2005 Anime Preview by Rich (Webmaster)

Manga faced a lot of upheaval in 2004 following their takeover by IDT Corporation, and found themselves moving offices and being put under the jurisdiction of Anchor Bay UK.  With all this going on behind the scenes it was obvious their release schedule would be affected, and as such no-one was really surprised when their major releases - Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex and Dead Leaves - slipped back a few months.  However, it seems that the upheaval is still ongoing in 2005...

Gunning for the UK, Ghost in the Shell's Motoko Kusanagi

Since the release of Dead Leaves, and after a small burst of live action releases in November, Manga Entertainment have gone pretty quiet.  In fact the only new releases so far announced for 2005 have been the continuation of the excellent Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, the second volume of which is out in February - nearly five months after volume 1!  It seems that the series will get a monthly release after February though, which is a good sign for the future.

Death & Rebirth is pretty much an anthology of scenes from the Evangelion series  End of Evanglion is the alternative ending for the series, and is one of our Essential Films

The only other release currently announced for the year is a reissue.  The Neon Genesis Evangelion Movie Collection Boxset does exactly what it says on the tin, bringing together the already available Evangelion movies Death & Rebirth and End of Evangelion together in boxset form, just in case there is anyone left who hasn't already bought them...

Will quality back catalogue titles like 3x3 Eyes finally get a UK DVD release?   Could Manga snatch the rights to Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence from Dreamworks?

And that, surprisingly, is it.  We've no doubt that Manga will be releasing far more over the course of the year, but we can only speculate as to what.  We would expect to see them license Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex 2nd GiG - the follow up to the series they are currently releasing - and wouldn't at all be surprised to see them pick up Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence either.  We would speculate that they are also potentially looking at other ways to release back-catalogue titles, and look forward to the possibility of more boxsets in the near future.

Our Opinion

Manga Entertainment are certainly keeping their cards close to their chest for this year, but we don't expect this to last for long.  All of the upheaval of the last 12 months is the perfect chance for Manga to stop relying so much on past glories and reinvent themselves, and we have no doubt that is what they will do.  The monthly release of Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex could be construed many ways, but we take it as a signal of intent and the current absence of the much maligned Manga Collection suggests that Manga may do something constructive with their back catalogue too.  2005 is going to be a make-or-break year for Manga Entertainment, the anime market is more competitive than ever and they have to take steps not to get left behind by their competitors in the licensing stakes.  A bit of shrewdness with their back catalogue and a focus on quality, thought-provoking new anime and Manga could see themselves challenging to regain their place as the top UK distributor, but there is a very long way to go yet.

New Titles Confirmed For Release in 2005
(Dates in brackets indicate release of 2nd volume)

Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex (21st February)
Cybernetic agents Motoko Kusanagi and Batou battle against cybernetically enhanced criminals and computer hackers alongside their colleagues from Section 9 in the technologically advanced near future.

Neon Genesis Evangelion Movie Collection Boxset (16th May)
The epic feature length summary of the series and the epic alternative ending to the series together in a decent value boxset. ___________________________________________________________________________

Other Possibilities
The following is pure speculation, nothing more.

3x3 Eyes - Fantasy actioner (we're ever hopeful of this coming out - Ric)
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
- Philosophical sci-fi epic
Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex 2nd GiG - Sci-fi series sequel
Paranoia Agent - Psychological thriller
Patlabor WXIII - Mech drama sequel