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Streamline Pictures

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Streamline Pictures
Company typePrivate company (1988–1997)
Name-only unit (1997–2002)
IndustryAnime dubbing
Film and television distribution
FoundedOctober/November 1988[1]
DefunctMarch 31, 2002
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California, USA
ProductsTV series
Theatrical films
Original Video Animations

Streamline Pictures was an American media company. Founded by screenwriter Carl Macek and animation historian Jerry Beck, it was one of the earliest distributors of English-dubbed Japanese animation.[4][5]



Founded in Los Angeles, California, in late 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 television writer and producer Carl Macek, who had worked for Harmony Gold USA on the series Robotech, and film distributor Jerry Beck. At one point or another, Gregory Snegoff, 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 releases[edit]

A credits sequence created by Streamline for their 1991 VHS tapes of Colonel Bleep

The first high-profile release by Streamline was the film Laputa: Castle in the Sky from director Hayao Miyazaki, premiering at the Roxy Screening Room in Philadelphia on March 24, 1989.[1] The company was also known for its theatrical release of the film Akira at The Biograph in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. on December 25, 1989,[1] as well as its 1992 video dubbing of The Castle of Cagliostro (earlier screened with subtitles at the Film Forum in New York City in April 1991).[8] Streamline also dubbed My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service, both adapted and directed by Gregory Snegoff, 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 laserdisc 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. 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.[9] 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 1997, but continued to distribute its complete library in North America. In 1996, the company began to release foreign films under its "Independent Filmworks" label until 2000 when the company closed. The company's Modelworks division was sold in 1998 and the "Streamline Pictures Modelworks" division became a separate company operating under the name, "Avatar Creations."

Today, rights to much of the Streamline film and television library (such as Akira and The Castle of Cagliostro) have either reverted to the Japanese rights holder and licensed to other companies; while others have never been re-released due to licensing issues and lack of demand.

List of titles dubbed and/or released[edit]

Year Dubbed/Released Title Previous/Last/Current Licensee or Status
1989 Laputa: Castle in the Sky Tokuma Shoten; Walt Disney Company (as Castle in the Sky); GKIDS (as Castle in the Sky)
1989 Twilight of the Cockroaches Discotek Media
1989 My Neighbor Totoro Tokuma Shoten; 50th Street Films; Walt Disney Company; GKIDS
1989 Kiki's Delivery Service Tokuma Shoten; Walt Disney Company; GKIDS
1989 Akira Geneon Entertainment; Bandai Entertainment; Funimation
1990 Akira Production Report Geneon Entertainment; out of print
1990 Lensman Harmony Gold (as Lensman: Secret of the Lens); out of print
1990 Robot Carnival Discotek Media
1990 Zillion Funimation
1991 Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation Mellow Manor Productions
1991 The Castle of Cagliostro TMS Entertainment (as Lupin III: Cagliostro Castle); Manga Entertainment; Discotek Media/Eleven Arts
1991 Clutch Cargo Cambria Productions; BCI Eclipse
1991 Colonel Bleep Alpha Video; Public domain
1991 Space Angel Cambria Productions; BCI Eclipse
1991 Comic Book Confidential The Voyager Company; Home Vision Entertainment; Strand Releasing
1991 Fist of the North Star Image Entertainment; Discotek Media (as Fist of the North Star: The Movie)
1991 Zillion Special: Burning Night Funimation
1991 Mr. Happy Playboy TV; out of print
1992 Planet Busters ADV Films (as Birth); out of print
1992 Robotech II: The Sentinels Palladium Books; ADV Films; A&E Networks Home Entertainment through Harmony Gold; Funimation
1992 Nadia ADV Films (as Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water); Sentai Filmworks
1992 Windaria Harmony Gold; ADV Films (as Once Upon a Time); out of print
1992 Vampire Hunter D Urban Vision; Sentai Filmworks
1992 David Hand’s Animaland Image Entertainment; out of print
1992 The Professional: Golgo 13 Urban Vision; Discotek Media
1992 3×3 Eyes Geneon Entertainment; out of print
1992 Robotech Family Home Entertainment; ADV Films; A&E Networks Home Entertainment through Harmony Gold; Funimation
1992 The Super Dimension Fortress Macross ADV Films; A&E Networks Home Entertainment through Harmony Gold; Funimation
1992 Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross ADV Films; A&E Networks Home Entertainment through Harmony Gold; Funimation
1992 Genesis Climber MOSPEADA ADV Films; A&E Networks Home Entertainment through Harmony Gold; Funimation
1992 Neo Tokyo ADV Films; out of print
1992 Silent Möbius Bandai Entertainment; out of print
1993 Dirty Pair: Affair of Nolandia ADV Films; Nozomi Entertainment
1993 The Speed Racer Show Trans-Lux/Speed Racer Enterprises; Family Home Entertainment (as Speed Racer: The Movie); out of print
1993 Doomed Megalopolis ADV Films; Media Blasters
1993 Wicked City Urban Vision; Discotek Media
1993 Lupin III: Tales of the Wolf (Lupin III's Greatest Capers) Geneon Entertainment (as Lupin the 3rd); Discotek Media (as Lupin the Third Part II)
1994 Crying Freeman ADV Films; Discotek Media
1994 Megazone 23, Part 1 Image Entertainment; ADV Films; AnimEigo
1994 Megazone 23, Part 2 ADV Films; AnimEigo
1994 Dirty Pair: Project Eden ADV Films; Nozomi Entertainment
1994 Great Conquest: The Romance of Three Kingdoms Discotek Media
1994 Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy ADV Films; Nozomi Entertainment
1994 8 Man After Image Entertainment; Discotek Media
1994 Lily C.A.T. Discotek Media
1994 Cyber Ninja Fox Lorber Home Video; out of print
1994 Zeram Fox Lorber Home Video; Image Entertainment; Tokyo Shock (as Zeiram)
1994 8 Man Fox Lorber Home Video; out of print
1995 Crimson Wolf Image Entertainment; out of print
1995 Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo Toho (as Lupin III); Image Entertainment; Geneon Entertainment (as Lupin the 3rd: The Movie - The Secret of Mamo); Discotek Media
1995 Casshan: Robot Hunter ADV Films through Harmony Gold; Discotek Media
1995 Babel II Image Entertainment; Discotek Media
1995 Barefoot Gen Tara Releasing; Geneon Entertainment; Discotek Media
1995 Space Adventure Cobra Tara Releasing; Urban Vision; Discotek Media


  1. ^ a b c Patten, Fred (April 19, 2015). "Streamline Pictures – Part 1". Cartoon Research. Funny Animals and More (column). Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "PASSINGS: Carl Macek". Los Angeles Times. April 24, 2010. Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  3. ^ Beck, Jerry (August 1996). "Anime: Hollywood's Invisible Animation Genre". Animation World Magazine. 1 (5). Archived from the original on January 28, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  4. ^ Bertschy, Zac; Sevakis, Justin (January 15, 2010). "Macek Training". Anime News Network. ANNcast (podcast). Archived from the original on January 18, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  5. ^ Yang, Jeff (May 6, 2010). "The 'Robotech' master". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  6. ^ Melrose, Kevin (April 19, 2010). "American anime pioneer Carl Macek passes away". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 21, 2010. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  7. ^ Matsumoto, Jon (January 14, 1996). "Tooning in to Japanimation". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  8. ^ Patten, Fred (May 3, 2015). "Streamline Pictures – Part 3". Cartoon Research. Retrieved February 24, 2024.
  9. ^ "Interview With Carl Macek!". Anime Today. Episode 32. Right Stuf. January 19, 2007. Retrieved April 26, 2015.


Further reading[edit]