Aniplex of America Panel at MCM London Comic Con

Aniplex of America panel (Yosuke Kodaka)

The Sunday of the MCM London Comic Con weekend saw Aniplex’s Manager of Licensing, Yosuke Kodaka, hold a panel at Theatre B. He described what they were doing for Europe, as well as for Japan and the US, and also answered questions from attendees. He even went so far as to give out anime-related freebies to anyone that asked a question.

“This is our very first time here in the UK,” said Yosuke, showing just how rare it was that Aniplex were doing a panel at the event.

He also mentioned that there were two guests sitting amongst the attendees – Atsushi Takahashi and Takamitsu Inoue, the director and producer respectively of Blue Exorcist: The Movie. After playing the trailer for the film, Yosuke showed off the Blu-Ray and DVD for Blue Exorcist: The Movie, released in the UK by Manga Entertainment.

“If you want the high-def version, check out the Blu-Ray,” said Yosuke. “This Blu-Ray is in a very nice, shiny box. So check it out.”

Yosuke then went on to explain what anime Aniplex would be showing in the UK, and where they could be viewed. These included:

Kill La Kill, which is now showing on Wakanim.
Mekakucity Actors, which is now streaming on Animax.
Nisekoi, which is now streaming on Animax.
Mushi-shi, which is now showing on Crunchyroll.
Nanana’s Buried Treasure, which is showing on Crunchyroll.

He also mentioned certain anime that those in the UK can purchase from Aniplex, such as Persona 3: The Movie on Blu-Ray (of which the Aniplex Collector’s Edition includes a 48-page booklet).

Yosuke then revealed that Aniplex will also be selling merchandise. “We just established a website selling figurines from really famous titles such as Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero” he said. “This can be shipped from US to the UK fans as well. We’re going to keep updating our exclusive items on this site.”

After this, a new, subtitled trailer for the upcoming Sword Art Online II was shown, which had appeared just a few hours before the panel on Aniplex’s YouTube channel.

Aniplex of America panel (Sword Art Online II)“Who’s a fan of Sword Art Online?” asked Yosuke, whose question was met with a lot of raised hands. Yosuke explained that the next season will be coming this July. “We’re going to bring this title on the simulcast,” he said, referring to the series being streamed worldwide. He also mentioned that the anime will have a special screening event taking place at Anime Expo in Los Angeles on July 4th.

After this, the discussion was opened up to the audience for questions, with the first few related to Sword Art Online. One audience member asked if the new sequel would contain anyone from the original series. “This is based on Gun Gale Online, which is from the novel, so it’s reasonable,” Yosuke replied.

Another somewhat similar question about Sword Art Online asked how much of the second series relates to the first. “The main character is going to be Kirito. He’s going to make another adventure to Gun Gale Online,” said Yosuke, not wanting to give too much away. “You will have to wait until the anime is ready.”

One interesting question asked what the chances were of having an Aniplex of Europe. “If the company accept [me living] in London, then… yeah.” He noted that they have no European offices, but he loved the idea.

Asked about the possibility of Aniplex releasing anime in 4K resolution, Yosuke said, “It depends on the title. The strength of Japanese animation is hand drawing, those are the traditional way of doing anime. Most of the titles are still going to be in 2K and 2D.”

One question asked about the series Angel Beats and whether there was any truth to the rumours of there being a second season. “I don’t have much information about Angel Beats sequel,” Yosuke answered, but he was aware that it was popular and said that if there was a lot of fan interest then something might happen in the future. He then elaborated, explaining how Aniplex keep an eye on social media and that fan comments could help to bring about more seasons. “On the Sword Art Online Facebook, we have around 1.6 million followers,” he said, “so a title like that, we try to convince the Japanese producer – ‘Hey look, there’s tons of fans waiting for this sequel.’”

One attendee noted how some anime titles would get released in America, but not in the UK. Yosuke said that one of the reasons certain titles don’t make it in the UK is because, “most of the titles with English dub [are] created in the US.” He then asked the audience, “You guys all prefer dub rather than subtitles?” A vote was held, and to Yosuke’s surprise, most people preferred subtitles. “That’s interesting. I thought many people would prefer dubs.”

Yosuke was then asked by an attendee who he would have to give his money to in order to make The iDOLM@STER available in Europe. “iDOLM@STER is a pretty niche title,” said Yosuke, seeming surprised that there was interest for it. He added, “We’ll take that into consideration.”

There was also a question that more than one person wanted to know the answer to – whether Aniplex intend to release Silver Spoon in the near future. The anime tells of student Yugo Hachiken, who enrols at a school in the countryside. “That’s a really good title,” said Yosuke. “So, yeah, we’re now negotiating with some potential licenses in the UK, so I hope we can bring this pretty soon.”

Yosuke was asked if there was any chance that they would hold voice auditions for their anime in the UK, given that this is something that had taken place in the US. “If we can establish an office in the UK, then you may have a chance to audition,” he responded. “Do you guys prefer a US dub or a UK dub?” he asked. Given where he was, the majority of the audience preferred listening to a British voice.

A question was asked about Kara no Kyōkai: The Garden of Sinners, concerning whether or not there were any plans to release the final film in the series, or to go back and do a Blu-Ray or dub for the others. “The title is released by MVM in the UK,” said Yosuke, who hinted that a dub or Blu-Ray would be through them. “Please check out MVM for the future release.”

The final question concerned the romantic comedy series Nisekoi, which has now finished its TV run, and so Yosuke was asked when fans could expect a US or UK release. “We’ll make some sort of announcement for the future release, so please look out for it,” he answered.

As Aniplex’s first panel at MCM came to an end and Yosuke told the crowd, “Thank you very much for coming.”


Main photo by Kay Ibrahim

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