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Exclusive: Media Blasters Lays Off 60% of Its Staff

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
N. American anime, live-action series distributor plans to continue releases

John Sirabella, CEO of the North American anime distributor Media Blasters, confirmed with ANN that the company laid off most of its employees on Tuesday.

Sirabella said that Media Blasters' staff decreased from 15 to five or six regular employees. He noted that the company will ask former staff members to continue to work on a freelance basis, but he does not expect all of the laid-off employees to agree to this. Sirabella also stated, "All of the small publishers are going through this sort of thing right now. Not just anime. Everyone's transitioning from full-time staff to freelancers."

The Media Blasters CEO expects the company to continue releasing the same number of titles as before the lay offs. Upcoming planned releases include Blu-ray versions of the action drama anime video Kite on February 28 and the entire first season of the Squid Girl (Shinryaku! Ika Musume) comedy anime on March 13.

The New York-based company began releasing anime in North America in 1997. It has distributed all-audience anime under its AnimeWorks division as well as adult titles through Kitty Media. In addition to anime and manga, Media Blasters has licensed and released live-action Japanese and Asian films and television series such as GTO: The Movie, Kamen Rider the First, and Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky.

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