As the American convention season continues apace, this weekend sees Otakon loom large on the schedule, bringing with it plenty of new license and release announcements from across the pond courtesy of a number of US distributors.
Of all the panels held thus far, FUNimation Entertainment had the most to discuss with a slew of licensing announcements for North America:
- Akira - FUNimation now have the rights to this seminal anime movie, picked up from Bandai Entertainment, who released the film on Blu-Ray in the US in 2009 prior to Manga Entertainment's well-received Blu-Ray release in the UK last year.
- Aquarion EVOL - this recently aired follow-up series to the original 2005 Aquarion anime takes place 12,000 years after that first season to provide another hefty dose of Shoji Kawamori-produced robot battling action. The show will receive streaming and physical releases in the US.
- Fairy Tail - As well as confirming that they have rights for an additional twenty-four episodes of this shounen series' TV release, the company have also picked up physical release rights for its forthcoming theatrical outing, Hōō no Miko (aka The Maiden of the Phoenix), which opens in Japan next month.
- Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine - After streaming Takeshi Koiike's take on the Lupin III franchise earlier this year, FUNimation have now confirmed that they have physical release lights for this intriguing series.
- Maken-ki! - Also extended from streaming to physical release rights is fan service battle anime Maken-ki!
- One Piece - As per Fairy Tail, confirmation that further TV episodes from its fifth season will be released by FUNimation came alongside news that the tenth movie from this super-hit franchise, Strong World, will also be getting a physical release. We reviewed the film here at UK Anime following a screening at Scotland Loves Anime.
- Sankarea - Another series to make the leap from a streaming to a full physical release license is Sankarea, the story of a boy obsessed with zombies as his dreams threaten to come true.
- Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection - This animated movie, the first from the Yamato franchise in over a quarter of a century, will get a physical release from FUNimation, bringing the latest instalment of this space opera (set twenty-one years after the original story) to North America.
- Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar - FUNimation completes their collection of Tenchi Muyo licenses by nabbing this alternate world OVA set fifteen years after the events of Tenchi Muyo GXP. The company have streaming, digital and physical release rights to the series.
Next up we have NIS America, who talked about a number of their existing and forthcoming titles before producing a single new license announcement in suitably dramatic fashion:
- Umineko: When They Cry - Known as Umineko no Naku Koro ni in Japanese, this visual novel turned anime from the creator of Higurashi delivers a murder-mystery with suspense elements set on a remote island. The series will be released on Blu-Ray voa two volumes of NISA's standard "premium edition" packaging, complete with art books.
Then we have Aniplex USA, who also had one rather special new announcement in the midst of other previous release confirmations:
- Durarara!! - After its Blu-Ray release in Japan earlier this year, the company intends to bring a special US version of this Blu-Ray box set to North America, comprising of the entire series across five discs, packaged in a limited edition "lunch box" container and complete with a double-sided poster. Pre-orders for the release start in North America on Monday.
Finally comes Media Blasters, who took to Facebook in the run-up to the convention with some announcements of their own to tout:
- Ai no Kusabi - this boys' love OVA based on a novel will be released by the company on DVD this December.
- Aki Sora - this sexually charged story of incest will be released, possibly under the company's (with every pun intended) sister label Kitty Media due to its adult content.
- Jubei-Chan - comprising of two series previously released by Bandai Entertainment and Geneon respectively, Media Blasters appear to have rescued both seasons of this sword-wielding action-comedy series with a view towards releasing it as a box set later this year.
So there you have it - no shortage of new anime licenses for our American and Canadian friends on the horizon! Which of these series would you like to see arrive in the UK? Let us know in the comments section!