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News for Anime Expo 2004
May 25, 2004

Anime Expo 2004 announces the US premiere of Full Metal Alchemist



Exclusive Screening of Beyblade Season 3 Also Set

Anaheim, California (May 25, 2004)— The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) and FUNimation Productions, Ltd. are proud to announce the U.S. premiere of Full Metal Alchemist at Anime Expo 2004 (AX2004), set for July 2-4 at the Anaheim Convention Center. AX2004 is the largest anime convention in the United States devoted to Japanese animation and manga (comic books) and is anticipating more than 20,000 anime fans and industry professionals to attend this year's convention. For more information, visit http://www.anime-expo.org.

"The U.S. premiere of Full Metal Alchemist at Anime Expo 2004 will give anime fans a sneak peak at two original episodes a few months in advance of its debut on the Cartoon Network," said Jennifer Pon, chief executive officer of SPJA. "The series has already won over a loyal and devoted audience in Japan. And its premiere at Anime Expo is sure to build excitement and anticipation for its American debut in October." The complete English-dubbed series will also be available on DVD in early 2005.

The story of Full Metal Alchemist begins after Alphonse and Edward Elric lose their mother and attempt to bring her back to life using the forbidden science of human alchemy. However, this carries a heavy price. Ed loses his leg, and Al loses his life. Ed is able to seal Al's soul inside of a huge suit of armor, at the cost of his arm. Years later, Ed (now with two mechanical limbs) and Al (still trapped in the armor) leave their childhood home, each brother concerned with the other's happiness. They are searching for any information on the fabled Philosopher's stone, hoping it will allow them to regain their old bodies. Ed, who has a natural talent and skill for alchemy, soon becomes nationally certified. He is soon known everywhere as the "Full Metal Alchemist."

In addition, SPJA and FUNimation Productions also announced the exclusive premiere of Season 3 of Beyblade. The screening will include the first 2 episodes, plus Beyblade: Behind the Revolution, a 30-minute special that goes behind the scenes on the making of the series, plus an in-depth feature from the Beyblade North American Championships.

Beyblade airs in the U.S. on ABC Family Channel. The story follows thirteen-year-old Tyson Granger (Takao Kinomiya), along with his fellow teammates, Kai Hiwatari, Max Tate (Max Mizuhura), and Ray Kon (Rei Kon), strive to become the greatest beybladers in the world. With the technical help of the team's resident genius, Kenny (Kyoujyu), and with the powerful strength of their bit beasts, the Bladebreakers armed with their tops (a.k.a. blades) attempt to reach their goal.

AX2004 serves to foster trade, commerce and the interests of the animation and comics industry by serving as a key meeting place for members of the industry to conduct business.

Sponsors include Viz Comics, Animerica, ADV Films, Geneon, Tofu Records, Newtype USA and Anime Network. Sponsor hotels include Anaheim Hilton, Anaheim Marriott, or Anaheim Coast Hotels. The cost to attend the three-day expo is $45; One Day Pass: $25; Two Day Pass: $40; Children: $20 (12 years and under; 5 and under free if accompanied by member). Parental advisory: Some anime and manga content contains adult themes.

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation is a non-profit organization with a mission to popularize and educate the American public about anime and manga as well as provide a forum to facilitate communication between professionals and fans.