Apparently already slated to be shown on Cable/Satellite television, the hugely enjoyable One Piece is the series we really want to see licensed for the UK. We have heard nothing about UK rights for this series, but the link MVM have with several large US companies would make them favourites for it in our eyes. We only hope that any UK release would be the unedited version of the series, but it does depend very much on licenses - we'll definitely be keeping our eye on this one.
Another major release worth keeping an eye open for is Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the full CGI film sequel to the classic Playstation game Final Fantasy VII. The film looks absolutely stunning and should be making its way to the UK in 2005, with the most likely distributor being developers SquareEnix themselves, following the launch in 2004 of their London-based European wing. Definitely one to look out for, although it may not make it to DVD for a while.
Two other major releases which are a bit up in the air are the Masamune Shirow inspired cinematic duo of Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. The US release of the CGI epic Appleseed is being handled by Geneon, and they announced the UK rights were bought by Geneon Films UK - a UK arm no-one knew existed prior to this! The creation of a UK wing of Geneon could prove a big blow for MVM in the future if they begin to license their own anime here, but it will be interesting to see how they handle Appleseed first. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is being released by Dreamworks in the US, and it is quite possible they would release it here too, but we think that Manga Entertainment would want the UK rights for the latest instalment in a franchise which has become one of their cornerstones.
Also allegedly on the cards once more is the Studio Ghibli back catalogue, although frequently delayed it now seems that the US will be getting Porco Rosso, Nausicań of the Valley of the Wind and The Cat Returns in February. However, with The Cat Returns already on the way in the UK from Optimum Asia we wouldn't be surprised to see the other Ghibli films follow suit, although Buena Vista may still decide to release them here themselves despite not releasing either Spirited Away or The Cat Returns.
As always there will be a lot of titles aimed at kids and teen
viewers coming our way next year too. We would imagine that Mosaic
Films and Firefly Entertainment would continue with their Hello
Kitty releases, and we wouldn't be surprised if someone (probably
Contender Entertainment) picked up Duel Masters. Also currently
doing well on Sky/Cable are Shaman King, Rave Master and
Dragonball, but the likelihood of a company picking these up are low due to
the potential licensing costs, however, we do think that Sonic X and
Megaman should come out here .
As has already happened in the US we think that 2005 will be a
year in which many companies begin to dip their toe into the anime market, and
there are some strong and potentially massive selling titles there to be
licensed. Not only could the excellent One Piece be snapped up,
there are also such huge titles as Shaman King and Duel Masters as
well as the huge untapped resource that is US company Viz Communications.
Viz have some absolutely stunning titles that have yet to be released
here - the likes of Dragonball Z would sell really well if someone could
either sublicense it from them or snap up the UK rights, but only time will tell
if this will happen. We do think there are exciting announcements ahead
from all of the major distributors and we will be keeping an especially close
eye on Optimum Asia, MVM, ADV Films and Manga
Entertainment in the next 12 months, who knows what surprises are in store?
2005 is going to be a very good year!!
New Titles Confirmed For Release in 2005
Hello Kitty Paradise Box Set (24th January)
One Piece (TBC -
Appleseed - CGI sci-fi remake