|Subsidiary of Starz Distribution
(Starz Inc., 75%; The Weinstein Company, 25%)
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Andy Frain, Chris Blackwell, Marvin Gleicher, Laurence Guinness, Mike Preece, Kaoru Mfaume, Jerome Mazandarani|
|Products||Anime theatrical and direct marketing and production, see list of titles|
Manga Entertainment is a producer, licensee, and distributor of Japanese animation in the United States and 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. It was established in 1991 by Andy Frain, who was the Managing Director of Island World Communications; a subsidiary at the time of Chris Blackwell and John Heyman's Island World Group. It is a division of Starz Distribution, which is a unit of and a joint venture with Starz Inc., which owns 75%, and The Weinstein Company, which owns 25%. It 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).
They have licensing and distribution deals with Funimation, Sentai Filmworks and Viz Media in the UK, however unlike previous licensing agreements 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.
Manga Entertainment, especially Manga UK, has had a special relationship with Madman Entertainment since Madman's founding in 1996. Manga is 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 & Blu-ray masters are encoded and provided by Madman Entertainment because of Madman's extremely large and modern DVD & Blu-ray authoring division.
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.
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 3rd 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.
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 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, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood & the Ghost In The Shell franchise amongst 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.
US broadcast on Xbox TV
It was announced early 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 December 2011.
- "About Us." Manga Entertainment. Retrieved on February 5, 2009.
- "Manga Entertainment Announces International Partnership for Iron Kid". Anime News Network. September 8, 2005. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
- Shirow, Masamune (1995) . Appleseed Volume One: The Promethean Challenge. trans. Studio Proteus (UK ed.). London: Manga Publishing. ISBN 1-900097-01-X.
- Official website
- Sevakis, Justin (September 14, 2015). "What Ever Happened to Manga Entertainment?". Answerman (column). Anime News Network. Retrieved September 15, 2015. A brief history to date of Manga Entertainment.
- Sevakis, Justin (September 16, 2015). "What Ever Happened to Manga Entertainment? (PART TWO: UK Edition)". Answerman (column). Anime News Network. Retrieved September 17, 2015. A brief history to date of Manga UK.