Anime Expo 2008: FUNimation
At FUNimation Entertainment's panel, Adam Sheehan discussed their methods of adaptation to the changing anime market. These approaches include marketing to the "non-anime" crowd through selling 13-episode boxed sets of new shows and working to release select titles on Blu-Ray and through digital download services.
Sheehan confirmed that FUNimation will bring two new shows to the iTunes store by late July - Aquarion and Witchblade. The episodes will be available dubbed, and sell for $1.99 per episode. They will also be making mobile downloads available for video-capable Sprint and AT&T phones, offering Gunslinger Girl and Moon Phase episode packages for $4.99 a month. The episodes will be split into 5 minute chapters. Galaxy Railways season 1 will be included for free with a subscription to either Moon Phase or Gunslinger Girl..
FUNimation has also expanded into a partnership with Youtube, offering full length episodes of Blue Gender, Slayers, Peach Girl, and Mushi-shi, there for free viewing. There are plans for more titles to join the current lineup in the future.
Sheehan discussed other recent and upcoming FUNimation releases as well. Their Blu-ray releases were confirmed to include Afro Samurai, two Dragon Ball Z double features, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, SHINOBI (Live-action), and Vexille. Over the next few months, they will release box sets of the first seasons of Case Closed (Detective Conan) and Yu Yu Hakusho. The One Piece season 2 part 2 box set is planned for late September, followed by Dragon Ball Z season 6. Dragon Ball GT season 1 is planned for late 2008 release as well, in addition to winter releases of Ouran Host Club and Darker than BLACK.
New acquisitions announced included Save Me! Lollipop, Kenichi, and RomeoXJuliet.
Sheehan also confirmed that FUNimation will market and distribute several Geneon titles, which Geneon will finish production of - dubbing included. While these titles will initially be released on individual discs, they too will eventually see boxset releases priced in line with FUNimation's other releases.
In addition to all this, FUNimation acquired distribution rights for over 30 titles previously held by ADV Films. FUNimation CEO Gen Fukunaga confirmed that they are in talks to have ADV finish the production of these series.