Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

Top Anime Series You Should Be Watching this Summer

We’re about halfway through the summer 2014 season, so it’s a great time to review some anime!

 

Kotaku recently published their recommendations for the Five Anime of Summer 2014 You Should Be Watching, and two FUNimation shows made the list: Barakamon and Tokyo Ghoul. If you’ve watched these shows, then you know why they made the list, but just in case, here’s a run down for you.

 

barakamonBarakamon:

Currently on episode 6, this slice-of-life comedy is a heart warming story of personal growth and discovery. Who knew an anime about calligraphy would capture our hearts?

 

synopsis:

An aspiring artist’s world is about to be turned upside down.

 

Seishu exiles himself to a small island to rediscover his passion as a calligrapher after violently attacking one of his most vocal critics. While the Goto Islands appear to be a tranquil paradise on the surface, this young mapmaker soon learns that wacky neighbors and hyperactive children just might provide him the sense of humor he needs on his journey towards self-discovery.

 

Based on the popular manga series comes a tale of finding inspiration in the most hilarious and unlikely of places.

 

Watch new episodes of Barakamon every Saturday at 2:50pm ET. Click here to watch episodes now!

 

TokyoGhoul_KeyArt1

Tokyo Ghoul:

Currently on episode 6, this fantasy horror series is sure to have you wincing in pain. Explore the dark and twisted world where ghouls live among us and feed on human flesh to survive. It’ll leave you questioning what it means to be human, and leave you craving more.

 

synopsis:

In modern day Tokyo, society lives in fear of Ghouls: mysterious creatures who look exactly like humans — yet hunger insatiably for their flesh. None of this matters to Ken Kaneki, a bookish and ordinary young man, until a dark and violent encounter turns him into the first ever Ghoul-human half breed. Trapped between two worlds, Ken must survive the violent conflicts of warring Ghoul factions, while attempting to learn more about Ghoul society, his newfound powers,  and the fine line between man and monster.

 

Here’s a clip from Tokyo Ghoul. Watch new episodes every Thursday at 12:00pm ET. Click here to watch episodes now!

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Terror in Resonance Official Interview

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The following interview with Shinichiro Watanabe, renowned director of Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy, and the hit thriller Terror in Resonance, was originally posted to the official Japanese Terror in Resonance website before the series launched. We hope you enjoy it, and make sure to watch Terror in Resonance every Thursday at 12:50pm Eastern! Click here to watch now.

 

Interviewer: Tell us the story of how Terror in Resonance came to be.
Watanabe: I think to some people, it looked like I took a break and didn’t work from around 2007 until I made Kids on the Slope in 2012. But actually, during that time, I prepared many project proposals. However, due to the recession and other factors, it was hard to get any of them approved and made. Terror in Resonance was an original project that I came up with during that period. I created the proposal before the Tohoku earthquake, about 4 or 5 years ago.

 

Interviewer: So it was something that you wanted to make since then?
Watanabe: That’s right. About three years ago, I heard from Fuji TV about Kids on the Slope, which was based on a comic. When I received the offer, I said, “I also have this other project. Do you want to make it?” and told them about Terror in Resonance. When I did, the chief producer of noitaminA, Koji Yamamoto, said, “Well, why don’t we try having not just Kids on the Slope by itself, but also plan for the original work after that?” That was when we were finally able to start working on this.

 

Interviewer: How did you come up with the idea for this project?
Watanabe: In recent years, there have been terrorist attacks all over the world, but Japanese people seem to be under the impression that these are things that happen in countries far away. However, if there were suddenly serial bombing attacks in the middle of Tokyo, what would happen? How would we deal with that? What if the culprits were teenaged boys? What if terrorists showed up who could use current technology to lead Japan around by the nose using their smartphones? These ideas were what formed the original concept. And then, thinking about possible acts of terror that could occur in Japan, I had to think about the systems in Japan as a country and how they work.

 

Interviewer: We still don’t know much about Terror in Resonance. What kind of story will it be?
Watanabe: There is a lot of action and suspense. If you look at it that way, even some of my past works seem unexpectedly similar to modern American action movies. The series also includes themes of adolescence, or rather, the youthfulness of the teenage years and their immaturity and instability, but with the feeling of constantly being on edge and challenging everything. I wanted to depict those ideas in this series, and I think everything gets mixed together in Terror in Resonance. I guess you could call it a coming-of-age/action/suspense series, although I’ve never heard of such a genre (laughs). Well, one must always continue to pioneer new genres. I also thought about foreign TV shows where recently, movie directors have been working on TV series. These TV shows have had a jump in quality simply because, since they are longer than movies, more story and dramatic elements can be packed in.

 

Interviewer: Foreign TV shows?
Watanabe: Yes. I don’t think I need to make shows that are like all the other anime that have been made recently, and I aim to create shows with a wider appeal. However, explaining it as a show about terrorism seems kind of inaccessible, so in order to make it easier to understand, recently, I have been insisting that it’s “a series like 24” (laughs). Also, we spent a lot of time and effort working on the terrorist group “Sphinx” and their riddles in every episode, so I have also been telling people, “Parts of it are like Sherlock, too!” (laughs).

 

Interviewer: Looking at the announcement that the show will be about “two mysterious children who combine forces to form the clandestine entity ‘Sphinx’ and play a dangerous game with all of Japan,” it looks like this will be the most provocative show in your filmography to date.
Watanabe: That wasn’t something that I tried to do on purpose—it just happened naturally. Especially in the case of an original anime work, we have to create the setting from scratch, which is difficult if there is nothing to base it on. So I end up using what I know, and parts of me end up in the work. For example, even if we all live in the same world, how we perceive the world is different depending on the person. There are people who think the world is a depressing place that’s full of deception, making it hard to live in. But there are also people who are generally satisfied and feel like the world is a good and peaceful place. How I perceive the world and how I feel about it comes out naturally when I am working on an original anime.

 

Interviewer: The character designs were by Kazuto Nakazawa and the music was by Yoko Kanno. These two people are often connected to you, and they are both participating in this project.
Watanabe: What they both have in common is that neither needs very much explanation from me. When I am working on something, it is difficult to explain exactly what I want to the staff in words. In fact, it is often the feeling before it’s even put it into words that is important, so most of the time, people don’t understand what I want. For example, there are people who want me to tell them that I want “a work like such and such,” but I don’t want to make something that is like another work (laughs). In the midst of that, these two don’t need me to keep explaining myself before they understand what I need. The other thing they have in common is that even if we work with the same theme, the two of them present it in a way that allows as many people as possible to understand their work. They always have that goal in mind, which is something I appreciate very much.

 

Interviewer: Finally, please tell us your hopes for Terror in Resonance.
Watanabe: It is something that I have wanted to make for a long time, so I am putting my heart and soul into it. I want to know what people think, so I hope that you will all watch it.

 

Interviewer: Thank you very much.

 

Translated by Nita Lieu

 

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods on Good Morning Texas

We organized a huge Dragon Ball Z fan gathering for the Good Morning Texas segment on WFAA. Hosts interviewed voice actors Christopher Sabat and Jason Douglas about Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, opening in theaters on August 5th. Take a look below at the interview.

 

 

Don’t miss out on this epic event! Click here to get your tickets to see Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods in theaters!

 

 

Romancing the Major – Ghost in the Shell: Arise – border 3

According to Kotaku’s recent article, it looks like the Major has quite the romantic side! Just when you thought this sexy cyborg’s life consisted of only kicking ass and taking names, Ghost in the Shell: Arise – border 3 Ghost Tears gives the viewer a completely new outlook on Kusanagi.

 Akira and Major Hugging

Akira is the Major’s lover, and coincidently, her mechanic. I guess it would only make sense for Kusanagi’s first serious relationship to be with a guy who knows her inside and out… literally.

 

What’s particularly interesting about this relationship is that you see a more feminine side of Kusanagi. In the past, the Major has always been the alpha-male in both her professional and personal life but with Akira she is flirtatiously coy, sensitive, and vulnerable. This relationship makes this particular Ghost in the Shell unique by adding a new aspect to the character development of Kusanagi—don’t get me wrong though, she still kicks plenty of ass throughout the film!

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Cat Cafe Opens in New York City for a Limited Time

Image by Tod Seelie/Gothamist

 

New York is the latest city to embrace the cat cafe, following Vienna, San Francisco, London, Seoul, and Singapore. Just doesn’t seem fair that we don’t have one in Dallas yet, but I guess we’ll just have to be patient. In the meantime, denizens of the Big Apple can enjoy this purr-fect treat for a limited time–it’s only around for four days!

 

The Purina One pop-up Cat Cafe can be found at 168 Bowery, and features cat’achinos, pastries, and adorable kitties that you can adopt on the spot from the North Shore Animal League. The best part is that the food and drinks are free! Ok, well maybe the best part is the cats, but free food and drink is a very, very close second. They’ll even put kitty latte/foam art on your drinks!

 

We know a few anime characters who would go crazy for a cat cafe. Like Al from Fullmetal Alchemist and Sebastian from Black Butler. How would you like a cat cafe where Sebastian served you drinks?

 

If you’d like to read more about the Purina One pop up Cat Cafe in New York, click this link.

 

If you’d like to see more cat loving antics from anime characters click here for Sebastian and click here for Al.

 

 

Dragon Age: Inquisition Coming October 7th

 

Dragon Age: Inquisition is releasing on October 7th, and it looks glorious. Fans of the franchise were left with a cliffhanger in Dragon Age 2 (we won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t played yet), needless to say, they wanted more. In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the veil has been breached and demons are raining down on the world and wreaking havoc.

 

In the new game, you get to play as the Inquisitor, a character that rallies forces to fight this new threat to the land. Now, before you think that sounds kind of lame, you’re not just any old inquisitor, you’re special–you’ve been marked.  What purpose does that have in the game? You’ll just have to play to find out!

Now, you might be wondering why we care so much about this new game. Well, for one thing, we’ve got quite a few fans of the franchise here at the company, but we’re also excited because this means more Cassandra! She’s even in the Gameplay trailer! Check that out below.

 

We love Cassandra so much we even made a movie about her. Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker tells Cassandra’s tragic backstory. We worked closely with the Bioware team to make this a movie that fans of the franchise would enjoy. The DVD is on sale right now for just $12.49 in our FUNimation Shop! Click here to order.

 

 

Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker synopsis:

The sun rises on a thrilling new era in Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker – the first feature-length, animated addition to the Dragon Age world. In the land of Orlais, a brash young Seeker – Cassandra – fights to stop a blood-soaked conspiracy. Hidden hands seek to tear apart the realm’s most powerful religious order, and as the sinister plot unfolds, Cassandra is accused of treason and murder. Hunted by friend and foe alike, the impulsive beauty must clear her name while clashing with corrupt Templars and rogue Blood Mages. Should she fail, the executioner’s blade awaits. Should she overcome her rage and expose the unseen forces threatening the rule of the Divine, Cassandra will take her place in legend.

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Yen Press Licenses A Certain Magical Index Light Novel Series

Over the weekend, Yen Press announced the start of their new imprint program–Yen On. This program is dedicated to bringing fans English editions of the best light novels available. Of course, among the many titles they have licensed, we are most excited about A Certain Magical Index!

 

For more information about their announcements, please visit the Yen Press website.

 

If you want more Index, be sure to catch up on A Certain Magical Index II on our site. Season Two will be coming to DVD this Fall. We’ve also go pre-orders available for A Certain Scientific Railgun S, available on July 1st. Click here!

 

A Certain Scientific Railgun S synopsis:
Something sinister is growing in Academy City. The shadows are filled with whispers of a project to clone one of the super-powered students known as espers. High-ranking master of electricity Mikoto Misaka laughs off these stories until she comes face to face with a copy of herself. The duplicates are real, and are being mass-produced from Misaka’s DNA, making each one of them a little piece of her.

These clones—her sisters—are being systematically murdered in a series of experiments designed to turn a sadistic killer into the strongest esper in history. Misaka vows to save her copies and destroy the project, but this might be one fight she can’t win alone. High-energy battles and intense action explode in this continuation of the Railgun series from the creator of A Certain Magical Index.

Ping Pong’s Yuasa Directs Adventure Time Episode

This past weekend at Wondercon, the staff and cast of the hit Cartoon Network series Adventure Time announced that Masaaki Yuasa wrote, storyboarded, and directed the upcoming episode “Food Chain.” If you notice that Finn and Jake also look a bit different, that’s because the episode was also animated by Yuasa’s own studio. Here’s a clip from the episode.

 

 

 

Yuasa is currently directing the anime version of Taiyo Matsumoto’s Ping Pong, streaming now on FUNimation.com every Thursday at 12:50pm ET. Click here to watch episodes now.

 

Ping Pong: The Animation synopsis:
Despite having drastically different personalities, high school boys Peco and Smile have been friends since childhood. Now, they’re both talented members of a table tennis club—but what happens when these sports lovers have to go up against each other in tournaments? Prepare for truly epic matches in this new series from the director of The Tatami Galaxy!

 
So what do you think? Do you see Yuasa’s influence in the clip provided?

Artwork for Dragon Ball Z (Blu-ray) Seasons 4 – 6

 

 

The Frieza Saga ends with Dragon Ball Z: Season Three, which releases on Blu-ray 4/1/14. In celebration of the upcoming Android & Cell Sagas, we wanted to share what you can look forward to seeing on the covers of Dragon Ball Z: Seasons 4, 5 and 6.

 

We worked closely with the art team at Toei Animation in Japan to create something unique and exciting to celebrate the memorable moments and characters from the series. Take a look at the early pencil sketches to get an idea of how we progressed to the finished piece.

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Happy White Day from Black Butler

  
 

What better way to spend White Day than with your favorite Black Butler characters? For those of you who may not know, White Day is when guys give chocolates to the girls who gave them presents on Valentine’s Day.

 

Today, Yana Toboso (author of the Black Butler manga) tweeted these special illustrations on the official Black Butler twitter account.

 

Which one is your favorite?

 

Watch episodes of the Black Butler anime on http://funimation.com/black-butler. The complete series is available now on BD/DVD Combo, pick up your copy in our Shop here!

 

Check out some more of the Black Butler White Day illustrations below! (more…)