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2001 - A Year in Review: The New Companies

2001 - A Year in Review: The Companies - The Newcomers

by Christopher Macdonald

The number of North American Anime Companies increased significantly in 2001. At the beginning of 2001 we had Viz, Pioneer Animation, Bandai Entertainment, Central Park Media, AD Vision, Media Blasters, Urban Vision, AnimEigo, Nelvana, FUNimation, 4 Kids Entertainment and The Right Stuff International. By the end of the year NuTech Digital, Tokyopop Anime, Synch Point and IG Video joined the fray.

One of the more interesting companies to come to the Anime industry in 2001 is NuTech Digital. Originally a DVD subcontractor pressing DVDs for Central Park, NuTech was supposed to produce the Votoms DVDs for CPM. After many delays, Votoms ended up turning out to be NuTech's first Anime release of their own. Much more interesting than their delayed Votoms DVDs, NuTech licensed a significant number of adult titles from Pink Pineapple and hired American Porn stars like Asia Carrera to do the dubbing. Even more interesting, Pink Pineapple will produce a number of new titles with character designs based on the real life look of NuTech's English voice actresses. Already in one year NuTech has released over 30 different volumes of adult anime featuring the voices of different adult actresses.

Long time Manga publisher Tokyopop launched their Anime arm this year with the release of Spring and Chaos. Tokyopop suffered a serious "hiccup" with the release of Spring and Chaos; the English dub was already very controversial and to make matters worse, their maiden DVD release was seriously defective. Without missing a beat Tokyopop recalled the DVD and sent out new copies as soon as they could be authored. From that point on Tokyopop charged on, licensing Vampire Princess Miyu, Saint Tail, GTO, Samurai Girl - Real Bout High School and Initial D. Although Tokyopop hasn't officially announced it, Mike Toole from Anime Prime says sales sheets list Marmalade Boy, confirming that they have the license to this anime series as well.

Synch-Point and IG Video both joined the North American Anime industry at approximately the same time, and there was some confusion that the two companies might in fact be one.

Synch-Point is the Anime arm of distribution company Digital Manga, which also owns Akadot and Omochabox in LA to name but a few of its divisions. As I'm Gonna Be An Angel is the only title that Synch-Point has released to date, there isn't really much to say about Synch-Point. Synch-Point's upcoming releases include FLCL and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

Cause for confusion, IG Video also announced that they would be releasing FLCL. The result? Some people thought that Synch-Point was a subsidiary of Production I.G, and others thought that IG Video was another subsidiary of Digital Manga. The true story was quite simple actually, IG Video had licensed FLCL and then sub-licensed the title to Synch-Point so that the two companies could co-produce it and Synch-Point would handle the publicity and distribution. IG Video did the same thing with Love Hina, sub licensing it to Bandai Entertainment. Essentially IG Video has remained content to remain in the background for the time being. While FLCL was announced first, on February 19th Love Hina is expected to be the first IG Video title to hit the market.

Also of interest, Urban Vision announced a new sub-label, named Lil*Vision, which they will use to distribute children orientated Anime without having it associated with their more mature titles such as Vampire Hunter D, Goku and Golgo 13. Lil*Vision's first release will be Strange Dawn.

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