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Anime Expo

AX Memories Home

 
American Guest and Industry Panels
  U.S. Manga Corps, Central Park Media, and Right Stuf Inc.
    Big names in the anime distribution industry, attendees included John O'Donnell (CPM, parent company of USMC), Chris Rogness (Media Director for Right Stuf, Inc.), and Shawn Klekner (Right Stuf, Inc.).  Discussion started off by explaining that CPM serves as the distribution arm for USMC, AnimEigo, U.S. Renditions, Right Stuf, Inc., etc.  Upcoming releases would include the world's first anime cd-rom (Project A-Ko screensaver).  The focus for that year was to make a bold entrance into the mainstream audience through TV shows, shops like Tower Records, and downplay the sensationalistic nature of the rudimentary elements of anime and show people more enlightening and universally popular anime titles.  For the near future, a possible manga division was in development and more focus is placed on subbing as much anime as they can.

Studio Nemo introduced itself as the subtitling arm for CPM, working on such titles as MD Giest, Supergal, Humanoid, Complete Rumic World, and Armageddon.

Right Stuf, Inc. introduced itself as focusing more on classic anime, with very successful hit titles such as Gigantor, Astroboy, Tobor the Eighth Man, and more.

USMC introduced itself as working on titles such as Dominion, Project A-Ko, Venus Wars, Galforce, Crystal Triangle, Wannabes, UY Beautiful Dreamer, and the Rumic World series.  Its first LD would be Project A-Ko and the second would be Dominion.

Posed with questions about how to deal with introducing anime into American mainstream audiences, they responded that many people still regarded anime as cartoons and must always battle with graphics violence, nudity, and mainstream shock value.  But the difficulties don't stop there.  Companies also have to deal with an extensive list of rights and licenses to get a single title.  Japan is not used to exporting animation, and multiple companies have a myriad of various rights to voices, music, animation, etc.

  Anime and Mythology
    Moderated by Jeff Okamoto, a healthy discussion was brought up about how anime receives influences from ancient Greek and Roman mythology.

  Subtitling Anime Workshop
    Attended by Robert Gutierrez (Ranma Project), Robert Woodhead (AnimEigo), Neil Nadelman (U.S. Manga Corp), and Jay Parks (Studio Nemo), discussions started with arguing the use of different font styles and perceptual systems and progressed into more technical matters.  Subjects varied on using different font styles, color, kerning, and drop shadows to enable ease of reading, the technology used to build good subtitles, arguments against dubs, time codes, and more.

  Anime Magazines
    Attended by Luke Menichelli (Art Dir for Animenomious!), Jeff Thompson (Editor for Animenominous!), Chris Keller (Editor for V-Max), Winston ??? (Contributing Editor for Ianus Publications), Robert Fennilong (Editor for Anime Z Poster Z), Trish Ledoux (Editor for Animag), and Toshi Yoshida (Senior Translator for Animag), subjects included budgets, good reviews, wide varieties of special articles, fan requests, and much more.

  Voice Acting
    Attended by the entire cast of Macross II from U.S. Renditions, Robert Napton introduced Dan Martin (Exagram), Luther Garcia (Olsen in Orguss, Guyver), Dave Hart (Head of SNN), Steve Woo (Feff), Jonathan Charles (Hibiki), Susan Arquette (Silvi), Dorothy Mullinders (Shaiyai in Orguss), Tom Charles (Kei in Orguss), and Debbie Rogers (Ishtar).  Discussions with fans included subjects such as worries about synchronizing with the time codes, relaxing into the character once one gets to know who he/she really is, memorization of many lines, range of voice, and of course, practice practice practice.  Apparently, all the attended voice actors knew each other for years, all having been hired to do many shows together throughout the years and have relatively become a family.

  Focus: Urusei Yatsura
    Moderated by Jeff Okamoto, healthy discussion brought many subjects dealing with the phenomenal success of Urusei Yatsura, ranging from sales of manga and TV shows to artbooks and views on why people like the craziness of UY and its wacky characters.
  Anime in America
    Attended by David Ho and Eric tang of RIAP (Running Ink Animation Productions), discussion subjects brought up some enlightening facts about how difficult it is to produce any kind of animated feature here in the States on a shoestring budget.  The RIAP project BayScape 2042 was funded by David's longtime work on numerous 30-second commercials from his broadcast background as well as some technical expertise from his electrical engineering working experience.  With an extremely tight budget and deadline for AX92, computers could not be used and so RIAP had to rely on the purchase and use of an ancient 1970-80's camera body and lens for capturing all the cels to film.  Test shots were done in pencil with an 8mm camcorder and pretty much everything was done in time with an abundance of local volunteer effort from friends and anime clubs who wanted to see what making a real anime was like.

  U.S. Renditions
    Attended by L.A. Hero's Robert Napton and translator Toshi Yoshida, the U.S. Renditions arm of anime releases have included such specials like Macross II sub/dub simultaneous release, Orguss, Guyver, Iczer1, Black Magic M-66, Appleseed, and Dangaioh.
  AnimEigo  
    Attended by AnimEigo's Robert Woodhead, discussion started off with announcing work on titles such as Madox-01, Riding Bean, Vampire Princess Miyu, Bubblegum Crisis, Bubblegum Crash!, Urusei Yatsura, Kimagure Orange Road, Otaku no Video, and Genesis Survivor Gayearth.  AnimEigo also wants to take the plunge into animation cel sales, feeling that an increasing number of fans want to own the artwork featured in the anime shows for personal value.

  Focus: Ranma 1/2  
    Moderated by Chris Swett, a fanzine programming chair for CA West local anime club, he introduced himself as the first person in America to publish a successful doujinshi to be sold in Japan under the title Ranma in America.  The fanzine collected such Ranma-inspired works from the like of Ben Dunn, Jason Waltrip, and Robert Dejesus.  He also announced that Viz Communications had started selling colorized versions of the original Ranma manga series.  Posed with questions about the TV series and manga, Chris explained that by mid-1989, the series had amassed 149 TV episodes and there is usually no predictability between the TV series and manga; a TV episode could contain one manga episode or two or half or completely diverge from the manga altogether.  Takahashi's strong point is in the introduction of new characters, so like all her mangas and TV shows, every story eventually ends up with tons of characters.  On a side note, the current character that was both favorite to Takahashi and many fans was Gosunkugi.

  Panels were also held for Streamline Pictures, Subbing vs. Dubbing, and many others.