NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan
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|LaserDisc Corporation (1981-1989)|
Pioneer LDC Inc. (1989-2003)
Geneon Entertainment Inc. (2003-2009)
Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, LLC (2009-2013)
|Headquarters||Minato, Tokyo, Japan|
|Products||Anime, Film, Music|
|Parent||Universal Pictures International Entertainment|
(NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment)
|Divisions||Universal Pictures Home Entertainment|
Paramount Home Media Distribution Japan
NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan LLC (NBCユニバーサル・エンターテイメントジャパン合同会社 Enubīshī Yunibāsaru Entāteimento Japan Gōdō-gaisha) (abbreviated as NBCUEJ) is a Japanese music, anime and home entertainment production and distribution enterprise headquartered in Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. From its days as Pioneer LDC, NBCUEJ has been involved in the production and distribution of several anime in Japan. Geneon's North American branch (founded as Pioneer Entertainment) specialized in translating and distributing anime and related merchandise, such as soundtracks across the region. Geneon is a portmanteau of the English words, generate and eon. On February 1, 2009, Geneon merged with Universal Pictures Japan into Geneon Universal Entertainment. On December 9, 2013, the company changed its name to the current NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Outside Japan, the majority of NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan's anime titles are distributed by Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia in the Oceanic region, Universal Pictures in the UK and Ireland, and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment in North America.
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Warner-Pioneer founded the LaserDisc Corporation (レーザーディスク株式会社 RēzāDisuku Kabushiki-gaisha) in March 1981 to produce LaserDiscs in Japan. 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. The first anime title they released was Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki.
In July 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 to Geneon USA.
Sale to Universal
On November 12, 2008, Dentsu announced that it was selling 80.1% of its ownership in the company to NBCUniversal's Universal Pictures International Entertainment (UPI), who planned to merge the company with its Universal Pictures Japan division to form a new company. The merger closed on February 1, 2009, with the new company now known 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). On December 9, 2013, the company once again changed its name to NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan.
Purchase of Paramount Japan
On January 1, 2016, the home entertainment portion of Paramount Japan was purchased by NBCUniversal in Japan.
Viz Media (then known as Viz Communications) made a deal with Geneon (then known as Pioneer) to release Viz's properties to DVD such as Pokémon and Ranma ½ before Viz began producing their own DVDs. Pioneer also worked with Funimation for the Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z and Bandai Entertainment for Monkey Magic before both companies started to produce their own DVDs later. In November 2004, Geneon USA signed a deal with Toei Animation to distribute some of their titles into the North American market. Launching titles included Air Master, Interlude, and Slam Dunk. However, in late 2006, the deal ended and all of the released titles went out of print.
In March 2007, Geneon became the exclusive North American distributor for Bandai Visual USA. Four months later, it was announced that ADV Films would take over the distribution, marketing, and sales of Geneon USA's properties in the United States, starting October 1, 2007. According to the announcement, Geneon USA would continue to acquire, license, and produce English subs and dubs of anime for release in North America. However, the deal was canceled in September before it was implemented, with neither company giving details as to why beyond stating they were "unable to reach a mutual agreement."
On December 3, 2007, Geneon USA closed distribution operations, with titles solicited through November 5 shipped. Titles that were in mid-release or licensed but unreleased were left in limbo. The Bandai Visual USA titles that were being distributed by Geneon were not affected by this closure, though some were delayed while Bandai Visual found a new distributor. Another North American anime company, Funimation, began negotiating with Geneon USA to distribute some of the company's licensed titles. In July 2008, a formal arrangement was announced and Funimation acquired the rights to "manufacture, sell, and distribute" various Geneon anime and live-action titles. Former Geneon USA titles has since been re-licensed by other companies such as Bandai Entertainment, Funimation, Aniplex of America, Sentai Filmworks, Media Blasters, Discotek Media, Nozomi Entertainment, Maiden Japan, Viz Media, NIS America, Ponycan USA, and Cinedigm.
In 2006, Geneon USA was named "Best Anime Company" by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation.
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