2006.05.27 Funimation Industry Panel
Lance Haskell is Senior Brand Manager for Funimation.
He's in charge of making sure production, licensing, and the generaal nuts and bolts of anime shows coming from Japan to US are preserved, and presented in best possible way to the fans.
He gets to watch anime, and gets paid for it--best job ever!
He'll do recent trailers, release schedule, bit of FMA the movie, some
upcoming stuff they've acquired yesterday, and then do a QA period.
If you're online, the Anime Boston panel is also happening this weekend.
In about 30 minutes, they'll be announcing another title from Boston.
Can't announce it here yet, due to timing issues--Boston gets to announce it first.
He plays a Funimation channel advertisement which shows Gunslinger Girls and Lupin
June 19th, funimation channel will be in LA, it'll be 18.3, a digital channel,
it's a free over-the-air digital channel you can pick up with a regular antenna.
Will be on Verizon FIOS soon as well.
Also on June 19th, syndicated on dish network, channel 9407.
Will be in other areas as well. It'll be when the channel launches, so watch
They'll star by covering LA, Verizon, Dish network and Colours network.
It's a five year plan. Meeting with Comcast and Charter, but you have to
prove your worth first, get into households first before the big boys will talk to you.
It's like cartoon network--started small, then grows, like G4 is doing now. Just keep asking and waiting for it.
They have realistic goals for the channel. Not a lot of people will watch it this year; they'll have the line-up announcement later.
Next plays a promo for Mr. Stain in Junk Alley
Desert Punk--the Desert Duo.
Bounty hunter, hormones get the best of him, female bounty hunter uses her breasts to own the guy's hormones. Bounty hunters, boobs, and laughter. For more info, see his panel on Sunday at 11pm, in the Panel Room titled "what the hell is desert punk?"
Next, shows a trailer for Full Metal Alchemist, Journey to Ishabal
Then another promo for Desert Punk, vixen of the desert
Kiddy Grade trailer is next, followed by Speed Grapher, which will be available July 4th
Negima trailer is next, followed by a promo for the Basilisk Premium Box set.
He shows a cute promo for Moon Phase, Tsukiyomi, and then finishes up
with the promo for Trinity Blood
That's pretty much their July through Fall lineup.
Release schedule, through August:
Desert Punk is a test (going 4 weeks between volumes), releases in Feb, April, May, June, July, doing volumes monthly!
May 23, vol 3, June 20, vol 4, July 18 vol 5, Aug 15, vol 6.
From april to august, they'll finish the entire series!
Test to see if the fans can support a release cycle that fast. Previously
was on an 8 week schedule. Not sure if their production cycle can support
it for multiple series either.
5/30, tues, samurai 7 vol 7, limited edition, arian and guu, 6/6/06?
yu yu hakusho, 112 eps, 8 different releases.
1-14 is first release, 34.98, good price! uncut versions.
Dragonball GT, vol 1-15 in box in june
FMA 3rd box set, tin, monkey light on it, soundtrack, some really great extras.
Speed Grapher is out in July, comes with box; Also Basilisk and Trinity Blood will come with both special and limited editions.
Negima is out on August 1st.
Oh, June box sets. July 11th, double hub box? Will have reversable wraps, 48 collecting cards with it. Couldn't hear which series that was, though.
samurai 7, last volume; standard, limited edition, and ender box all come out.
Nice art, japanese art box. Trying to match the region 2 goodies for US Samurai Seven release.
August 8th, next volume of Basilesk comes out.
Tenchi Muyo GXP, Aug 15 box set.
Trinity Blood wil be in Sept.
Full Metal Alchemist the movie, sept 12th release volume 10 june 2th, vol 11 july 5, vol 12 in august, sept 12, vol 13 released the same week as the movie. It will be busy fall season for FMA fans.
There's new stuff coming almost every month for new shows. There's no lull in the industry yet, not sure what fans are talking about in terms of a lull.
They pick and choose what to bring over, based on the size of the niche they think it serves. They poll people at conventions to find out what they're interested in, and what they're likely to buy.
He's lhaskell at AnimeOnDVD, and other forums, you can catch him online or here in the convention.
He put his cover letter and resume in a fruits basket cover folder when he sent it to Funimation, and then he got hired a few weeks later. Always good to target a company specifically like that when applying.
Press announcement yesterday, you can get it from him at the end for some of their new titles.
Full Metal Panic second raid! volume 1 will come out Oct 3rd. will have DVD ep 00, and ep 14, the OVA that features Tessa--they've got all of the region 2 goodies on it.
KatsuCon announcement, will be out in Winter. Kimi Ga Nozumu Ein.
Rumbling Hearts, (KimiNozu) Will be released early winter, no solid date yet.
They're a public company now, so they move release dates around to fit quarterly numbers.
A new film is coming out, a live action called Shinobi, goes with Basilisk. Showing at Seattle film festival in a week or two.
He doesn't have a current date when it will hit funimation films.
Full title to search for is: Shinobi--heart under blade. It will be subtitled only, not dubbed.
Q and A, then first five minutes of FMA movie, and then a 30 minute retrospective movie with the FMA voice actors if they have time.
Q. Will later Speed Grapher disks have japanese limited edition plushies?
A. Not sure, but they'll always try.
Q. Any news on Slayers?
First 13 eps uncut of DB?
Detective Conan movies?
A. New releases of slayers in are coming out in Japan, they're trying to find out if Enoki has cleaner prints. They have the rights, but they're trying to get cleaner prints before promising anything.
DragonBall was first contracted to KidMark; some wording in the contract makes sublicensing rights not clearly defined. KidMark was bought by
people, eventually became LionsGate, but getting response from them has been really slow, negotiating with them has been very
They have dubbed first two Conan movies; one released in winter, may slip, it will be the first movie.
Q. Will Dr. Slump be brought to US?
A. It's a long show, a funny show, but not sure how much of a market it might have. If it was done, might be Funimation, but since it's a shonen property, might go to Viz.
It's not a high likelihood, as Funimation is more oriented towards shojou.
Q. YuYuHakusho didn't finish on Cartoon Network?
A. They did, but at 5:30am. Might be on a new channel soon. ^_^
Q. Contrast funimation channel with ADV anime network, how will they be more successful?
A. Well, ADV's been pretty successful, their marketing has been pretty solid for the AnimeNetwork channel. Philosophy, market timing, not sure how things go on their AnimeNetwork, they have no special info on it. Funimation has been planning this for years, they've been building up, and
they're patient, in it for the long term. Not blasting it everywhere, they're owned by a public company, they have strict budgets, they're planning carefully around the channel.
Q. Conflicting reports, DBZ movie live action? Some sites say it's cancelled, others say it's just stuck in production hell.
A. Could be like Spiderman move in 90s, with CG the way it is, it'll be badass if it ever gets made.
Q. Still trying for Fruits Basket series 2?
A. Yep, still trying.
Q. Will Funimation channel have subtitles?
A. Case-by-case basis at night; requires approval from Japan for native language content.
Q. Funimation channel, where else will it be?
A. Starting in LA, get 5.3 million households in one market, good shot to establish themselves; NY and LA are the two biggest markets for video, so if they can establish themselves there, other networks will be more likely to talk to them.
Q. How does the acquisition of shows work?
A. He has a panel that explains this in depth
in an hour...come to that.
In brief: There's lots of manga written; a few get made into anime series. To get made into an anime, they need funding, a producer, production
company, an animation studio, an advertising agency, the network it will be on, and some investors. They all create committees, pool money, split
things up into pieces. Very complicated.
Then, bringing it to US, companies meet at NATB, trade shows, Tokyo Anime Fair in March, licensing show in June, toy faire, lots of shows where people get together, representatives show up and have meetings with other companies, they pitch shows, Funimation reviews them, they may put a bid in, depends how many people bid on it, depends on past relationships, etc.
Negotiations can last two years for some shows! Some negotiations can take just a few months.
In general, process takes about 9 months to work through.
Q. KimiNoZo, does it include follow up anime, and who will the voice actors be?
A. Can't announce actors, but have started dubbing. Don't have followup episodes, no.
Q. Will they cut their shows to fit US censorship laws?
A. Eclair and Lumiere naked had to be cut, since that was going to be on at 4pm. But the violence is still there. So some yes, some no.
Q. He came from advertising background, how would he contrast that with his current job?
A. He worked at an Internet ad agency, worked at fast pace. Funimation is even faster paced than the internet ad agency. Live and die on release dates.
See the "how anime comes to america" panel. So many levels for the process!
Q. Funimation has the license for FMA, what happens to new material that comes out in that franchise in Japan?
A. Funimation has options, but they still have to compete against other companies. They have first rights, but every contract is different. The movie closes up the storyline and opens it back up at the
The manga just diverged; vol 13 of manga released, Hoenheim was totally different between the two. Two different views of the story.
The OVA is scenes from the series, some live actions, chibi comic party, and one very cute spoilerish bit, but they're not pure episodes per
se, so unlikely they'll be brought over.
Q. AT AX, showed third OVA for Tenchi Muyo; when will they finish it off?
A. In Sept; they made an additional episode in Japan when it got popular. Schedule was based on the original 6 episodes, didn't want to risk
the extra episode being lost, they had to push out their schedule to make sure all the actors were available for the dub.
Q. Why didn't they get One Piece or Narurto?
A. Well, it comes down to bidding, and strategy. Viz and 4Kids have their own strategy for putting the show out on Saturday mornings.
Q. Can they get same voices for FMP2 as FMP?
A. Contractually, getting at least one--the others, they're still working on.
Q. KimiNozo is romantic drama; that's not really Funimation's normal market; what brought them into that field?
A. Some of the folks at Funimation liked the story, it's good romance, so they chose to go after it. Trying to expand, since different fans have different interests.
FullMetalAlchamist movie trailer gets played next.
Ah--now he can announce they've purchased Beck, Mongolian Chop Squad.
The Conqueror of Shambala will go theatrical, hit top 25 markets, check Funimation films website for the scheduled markets.
First five minutes of the FMA movie played next.
Release will be based off the limited edition release in Japan, they'll have the majority of the niceties in the US release as well.
Panel wraps up at 1759 hours Pacific Time.