Editors Note: Salutes to Alejandro Ramirez for covering Anime Boston 2017 on behalf of FanBros! Read on for coverage from some of the panels at the event and check out the awesome cosplay!
Harsh New England weather didn’t deter crowds of cosplayers and otakus, who flocked to the Hynes Convention Center for Anime Boston 2017.
The three day event had plenty to offer for Anime fans, with various panels, a dealer’s room, an artists’ marketplace, manga library, and even a video game room. Fans run the show at AB, from a huge number of fan panels and fan events–including cosplay karaoke, geeky game contests, and AMV competitions–to impromptu photoshoots and costumed dance-offs in the hallways.
That said, the industry presence is strong at Anime Boston, with heavy hitters VIZ and Funimation unveiling plenty of goods over the weekend. Here are some highlights from a few VIZ and Funimation panels.
VIZ Media Industry Panel
The big news centered around Boruto, the sequel series to Naruto. VIZ media will not just distribute the translated Boruto manga, which focuses on the son of Naruto, but has also attained the rights to the anime series and movie–releasing a subbed trailer of the former and dubbed of the latter.
“It’s a great starting point, whether you’ve never watched Naruto or have gone away from Naruto for while,” said panel host Charlene Ingram, VIZ’s Senior Manager of Animation Marketing.
Other notable announcements included the Death Note omnibus, slated for August, which, judging from the Japanese concept art, will be a gargantuan book. A deluxe Blu-Ray release for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, season one, was also announced, slated for a July release. Junji Ito’s short story collection Shiver will also be released in December.
Sailor Moon also had a strong presence at the panel, including the dubbed trailer for Sailor Moon R: The Movie, coming to Blu-Ray and DVD on April 18. (The film even ran in some theaters recently.) Ingram also hyped up recent releases of the Sailor Moon Crystal’s second box set and the unedited box set for Sailor Moon S (“#NotCousins!” Ingram added.)
Ingram also announced a slew of manga titles either coming to VIZ in April or recently released, including Dragonball Super, The Water Dragon’s Bride, and My Hero Academia. A box set for Revolutionary Girl Utena is also slated for release in April. Many titles, including Shonen Jump, are available to view on their website.
Funimation Industry Panel
Much of the panel focused on the Spring Season of Funimation’s streaming service, which leveled up this winter with the introduction of SimulDub, Funimation’s push to bring you dubbed content much sooner than usual. While most SimulDubs will aim for a release within 2 to 4 weeks of an episode’s Japanese airdate, some episodes will be dubbed much sooner. Panel hosts Justin Rojas and Tara McKinney also gave props to their new partnership with subbed streaming service Crunchyroll, which allows to them license and distribute more subbed and content than ever before. SimulDubs will usually be released within two to four weeks of an episode’s Japanese airdate, but some will premier the same day as an episode’s Japanese release.
Leading the way for Funimation’s Spring lineup is Attack on Titan 2, the long-awaited follow up to the gory, depressing, and beautifully animated first season.
Funimation also announced two big box set re-releases: Akira, which gets a steel book set on June 6, and Ergo Proxy’s 10th anniversary edition.
A few trailers also drew big laughs from the crowd. Nichijou, a moe anime with a surrealist bent, featured a fast flying hot dog and a balding man suplexing a deer. The panel hosts were a bit unsure of how to introduce Ninja Slayer, a bizarre show who’s varied animation was reminiscent of Aqua Teen Hunger Force–it’s either stoner brilliance or, as one blurb in the self-effacing trailer said, “hot garbage.”
Fumigation also unveiled some stunningly animated “license rescues”–that is, shows whose licenses were dropped by other companies. Rescued titles included Wolf’s Rain, which follows a supernatural wolf pack navigating a world of harsh and dangerous humans, and Scrapped Princess, which mixes high fantasy and post-apocalyptic sci-fi.
Panel hosts Rojas also announced that Funimation is pushing to get more anime into theater. Leading the charge is Your Name, an early Oscar contender that ultimately missed out on a 2017 nomination. The film is slated for a 2017 release. Funimation is also angling Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic into theaters.
“We want anime to be a legitimate artform that is heavily distributed in movie theaters,” said Rojas.
My Hero Academia Premier with Special Guests
Convention goers were treated to the dubbed debut episode of My Hero Academia’s second season, with a slight twist–the same episode actually premiered in Japan earlier that day!
The new season will focus on a school tournament where the young heroes-in-training can show off their quirks and gain the attention of professional hero agencies. But with All Might’s health waning, the tournament is also be the perfect opportunity for protagonist Izuku Midoriyato to reveal himself as the World’s Greatest Hero’s successor.
“We wanted to start [the new season] with a twist, and figured a sports festival would be a perfect way to get that started,” said Masahiko Minami, series producer, through a translator.
“Every single character in Class 1A [the classroom of most of the series’ protagonists] had an opportunity to speak,” added Wakana Okamura, another series producer, through a translator, saying that we’d learn more about the students this season.
The premier panel also showed off the expediency of Funimation’s new SimulDub push. Event host Justin Rojas asked North American voice actors Chris Sabat (All Might) and Brina Palencia (Minoru Mineta) how the new schedule changed their work.
Speaking from a production standpoint, Sabat said that he feels closer to the Japanese that Funimation works with and that he has a better idea of their production process.
Acting-wise, Sabat noted that the more condensed schedule meant a voice actor can’t afford to get sick and lose their voice or travel out of town. However, he found the voice-over workload much easier to handle, requiring only a few hours a week (as opposed to marathon of recording a season’s worth of episodes). He also likes the fact that, like most fans watching the show, he doesn’t know what future episodes hold.
“It’s like doing improv, you don’t know what the end of the story is going to be,” he said. “I like the challenge of it, it’s fun!” He added that he felt more connected to the story with the new format.
Palencia, however, disagreed, saying that for her the story made less sense, especially while voicing a supporting character.
“I come in and do five minutes of recording for the week and I have no idea what’s going on, and then I do another five minutes and I still don’t know what’s happening,” she said. “Whereas when you do the DVD releases and you do the bulk of your character all at once, you get to see start to finish… this is where they’re going, this is their character arc. So acting-wise it’s easier.”
One Punch Man Panel
The audience had nothing but love for the One Punch man panelists: director Shingo Natame and Robbie Daymond, the English voice of Mumen Rider. The audience picked the minds of the panelists, and whether they expected the series about a bald, bored hero such a hit.
Natame expressed a strong belief and confidence in the series, saying that he knew the series would be a hit when he signed on for it.
“The title had so much energy, with a lot of fans of the manga and fans oversea as well… I predicted it would be a big hit,” Natsume said thought a translator.
Daymond also told the audience that he actively sought out a part on the show, realizing it was something special. “For voice actors, projects usually come to us, we don’t seek them out… but this one I did,” said Daymond. “I knew I wanted to be a part of that world and part of that cast. You can’t watch this show and not know that it’s something special.”
While there are reports that a second season of One Punch Man has been been greenlit, the panel didn’t take any questions about it. “What we have out is what we have,” said panel host Charlene Ingram.
Ingram also announced the April 25 Blu-Ray release, which includes six OVAS. A limited edition set will also be produced.
Be sure to also check out some more of the amazing cosplay at Anime Boston 2017, below!