History of Anime in the US Part 4


Media Blasters

Unlike other companies which create an adult label after they became established, Media Blasters began releasing adult product first (on its Kitty label). Formed by the former head of Software Sculptors, the adult product released by them is for the most part pretty nasty stuff (including such things as Orchid Emblem). They've not been releasing product long enough for them to have a single "typical" release, though.

Pioneer's Animation Division

A company which has been in business for some time, though, is Pioneer. A branch of the monstrous LDCA (LaserDisc Corporation of America), Pioneer's animation division scored huge early on with the almost unknown Tenchi Muyo OVA set. These quickly became standards in the industry, and with Pioneer's willingness to advertise and their commitment to Laserdisc (hardly surprising considering their lineage), this quickly landed this program on most fans "must see" lists. Although they've also released other very interesting stuff like El Hazard, Armitage III, and are now actively releasing (and promoting) Dragonball Z, they seem destined to be remembered for the Tenchi set. There are worse things to be remembered for, though.

VIZ, Shogakukan, & Urban Vision

We now come to a pair of companies which are either managed by or have ties to larger Japanese groups. First is VIZ, with strong links to Shogakukan: the property that they'll forever be remembered for is one that's typical ... Ranma 1/2. This series along with OVA's and movies has been shipping for some time now, and probably will continue for at least the foreseeable future (so far, all the OVA's and movies are out ... but the TV series ran for something like 140 episodes so there are still quite a few to go). Also with a strong Japanese connection is the newcomer Urban Vision ... but one has to get past the idea that they're part of AD Vision (they're not ... any more than Kitty Media is part of the Japanese Kitty Enterprises). Urban Vision, including a former Streamline employee, is functioning at this time largely as a releasing division for Madhouse (a Japanese producer of anime). While they have only a few titles available in the marketplace so far, the quality of their dubs is surprisingly high and they seem committed to releasing product as subs as well. Good things may well come from these guys as time goes on, but they too haven't been around long enough to come up with a single release which is typical.

The Right Stuf

Still, no listing on anime companies would be complete without mentioning ourselves. For many years, Right Stuf, Inc. has been identified with what some categorize as "classic anime" ... things like Astro Boy, Gigantor, Eighth Man. We've done a few interesting things since that, of course, like Tezuka's "Legend of the Forest" and the Inomata "Leda: Fantastic Adventure of Yohko", but most still think of us as the company that releases Astro Boy. That might change, though, as volumes of our "Irresponsible Captain Tylor" start to ship.