Central Park Media

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Central Park Media
TypePrivate
IndustryMultimedia entertainment
GenreAnime, East Asian films, hentai, manga, manhwa, yaoi
Founded1990
FounderJohn O'Donnell
DefunctApril 27, 2009
FateBankruptcy
HeadquartersNew York City, New York
Area served
United States and Canada
Divisions
  • Asia Pulp Cinema
  • US Manga Corps
  • Software Sculptors
  • CPM Press
  • Anime 18
  • Below the Radar
  • Binary Media Works
Websitecentralparkmedia.com

Central Park Media, often abbreviated as CPM, was an American multimedia entertainment company based in New York City, New York and was headquartered in the 250 West 57th Street building in Midtown Manhattan (on the corner of Central Park, hence their name). They were one of the first companies to be active in the distribution of East Asian cinema, television series, anime, manga, and manhwa titles in North America, notably helping to make hentai popular in the region. Over its history, the company licensed several popular titles, such as Slayers, Revolutionary Girl Utena, the Tokyo Babylon OVAs, Project A-ko, and Demon City Shinjuku.

They had multiple divisions, each of which focused on offering different types of products and services. While a majority of their divisions handled anime and manga distribution, they also offered anime-related software and ran a website for UFO conspiracy theorists.

The company filed for bankruptcy on April 27, 2009. Since their bankruptcy, many of their former titles have been re-released by other companies.

History[edit]

Founding and growth[edit]

Central Park Media was founded in 1990 by John O'Donnell as an anime supplier.[1] During its heyday, CPM incorporated MD Geist as part of its U.S. Manga Corps logo. Curiosity by anime fans seeing the "corporate spokes mecha" in CPM's titles resulted in MD Geist becoming one of the company's bestselling titles. In 1996, CPM commissioned MD Geist creator Koichi Ohata to write and direct a sequel; at the same time, Ohata made a director's cut of the first title, adding new scenes and expanding the storyline.[2]

In 1992, CPM – through its Anime 18 division – released Urotsukidōji: Legend of the Overfiend, which became the first animated film to be given the NC-17 rating. Since its release, Urotsukidoji has become a cult classic among fans of anime, science fiction and horror genres, while at the same time, being one of the first anime titles to introduce the western public to the hentai genre. It was released in theaters across the United States in both subtitled and dubbed formats.[3]

In the mid-1990s, CPM expanded to distributing manga and manhwa through CPM Manga and CPM Manhwa, respectively. CPM Manga also featured adaptations of MD Geist, Armored Trooper Votoms, and Project A-ko by American writers and artists.[4]

Central Park Media headquarters was in the Fisk Building, located at 250 West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan.[5][6] They started out with just 3,400 square feet, but grew to 7,000 square feet in 1996 and would expand further to 10,000 square feet in January 2000.[7] Through its history, the company has employed numerous figures in the video retail industry like Steven Kramer,[8] Peter Castro,[9] and Tom Reilly.[9] In 2003, John Davis, Allen Rosenberg, and Stacey Santos were hired as account executives.[10]

Financial problems[edit]

On May 26, 2006, Central Park Media laid off many of its employees, and rumors erupted that the company was planning to declare bankruptcy, supported by a statement from a representative at the convention Anime Boston. The following Monday, the company's managing director issued a statement acknowledging the lay-offs and attributing the cost-cutting to creditor problems following the January bankruptcy of the Musicland group.[11]

The previous year, in 2005, CPM had discontinued its CPM Manga and CPM Manhwa line, also due to monetary problems. But CPM representatives have said that they had relaunched their manga and manhwa lines in January 2006.[12]

On March 19, 2007, Japanese yaoi publisher Libre posted a notice on its website saying that CPM's Be Beautiful division was illegally translating and selling its properties. The titles in question were originally licensed to CPM by Japanese publisher Biblos, which was bought out by Libre in 2006 after a bankruptcy.[13]

Bankruptcy and liquidation[edit]

Central Park Media filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 27, 2009, and liquidated with a debt of over US$1.2 million.[14] Officially, the company had plans to re-release some older titles in the future.[15] Right up until their bankruptcy, CPM still licensed their anime titles for North American television and VOD distribution, despite having not released anything on home video for over a year. Many of their titles have been shown on the Sci-Fi Channel,[16] as well as Anime Selects, AZN Television and the Funimation Channel,[17] and were available through iTunes.[18] Some of their titles were also re-licensed by various anime companies, such as ADV Films, Bandai Entertainment, Funimation, Sentai Filmworks, Discotek Media, Nozomi Entertainment, and Media Blasters,[19] and were re-released from 2004 into the present day. Some of their titles were either re-dubbed, such as Here Is Greenwood and Area 88 by Media Blasters and ADV Films, respectively, or have retained the original dub. Grave of the Fireflies was later re-licensed by ADV's successor Sentai Filmworks and was re-released in 2012.[20]

Distribution[edit]

Central Park Media was a key player in popularizing anime, with numerous firsts and promotions designed to introduce various works to American viewers. They were one of the first suppliers to sell anime box sets.[21]

In 2002, the first instance of an anime having the storyboards as an alternate viewing option was released on the Collectors Edition of Grave of the Fireflies, more than 2,700 hand drawings synced to the audio tracks.[22] They also focused on increasing TV airings of shows to capitalize on the International Channel, the Encore Channel and the streaming service Cartoon Network short-lived Toonami Reactor website.[23]

Anime Test Drive was a promotion that started in 2003 which tested the markets and introduced American's to anime at a discounted rate.[24] It was a way to market titles that may have been viewed as to expensive or inconvenience to purchase separately.[7] Anime Test Drive DVDs offer two episodes of the listed anime series and 45 minutes of trailers.[7]

In 2004, Central Park Media introduced Korean animation works into America after the success of the Animatrix, Aeon Flux, and Cubix with the release of Doggy Poo.[25] In 2005, it sub-licensed seven anime titles to the US-based International Channel.[26] It also licensed titles out to the broadband streaming service Movielink.[27] In 2006, Central Park Media licensed some of their works to IGN Entertainment's digital download retail store Direct2Drive.[28]

In 2007, Central Park Media licensed out Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie, Roujin Z, the Record of Lodoss War series, the Project A-ko series, Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer, and Grave of the Fireflies to the Funimation Channel.[17] These titles aired on the channel in 2007 before ADV Films took over the rights to Grave of the Fireflies[19] and the film was streamed on VOD in the United States and Canada by Anime Network,[29] following their bankruptcy.[14]

Divisions[edit]

Asia Pulp Cinema[edit]

Asia Pulp Cinema was CPM's East Asian live-action film distribution division that began in 1999.[30] They were most known for carrying Japanese erotic films, mostly starring actress Kei Mizutani, and films targeted at admirers of the otaku subculture, such as the Akihabara Trilogy.[31]

US Manga Corps[edit]

US Manga Corps was the main anime distribution division for Central Park Media, catering to middle/high school students and older audiences.[32] The US Manga Corps mascot is from MD Geist, from an OVA from the 1980s.[2]

Software Sculptors[edit]

Software Sculptors was founded by John Sirabella, Sam Liebowitz, and Henry Lai in 1993, and specialized in anime-related software, such as screen savers featuring Ranma ½ and Bubblegum Crisis, as well as releasing anime on CD-ROM.[33][34] They also released several anime titles, most notably Slayers, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Cat Soup. The company was bought by CPM and was turned into one of their division labels. Sirabella stayed on with CPM until 1997, after which he would go on to form Media Blasters.[35]

CPM Press[edit]

CPM Press (originally CPM Comics, then CPM Manga) was the manga and manhwa publication division.[36][37] Manga titles were published under the label CPM Manga, and manhwa under CPM Manhwa. CPM also had an adult division under CPM Press known as Bear Bear Press, which largely published Americanized versions of some of their Anime 18 releases such as La Blue Girl. This division started in 1996 and folded the same year releasing only La Blue Girl and Demon Beast Invasion.[38] Bear Bear Press was succeeded by Manga 18.

Anime 18[edit]

Anime 18 (A18 Corporation) was Central Park Media's distribution division for pornographic anime.[39] Among its releases were Toshio Maeda's Legend of the Overfiend and La Blue Girl.[40] The release of Legend of the Overfiend was the first hentai released in America.[41] Anime 18 released its titles under several labels, with the main label – Anime 18 – used for hentai anime, Manga 18 for manga and manhwa pornography, and Be Beautiful Manga for yaoi manga. When Central Park Media went bankrupt in 2009, the licenses for some of Anime 18's products and movies were transferred to Critical Mass Video and Kitty Media.[42]

Manga 18[edit]

Manga 18 was an English-language publisher of pornographic manga and manhwa which was the manga counterpart of Anime 18 and successor to Bare Bear Press.[43]

Be Beautiful Manga[edit]

The counterpart of Anime 18 that specialized in yaoi manga. On March 19, 2007, Japanese yaoi publisher Libre announced that Be Beautiful Manga was illegally translating and selling their properties to their original owners.[13]

Below the Radar[edit]

Below the Radar was a label that focused on live-action independent and non-mainstream media. Formed in March 2007.[44]

Binary Media Works[edit]

Central Park Media's website unit that operated AnimeOne.com, a website that was dedicated to anime fandom,[45] and UFOCity.com, a website that specialized in alien UFO sightings and hosted a community of UFO enthusiasts. It was shut down in 2004.[46]

Productions[edit]

Releases are only listed if the subtitling, dubbing, or other production work was handled by Central Park Media; rather than being licensed from prior versions. All of the titles are now published by other companies, if at all, due to Central Park Media's liquidation.

Production list[47]
Title Release Medium Dub producer Notes
Subtitle Dub
A Wind Named Amnesia 1994 1994 Movie World Wide Group
Adolescence of Utena 2001 2001 Movie TAJ Productions
Adventure Kid 1994 Show (3) Audioworks Producers Group
Agent Aika: Naked Missions 1999 1999 Show (4) Skyhigh Productions
Agent Aika: Final Battle 2001 2001 Show (3) Mercury Productions
Alien Nine 2003 2003 Show (4) in-house
Angel Blade 2005 2005 Show (3) Audio Dolce
Angel Sanctuary 2001 2001 Show (3) Mercury Productions
Animation Runner Kuromi 2003 2003 Show (1) Mercury Productions
Animation Runner Kuromi 2 2006 2006 Show (1) TripWire Productions
Arcade Gamer Fubuki 2004 2004 Show (4) in-house
Area 88 (OVA) 1993 1996-1999 Show (3) Sound Dimensions (1)

Audioworks Producers Group (2)

Alternate dub

2 episodes dubbed

Ariel Deluxe Show (2)
Ariel Visual Show (2)
Armored Trooper Votoms 1996 2006 Show (52) Audioworks Producers Group 1 episode dubbed
Art of Fighting 1998 1997 Show (1) TAJ Productions
Ayane's High Kick 1998 1998 Show (2) Skypilot Entertainment
Battle Arena Toshinden 1996 1997 Show (2) National Sound
Battle Skipper 1996 1996 Show (3) National Sound
Beast City Show (3) unknown 2 episodes released
Behind Closed Doors 2004 2004 Show (3) Audio Dolce
Big Wars 1996 1997 Movie Sound Dimensions
Birdy the Mighty 1999 1999 Show (4) Skyhigh Productions
Black Jack 2004 1997 Show (10) Animaze Joint release with Tezuka Productions
Black Widow 2004 2004 Show (2) unknown
Blood Royal 2004 2004 Show (2) unknown
BloodShadow 2003 2003 Show (3) El Sonido
Cat Soup 2003 Show (1)
Chains of Lust 2006 2006 Show (2) TripWire Productions
City of Sin 2004 2004 Show (1) unknown
Crimson Climax 2005 2005 Show (3) Handheld Post
Crystal Triangle 1992 Movie
Cyber City Oedo 808 1995 1994 Show (3) World Wide Group
Cybernetics Guardian 1996 1997 Show (1) National Sound
Darkside Blues 1997 1999 Movie Matlin Recording
Demon Beast Invasion 1999 Show (6) Audioworks Producers Group
Demon Beast Resurrection 1997 2003 Show (4) Audioworks Producers Group
Demon City Shinjuku 1994 Movie World Wide Group
Demon Warrior Koji 2001 2001 Show (3) Audioworks Producers Group
Detonator Orgun 2001 Show (3) Skyhigh Productions Alternate dub
DNA2 (TV) 2003 2003 Show (15) Audioworks Producers Group
Doggy Poo 2004 2004 Movie Ani100
Domain of Murder 1998 2004 Show (1) NYAV Post
Dominion Tank Police 1991 1992 Show (4) World Wide Group
Dog Soldier 1992 1996 Show (1) Ocean Studios
Dream Hazard 2000 2000 Show (1) Audioworks Producers Group
F-Force 2003 2003 Show (3) in-house
Fencer of Minerva 2000 2000 Show (5) Audioworks Producers Group
Fobia Show (2) Afterdark Audio
Four Play 2000 2000 Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Gall Force 2: Destruction 2003 Show (1) in-house
Gall Force 3: Stardust War 2003 Show (1) in-house
Gall Force: Eternal Story 1992 1996 Movie TAJ Productions Alternate dub
Gall Force: Earth Chapter 1994 2003 Show (3) Matlin Recording Alternate dub
Gall Force: New Era 1995 2004 Show (2) Matlin Recording Alternate dub
Garaga 1996 2001 Movie Audioworks Producers Group
Garzey's Wing 2000 2000 Show (3) Audioworks Producers Group
Genocyber 1994-1995 1994-1999 Show (5) World Wide Group (1-3)

Audioworks Producers Group (4-5)

Grave of the Fireflies 1993 1998 Movie Skypilot Entertainment Alternate dub
Geobreeders 2000 2000 Show (3) Mercury Productions
Geobreeders: Breakthrough 2002 2002 Show (4) Mercury Productions
GoShogun: Le Time Étranger 1995 2003 Movie Mercury Productions Alternate dub
Hades Project Zeorymer 1994 2003 Show (4) Audio Dolce Alternate dub
Hammerboy 2005 2005 Movie Audioworks Producers Group Alternate dub
Harlock Saga 2001 2001 Show (6) TAJ Productions
Harmageddon 1993 1996 Movie Audioworks Producers Group
Hyper Speed GranDoll 1999 1999 Show (3) Skyhigh Productions
Ichi the Killer: Episode Zero 2004 2004 Show (1) TripWire Productions
Iria: Zeiram the Animation 1996 1996 Show (6) National Sound
Judge 1993 1993 Show (1) World Wide Group
Kakurenbo: Hide and Seek 2005 2005 Show (1) TripWire Productions
Knights of Ramune 1999 1999 Show (6) Matlin Recording
La Blue Girl 1996 Show (6) Audioworks Producers Group
La Blue Girl Returns 2002 2002 Show (4) Audioworks Producers Group
Labyrinth of Flames 2002 2002 Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Lady Blue 1998 1999 Show (4) Audioworks Producers Group
Legend of Himiko 2002 2002 Show (12) Matlin Recording
Legend of Lemnear 1996 1998 Show (1) Knight Mediacom
Love Lessons 2002 2002 Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Lunatic Night 1998 2003 Show (2) Audio Dolce
Maetel Legend 2002 2002 Show (2) TAJ Productions
Magic Woman M 2002 2000 Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Maison Plesir Show (2) unknown
Mama Mia! Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Maris the Wondergirl 1992 1996 Show (1) World Wide Group
Mask of Zeguy 1995 2004 Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Masquerade Show (4) Audioworks Producers Group
Maze (OVA) 2000 2000 Show (2) Matlin Recording
Maze (TV) 2000 2000 Show (25) Matlin Recording
M.D. Geist I: Most Dangerous Soldier 1998 1996 Show (1) Audioworks Producers Group
M.D. Geist II: Death Force 1998 1996 Show (1) Audioworks Producers Group
Metal Fighter Miku 1995 Show (13)
Midnight Panther 1999 1999 Show (2) Mercury Productions
Midnight Strike Force 2006 2006 Show (2) Handheld Post
Momone Show (1) Audioworks Producers Group
Munto 2004 2004 Show (1) Audioworks Producers Group
Munto 2: Beyond the Walls of Time 2006 2006 Show (1) TripWire Productions
My My Mai 2002 1996 Show (4) National Sound
Mystery of the Necronomicon 2001 2001 Show (4) Matlin Recording
Negadon: The Monster from Mars 2006 2006 Movie TripWire Productions
Night on the Galactic Railroad 1996 2001 Movie Mercury Productions
Night Shift Nurses 2002 2002 Show (10) Audioworks Producers Group
Nightmare Campus 1998 1998 Show (5) Matlin Recording
Nightwalker: The Midnight Detective 2001 2001 Show (12) Bang Zoom! Entertainment
Now and Then, Here and There 2002 2002 Show (13) TAJ Productions
Nurse Me! 2003 Show (2) TripWire Productions
Odin: Starlight Mutiny 1996 1992 Movie World Wide Group
Ogenki Clinic 1999 Show Audioworks Producers Group
Outlanders 2006 2006 Show (1) TripWire Productions Alternate dub
Patlabor 1998 2001 Show (47) Matlin Recording
Patlabor: The Mobile Police 1998 2003 Show (7) Matlin Recording
Patlabor: The New Files 1997 2005 Show (16) Matlin Recording
Photon: The Idiot Adventures 2000 2000 Show (6) Mercury Productions
Pianist 2000 2000 Show (1) Audioworks Producers Group
Private Psycho Lesson 1997 2004 Show (2) unknown
Professor Pain 1998 Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Project A-ko 1991 1992 Movie World Wide Group
Project A-ko 2: Plot of the Daitokuji Financial Group 1994 1994 Show (1) Ocean Studios
Project A-ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody 1994 1994 Show (1) Ocean Studios
Project A-ko 4: Final 1994 1994 Show (1) Ocean Studios
Project A-ko: Uncivil Wars 1994 1994 Show (2) Ocean Studios
Pure Love 2006 2006 Show (2) Soundz Nu
Record of Lodoss War 1995 1996 Show (13) National Sound
Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight 1999 1999 Show (27) Headline Sound Studios
Revolutionary Girl Utena 1998 1998 Show (39) TAJ Productions
RG Veda 1997 2001 Show (2) Mercury Productions Alternate dub
Rhea Gall Force 1994 2003 Show (1) Matlin Recording
Roots Search 1992 Show (1)
Roujin Z 1994 1994 Movie World Wide Group
Sacrilege 2004 2004 Show (2) Audio Dolce
Secret Desires 2004 2004 Show Afterdark Audio
Shadow Star Narutaru 2005 2005 Show (13) Audioworks Producers Group
Shamanic Princess 2000 2000 Show (6) Mercury Productions
Shootfighter Tekken 2004 2004 Show (3) TripWire Productions
Sibling Secret 2004 Show (3) Afterdark Audio
Silent Service 1998 1998 Show (1) Sound Dimensions
Sin Sorority 2004 2004 Show (2) unknown
Sins of the Sisters 2000 2000 Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Slave Market 2004 2004 Show (3) Audio Dolce
Sohryuden: Legend of the Dragon Kings 1995 2001 Show (12) Matlin Recording Alternate dub
Spaceship Agga Rutter 2001 2000 Show (4) Audioworks Producers Group
Spirit Warrior 2003 1997 Show (3) Matlin Recording
Spirit Warrior: Peacock King 2003 1997 Show (2) Matlin Recording
Sprite: Between Two Worlds 2000 2000 Show (4) Matlin Recording
Square of the Moon 2005 2005 Show (4) TripWire Productions
Stepmother's Sin 2003 2003 Show (2) Afterdark Audio
StepSister 2004 2004 Show (2) TripWire Productions
Strange Love 1998 Show (2) Skypilot Entertainment
Takegami: Guardian of Darkness 1993 1997 Show (3) TAJ Productions
Tales of Seduction 2004 2004 Show (3) Audioworks Producers Group
Teacher's Pet 2001 2001 Show (4) Audioworks Producers Group
Temptation 2005 2005 Show (2) TripWire Productions
The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Bear 2005 2005 Movie TripWire Productions
The Heroic Legend of Arslan 1994-1998 1998 Show (6) World Wide Group (1-4)

Michael Alben Inc. (5-6)

The Humanoid 1992 1996 Show (1) Ocean Studios
The Ping Pong Club 1998 2001 Show (26) TAJ Productions
The Slayers 1996 1996 Show (26) TAJ Productions
The Slayers NEXT 1999 1999 Show (26) TAJ Productions
The Slayers TRY 2000 2000 Show (26) TAJ Productions
The Ultimate Teacher 1993 1996 Show (1) Ocean Studios Alternate dub
The World of Narue 2004 2004 Show (12) in-house
They Were 11 1996 1996 Movie Animaze
Time Bokan: Royal Revival 2005 2005 Show (2) Matlin Recording
Tokyo Babylon 1994 1994 Show (2) World Wide Group
TriAngle 2001 2001 Show (2) Skyhigh Productions
Twin Angels 1999 1997 Show (8) Audioworks Producers Group
Urotsukidōji: Legend of the Overfiend 1993 1993 Show (1) Michael Alben Inc.
Urotsukidōji II: Legend of the Demon Womb 1993 1993 Show (1) Michael Alben Inc.
Urotsukidōji III: Return of the Overfiend 1996 Show (1) World Wide Group
Urotsukidōji IV: Inferno Road 2001 1996 Show (3) Audioworks Producers Group
Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer 1996 1996 Movie Matlin Recording
Venus 5 2003 1997 Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Venus Wars 1993 1992 Movie World Wide Group
Virgin Fleet 2001 2000 Show (3) Headline Sound Studios
Vixens 1997 2000 Show (5) Audioworks Producers Group
Wanna-Be's 1992 Show (1)
Wild Cardz 1999 1999 Show (2) Soundz Nu
Wrath of the Ninja: The Yotoden Movie 1999 1998 Movie Skypilot Entertainment
Xpress Train 2004 2004 Show (2) Audioworks Producers Group
Xtra Credit 2004 2004 Show (2) unknown
Yu Yu Hakusho the Movie: Poltergeist Report 1998 1998 Movie Skypilot Entertainment
Zenki 1995 Show (13)
Zero Woman: Assassin Lovers 2000 2002 Movie Bang Zoom! Entertainment

References[edit]

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External links[edit]