After an incredibly busy weekend at the MCM London Expo, we're finally able to sit down and take stock of things, meaning that there's plenty of news and announcements to appraise you of, many of which came from Sunday's anime industry panel.
Starting out with MVM Entertainment, the company's head honcho Tony was plased to pronounce the company "back in business" as far as anime releases are concerned, revealing that he feels that the industry is back on the up again after a rough period. As a result, MVM will be aiming to release one anime title per month throughout both the remainder of 2012 and into next year.
Starting with this year, the forthcoming release of Broken Blade in June will be followed up by .Hack//Quantum in July and the re-release of Ergo Proxy in box set form in August. From here, we move on to our first new announcements, with MVM set to release the first season of Rosario & Vampire in September, with season two arriving in October. November will then bring us the previously announced Mayo Chiki.
Looking into 2013, MVM Entertainment have also confirmed that they hold the licenses for currently airing (and streaming) series Bodacious Space Pirates, and will also be releasing the second season of Shana on DVD with a view towards nabbing the license for both season three and the Shana S OVA. Dream Eater Merry and Rosen Maiden Overture have also been licensed for release by the company.
Next up were Manga Entertainment, who discussed their forthcoming releases of Dragon Ball Z and Welcome to the Space Show before confirming that July 2nd will see Black Lagoon released in conjunction with Kaze, arriving as both a DVD complete collection box set and season one and two collections on Blu-Ray. Released the week before that is the first half of Bleach's ninth season, complete with new-look packaging and presentation as it marks the first volume to be released in conjunction with Kaze.
Other exciting new releases on the current schedule include Strike Witches 2 on DVD on July 23rd, while Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt currently slated for a July 30th DVD release, although this may slip with Manga Entertainment still waiting to receive their masters to work from. Spice & Wolf Season 2 hits the UK on August 6th, followed the next week by the first season of Squid Girl on DVD, and the first season of The World God Only Knows will reach the UK on DVD on October 8th (with season two due in 2013), the week before Ninja Scroll arrives on Blu-Ray. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is now set up for a mid-October release on both DVD and Blu-Ray, with the Tales of Versperia: The First Strike film expected to land in December.
New announcements from the anime industry panel and its immediate aftermatch include Sengoku Basara Season 2, scheduled for a 17th September release, and Gintama: The Movie, currently slated for a December DVD-only release.
Also discussed by both Manga Entertainment and Kaze UK were Tiger & Bunny, with the first DVD and Blu-Ray release slated for late October while the franchise's first movie outing will be screened in both Scotland and London on September 22nd. There's still no timeframe for a physical release of Mardock Scramble: The Second Combustion, with Kaze waiting for an English dub for the film (which is still yet to enjoy its Japanese physical release).
As always, Blu-Ray turned up during the industry panel's Q&A session, with MVM Entertainment noting an innovative way of reducing costs for their first Blu-Ray release, Broken Blade, essentially co-producing and authoring the entire disc in conjunction with Australia's Madman Entertainment (complete with both company logos and both country's rating certificates on-disc) to reduce costs on both sides - MVM also confirmed healthy pre-orders for this release. MVM also noted that the major issues with Blu-Ray releases right now are Sony's licensing costs, and slow uptake on both the retail and consumer sides of the market. Manga Entertainment added to this by noting that Blu-Ray inception costs are currently three times higher than that for DVD, and they need this to come down to make it more viable - the company hope that a new deal with replicators next year may be the first step in this process.
Away from the throng of the main panel, Kaze UK's Andrew Partridge held a special session alongside voice artist Michael Sinterniklaas to show off the new Berserk movies to which they have rights - it was noted that the first film will be released on both DVD and Blu-Ray on December 31st (with a special Collector's Edition also in planning), while Scotland Loves Anime should include screenings of this first movie as part of its line-up. Viz Media are currently in the process of organising a US dub for the films, with hopes of reunited much if not all of the cast from the dub of the Berserk TV anime series.
With time up on that panel, we took a few moments to chat with Andrew Partridge about various matters - first up was Anime on Demand, which Andrew acknowledges is beyond quiet and will remain so until an announcement is made which should spell good news for the service. In the meantime, it was confirmed that Anime on Demand do hold the rights to the second series of Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne, which will air in the summer. There is also at least one other very exciting license of a recent show which might well be announced shortly!
Another important question surrounds the future of Beez Entertainment - with an official statement on the way, Andrew confirmed that Bandai will continue to hold onto the rights for all Gundam-based series, but that all other properties have seen their rights return to the original licensors. With that in mind, work is currently underway to ensure that as many of these licenses as possible go to new homes with a view of ensuring that they remain available in the UK, possibly in an upgraded form in the case of Code Geass as one particular example.
Of course, we'll be keeping you appraised with more information on a lot of these early announcements, and on the progress made in both Beez Entertainment and Anime on Demand's cases, as more news becomes available. As always, keep your eyes glued to the site and our Twitter feed!
Many thanks go to all of those in the industry for their candid and informative sharing of what you read above, and in particular to Andrew Partridge for taking a few minutes to chat with us about some of the matters discussed.