Every year, Chris Beveridge hosts a panel at the convention that is unlike most others. Beveridge does not keep a set format. There is no specific topic, and no particular focus. Instead, it’s a straight-up question-and-answer panel, in which everything is fair game. Those who ask a question are free to pick a prize from the massive pile of DVDs that he brings to the event. Bad questions are given a booby prize, in the form of horrible hentai titles or, in the case of the worst question, a copy of Night Shift Nurses. Night Shift Nurses had not found a home in the first three years Beveridge offered it, though this year it finally found a new owner. God rest that poor bastard’s soul. This year, I donated Disgaea: The Complete Collection from Anime Dream’s own reviewable titles locker.
As with every year, the topics of conversation were varied and ranged from Beveridge’s favorite titles, to frank industry discussions. Particularly interesting tidbits from the 90-minute panel included the following:
- A “high performing” title in this day and age tends to sell 2,000 units.
- While dubs have come down in price, the lower general sales ensure that many companies do not dub their titles. FUNimation is the major exception due to the fact that they do a lot of work in-house, and they have an on-demand television network.
- The industry, both in Japan and America has been searching and hunting for another show like Pokemon, to help spur new fans again.
- Poor management was a major contributor to TOKYOPOP’s closing
- Japan’s involvement in the Region 1 market is a consequence of risk management and cost analysis. Japanese distributors can make more money by selling directly, than they can by licensing certain titles.
- Kodansha’s take-over of Del Rey’s titles will have little impact on the industry at large, as they are maintaining many members of Del Rey’s former staff, and continuing with their formatting. Because of their involvement in the market over the years, it is not foreseen that they will “take their ball and go home” like Toei or Bandai Visual.
- Beveridge still considers Spirited Away the worst anime title in memory, as it put him straight to sleep.
The conversation was littered with fun facts and a surprisingly fun sense of humor from Beveridge and the audience. At times, it felt that 90 minutes seemed almost too short for this candid conversation, as there were many topics that seemed to be begging for further discussion.