Anime Expo 2019: Day 1 Recap (VIZ Media, Funimation, Aniplex)

Today officially marked the start of Anime Expo 2019, which of course means that a decent handful of major panels from various anime/manga licensors and distributors were beginning on this day as well. The following is a recap of three of the major panels being hosted on July 4th at the expo: VIZ Media, Funimation, and Aniplex of America. Be sure to follow us on twitter @SurrealReso for these updates live as they happen throughout the weekend.

VIZ Media

One of the first major industry panels of the day was hosted by VIZ Media, which had a very specific focus to it. After opening the panel by announcing various merchandise they were selling/planning to sell in the future, they immediately dived into various acquisitions and projects. The flow of the panel could be divided neatly into two halves, with the first half focusing almost entirely on their manga acquisitions. There was a bit of promotion for their distribution of Shonen Jump online (but no new information on any other titles since that’s presumably being saved for Shonen Jump’s own official panel), but then they went into their title acquisitions proper. The majority of these titles are not due out until 2020, but the more notable manga titles announced included the following:

  • A pair of detailed artbooks for both the Kirby series and the works of horror legend Junji Ito (Kirby Art & Style Collection and The Art of Junji Ito: Twisted Visions)
  • Blue Flag, a much beloved and acclaimed romance manga
  • The manga adaptation of the smash hit JRPG Persona 5
  • Various other titles including Love Me, Love Me NotPrince Freya, Downfall, The Way of the Househusband, and No Guns Life
  • And perhaps one of the most notable announcements of this section: Transformers, the manga adaptation of the popular action franchise that initially saw release in 1985 but has *never* seen any official English release until today.

Aside from those titles, VIZ also confirmed that a complete box set of the manga series Assassination Classroom is due out in September, and the complete box sets of the DragonBall Z manga are now back in print.

At this point, the second half of the panel begins, which was surprisingly dedicated to a singular project. During an on-stage presentation hosted by popular anime youtuber TheAn1meMan, a handful of staff members from the studio Powerhouse Animation (the company behind the Netflix adaptation of Castlevania) came out to discuss their latest project: a new original animated series for Netflix called Seis Manos. According to the crew, the inspiration for the series came from the type of media often broadcast on old UHF channels, namechecking blaxploitation films, wrestling, old horror movies, and even more specific influences such as From Dusk ’til Dawn, which makes sense given the heavily Mexican-inspired setting and characters. A heavy amount of discussion was dedicated to the show’s fight choreography, even showing a brief video of an actual martial artist demonstrating fighting techniques to much of the staff. Several animatics and storyboards were shown, and there was even a bit of finished animation that was presented. While no filming was allowed, it’s clear from what was shown that the show is completely all-in on those grindhouse influences mashed up with Mexican mysticism, and this looks to be another potential win for fans of more adult-oriented action/horror animation. This marked the end of the panel, and one can only assume how much more we can learn about these projects in the coming days, especially with regards to Seis Manos.


The next major panel of the day was from none other than industry leaders FUNimation Entertainment, who kicked off the event with a brief montage video to celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. Following some more merchandise announcements, they began talking about their upcoming theatrical slate, starting with the live-action adaptation of Kingdom, which will be playing in limited theaters on August 16th, but it did receive a special screening on the day this is being published. Following that, we got an unsubbed trailer for the upcoming Tokyo Ghoul S which will be hitting theaters in September but also receiving a special Anime Expo screening this weekend. A brief trailer was shown  for an upcoming CG anime film called Human Lost which will be premiering at the convention on Friday, and then came a trailer for the film Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow, which will be in select theaters August 5th. FUNimation had even brought in a handful of the original Japanese voicecast as special guests during this part of the presentation.

Then came some home video announcements, starting with a limited edition collection for Attack on Titan season 3, part 1 coming out August 6th. Following this came news of a steelbook release for season 1 of the classic series Yu Yu Hakusho and a limited/standard edition set of releases for the current anime adaptation of Fruits Basket. This section was rounded out by a special video presentation of voice actor Austin Tindle announcing an upcoming limited edition release for Tokyo Ghoul:re, in which he voices franchise lead Ken Kaneki.

Following this was some simulcast news, which started with a reminder about their summer lineup featuring shows like Fire Force, Dr. Stone, and How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift among others. They then went into some future simulcast shows, including season 2 of both Fairy gone and Kono Oto Tomare!, season 4 of My Hero Academia, and an upcoming 2020 anime series: Plunderer, an anime adaptation of a manga series from the same creator of Heaven’s Lost Property. The presentation even had a brief video of two of the voice actors from the Plunderer anime speaking about the show itself. The presentation then closed on FUNimation briefly discussing their partnership with RightStuf, which would take the form of FUNimation NOW receiving a sizeable amount of Nozomi Entertainment shows, including such titles as Gravitation, Yakitate!! Japan, Junjo Romantic, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Boogiepop Phantom, and more. More series announcements are expected to come from this partnership in the near future, so that’s worth looking forward to.

Aniplex of America

The last major industry panel attended was for Aniplex of America, and they had quite a bit to promote, especially with announcements tying in to other major panels and screenings they are hosting throughout the weekend. They began the panel by running down various titles that were currently available on home video, including titles like Gurren Lagann, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Anohana, Fate/Grand Order -First Order-, and the 2nd season of Monogatari. Following this, they delved into some of their recent streaming output, such as The Promised Neverland, Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War, Sword Art Online: Alicization, and more. The most significant announcement here, however, came in the mention of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, which was confirmed to have an upcoming English dub that would be premiering later in the year on Adult Swim’s Toonami block. The Toonami Facebook page later confirmed this as well, specifying a Fall 2019 premiere window for the dub. They soon followed with some of their upcoming simulcasts for this season and next, mentioning Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files, Do You Love Your Mom and her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?, and Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia.

The last section of the panel was dedicated to some new home video announcements, and the first of these was quite exciting, as the beloved Studio Trigger series Kill La Kill will be receiving a complete series blu-ray box set coming out on December 24th. The rest of the announcements were as follows

  • Cells At Work getting a complet blu-ray set on August 27th, along with releases on digital download September 17th.
  • October 29th: Fate/Zero complete blu-ray box set; I want to eat your pancreas on blu-ray as well
  • November 19th: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai complete blu-ray box set (Sub only), Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel II. Lost Butterfly receiving both a limited and standard edition release.

While that marks the end of the panels directly attended by myself, it’s worth taking note at what was announced at the panel hosted by industry legend Katsuhiro Otomo. There were four major announcements made pertaining to his upcoming work, and they are as follows:

  1. Otomo is working on his 3rd feature length film titled Orbital Era, a coming of age story set in a space station.
  2.  Kodansha will be partnering with Otomo to release Katsuhiro Otomo x Kodansha: the complete works, compiling all of his illustration work into a cohesive set, going all the way back to his beginnings in the manga industry in 1971.
  3. Easily the biggest of the announcements was that Otomo would be partnering with Studio Sunrise for, of all things… a new television anime adaptation of his seminal masterpiece, Akira. Details are sparse at the moment, but according to statements made at the panel, this will not be a sequel project to the feature film, leading many to speculate on a potential Brotherhood-esque adaptation of the original manga series.
  4. Lastly, the original Akira film will be receiving a new 4K remaster coming out in Japan in early 2020, with a U.S. release coming soon after.

And that marks the end of day 1 at Anime Expo. Remember to stay tuned to our site and on Twitter for more news and announcements as they break live!

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