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 that is a subsidiary of NBCUniversal 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)
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryMass media
FoundedMarch 1981; 42 years ago (1981-03)
FounderPioneer Corporation
HeadquartersMinato, Tokyo, Japan
Area served
Japan
Key people
Shoji Doyama (CEO and president)
Products
Services
ParentUniversal Pictures
Websitewww.nbcuni.co.jp

The company was founded in March 1981 by Pioneer Corporation 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.

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.

History edit

Founding edit

Pioneer Corporation 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] 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.[2][3][4]

In December 1985, Pioneer LDC would made an effort to expand into the North American business, by establishing a subsidiary in the region named LaserDisc Corporation of America in an effort to consolidate the Pioneer Video and Pioneer Audio units, who maintained the Pioneer Artists label, which was initially based near New Jersey, following the introduction of a combined CD/laserdisc player.[5]

In late 1991, Pioneer LDC established a European division, Pioneer LDCE (short for LaserDisc Corporation of Europe), hoping to revive interest of Laserdiscs in the European market after Philips' Laserdisc players flopped in Europe.[6] Around the same time, the company begin licensing titles from Guild Film Distribution to release 140 films to Laserdisc for the United Kingdom market, and additionally licensed titles from VCL Communications/Carolco Pictures to release 20 titles to the German market.[7]

In 1992, LaserDisc released their first anime title Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki.[1]

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

On July 21, 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 Geneon USA.[8][9]

Sale to NBC Universal edit

 
Logo of Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, featuring the Universal Pictures logo (used from 1996 to 2011), used from 2009 to 2013

On November 12, 2008, Dentsu announced that it was selling 80.1% of its ownership in the company to NBC Universal's Universal Pictures International Entertainment (UPIE), who planned to merge the company with its Universal Pictures Japan division—which had no longer theatrically distributed Universal Pictures films in Japan, having delegated its theatrical distribution tasks to Toho subsidiary Toho-Towa since the dissolution of United International Pictures Japan in 2007—to form a new company.[10][11] 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).[12] On December 9, 2013, the company once again changed its name to NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan LLC.[13]

 
Universal Pictures logo of NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan, used alongside the wordmark

On February 17, 2013, they made a partnership with Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to distribute their anime titles directly in Australia and New Zealand.[14]

Purchase of Paramount Japan edit

On January 1, 2016, Paramount Japan was purchased by NBCUniversal and dissolved shortly afterwards.[15] This was due to Paramount Pictures establishing a joint-venture with Toho-Towa named Towa Pictures Company Limited, which would distribute Paramount's films in Japan.[16]

On July 12, 2017, they announced a partnership with Crunchyroll to co-produce anime with "international appeal".[17]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Pioneer Stops Making Laserdisc Players After 27 Years". Anime News Network. January 14, 2009. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  2. ^ "Magical Girl Pretty Samy Part 2: In the Julyhelm [Japan Import]". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  3. ^ "Tenchi Muyou! Rensa Hitsuyou [Japan Import]". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  4. ^ "serial experiments lain [Japan Import]". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  5. ^ Seideman, Tony (January 11, 1986). "Laser Players, Disks Carve Market Niche" (PDF). Billboard. p. 47. Retrieved October 16, 2023.
  6. ^ Clark-Meads, Jeff (February 22, 1992). "Pioneer Pushing Laserdiscs In Europe" (PDF). Billboard. p. 45. Retrieved October 16, 2023.
  7. ^ Dean, Peter (March 7, 1992). "Pioneer Laserdisc Europe Filling Film Void" (PDF). Billboard. p. 35. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  8. ^ "Dentsu acquires Pioneer - News". Anime News Network. July 21, 2003. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  9. ^ "Pioneer Entertainment Inc. to Become Geneon". Anime News Network. September 26, 2003. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  10. ^ "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. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  11. ^ "Geneon to Merge with Universal Pictures Japan - News". Anime News Network. November 12, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  12. ^ "Geneon Universal Entertainment". Geneonuniversal.jp. Archived from the original on May 21, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  13. ^ "Geneon Universal Ent. Japan is Now Known as NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan" (PDF) (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. December 9, 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 24, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  14. ^ "Universal Sony Home Pictures to Release Anime in Australia". Anime News Network. February 17, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Paramount Titles to Distribute Through Toho-Towa in Japan". Variety. October 7, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  17. ^ "Crunchyroll Partners With NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan to Co-Develop Anime". Anime News Network. July 12, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2021.

External links edit