Cosplaying Couple posing as Superman and Wonder Woman.
New York, October 8 – Due to a late night pre-con party, I arrived to the New York Comic Con 2010 late on the Friday afternoon. There weren't too many interesting panels except the Aniplex one. I had a difficult time finding the press office to pick-up my badge, and the volunteers at registration had no clue. I wandered a bit and eventually got my badge. I headed over to the Aniplex panel.
Aniplex of America
Aniplex PR team. Hiroe Tsukamoto (right).
As I was waiting for the panel to begin, Anime News Network (ANN) Editor Chris Macdonald sat right in front of me. I've run into him at other conventions over the summer. I greeted him, and we were trading war stories about this year's anime con season.
Interestingly Aniplex is one of the few Japanese companies trying to approach the US market in a hybrid fashion. They are simultaneously licensing shows for local DVD distributors, forming partnership for streaming rights, and releasing titles on their own. It's an interestingly aggressive strategy directly addressing some of the issues with the downturn in the US anime market.
As the panel started, Aniplex announced a combination of streaming titles and DVD releases. Chris was in attendance to help promote their partnership with Aniplex. ANN is schedule to stream both Oreimo (俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない) and Bloody Curs (咎狗の血) for the upcoming anime season. They also announced their DVD boxset releases of Durarara!! (デュラララ!!) and Read or Die (リード・オア・ダイ).
The retail prices of their DVD releases gave me a little sticker shock. Nine episodes of Durarara!! was going for $49.95, therefore the entire season was going to cost approximately $150. They are definitely going for the small collector's market. I hope they are planning to release a full season thin-pak for the more casual anime consumer and general audience types. If Aniplex thinks people are going to spend $150 for one series, they are making the same mistake a lot of other Japanese companies did in the 90s.
Towards the end of the panel, they discussed some of their current projects such as Mardock Scramble (マルドゥック・スクランブル) and Star Driver (STAR DRIVER 輝きのタクト).
Grady Hendrix introducing Mutant Girls Squad.
I left the Aniplex panel early and peeked into the Vocaloid panel. It was packed into a medium sized panel room. The event should have been scheduled for a bigger venue. There were con attendees sitting along the aisles and people lining the walls.
I turned around and ran directly into Grady Hendrix of Subway Cinema. He is one of the most knowledgeable film journalists working today. We talked a bit about movies and the film industry. I accompanied Grady to the screening of Mutant Girls Squad because he was doing the introduction.
After the introduction, we talked a bit. I turned in early and went home.