FUNiCon 3.0 (Live Blog)

Hello! If you’ve entered here this is not FUNiCon 3.0, but is instead my attempt at live blogging FUNiCon. If you’ve arrived after March 29, 2010 then this is certainly no longer live but hopefully it’ll still be a good recap of the web convention. ^_^ (If in ” ” quotes then it is a quote, otherwise it is paraphrase. Likewise all of the questions, Q’s, are simply my best recollection since I’m adding them a couple days after.)

Big news from FUNiCon 3.0

– Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji) has been licensed by FUNimation!

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7:00PM EST

Adam Shehan & Justin Rojas host.

They’ll cover trailers, questions, & more.

~224 Viewers

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7:05 EST

Q. Why was the German song removed from FUNimation’s release of Strike Witches?

A: Lili Marleen, German Love Song, cut from Strike Witches due to lack of North American rights.

Q. Does FUNimation still consider older titles when looking for licenses or is the target focus primarily the new shows?

A: Rojas – “FUNimation tends to license current topical anime, but that’s how the industry tends to skew sales wise. But if there’s a good older show available we’d look into it. Anything with anime is possible”

Q: Is FUNimation ever required to get package deals for anime rights?

A: FUNimation is not contractually obligated to get package deals, i.e. get 1 big show and in doing show pick up lesser shows as well. Shehan – “Haven’t done that yet”

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7:10 EST

Q. Can anime be shown on TV even if it’s been released on DVD already?

A: Rojas – Shows can get released on TV first even if they are released onto DVD first. “Doesn’t necessarily stop [FUNimation] from putting stuff on TV.” 

A: FUNimation for some shows only has streaming rights and not DVD rights. Rojas “Anything with anime is possible” (blogger’s note – he says it a lot ^^)

Q: Why did Eva 1.11 get the cover art for the box that it did?

A: FUNimation gets limited supply of images for box art. The question was about Eva’s film release, so that’s where the image came from – best of the bunch.

Q: Why was the tag line changed for Eva 1.11? 

A: Eva has a casual fan following and hardcore following. The tag line for the original release was trying to push towards the casual fan. The second tag line was changed, partly due to fan response with other mech shows, and the tag line was updated to “limit the confusion” – Shehan. “1.11 sales are doing quite well.”

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7:15 EST

Q: Why do there seem to be less extras with anime releases?

A: “There has been a decline with lots of releases. This has to do more with the economy and less about the box format. This is not just us but across the industry.” – Rojas & Shehan “Due to worldwide economic issues, Japan is making less and less [DVD extras]. We do try to include a lot of US commentary voices when possible.”

Q: Was the Chris Handley case a factor in the initial decision to censor Dance in the Vampire Bund?

A: “Edited or unedited Dance in the Vampire Bund is a MA property either way. Considering the Chris Handley case, we did not really consider it at all [in this case]. What they were told before hand was still out there but tamer than what we thought it was” Seems so far they can make it uncut but that’s not an official announcement. “Funimation tries to do everything uncut often as possible” – Shehan

A: On many DVD players, you can skip [the trailers on DVDs], by hitting ‘top menu’. Some you can’t but “compared to some studios one trailer isn’t that many.” – Rojas

Q: Why did FUNimation not pick up Hell Girl Season 2?

A: We passed on Hell Girl Season 2 due to overall sales. “We loved it in house, and the dub was great, but the end result of sales wasn’t where we needed it to be. It would not have been a responsible business decision on our part” – Shehan

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7:20 EST

Showing the Dragonball Kai Trailer

FUNimation Antimere Robinson joins in – “Lord of Creative Services”

– He helps create and maintain the brand.

Fan Q&A’s for Antimere Robinson

Q: What is the process for designing the art for a release?

A: Basically the process for desiging the art is start with the creative brief for the brand. “Like to give fans the original Japanese packaging as much as possible”. Sometimes it is not possible though or doesn’t work with the brand.

Q: How do you decide what art to use for the box set releases?

A: Outside and inside design of box sets are created on a case by case basis with regards to special packaging, based on popularity too. In Japan they release single vols. still so there’s so much art but it’s hard to bring it all over.

Q: What software do you and your team use to design the product packaging?

A: Programs used to make DVD materials use the entire Adobe Creative Suite. Motion Graphics will use After Effects, Final Cut Pro, standard video programs all on Mac.

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7:25

Q: How do you decide which artists work on which product release?

A: The process is based both off of employee input, if you like a show then you’ll have passion for the show and may get to work on it, and deadlines. Can’t always work on shows you love.

Q: What do you look for when wanting to hire new designer/artist talent?

A: In terms of a graphic designer/artist, like people with technical skills but that alone is not enough. Have to be able to work creatively, be well rounded, and be able to work with the creative team. Being a fan certainly helps, but it helps to have non-fans too to add new perspective, or more mass appeal.

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7:30

Q. What are the roles you’ve played as a voice actor?

A: Played a number of “strange little weird characters”.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: “Most rewarding part of the job is when the final product is brought around [to the creative team]. Just getting to see what you’ve worked on and what everyone’s worked on is the best part”.

New Trailer for Initial D: 3rd Stage

– 4th Stage is coming out May 11.

Antimere showing off FUNimation DVD packages.

– Dragonball (couldn’t see which one)

– Gunslinger Girl

– Speedgrapher Box Set

– Hell Girl

– Ouran High School Host Club (Blu-Ray)

– Shin Chan

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7:35 EST

Box sets continued

– Kenichi

– Soul Eater

Last question for Antimere Robinson

Rojas asks Q: What do you do when you don’t have enough art for a show?

Antimere’s Answer: When not given enough art work you tend to see the art work over again in different fashions.

– Case Closed/Detective Conan

– Hong Kong Connection (Series of Films)

– Eva 1.11

Last of DVD packages. Antimere bids farewell.

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7:40 EST

Char from FUNimation Blog visits to talk about merchandise

– One Piece bath towel

– Soul Eater magnets

– Ouran High School Host Club Playing Cards

– Soul Eater Messenger Bag

– Sgt. Frog Messenger Bag

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7:45 EST

– Tsubasa T-Shirt

– Sgt. Frog Messenger Bag

End of merchandise.

Hosts are unsure if the items are out or not out yet. (Check local retailer)

Older show X will be released by FUNimation on June 15th. Trailer is showing.

A: Sales have not been hurt by early announcements and everyone’s been happy about anime titles being picked up that have been let go by other companies. FUNimation hosts say they don’t get angry with negative feedback. They look through many of the comments, forums, and chats on the internet and try to gauge the opinions. The hosts say they try to understand the issues fans have and if possible try to resolve the issue or explain the reason why FUNimation did something.

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7:50 EST

Q: How does FUNimation get anime shipped to them?

A: DVD’s & other anime materials are delivered to FUNimation through many means – hand delivered, FTP, hard drive, and so many other ways.

Q: What is the percent or amount of sales that determines if a second season gets licensed for a show?

A: There “is no magic number or sales percentage” that says whether a show will get a season season. There’s a balance between expected sales and actual sales and if it’s close and FUNimation feels the second season will still do well then they’ll try to license the show. If some shows are really popular “off the bat they’ll go for more quickly, aka Kenichi & Spice and Wolf” – Shehan

A: Glad that more of their shows are being released online. Unfortunately some shows can only easily be licensed for certain regions. FUNimation doesn’t always have licenses for various countries, primarily US & Canada, but they work with other companies in foreign countries.

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7:55

Q: How is FUNimation’s business doing?

A: “FUNimation is doing pretty good financially.” – Shehan They’re actually hiring new people and since FUNimation is publically traded the financials are public. You can buy stocks in FUNimation if you so choose.

Q: Why did FUNimation acquire Robo-geisha?

A: RoboGeisha, albeit [different] or F’d up as Rojas says, was acquired largely because FUNimation is trying to grow the audience. while this segment might not have been tapped yet, there is a lot of overlap with these films and anime.

Q: Could you run through briefly the process that FUNimation goes through to acquire a license?

A: The process of acquiring a title from Japan, begins with FUNimation looking at new shows, talk to contacts they have over the phone, at places like Tokyo Anime Fair, and they’ll sit down with licensors and if interested they’ll discuss what rights are available (merch rights, streaming, etc.), then they’ll look at the cost per episode per movie. Also they might not be the only people bidding on it, and that’s not totally public, but once they are about to sign the contract different teams begin working on creative looks of the DVD materials, translation begins, and then they start voice casting, work on the dub track, and then they work on marketing/advertising, figuring out the demographic of the show, goes to licensing for merchandising, then the DVD’s are made physically, and the sales teams tell the retailers how many DVD’s they should pick up, and then fans buy it, and then FUNimation checks sales and based on the #’s, online and through DVD sales, there may be more seasons purchased.

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8:00

Q: Is FUNimation planning to stick close to the original Japanese version with Dragonball Z: Kai and will the original music be used?

A: DBZ Kai: the script will be as close as possible to the Japanese version, and yes the original music will be used. Just as the original creator Toriyama envisioned Z, FUNimation will also try to stay more true to the original. Fans are older, the source material is familiar, and “they don’t have to put spin on it to appearl to the mass market.” – Rojas

Q: In the past FUNimation has stated that Crunchyroll titles were less desirable to license. Does that mean FUNimation would never license Crunchyroll shows?

A: Yes in the past Crunchyroll titles were said to be less desirable, but that’s not an absolute no in terms of picking those shows up. Instead, the shows generally have less rights, so FUNimation would be less likely to buy the shows because they might not have much to use and sell.

Q: Does FUNimation get the Blu-Ray and DVD rights for an anime at the same time?

A: “[FUNimation] did pick up titles for FMA with DVD & Blu Ray at the same time, but most of the time the rights for DVDs are picked up first, and they are prevented from getting Blu Rays very quickly, partly because the JP region for Blu Ray is the same as US. Sometimes it just takes a while to receive the rights too, so it’s a mix of the two.

Trailer shown for My Bride Is A Mermaid. Release date is July 20th

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FUNimation acquires the rights to Black Butler (aka Kuroshitsuji)!

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FUNiCon 3.0 is over!

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