|United States and Canada|
|John Sirabella (CEO)|
Number of employees
|5 or 6 (2012)|
Media Blasters, sometimes abbreviated as MB, is an American entertainment corporation that was founded by John Sirabella in 1997 and is based in New York City. It is in the business of licensing, translating, and releasing to the North American market manga and anime compilations, Asian films and television series, adult anime, monster movies, concert films, independent films, horror films, and exploitation films. Over its history, the company has licensed several popular titles, such as Rurouni Kenshin, Berserk, Bakuman, Eiken, and Blade of the Immortal.
Founding and growth
Before Media Blasters was founded, John Sirabella had previously founded Software Sculptors in 1992. After it was purchased by Central Park Media, Sirabella decided to leave and found Media Blasters in 1997 in New York City, New York. The company is divided into several divisions that target different aspects of the video market. They license titles for release and are involved in the production, localizing, and distribution. The Animeworks division was created in 1997, and focuses on localization and distribution of anime titles, but has also licensed non-anime works, such as Invader Zim. The adult label Kitty Media was also started in 1997 and features explicit hentai works. Created in 1998, Tokyo Shock is Media Blaster's Asian cinema division, which is responsible for American localization of works such as Zatoichi:The Blind Swordsman of the Zatoichi franchise. Another division, Shriek Show, was founded in 2001 to focus on re-mastering horror titles for DVD release. In 2004, Media Blasters began publishing manga. The company first published shōnen manga titles for older readers, and later on it increased its yaoi manga line. At the height of its success, they released around five titles a month and had about 50 employees, but as the market decreased so did the company.
In January 2012, John Sirabella announced that the company would be laying off approximately ten employees, reducing its workforce by about 60 percent. He stated that this will not affect their production rates. In May 2012, it was reported that the New York State Department of State listed them as an inactive company due to not filing their taxes properly. The company later stated on Facebook that they had filed extensions for 2009, 2010, and 2011, but without their notice the Secretary of State took action. They also said that at the time of posting they had completed their filings properly and that they will continue to release titles. In March 2013, the company released a statement saying that because a major back accident occurred in their warehouse, they were unable to travel to Japan to acquire licenses. This resulted in business associates of the company going around Japan showing a tax paper stating they were out of business, which ended up resulting in the company losing a majority of their titles, most notably Rurouni Kenshin, Berserk, and Bakuman. In January 2015, the company signed a deal with MB VoiceWorks, to help produce English dubs for its anime titles in-house. Despite the closure of MB VoiceWorks in May 2016, Media Blasters would still continue to produce its English dubs in-house, and that MB VoiceWorks co-founder Brittany Lauda, would continue to lead the dubbing department and direct dubs for the company.
In August 2020, the company created a new Twitter account to promote their new releases. The company also teased that many new releases would be coming in the future. In November 2020, the company announced that they will stop using their DVD-on-demand system. They also considered ditching DVD releases entirely. In January 2021, the company introduced a new opening animation.
On December 31, 2015, the television network TOKU was launched, replacing the Funimation Channel (which relaunched as a streaming service in January 2016). It aired many anime and live action titles from the Media Blasters catalog, like Ladies versus Butlers!. They are the main anime provider for the network.
The company only directly releases its titles in North America. Some of its titles have been released in other territories by other distributors, such as Manga Entertainment, MVM Entertainment, Madman Anime Group, Siren Visual, and Animax.
Anime Works is the division used for the bulk of the company's anime titles. Some of the series released under this imprint include Magic Knight Rayearth, Rurouni Kenshin, Berserk, and Blade of the Immortal. The imprint also produced two original series with Yasuomi Umetsu, those being Kite Liberator and Mezzo Forte.
Kitty Media specializes in adult anime (hentai) and pornographic films. The division also specializes in films and anime series that contain scenes of rape and graphic sexuality. Its first release, and the first release by Media Blasters as a whole, was Rei-Lan: Orchid Emblem. Media Blasters also publishes both hentai and yaoi manga under this imprint. It has also released several titles formerly released by Central Park Media's Anime 18 imprint.
In 2011, they entered a licensing partnership with Fakku to stream select titles, starting with Immoral Sisters. In 2017, they were acquired by Fakku for digital distribution, while physical distribution will still be maintained by Media Blasters.
The Fresh Meat line was a part of the Shriek Show division that handled horror films from new directors.
The Fever Dreams division specializes in original films. The company focused heavily on this division in 2013.
The Guilty Pleasures division specialized in releasing B-tier cult-classic films. This division was discontinued in 2013, but the company decided to start re-releasing some of its titles in 2021.
- "Media Blasters Lays Off 60% of Staff". Anime News Network. January 10, 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
- "Dennis A. Amith interviews John Sirabella (1994)". NT2099. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- "The Anime 'Porn' Market". Animation World Magazine. 3 (4): 27–29. July 1998. Retrieved June 3, 2011. Also available here and here (PDF version of the issue).
- "Media Blasters History". Media Blasters. Archived from the original on July 4, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- "Media Blasters Acquires Invader Zim". Anime News Network. November 6, 2003. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- Cha, Kai-Ming (March 13, 2007). "Media Blasters Drops Shonen; Adds Yaoi". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
- "Pardon the Interruption for a message!". Media Blasters. Archived from the original on May 16, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- "New York Lists Media Blasters as Dissolved as of April 2011 (Update 2)". Anime News Network. May 4, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- "MB VoiceWorks To Produce English Dubs For Media Blasters". Anime News Network. January 23, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- "MB VoiceWorks Dubbing Production Company Closes". Anime News Network. May 17, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- "Media Blasters' Twitter page". Twitter. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- @mediablasters1 (August 12, 2020). "Can you feel the excitement in the air? So many exciting announements [sic] coming soon. I can barely contain myself" (Tweet). Retrieved January 19, 2021 – via Twitter.
- "Media Blasters Discontinues DVD on Demand System Starting in 2021". Anime News Network. November 12, 2020. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
- @mediablasters1 (January 1, 2021). "As we start 2021 we keep the trend from 2020. We have a WIP of new logo opening animation. Having that feel of "rusty gold, barn find" you find and get up and running again. We also want to thank everyone for the wonderful messages and support in our quest!" (Tweet). Retrieved January 19, 2021 – via Twitter.
- "[GPC Films does] new media sales for us (in the comments section)". Media Blasters on Instagram. January 17, 2021. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- "Crunchyroll to Stream Holy Knight Anime with Exclusive New English Dub Across North America". Anime News Network. February 19, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- @mediablasters1 (October 19, 2020). "As we work on several uploads for DMR (retro-crush) figure give you the opening of Yami since working on it now. So start checking out our titles on DMR or pick up the blu ray" (Tweet). Retrieved January 16, 2021 – via Twitter.
- "Tubi TV Streams Yamibo, Melty Lancer Anime". Anime News Network. November 2, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- "KITE (English dubbed version)". CONtv. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- "Media Blasters Anime Titles to Expire on Hulu". Anime News Network. May 6, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- "Olympusat's FUNimation Channel is changing its name to TOKU". Anime News Network. December 17, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- "Central Park Media's Licenses Offered by Liquidator". Anime News Network. July 8, 2009. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- "Kitty Media Partnership, Immoral Sisters Streaming Press Release". 2011. Archived from the original on December 18, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
- "Kitty Media Press Release.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
- @mediablasters1 (January 15, 2021). "Guilty Pleasure was a line we started and now getting some of those releases on BD starting with Nick Philips films. Getting all these releases back into the marketplace" (Tweet). Retrieved January 16, 2021 – via Twitter.