Due to technical difficulties, the panel started 15 minutes late. The Convention Manager of Funimation, Tara McKinney and the Fan Engagement Coordinator (awesome job title) Timothy Johnson jumped straight into previews that are available currently.
They opened with a crowd favorite, Cowboy Bebop which is finally available on BD/DVD as a set. The vid that they show is definitely one of my favorites as they introduced some of the people behind the release of the set including the graphic designers, the senior managers, social media, director of productions and more. It takes more than a few people to put out a re-release! Instead of simply a trailer, this vid showcases the staff that worked on this edition, staff who are also fans of the series intercut with scenes from the show backed by the wonderful music of Yoko Kanno. They highlighted the reasons why the show was awesome, resonating with feelings that span across the years. Those who started watching the series back when it was on Cartoon Network over the years and even those who pick it up now. Stylish, fun and still totally relevant. Definitely an awesome PV to start with. I do hope they will include this video as an extra since it gives a bit of behind the scenes look at the staff.
From the director of Summer Wars, the next release is a BD/DVD combo pack of Wolf Children accompanied with a clip that showcases the ups and downs of motherhood. It gives a sweet look at the beginning of the movie that definitely echoes so strongly about family love. To offset the melancholy feels of the movie, the next clip is for Season 5 of Hetalia: The Beautiful World which showcases America…being America. Poor Japan!
The promo clip for Psycho-Pass first season BD/DVD is a clip from an early episode which shows them apprehending a possible hostile…in bunny suits. Got to love those suits. The second season was just finished streaming online and for Funi All Access members, the first season English dub is available.
Ben-To is an action pack series about hand to hand combat, nitty gritty one-on-one fights, malay weapons ranging from everything you can get your hands on…in a grocery store. Because it’s all about getting the best and cheapest of bento boxes. The promo was intercut with some of the crazy characters we see in the series…getting really serious about their mealtimes. Bento battles are serious business.
Long running series, Fairy Tail boxset 14 is available. The promo clip is from The Grand Magic Games which pits the Fairy Tail guild against other guilds which allows the winners to do whatever they want to the losers…complete with some BL-tastic hints. Episode 154-164 on 4 discs.
For guys who want to learn how to double or triple date, Date A Live is the manual of how that is done. With a team of techies behind him, main character, Itsuka Shido tries to date three girls. At the same time. That was the promo clip with all the hilarity, but truly, the story is…just a bit more about that, but not by much. The long and short of the series is that earthquakes have killed off at least 150 million people in the world. The cause of the earthquakes are Spirits who are pretty girls with overwhelming power. Shido has the power to seal their power…except they have to fall in love with him and kiss him. A semi serious plot wrapped up in ecchi moments and hilarity courtesy of an ongoing light novel series by Tachibana Koshi and drawn by the ever popular Tsunako of Hyperdimension Neptunia fame. If the cute girls look familiar, that is the reason why.
Hilariously, the promo clip ran a bit long and we got to see a bit more ecchi then originally planned by the MCs. Tara promised more explicit clips at the Funi Peep Show which is of course an 18+ panel tonight.
To recover from an ecchi-filled show, the next promo features the manliest of the manly…Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods. The extended edition BD/DVD promo clip features fighting, muscles, grunts and alot of screaming…with a video clip showing the two voice actors battling it out…in the recording booth. It’s pretty awesome to see how their expressions filled their faces for all those screaming scenes. *applause*
Also based on a light novel series, Aesthetica of a Rouge Hero is about the laid back Akatsuki who despite not being able to use magic, is able to fight by other means, succeeds much of the time (hence his arrogance) and is surrounded by beautiful women who either want to defeat him or most likely will end up in some sort of harem with him. How can they resist the aloof, strong and sarcastic type? ^^;
To continue with the theme of voluptuous girls (Funi is trying to please their male fanbase again) we have Senran Kagura which is about girls who are training to be ninjas at the Hanzou Academy fighting against rival Hiritsu Hebi Academy. The series started with video games but have several manga series, one of which is still ongoing in Japan.
Another harem show from a light novel series, Hagani Next is the second season show about Hasegawa Kodaka who decided to start the ‘Neighbors Club’, a club for unique individuals who don’t really fit in anywhere else. Besides the plethora of girls in the series, there is a Yukimura who is an effeminate guy who idolizes Kodaka. BL hints? Perhaps. The clip shows the club’s trip to the amusement park. Hilarity slice of life….a different taste of harem series…but a harem series nonetheless.
Something familiar is Panty and Stocking with Garter Belt which we get to see a BD/DVD combo release. The trailer is filled with the glittery animation fans love juxtaposed with saucy language. Tara confirmed that the discs audio is uncensored…unlike the trailers that were shown here. We’re a family friendly con afterall! At least in the afternoon….
One Piece: Z movie clip was filled with awesome fun as always, promising out of bounds fighting, amazing animation and of course a whole lot of Luffy. A Certain Magical Index II ends the previews part of the panel. The second season continues Kamijo Toma’s role in protecting Index in the battles of Espers and Magicians. Always love the animation of this series.
Since there was no time for questions, Tara went through the panels that Funimation are holding at the con as well as encouraged people to ask questions afterwards at the booth. Since I was running around, I asked them (away from the rest of the attendees) about them not acquiring Free!, the first season. Especially since they have the second season Eternal Summer. Their comment…was that Crunchyroll gave it to Discotek, a company they have been working closely with. As to Funi’s stance on it, whether or not they bid for the home release license, was left unspoken. Hmm….