NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan

NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan LLC (Japanese: NBCユニバーサル・エンターテイメントジャパン合同会社, Hepburn: Enubīshī Yunibāsaru Entāteimento Japan Gōdō-gaisha) (abbreviated as NBCUEJ) is a Japanese music, anime, and home entertainment production and distribution enterprise headquartered in Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo. It is primarily involved in the production and distribution of anime within Japan.

NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan LLC
Native name
NBCユニバーサル・エンターテイメントジャパン合同会社
EnubīshīYunibāsaru Entāteimento Japan gōdō gaisha
FormerlyLaserDisc Corporation (1981–1989)
Pioneer LDC, Inc. (1989–2003)
Geneon Entertainment Inc. (2003–2009)
Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, LLC. (2009–2013)
TypeSubsidiary GK
IndustryMass media
FoundedMarch 1981
FounderWarner-Pioneer
HeadquartersMinato, Tokyo, Japan
Area served
Japan
ProductsAnime, Film, Music
OwnerNBCUniversal
(Comcast)
ParentUniversal Pictures International Entertainment
(NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment)
Websitewww.nbcuni.co.jp

The company was founded in 1981 by Warner-Pioneer as LaserDisc Corporation, a LaserDisc player production company. In 1989, the company was renamed Pioneer LDC, Inc. as it branched into the anime, music, and film industries, and later Geneon Entertainment Inc. (after being acquired by Dentsu in 2003). In 2008, Geneon merged with Universal Pictures Japan to form Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, LLC; in 2013, the company changed its name to the current NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Some of the well-known anime series the company has produced are A Certain Magical Index, The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Danganronpa: The Animation, Golden Kamuy, and Seraph of the End among many others.

Their North American branch (founded as Pioneer Entertainment, later Geneon USA) specialized in translating and distributing anime and related merchandise, such as soundtracks across the region. After declining fortunes, it was shut down in 2007. After its shutdown, they licensed their titles out to other anime distributors for distribution, such as Funimation. At one point, they distributed their titles directly in Australia with Sony, but they have stopped.

Despite the name, NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan does not distribute Universal Pictures films theatrically in Japan; Toho (through Toho-Towa) exclusively distributes them for Japanese theaters.

HistoryEdit

FoundingEdit

Warner-Pioneer founded the LaserDisc Corporation (レーザーディスク株式会社, RēzāDisuku Kabushiki-gaisha) in March 1981 to produce LaserDisc players in Japan.[1] The LaserDisc Corporation changed its name to Pioneer LDC, Inc. (パイオニア エル・ディー・シー株式会社, Paionia Eru Dī Shī Kabushiki-gaisha) in 1989 as part of an attempt to branch off into the anime, film, and music industries.[1] The first anime title they released was Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki in 1992.[1] Its North American division was later renamed again to Pioneer Entertainment.[1]

 
Former logo for Geneon Entertainment from October 2003 to February 1, 2009

In July 2003, the company was acquired by Japanese advertising and marketing company firm Dentsu and renamed to Geneon Entertainment Inc. (ジェネオン エンタテインメント株式会社, Jeneon Entateinmento Kabushiki-gaisha), while its North American division, Pioneer Entertainment, was renamed to Geneon USA.[2][3] Geneon is a portmanteau of the English words, generate and eon.

Sale to UniversalEdit

 
Logo of Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, used from 2009 to 2013

On November 12, 2008, Dentsu announced that it was selling 80.1% of its ownership in the company to NBCUniversal's Universal Pictures International Entertainment (UPI), who planned to merge the company with its Universal Pictures Japan division to form a new company.[4][5] The merger later closed, with the new company known as Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, LLC. (ジェネオン・ユニバーサル・エンターテイメントジャパン合同会社, Jeneon Yunibāsaru Entāteimento Japan Gōdō-kaisha).[6] On December 9, 2013, the company once again changed its name to NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan LLC.[7]

 
Globe logo of NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan, used alongside the wordmark

On February 17, 2013, they made a partnership with Sony to distribute their anime titles directly in Australia and New Zealand.[8]

Purchase of Paramount JapanEdit

On January 1, 2016, Paramount Japan was purchased by NBCUniversal and dissolved shortly afterwards.[9] This was due to Paramount Pictures establishing a joint-venture with Toho-Towa named Towa Pictures, which would distribute Paramount's films in Japan.[10]

On July 12, 2017, they announced a partnership with Crunchyroll to co-produce anime with "international appeal".[11]

Geneon USAEdit

BeginningsEdit

Viz Media (then known as Viz Video) made a deal with Geneon (then known as Pioneer) to release Viz's properties to DVD, such as Ranma ½ before Viz began producing their own DVDs.[12] Pioneer also worked with Bandai Entertainment before they started to produce their own DVDs.[13] In November 2004, they signed a deal with Toei Animation to distribute some of their titles into the North American market.[14] Launching titles included Air Master, Interlude, and Slam Dunk. However, in late 2006, the deal ended and all of the released titles went out of print.[15] In 2006, they were named "Best Anime Company" by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation.[16] In March 2007, they became the exclusive North American distributor for Bandai Visual USA.[17]

ShutdownEdit

Four months later, it was announced that ADV Films would take over the distribution, marketing, and sales of their properties in the United States, starting October 1, 2007. According to the announcement, they would continue to acquire, license, and produce English subs and dubs of anime for release in North America.[18] However, the deal was canceled in September before it was implemented, with neither company giving details as to why beyond stating they were "unable to reach a mutual agreement."[19][20]

On September 26, 2007, they announced that they would close distribution operations, with titles solicited through November 5 shipped. Titles that were in mid-release or licensed but unreleased were left in limbo.[21] The Bandai Visual USA titles that were being distributed by Geneon were not affected by this closure, though some were delayed while Bandai Visual found a new distributor.[22] Another North American anime company, Funimation, began negotiating with them to distribute some of the company's licensed titles.[23] In July 2008, a formal arrangement was announced and Funimation acquired the rights to "manufacture, sell, and distribute" various Geneon anime and live-action titles.[24][25]

AfterwardsEdit

Several of their former titles were been re-licensed by other companies, such as Funimation, Sentai Filmworks, Discotek Media, and Nozomi Entertainment.

The anime A Certain Scientific Railgun S, which premiered in 2013, opened with the Geneon opening on Funimation and Crunchyroll, despite that logo having since been retired. Previous and future seasons of the same series used the Universal opening.[26][27]

Other venturesEdit

The company is also a record label, which means they handle music distribution for multiple musicians, like fripSide and Kotoko.[28] Their first major live event was called the "NBCUniversal Anime x Music festival", and was held in 2018.[29] They also use their music as soundtracks for their anime productions. One example of that is the band fripSide performing the first opening for A Certain Scientific Railgun.[30]

As Pioneer LDC, they developed and published several video games for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation, such as games based on Magical Girl Pretty Sammy, Tenchi Muyo!, and Serial Experiments Lain.[31][32][33]

They also opened an anime cafe in Akihabara, which featured items themed towards their series, such as A Certain Magical Index, Is the Order a Rabbit?, and Yuyushiki.[34] Some examples of these items were a drink with a hand inside, hot chocolate and spaghetti, and curry pizza.[34]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "Pioneer Stops Making Laserdisc Players After 27 Years". Anime News Network. January 14, 2009. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  2. ^ "Dentsu acquires Pioneer - News". Anime News Network. July 21, 2003. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  3. ^ "Pioneer Entertainment Inc. to Become Geneon". Anime News Network. September 26, 2003. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  4. ^ "ジェネオン エンタテインメント㈱一部株式のUPIEへの譲渡とジェネオン エンタテインメント㈱とUPIE子会社との合併について" (PDF). Dentsu. November 12, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  5. ^ "Geneon to Merge with Universal Pictures Japan - News". Anime News Network. November 12, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  6. ^ "Geneon Universal Entertainment". Geneonuniversal.jp. Archived from the original on June 4, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  7. ^ "Geneon Universal Ent. Japan is Now Known as NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan" (PDF) (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. December 9, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  8. ^ "Universal Sony Home Pictures to Release Anime in Australia". Anime News Network. February 17, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  9. ^ サイト閉鎖のお知らせ [Site Closure Notification] (in Japanese). Paramount Japan. January 1, 2016. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  10. ^ "Paramount Titles to Distribute Through Toho-Towa in Japan". Variety. October 7, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  11. ^ "Crunchyroll Partners With NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan to Co-Develop Anime". Anime News Network. July 12, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  12. ^ "Viz switches to 100% Pioneer distribution". Anime News Network. October 6, 1999. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  13. ^ "Pioneer Exclusive distributor of Bandai Anime". Anime News Network. June 29, 2000. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  14. ^ "Geneon Entertainment Signs Distribution Agreement with Toei Animation". Anime News Network. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  15. ^ "Toei DVDs Cancelled - News". Anime News Network. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  16. ^ "Akimbo Adds Geneon to Its Acclaimed Anime on Demand Collection". Anime News Network. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  17. ^ "Bandai Visual USA new licenses and distribution deal - News". Anime News Network. March 5, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  18. ^ "ADV Takes Over Geneon's Sales, Marketing, Distribution - News". Anime News Network. August 24, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  19. ^ "ADV Films, Geneon USA's Distribution Deal Cancelled (Updated) - News". Anime News Network. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  20. ^ "Geneon USA Withdraws Appointment of Anime DVD Distribution Business to A.D. Vision" (PDF) (Press release). Dentsu. September 21, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2007. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  21. ^ "Geneon USA to Cancel DVD Sales, Distribution by Friday - News". Anime News Network. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  22. ^ "Bandai Visual USA Continues to Release New Titles as Scheduled". Anime News Network. September 27, 2007. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  23. ^ "Navarre/FUNimation Interested in Some Geneon Titles". ICv2. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  24. ^ "Funimation Agrees to Distribute Select Geneon Titles - News". Anime News Network. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  25. ^ "FUNimation Entertainment and Geneon Entertainment Sign Exclusive Distribution Agreement for North America". Anime News Network. September 26, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  26. ^ "A Certain Scientific Railgun". Funimation. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  27. ^ "A Certain Scientific Railgun - Watch on Crunchyroll". Crunchyroll. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  28. ^ "第1弾 出演アーティスト発表". NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan (in Japanese). November 3, 2017. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  29. ^ "NBCUniversal ANIME×MUSIC FESTIVAL 公式サイトオープン". NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan (in Japanese). November 3, 2017. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  30. ^ "To Aru Kagaku no Railgun's Opening Theme Lands at #3". Anime News Network. November 10, 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  31. ^ "Magical Girl Pretty Samy Part 2: In the Julyhelm [Japan Import]". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  32. ^ "Tenchi Muyou! Rensa Hitsuyou [Japan Import]". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  33. ^ "serial experiments lain [Japan Import]". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  34. ^ a b "NBC Universal Entertainment Japan Opens Anime Cafe in Akihabara". Anime News Network. February 10, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2021.

External linksEdit