Anime Expo 2007 – Broccoli Panel

The Broccoli panel was run by Shizuki Yamashita and Samantha Yamanaka, the new kid on staff.  This was a fast paced, informative panel, and here, again, is a breakdown of it for those of you that couldn’t attend.

Bandai Visual is working on site called Dot Anime.  This project really kept Shizuki busy so the site would be up in time for AX.  Dot Anime will have steaming video and music downloads.  Because of a schedule conflict, I could not make it to the Dot Anime panel, so I don’t know much about it.  After stopping by the partially completed site, it seems to be a portal to purchase Bandai DVDs and Broccoli books. There is no streaming content available as yet.

Next, they got into the meat and potatoes of the panel and discussed current and future manga releases.

In June, they released Konkon Kokon Vol 1 - by Di Gi Charat creator Koge-Donbo.  It’s about a boy named Ren who loves monsters.  He wants to be cool, though, so he hides the fact that he’s a monster otaku.  He plays it cool until one day, when a fox girl appears before him and changes his life.  They changed the card stock for the cover of this book and and first, Shizuki was a little worried that it would get really dirty because it is so white.  I think the cover of this book is so cute, I had to include it.

Also in June is Coyote Ragtime Show Vol 1 by Tartan Check and Ufotable. It was created by the same people that created the anime. Follows a lot of the anime, but there are are differences between the two versions.

Moving onto July, they’ll release E’s Vol 3 by Satol Yuiga. After querying the audience, it seemed that many people are not familiar with this title.  Broccoli believes in the progression of their manga readers, which is why they licensed this book.  As manga readers age, they wanted to be able to provide maturing titles to their fans.  Juvenile Orion is the base, and they followed it up with KamuiE’s is the next step up after that.  The plots become more complicated and they all have similar art styles.  They assured the audience that the E’s really picks up at volume 5, so please stick with it. 

My Dearest Devil Princess by Makoto Matsumoto & Maika Netsu is coming out in August.  It’s a fan servicey manga like Ah! My Goddess with a boy who buys a mysterious box from a friend who tells him he’ll get three wishes.  He opens the box and a devil pops out.  A very sexy devil.  She will grant him three wishes if he gives her his soul.  Though it’s fan servicey, they think it’s a cute romantic comedy that will also appeal to girls.

Disgaea 2 Vol 2 by Hekaton & Takehiko Haradawa was available at their booth.  They had their printer rush it out to them so they could have it in time for AX, so if you picked it up at the con, you are one of the first ones to get it!

Their new shounen ai/yaoi line, Boysenberry Books was briefly discussed. The first title will be available at the end of July.  Every other month they will publish another yaoi title.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have any available at their booth, and they couldn’t announce any new titles because nothing was finalized.  I was disappointed that I couldn’t pick up Delivery Cupid by CJ Michalski, because I am really interested to see how it turned out.  Now I will have to wait until it turns up at the store. 

Next, they discussed World of Disgaea 2.  They are unsure of the release date because there is so much text to translate.  They also have to do so much double checking between the book and the US release of the game to ensure that the versions match.  It sounded so tough being a Broccoli employee!! I felt so sorry for them, because they are forced to sit, hour after hour, replaying the RPG!  I want you to know how much I appreciate the time that you are selflessly devoting to bringing out the best version of the game book possible!  Thank you! :)

Broccoli will be releasing the Disgaea novel, but again, there is no solid release. 

Shizuki discussed the blog that both she and Samantha post on.  She recounted her  Fanime adventures, which included carting Murder Princess creator Sekihiko Inui off to that American paragon of toy shopping, Toys’R Us, so he could get a Spiderman shopping fix.  She was also asked to mail away for a  Spiderman cereal bowl for him, which they are still waiting for.  The blog, located here, is an entertaining read, and offers an insider’s view of manga publishing.

A question was asked about the FLCL boxset.  The FLCL Ultimate Edition is a 3 DVD plus one book set, and it comes with a wrist band, and they added a story board stream so you can watch the story board with the video.  There was also a feature that Shizuki snuck in at the end.  She added a commentary track by the US staff, and the producer will never forgive her for adding it at the last minute.

They were asked why they decided to introduce the yaoi line, and Shizuki said that they are following the progression of manga readers.  Many of the readers of Juvenile Orion were 12 to 15 when they first read the title.  They are 18 now and looking for more mature titles.   Because they are still under the Broccoli umbrella, they picked titles that are soft core and that they personally liked.

They were asked if they were planning any other boxes like the Juvenile Orion box.  That was one project that they worked on with the Borders Group.  The book store was willing to use the shelf space for the box because they had an exclusive on the title.  They would like to provide more promotional offerings like that, but it depends on how the retailers react to the ideas.

A question was asked about a Juvenile Orion anime.  They danced the question, saying that something was in the works, but it’s not an anime.  Hmmm….

They were asked if they have ever done demographic studies of their readers.  They responded that they had questionnaires in the back of Juvenile Orion books,, and that’s how they knew that the main readers were girls 12 to 15.  In return for filling out the questionnaires, they mailed out dust jackets for the books.  Because their parent company is a Japanese company, they wanted to do things like they do in Japan, where the books have dust jackets.  Unfortunately, the book stores here don’t like dust jackets. Instead, they decided to give them away in return for filling out the questionnaire.  It bums me out that the book stores have so much control over the presentation of my reading material.  No collector boxes, and now no dust jackets! 

They also learned through the questionnaires that there are a lot of females reading Galaxy Angel, which surprised them.  They decided that it makes sense because it’s a romantic comedy, and it’s really cute, especially by third volume when the love triangle starts going on.

They said that they select new titles based on how they feel they will be accepted in the US market.  They also like art that looks good, and manga that is easier to read and flows well. 

They were asked if Broccoli would try to bring any of the newer Aquarian Age card games over.   Trading card games are very difficult to market in such a large country like the US. You need a method to teach people how to play the game and you need to have tournaments here and there.  In Japan, they have a whole network that handles that.  Broccoli US is only eight people strong, and they don’t have the means to properly introduce the game to the public, so they have no plans to bring out the trading games at present.