2005 Anime Preview by Rich (Webmaster)

Although there are many companies who specialise in anime or have started anime brands, there are also several others who release the odd title as part of their canon.  In the past we have seen the likes of Contender Entertainment bring us Yu-Gi-Oh, Ulysses 31 and Cardcaptors, whilst Warner Bros have given us PokÚmon and Mosaic Movies have brought us Hello Kitty.  As well as companies like these there are a couple of big name anime properties which are supposedly coming our way next year but which have yet (to our knowledge) to be picked up for DVD release, as well as a couple that are already showing, 2005 looks like it's going to be a a busy year for everyone...

Luffy & co may be coming to TV, but will they get a DVD release too?

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.

Look!!!  LOOK!!!  Sephiroth wreathed in flames!!!  YES!!!!

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.

Don't fancy yours much - Deunan decides to lay off the tequila in Appleseed  One man and his dog - Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

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.

Miyazaki created possibly anime's greatest heroine in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind  Miyazaki proves pigs can fly in Porco Rosso

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

No less that two companies have mounted an insanely cute assault on the UK DVD market with Hello Kitty  Shaman King may be popular, but will it go the same way as Dragonball Z and never see a UK release?  Sega's mascot shows no sign of age in Sonic X

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 .

Our Opinion

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 CommunicationsViz 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
(Dates in brackets indicate release of 1st volume)

Hello Kitty Paradise Box Set (24th January)
The ongoing adventures of Sanrio's legendary mascot as she and her friends explore their world and have heartwarming fantasy adventures with those they meet.

One Piece (TBC - Television)
Monkey D Luffy has a dream to become the greatest pirate who ever lived by finding the lost treasure One Piece, and not even his inability to swim and magically induced rubber body will stop him...

Other Possibilities
These titles are licensed by MVM, but we do not know if they will be released this year.

Appleseed - CGI sci-fi remake
Duel Masters - Action packed card game tie-in
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Philosophical sci-fi actioner
Hello Kitty - Cutesy adventures
Megaman - Computer game tie-in actioner
Nausicań of the Valley of the Wind - Ecological sci-fi drama
Porco Rosso
- Fun filled actioner
Rave Master - Fantasy actioner
Shaman King - Supernatural actioner
Sonic X - Action packed computer game tie-in ___________________________________________________________________________