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.
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...
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.
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
Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex (21st February)
Neon Genesis Evangelion Movie Collection Boxset (16th
3x3 Eyes - Fantasy actioner (we're ever hopeful of
this coming out - Ric)