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|Headquarters||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Andy Frain, Chris Blackwell, Marvin Gleicher, Laurence Guinness, Mike Preece, Kaoru Mfaume, Colin Lomax, Jerome Mazandarani|
|Products||Anime theatrical and direct marketing and production; see list of titles|
|Parent||Independent (UK Branch)|
Lionsgate Home Entertainment (US Branch)
Manga Entertainment is a producer, licensee, and distributor of Japanese animation in the United Kingdom. It also co-produces several anime series, including Ghost in the Shell, Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance and Eon Kid, usually through financial contributions toward production costs.
The American branch was established in 1991 following the acquisition of the UK rights to Akira, by Laurence Guinness, who was the Head of Acquisition and Development at Island World Communications. Andy Frain, was the Managing Director of Island World Communications; a loss-making subsidiary at the time of Chris Blackwell and John Heyman's Island World Group.
Manga has also played a part in dubbing anime, when it is not sub-licensing a production that has already been licensed by another company (e.g., Akira, licensed and redubbed by Geneon in 2001, Bounty Dog, and Lupin III: Bye Bye Liberty Crisis). It is also the designated home video distributor for the Pokémon franchise in the UK, including some of the movies apart from the ones distributed by Miramax (among them Pokémon: The First Movie).
Despite its name, the company's principal business is the distribution of anime rather than manga, although they have published some manga, such as Crying Freeman, in the United Kingdom under the Manga Books imprint.
Since 2005, Manga Entertainment UK has operated independently from its American branch, even though both companies were still owned by IDT Entertainment and later Starz Media. In 2011, the American branch ceased licensing new products after the release of Redline and went dormant. In 2015, the U.K branch would be bought from Starz Media alongside its parent Anchor Bay UK to managing director Colin Lomax. Anchor Bay UK was renamed to Platform Entertainment and went on to have exclusive rights to the Manga Entertainment branding and catalog in the UK and Ireland. Currently, Manga Entertainment UK have licensing and distribution deals with Funimation, Sentai Filmworks and Viz Media. Unlike previous licensing agreements, however, they do not bring titles from Funimation, Sentai, and Viz to Australia under their brand as Manga's Australian distributor; Madman Entertainment has the licenses from these companies.
In December 2016, Platform Entertainment would be bought by Kaleidoscope Film Distribution, who split Manga UK off to become a separate entity.
In 2017, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, the new owner of the dormant US branch, relaunched the Manga.com website and Facebook page, and planning a re-launch in the near future. Lionsgate currently licenses the Manga Entertainment brand-name from the now non-related UK branch.
Manga Entertainment in Australia
Manga Entertainment expanded into Australia in late 1993 when Manga's main headquarters were still based in London. Although initially Manga's titles were to be released in Australia by PolyGram who owned Island and Manga, they decided to sub-license their properties to Siren Entertainment. In late 1996, Manga Entertainment UK gave the sub-distribution license to the newly founded Madman Entertainment who in turn were distributed by Siren. This meant that both Siren and Madman has equal rights to Manga's properties.
In 1997, PolyGram Australia gained the rights to some of Manga's more recent additions to its catalogue. This included Lupin the Third properties, except The Castle of Cagliostro, and Violence Jack. Violence Jack: Evil Town was banned in Australia, even when PolyGram submitted the UK cut to the Australian Government for classification. The other two OVAs in the series submitted were the uncut dubbed versions that were released in the USA by Critical Mass, however due to Evil Town's banning, PolyGram scrapped the release of Violence Jack in Australia. PolyGram already had the UK cut of Evil Town in circulation despite its banning.
In late 1996, Madman Entertainment was founded by former employees of Siren. They were given exclusive sub-license rights to Manga UK's catalogue, including Part 4 of Macross Plus, which was released in 1997. Despite this, Madman did not take on some titles, e.g. RG Veda and Shadow Skill, and let PolyGram Australia distribute them.
Siren decided to license Street Fighter II V from Manga USA in 1997 and released the series without input from Madman, as Madman also had an exclusive licensing deal with ADV Films, who had licensed Street Fighter II V in the UK and re-dubbed it. This property was taken over by Madman in 1999. In this same time period Manga Entertainment had licensed Voltron exclusively for the Australian market and was released by Siren instead of Polygram Australia.
In 1998, after Manga was purchased by former Island CEO Chris Blackwell, Madman Entertainment was given the rights to the entire Manga catalogue from Manga's UK and USA subsidiaries except Street Fighter II V, which was still licensed by Siren. Manga Entertainment has since had a special relationship with Madman Entertainment and Manga was credited by many as the major force behind turning Anime into mainstream entertainment in Australia during the 1990s and early 2000s. Manga's latest DVD and Blu-ray masters are encoded and provided by Madman Entertainment because of Madman's extremely large and modern DVD and Blu-ray authoring division.
In 1999, Siren relinquished its licensing deal with Manga UK and its separate deal for SFII: V from Manga USA as Madman had become big enough for Siren to make the same amount of profit distributing for them as it was when it was the sole distributor of Manga products in Australia.
In 2001, Siren Entertainment restructured itself and split the company into 2 separate entities: Siren Visual and The AV Channel. Madman's founders who were former employees of the company and owned shares of Siren decided to take The AV Channel and turn it into Madman's distribution arm which was absorbed into Madman in 2008.
Madman Entertainment in the mid 2000s decided to align itself with Manga USA, but since the dawn of Blu-ray and Manga USA turning into an online and television distributor of anime, Madman has re-aligned itself with Manga UK. Both companies funded and co-produced the PAL region dub of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence and co-produce DVDs and Blu-rays. Madman provides Manga UK with PAL DVD and some Blu-ray masters due to Madman's larger and more sophisticated authoring division. Manga and Madman co-license properties such as the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood & the Ghost In The Shell franchise among others.
Manga Entertainment UK
In January 2007, the company's United Kingdom division began releasing a fortnightly magazine aimed at promoting both the company itself through the use of some of its more revered titles. Issue one, for example, used Ghost in the Shell. The magazine had published 102 issues. The company also has an official website for the UK division, as well as an online shop. After the take over by Lionsgate for the American branch, the UK branch of Manga Entertainment still exists to this day, running independently distributing DVD's and Blu-ray titles for the UK market, acquiring licenses from various companies.
US broadcast on Xbox TV
It was announced in October 2011 that Microsoft formed partnerships with over 50 content providers worldwide, including Manga Entertainment. This feature was to be available at no extra cost to US subscribers after the new Xbox dashboard update due sometime in December 2011.
- "Manga Entertainment Announces International Partnership for Iron Kid". Anime News Network. September 8, 2005. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
- "Manga Entertainment Brings Pokémon to the UK on Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
- Shirow, Masamune (1995) . Appleseed Volume One: The Promethean Challenge. trans. Studio Proteus (UK ed.). London: Manga Publishing. ISBN 1-900097-01-X.
- "Answerman - What Ever Happened to Manga Entertainment? (PART TWO: UK Edition)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
- "Colin Lomax, former Anchor Bay UK chief, dies aged 56". Screen. Retrieved 2018-02-10.