Streamline Pictures

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Streamline Pictures
Industry division of Orion Pictures
Fate Disbanded
Successor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Founded 1988[1][2]
Defunct 2002
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, USA
Key people
Carl Macek[3]
Products Anime
Parent Orion Pictures (1988–1997)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1997–2002)

Streamline Pictures was an American media company that was best known for its distribution of English dubbed Japanese animation.[4][5]



Founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1988, Streamline Pictures was one of the first North American companies that was created primarily with the intention of distributing translated anime uncut and faithful to the original content.[6] The founders of Streamline were Carl Macek, who had worked for Harmony Gold USA during the mid-1980s, most notably on the series Robotech, and Jerry Beck, an animation historian and film distribution veteran who had worked at MGM/UA, Orion and Expanded Entertainment. At one point or another, Steve Kramer, Ardwight Chamberlain, Tom Wyner, and Mike Reynolds all of whom served as series staff writers (and voice actors) on Robotech, worked as independent writers and voice actors for Streamline.[7]

High profile products[edit]

The first high profile product distributed by Streamline was its December 1988 release of the anime film Akira. The company was also known for its 1989 theatrical distribution of the film Laputa: Castle in the Sky directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and its 1992 video dubbing of The Castle of Cagliostro. Streamline also dubbed My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service, in 1988 for Tokuma Shoten, although these were only used as in-flight films by Japan Airlines at the time. As a fan of Miyazaki's films, Macek did not think Laputa (of which Streamline was the distributor) had received the quality of dubbing that a Miyazaki film deserved. He thought that it could have been done better, so Tokuma Shoten gave him the opportunity to prove his words. For his first project, he asked to dub My Neighbor Totoro, one of his favorite Miyazaki works. The Streamline dub of My Neighbor Totoro was released theatrically in the U.S. by Troma Films in 1993; but its dub of Kiki's Delivery Service appeared only on the 1990s Japanese laser disc release of that title. (Since then, however, all three afore-mentioned films by Miyazaki at Studio Ghibli have been redubbed by Disney.)

Tokuma Shoten was pleased with the quality of the initial work, and it immediately hired Streamline to produce the English language version of Kiki's Delivery Service. Soon after its release, the film was bought by Japan Airlines, who showed it during their flights between Japan and the U.S. (The film has since been redubbed by Disney). Streamline also licensed and dubbed other popular anime series and movies such as Fist of the North Star, Wicked City, Lensman, Vampire Hunter D and The Professional: Golgo 13.

Home video market[edit]

Streamline, in being the first company dedicated to making anime accessible to the English speaking world, was notable for releasing a wide variety of anime that fit in a wide variety of genres, many of which do not fit completely in any genre such as Twilight of the Cockroaches. During the 1990s VHS era, before the common availability of hybrid DVDs, anime distributors released anime via subtitled or dubbed tapes with the subtitled editions being noticeably more expensive than the dubs which were expected to sell better. Streamline is also notable in being the only such company to eschew this practice and release only dubs of its anime. The only exceptions were the later Akira subtitled release and their Robotech Collection, which included episodes of the original Macross, Southern Cross and Mospeada episodes on the same tape along with their Robotech counterparts. (Since then, these three titles were re-released by ADV Films through Harmony Gold.)


Because of Macek's notoriety with a certain branch of fandom, Streamline became one of the early catalysts of the sub vs. dub debate.[8] Macek's philosophy towards anime dubbing, as stated in several interviews, most notably published Protoculture Addicts and Animag, has become largely synonymous with the negative connotation concerning "Americanized dubs".

Later years[edit]

Streamline Pictures stopped producing new anime releases in 1996, folding into Orion Pictures—which, in turn, would fold into MGM one year later, in 1997. Streamline subsequently went out of business in 2002.

Today, the Streamline film and television library is owned by MGM's subsidiary Orion Pictures since September 11, 2014, but the distribution rights to most of its anime releases (such as Akira and The Castle of Cagliostro) have been reverted to the Japanese rights holder and licensed to other companies; while others such as Robot Carnival have never been rereleased due to licensing issues and lack of demand.

List of titles released[edit]

Year Licensed Title Last/Current Licensor or Status
1988 My Neighbor Totoro Troma Films; 20th Century Fox; Walt Disney Company
1988 Akira Orion Pictures; Pioneer Entertainment/Geneon Entertainment; Bandai Entertainment; Funimation
1989 Laputa: Castle in the Sky Walt Disney Company
1989 Dragon Ball (edit of the first and third movies) Harmony Gold; Funimation
1989 Twilight of the Cockroaches Out of print
1989 Kiki's Delivery Service Walt Disney Company
1990 Lensman Out of print
1990 Zillion Out of print
1991 Robot Carnival Discotek Media
1991 Fist of the North Star Orion Pictures; Image Entertainment; Discotek Media
1991 Zillion: Burning Night Out of print
1992 Neo Tokyo Orion Pictures; ADV Films
1992 Planet Busters ADV Films (as Birth)
1992 Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water Orion Pictures; ADV Films; Sentai Filmworks
1992 Robotech II: The Sentinels Palladium Books; Orion Pictures; ADV Films; A&E Networks Home Entertainment through Harmony Gold
1992 The Castle of Cagliostro Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Manga Entertainment; Discotek Media
1992 Golgo 13: The Professional Orion Pictures; Urban Vision; Discotek Media
1992 3×3 Eyes Orion Pictures; Geneon Entertainment
1992 Vampire Hunter D Orion Pictures; Urban Vision
1993 The Speed Racer Show Live Entertainment/Family Home Entertainment
1993 Robotech: Perfect Collection (including Macross, Southern Cross and MOSPEADA) ADV Films; A&E Networks Home Entertainment through Harmony Gold
1993 Dirty Pair: Affair on Nolandia Orion Pictures; ADV Films; Nozomi Entertainment
1993 Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy Orion Pictures; ADV Films; Nozomi Entertainment
1993 Dirty Pair: Project Eden Orion Pictures; ADV Films; Nozomi Entertainment
1993 Windaria ADV Films (as Once Upon a Time)
1993 Doomed Megalopolis Orion Pictures; ADV Films
1993 Wicked City Orion Pictures; Urban Vision
1994 Silent Möbius Miramax Films; Bandai Entertainment
1994 Crying Freeman Orion Pictures; ADV Films; Discotek Media
1994 8 Man After Out of print
1994 Lily C.A.T. Orion Pictures; Discotek Media
1994 Tales of the Wolf/Lupin III's Greatest Capers Orion Pictures; Geneon Entertainment; out of print
1995 Babel II Orion Pictures; Media Blasters
1995 Barefoot Gen Orion Pictures; Geneon Entertainment
1995 Casshan: Robot Hunter Orion Pictures; ADV Films through Harmony Gold; Discotek Media
1995 Crimson Wolf Orion Pictures; Image Entertainment; out of print
1995 Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo Toho; Orion Pictures; Image Entertainment; Geneon Entertainment; Discotek Media
1995 Megazone 23 - Part I Orion Pictures; Image Entertainment; ADV Films
1995 Space Adventure Cobra Tara; Urban Vision; Discotek Media
1995 Great Conquest: The Romance of Three Kingdoms Orion Pictures; out of print
1997 3×3 Eyes 2 Orion Pictures; Geneon Entertainment


  1. ^ "Carl Macek (1951-2010)". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  2. ^ Kannapell, Andrea (1997-01-05). "A Campus Cartoon Trend Moves On". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  3. ^ "Carl Macek Passes Away". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 
  4. ^ "Macek Training". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  5. ^ Yang, Jeff (2010-05-06). "The 'Robotech' master". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  6. ^ "American anime pioneer Carl Macek passes away". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 
  7. ^ Matsumoto, Jon (1996-01-14). "Tooning In to Japanimation". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  8. ^ "Right Stuf's Anime Today interviews Carl Macek!". Right Stuf!. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 


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