2005 Anime Preview by Rich (Webmaster)

2004 was a mixed year for French distributor Beez, but there were good signs of progress being made in the UK market.  Although releases were still erratic (due in part to the small size of Beez's UK wing) the UK was treated to some great quality boxsets, including a reissue of Gundam Wing complete with figures - a rare European exclusive DVD release.  Despite releasing a low number of new anime titles this year, 2005 promises a lot more with several highly anticipated and highly rated titles looking to come our way...

Sowing the SEEDs of Love?  Gundam fans will rejoice when Gundam SEED hits our shores

Beez - as the European subsidiary of Bandai Entertainment - have the enviable position of having a strong catalogue available to them, and fans are looking forward to some of the best in 2005.  The biggest of the big in more ways than one for Beez looks set to be the highly rated Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, which is due for a DVD release late in the year and will represent a welcome return for the Gundam franchise to the UK.

Cowboy Bebop may have been delayed until the start of 2005, but few will be cancelling their orders  Witch Hunter Robin brings a bit of gothic supernatural cool to the UK

However, Gundam isn't the only ace up Beez's sleeve in 2005.  First up in January comes the fan favourite actioner Cowboy Bebop, and the UK is also expected to see Witch Hunter Robin and Wolf's Rain in the early part of the year with the popular Yukikaze following later.

Very popular in the US, Wolf's Rain will most likely prove a firm fan favourite over here too  Yukikaze, for fans of Top Gun who want a show they can admit to liking

Also rumoured for 2005 is the epic Crest of the Stars, but along with the strong lineup already announced we wouldn't be surprised to see more great releases later in the year...

Our Opinion

Our only real criticism of Beez in 2004 was their erratic release schedule - you'd wait months for a DVD and then two volumes would come at once, and there were frequent delays with other releases - but we couldn't really criticise the quality of the titles they released.  2005 promises even better quality-wise, with at least five new titles announced for release and potentially more on the horizon, and we wouldn't be surprised to see some special editions come our way at some point.  Their canon does seem to lean towards harder edged sci-fi and action titles, but that isn't really a bad thing as the titles announced are all high quality and as long as they can get them out regularly, and without undue delay, they will most certainly be one of the ones to watch in 2005.

New Titles Confirmed For Release in 2005
(Dates in brackets indicate release of 1st volume)

Cowboy Bebop (17th January)
The bounty hunting crew of the Bebop - Spike Spiegel, Jett Black, Faye Valentine and Ed - may seem pretty carefree, but there are dark secrets in their pasts that will come back to haunt all of them...

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (TBC)
Two childhood friends find themselves on opposing sides in a war between normal humans and the bio-engineered Co-ordinators, and seem fated to fight each other for what they believe in.

Witch Hunter Robin (TBC)
A young witch joins the ranks of the STNJ - a secret agency who battle against the forces of darkness - but she has a hard job winning over her new colleagues due to problems controlling her powers.

Wolf's Rain (TBC)
Tsume, a wolf who has taken on human form and lives with humans, finds himself in a battle to the death when he meets the wild wolf Kiba, who cannot forgive him for abandoning his true form.

Yukikaze (TBC)
Unknown to humanity as a whole, the world is at war with alien invaders who have opened an inter-dimensional gate in Antarctica and our last hope rests with the experimental aircraft Yukikaze.

Other Possibilities
The following is pure speculation, although we believe Crest of the Stars is licensed by Beez.

.hack://LEGEND OF THE TWILIGHT - Cutesy cyberspace actioner
Crest of the Stars - Sci-Fi actioner
Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (a special edition of some kind) - Mech action spin-off