ADV Films has announced the acquisition of four major anime properties: Azumanga Daioh, Magical Shopping Street Abenobashi, Final Fantasy: Unlimited, and the Director's Cut of Neon Genesis Evangelion.  The acquisitions enhance ADV's position as on of the largest producer/distributors of Japanese animation to the North American market.


Azumanga Daioh

Produced by Genco (Serial Experiments Lain) and JC Staff (Excel Saga), Azumanga Daioh is a wacky comedy about a group of high school girls and their eccentric friends and teachers.  Based on the manga by Kiyohiko Azuma, which appeared in the four-panel format familiar to readers of American newspaper strips, the Azumanga Daioh anime consists of freewheeling gags and character-driven segments many of which expand on Azuma's original comic strips.


Evangelion Director's Cut 

The Evangelion Director's Cut has been a big hit in Japan, where the new versions of the final six episodes of the groundbreaking series have energized the property once again.  ADV will release two DVDs, each of which will have three Director's Cut episodes personally prepared by Hideki Anno, as well as the original version of the same episodes so that fans can compare and contrast the two versions.


Final Fantasy: Unlimited

This 25-episode anime series was directed by Mahiro Maeda, who also directed Blue Submarine #6 as well as two episodes of the Animatrix.  Based on the popular video game with animation done by Gonzo Digimation (Hellsing), Final Fantasy Unlimited should be available on DVD here in the States by the end of September.


Magical Shopping Street Abenobashi

This 13-episode series features two friends who find that their neighborhood shopping center is actually a portal into a series of parallel existences.  In each episode they struggle to return to reality, and in so doing, parody a different anime genre or classic film.  Produced by Gainax (Evangelion), Magical Shopping Street Abenobashi is a true delight for the anime fan.