrew says that he’s involved in the new Scotland Loves Anime film festival.

3:23:02 PM: He says it will be premiered on 35mm at this festival.

3:23:44 PM: However he says it’s not coming to DVD any time soon as it hasn’t been licenced yet.

3:25:44 PM: Panel is coming to an end now. Andrew jokes about the panel having been sponsored by Captain Morgan and says he’s off to the dealers room.