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Bandai Namco Arts’ 40th anniversary project for the Emotion label is launching with the release of the Dallos OVA Blu-ray Disc on March 24, 2023. Pic credit: Bandai Namco

Bandai Namco Arts’ (BNA) 40th-anniversary project for the Emotion label has been launched!

Emotion will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2023. Its parent company has changed names over four decades: from Bandai to Bandai Visual to Bandai Namco Arts to Bandai Namco Filmworks, but Emotion remains to this day the label with the longest history of OVAs nevertheless.

The first activity will see the Dallos OVA being released on Blu-ray Disc for the first time! Save the date: March 24, 2023.

The industry giant has announced that the 40th-anniversary project’s focus will be on video cassettes and DVDs, or simply put — OVAs (original video animation) of the past era. Before the internet and late-night television, OVAs were a seminal anime genre.

Take a look at the BNA project announcement video:

BNA has revealed a commemorative logo, a commemorative Moai-style visual (image on top), and the announcement video featured above ahead of the big day. A commemorative website has also been launched to promote the history of Emotion and its extensive line-up.

Dallos: The world’s first OVA

As for Dallos (ダロス, Darosu), it saw the light of day in the previous millennium, more precisely on November 21, 1983. It was released on a video cassette; Dallos was the world’s first OVA and the first animated direct-to-video production release!

That rare honor simply must be given the credit it’s due and it is indeed merry news that new generations of anime fans will get the chance to see Dallos for the first time, 40 years after its initial release.  

Dallos is a four-episode science fiction epic directed by Mamoru Oshii and Hisayuki Toriumi. Toriumi was also in charge of the script. Studio Pierrot animated the OVA series, which was released under the BNA’s newly-established Emotion label in 1983.

Dallos is heavily influenced by some seminal titles of the SF genre, notably “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” by legendary writer Robert A. Heinlein, a.k.a. “the dean of science fiction writers.” The plot follows the daily lives of Moon colony settlers who start a rebellion, and centers on a mystical artifact known as Dallos.

A Dallos OVA series’ Japanese VHS cover. Pic credit: Bandai Namco

An English dub of the Dallos Special emerged in 1991 — eight whole years after its Japanese debut. Celebrity Home Entertainment licensed the OVAs at the time, releasing them on VHS under the title “Battle for Moon Station Dallos.”

This very version of the OVA was re-released by Best Film and Video Corp and on DVD by Discotek Media in 2014. Both releases featured the original Japanese title — Dallos. In May 2015, Crunchyroll added the OVA series to its catalog.

Upon its 80s release, Dallos was also popular in some other countries, notably in Spain where it was subsequently licensed by Chiqui Video, which released a Spanish VHS dub.

The 2023 Dallos Blu-ray Disc will feature a plethora of ca. 45-minute long extras, including a pilot film (image board collection), a documentary movie “Remembering Dallos 1983-2003” (literal translation), a collection of moving logos from Emotion’s history, and digital archives of still images (the 1984 Dallos pamphlet and the 2004 special booklet).

Emotion in a nutshell

As for Emotion, it went on to release Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (王立宇宙軍~オネアミスの翼, Ōritsu Uchūgun: Oneamisu no Tsubasa), AKIRA, Mobile Police Patlabor (機動警察パトレイバー, Kidō Keisatsu Patoreibā), Ghost in the Shell (1995), and Cowboy Bebop.

Recently, the label has released Love Live! Superstar!! and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (転生したらスライムだった件, Tensei Shitara Suraimu Datta Ken).

The Emotion 40th Anniversary Program will continue with screenings, distribution programs, and other events TBA, so stay tuned for the upcoming goodies!