Geneon (formerly Pioneer Animation) representatives at the Las Vegas ComicCon have announced the acquisition of North American rights to four new anime series.  According to Anime on DVD, the four series are: Gadguard, Hajime No Ippo, Ikki-Tosen, and Demon Lord Dante.  Perhaps the most commercially potent of the four new titles is Gadguard, the stylish 26-episode giant robot series from Studio Gonzo, which currently ranks as #19 in the Newtype Japan poll of favorite anime series.  The first Gadguard release should be out by the fall of 2004.


The 75-episode Hajime No Ippo is the longest running of the new Geneon series, defying the contemporary Japanese trend toward shorter anime projects that last only one or two seasons.  Produced by Madhouse starting in 2000, Hajime No Ippo is a sort of boxing version of the Karate Kid.  Based on a 1989 Shonen Jump manga series by Joji Morikawa, this series chronicles the rise of a high school kid, who is getting bullied at school and who decides to fight back by working with a boxing coach to pick up on the finer points of the 'sweet science' of boxing.  Look for a mid-summer release for this light-hearted quintessential sports anime.


Ikki-Tosen is another manga-based property -- Tokyopop will publish the English language version of the Ikki-Tosen manga under the very Americanized title Battle Vixens (see 'Tokyopop to Publish Battle Vixens').  The 13-episode Ikki-Tosen anime series has plenty of cat-fighting action with well-endowed female protagonists going at it hammer and tongs.  Geneon is planning a late summer release for the Ikki-Tosen anime series -- some 3 to four months after the manga debuts in the US in April.


Demon Lord Dante is a 13-episode horror anime, which is based on the manga series by Go Nagai.  In early 2002 Media-Blasters announced the acquisition of Demon Lord Dante, but in testament to the increasing competition for anime titles, it now appears that Geneon will release the series.