Sentai Filmworks

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Sentai Filmworks, LLC
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryMultimedia entertainment
GenreAnime
PredecessorA.D. Vision
FoundedJune 4, 2008; 14 years ago (2008-06-04)[1]
FounderJohn Ledford
Headquarters10114 West Sam Houston Parkway
Alief, Houston, Texas 77099,
Area served
North America, Central America, South America, United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark
ProductsAnime
Asian cinema
Merchandising
Home video
ParentAMC Networks
DivisionsSentai Studios
Websitesentaifilmworks.com

Sentai Filmworks, LLC or just Sentai, is an American entertainment company owned by AMC Networks. Located in Houston, the company specializes in the dubbing and distribution of Japanese animation and Asian cinema. Its post-production arm is Sentai Studios.

The company has its origins in A.D. Vision, which was founded in 1992 by video game fan John Ledford and Matt Greenfield. ADV collapsed due to low sales and eventually liquidated their assets in 2009. Ledford founded Sentai in 2008 and acquired the majority of ADV's titles. Sentai was then acquired by New York City-based AMC Networks in 2022 and became its subsidiary. Its offices are in the International District in Southwest Houston.[2][3]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

In 1990, John Ledford, a native of Houston, started a Japanese video game and video console import business. He was introduced to anime when he watched My Neighbor Totoro at his friend's suggestion. His friend, Matt Greenfield, born in Sacramento, California, ran a local anime club called Anime NASA.[4] Both men established A.D. Vision, which officially opened for business on August 17, 1992.[4] Ledford contacted Toho about optioning the rights to license Devil Hunter Yohko, which became the first title to be released by ADV.[4][5]

Ledford establishes Sentai[edit]

In June 2006, the Japanese Sojitz Corporation acquired a 20% stake in ADV Films. This was done as a means for ADV Films to acquire more titles in the Japanese market.[6] From this point on, virtually all titles that ADV acquired were with Sojitz's help. The following year, Sojitz announced that Japan Content Investments (JCI), Development Bank of Japan, and film distribution company KlockWorx, planned to contribute money to ADV, in return for equity in the company. Ledford was to remain the majority shareholder and CEO. JCI subsidiary ARM also planned to contribute money for ADV to use in acquiring new distribution licenses. The investment was to ADV Films to raise its output of new anime titles, which had dropped in 2006, back to previous levels or above. In return, ADV planned to assist Sojitz with the acquisition of North American and European content for importation into Japan. According to ADV, they also reportedly had "big plans" for its manga line.[7]

However, in January 2008, ADV mysteriously removed a large number of titles from their website.[8] Among the titles which were subsequently removed was Gurren Lagann, which had test disks sent out with dubbed episodes. As a result, ADV sued ARM Corporation and its parent Sojitz for a breach in a contract made previously. In the suit, the exact amount ADV paid to license twenty-nine titles was disclosed. The lawsuit was withdrawn and no ruling was made.[9] That July, Funimation announced the acquisition of thirty of these titles licensed by Sojitz from ADV.[10]

Ledford established Sentai Filmworks in October 2008.[11] Among its first titles to be released were Clannad, Princess Resurrection, Indian Summer, Appleseed and Mahoromatic (formerly licensed by Geneon).[12][13] On September 1, 2009, ADV had closed its doors and sold off its assets, which included transferring distribution rights to Section23 Films.[14]

On July 4, 2013, during its industry panel at Anime Expo, Sentai Filmworks announced its plans to release a number of classic titles from Tatsunoko Production.[15] The current list of released titles from the partnership include the original Gatchaman series and movie, Time Bokan: Royal Revival, and Casshan, and more titles followed.

Sunrise announced a licensing deal with Sentai Filmworks that included a number of titles from Sunrise’s library that were formerly licensed by Bandai Entertainment during its Otakon panel on August 8, 2013.[16]

Recent history[edit]

In 2014, Sentai opened its in-house localization and recording facility, Sentai Studios.[17]

On June 1, 2015, Sentai made an announcement on its Web site that Akame ga Kill! had been picked up by Adult Swim for broadcast on its Toonami block, almost one week after its announcement at MomoCon 2015.[18][19] The show began airing on August 8, 2015, and its premiere night was one of the most watched programs in the block's history with over 1.8 million viewers.[20] Later that year, Parasyte -the maxim-, premiered on October 3.[21] Sentai has promoted the time that the two shows air as "#SentaiHour" on social media. On July 6, 2019, Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma began airing on Toonami.[22]

In March 2017, Sentai signed a deal with Amazon to stream the majority of its new licensees exclusively on its Anime Strike channel on Amazon Prime Video in the United States, starting with the Spring 2017 season.[23] After Anime Strike was shuttered in early 2018, all titles previously exclusive to the service were made available to Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S at no extra charge.[24]

On July 18, 2019, Sentai Filmworks launched a GoFundMe appeal in the wake of the arson attack at Kyoto Animation.[25] With a target of US$750,000, it surpassed the $1 million donation mark within the first 24 hours, and reached $2,370,910 at closing.[26][27]

On August 1, 2019, Sentai Filmworks' parent company Sentai Holdings, LLC announced that the Cool Japan Fund invested US$30 million for shares of the company, stating that "Sentai's independent status makes it a rarity in North America as a licensor of Japanese anime".[28] On September 30, 2020, the Cool Japan Fund made an additional US$3.6 million available, stating that Sentai had achieved better financial results in 2019 compared to 2018, with plans for medium and long-term growth, and strategic changes following the COVID-19 pandemic.[29]

On September 5, 2020, Crunchyroll announced that they had entered in a partnership with Sentai Filmworks to distribute Crunchyroll licensed titles onto home video and electronic sell-through, with Granbelm, Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma: The Fourth Plate, Ascendance of a Bookworm, and World Trigger being the first titles distributed through the partnership.[30]

On January 5, 2022, AMC Networks announced it had acquired Sentai Filmworks' parent company Sentai Holdings, LLC, and all its assets and subsidiaries, including HIDIVE, Anime Network, and "member interests" from the Cool Japan Fund, via its subsidiary Digital Store LLC. The acquisition comes months after Sony's Funimation Global Group (jointly owned by Sony Pictures Television and Aniplex) acquired the Crunchyroll streaming service from AT&T's WarnerMedia in August 2021.[31][32][33][34] After Sony announced on March 1, 2022 that Funimation's corporate name would be renamed into Crunchyroll, many of its Sentai titles that were on Crunchyroll service were removed on March 31, 2022.[35]

Foreign distribution[edit]

Sentai Filmworks does not directly release its properties outside of America but instead sub-licenses to other companies. In 2011, MVM Entertainment licensed Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful after Sentai's re-release of the series, and has done the same with Broken Blade.[36]

In March 2018, it was revealed that Sentai holds distribution rights to the film No Game No Life: Zero that the company gave to the Mexican distributor Madness Entertainment. It was revealed that they directly commissioned a Spanish dubbed version for the film.[37] On March 15, Sentai announced the acquisition of Alice or Alice to Spain and Portugal.[38]

Notable titles[edit]

Hidive[edit]

Hidive, LLC
HIDIVE Logo.png
Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
Video on demand
FoundedJune 20, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-06-20)[39]
Predecessor(s)Anime Network Online
Headquarters,
Area servedWorldwide excluding Asia
OwnerAMC Networks
URLhidive.com
CommercialYes
RegistrationRequired
Users300,000 (2020)[40]
Current statusActive

Hidive, LLC (stylized as HIDIVE) is a subscription video on demand service focused around streaming anime.

After the discontinuation of Anime Network Online in 2017, Hidive LLC, a new company not affiliated with Anime Network, acquired the service's assets and spun them off into a new streaming service called Hidive.[41][42] Former subscriptions for Anime Network Online were migrated over to Hidive.[43]

Hidive is the exclusive carrier of select licensed titles from Sentai and Section23. Following the closure of Anime Strike, Hidive began streaming titles that were previously exclusive to the former service.[44][45]

On July 21, 2017, Hidive announced the service would start to offer selected anime titles with Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.[46]

In April 2018, Hidive began offering "Dubcasts" to compete against Funimation's SimulDub program.[47] Similar to SimulDubs, Hidive streams dubs of simulcast titles approximately two to three weeks after the initial Japanese broadcast.

On October 18, 2018, VRV announced that Hidive would be launching a channel on its service. Hidive's channel replaced that of FunimationNow, which left the service on November 9, 2018.[48]

Following Funimation's acquisition of VRV's parent company Crunchyroll on August 9, 2021, Hidive left VRV on September 30 of that year.[49]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_tx/0800987581
  2. ^ "International District Boundaries". International District (Houston). July 1, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  3. ^ "Terms of Use". Sentai Filmworks. Retrieved November 13, 2019. Copyright Agent c/o SENTAI FILMWORKS 10114 W Sam Houston Pkwy S Houston, Texas 77099-5109 and Privacy Policy states: "Attn: SENTAI FILMWORKS Privacy Administration, 10114 W. Sam Houston Parkway South, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77099-5109"
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External links[edit]