Central Park Media was an American multimedia entertainment company based in New York City, New York, that was active in the distribution of East Asian cinema, television series, anime, manga and manhwa titles in North America prior to its bankruptcy in 2009. It was headquartered in the 250 West 57th Street building in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
|Central Park Media|
|Genre||Anime, East Asian films, hentai, manga, manhwa, yaoi|
|Defunct||April 27, 2009|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|United States, Canada|
|Stephanie Shalofsky (VP of Production)|
|Divisions||Asia Pulp Cinema, US Manga Corps, Software Sculptors, CPM Press, Anime 18, Below the Radar, Binary Media Works|
Central Park Media was founded in 1990 by John O'Donnell as an anime supplier, with Project A-ko and Dominion: Tank Police as its first two anime titles, which were sub-licensed to CPM by Manga UK who also provided the dubs. Together with AnimEigo, U.S. Renditions, Streamline Pictures and A.D. Vision, CPM pioneered the distribution of anime for mature viewers in North America.
During its heyday, CPM incorporated MD Geist as part of its U.S. Manga Corps logo. Curiosity by anime fans seeing the "corporate spokes mecha" in CPM's titles resulted in MD Geist becoming one of the company's bestselling titles. In 1996, CPM commissioned MD Geist creator Koichi Ohata to write and direct a sequel; at the same time, Ohata made a director's cut of the first title, adding new scenes and expanding the storyline.
In 1992, CPM – through its Anime 18 division – released Urotsukidōji: Legend of the Overfiend, which became the first animated film to be given the NC-17 rating. Since its release, Urotsukidoji has become a cult classic among fans of anime, science fiction and horror genres, while at the same time, being one of the first anime titles to introduce the western public to the hentai genre. It was released in theaters across the United States in both subtitled and dubbed formats.
In the mid-1990s, CPM expanded to distributing manga and manhwa through CPM Manga and CPM Manhwa, respectively. CPM Manga also featured adaptations of MD Geist, Armored Trooper Votoms and Project A-Ko by American writers and artists.
Central Park Media headquarters was in the Fisk Building, where it started out with just 3,400 square feet, but grew to 7,000 square feet in 1996 and would expand further to 10,000 square feet in January 2000.
On May 26, 2006, Central Park Media laid off many of its employees, and rumors erupted that the company was planning to declare bankruptcy, supported by a statement from a representative at the Anime Boston convention. The following Monday, the company's managing director issued a statement acknowledging the lay-offs and attributing the cost-cutting to creditor problems following the January bankruptcy of the Musicland group.
The previous year, in 2005, CPM had discontinued its CPM Manga and CPM Manhwa line, also due to monetary problems. But CPM representatives have said that they have had relaunched their Manga and Manhwa lines in January 2006.
On March 19, 2007, Japanese Yaoi Publisher Libre posted a notice on its website saying that CPM's Be Beautiful division was illegally translating and selling its properties. The titles in question were originally licensed to CPM by Japanese publisher Biblos which was bought out by Libre in 2006 after a bankruptcy.
Central Park Media filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 27, 2009, and liquidated with a debt of over US$1.2 million. Officially, the company had plans to re-release some older titles in the future. Right up until their bankruptcy, CPM still licensed their anime titles for North American television and VOD distribution, despite having not released anything on home video for over a year. Many of their titles have been shown on the Sci-Fi Channel, as well as Anime Selects, AZN Television and the Funimation Channel, and are still available through iTunes. Some of their titles were also acquired by various anime companies, such as ADV Films, Bandai Entertainment, Funimation, Aniplex of America, Sentai Filmworks, Maiden Japan, Viz Media, Discotek Media, NIS America, Nozomi Entertainment, Ponycan USA, and Media Blasters, and were re-released from 2004 into the 2010s. Some of their titles were either re-dubbed, such as Here Is Greenwood and Area 88 by Media Blasters and ADV Films, respectively, or have retained the original dub. Grave of the Fireflies was later re-licensed by ADV's successor Sentai Filmworks and was re-released in 2012. The film had originally been included in a distribution deal between Central Park and ADV that also included Now and Then, Here and There, The World of Narue and MD Geist, which were 3 former US Manga Corps titles.
Central Park Media was a key player in popularizing anime, with numerous firsts and promotions designed to introduce various works to American viewers. They were one of the first suppliers to sell anime box sets.
In 2002, the first instance of an anime having the storyboards as an alternate viewing option was released on the Collectors Edition of Grave of the Fireflies, more than 2,700 hand drawings synced to the audio tracks. They also focused on increasing TV airings of shows to capitalize on the International Channel, the Encore Channel and the streaming service Cartoon Network short-lived Toonami Reactor website.
Anime Test Drive was a promotion that started in 2003 which tested the markets and introduced American's to anime at a discounted rate. It was a way to market titles that may have been viewed as to expensive or inconvenience to purchase separately. Anime Test Drive DVDs offer two episodes of the listed anime series and 45 minutes of trailers.
In 2004, Central Park Media introduced Korean animation works into America after the success of the Animatrix, Aeon Flux and Cubix with the release of Doggy Poo.
In 2006, Central Park Media licensed some of their works to IGN Entertainment's digital download retail store Direct2Drive.
In 2007, Central Park Media licensed out Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie, Roujin Z, the Record of Lodoss War series, the Project A-ko series, Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer and Grave of the Fireflies to Funimation Channel. These titles aired on the channel in 2007 before ADV Films took over the rights to Grave of the Fireflies and the film was streamed on VOD in the United States and Canada by Anime Network, following their bankruptcy. However, as of 2012, Grave of the Fireflies is now licensed by Sentai Filmworks, with distribution from Section23 Films, and is still available on Anime Network.
Asia Pulp Cinema was CPM's East Asian live-action film distribution division that began in 1999. They were most known for carrying Japanese erotic films, mostly starring actress Kei Mizutani, and films targeted at admirers of the otaku subculture, such as the Akihabara Trilogy.
US Manga Corps was the main anime distribution division for Central Park Media, catering to middle/high school students and older audiences. The US Manga Corps mascot is from MD Geist, an obscure OVA from the 1980s.
Software Sculptors was founded by John Sirabella, Sam Liebowitz and Henry Lai in 1993, that specialized in anime-related software, such as screen savers featuring Ranma ½ and Bubblegum Crisis, as well as releasing video anime on to CD-Rom. They also released several anime titles, most notably Slayers, Revolutionary Girl Utena and Cat Soup. The company was later bought by CPM in 1995 and was turned into one of their division labels. Sirabella and Liebowitz stayed on with CPM until 1996, where they would later go on to form Media Blasters.
CPM Press (originally CPM Comics, then CPM Manga) was the manga and manhwa publication division. Manga titles were published under the label CPM Manga, and manhwa under CPM Manhwa. CPM also had an adult division under CPM Press known as Bear Bear Press, which largely published Americanized versions of some of their Anime 18 releases such as La Blue Girl. This division started in 1996 and folded the same year releasing only La Blue Girl and Demon Beast Invasion. Some of these titles were published under the Manga 18 imprint (see Anime 18).
Anime 18 (A18 Corporation) was Central Park Media's distribution division for pornographic anime. Among its releases were Toshio Maeda's Legend of the Overfiend and La Blue Girl. The release of Legend of the Overfiend was the first hentai released in America. A18 released its titles under several labels, with the main label – Anime 18 – used for hentai and yaoi anime, Manga 18 for manga and manhwa pornography, and Be Beautiful Manga for yaoi manga. Some A18 titles were also being re-released under the Anime HotShots label. When Central Park Media went bankrupt in 2009, the licenses for some of Anime 18's products and movies were transferred to Critical Mass Video and Kitty Media.
Manga 18 was an English-language publisher of pornographic manga and manhwa which was the manga counterpart of Anime 18 and successor to Bare Bear Press.
The counterpart of Anime 18 that specialized in yaoi manga. On March 19, 2007, Japanese yaoi publisher Libre announced that Be Beautiful Manga was illegally translating and selling their properties to their original owners.
Below the Radar was a label that focused on live-action independent and non-mainstream media. Formed in March 2007.
Central Park Media's website unit that operated AnimeOne.com, a website that was dedicated to anime fandom, and UFOCity.com, a website that specialized in alien UFO sightings and hosted a community UFO enthusiasts. UFOCity.com was shut down in 2003.
Central Park Media has employed numerous figures in the video retail industry like Steven Kramer Peter Castro, John O'Donnell, and Tom Reilly. In 2003, John Davis, Allen Rosenberg and Stacey Santos were hired as account executives.
A Wind Named Amnesia (Japanese: 風の名はアムネジア, Hepburn: Kaze no Na wa Amunejia), also known as The Wind of Amnesia in Australia and the United Kingdom, is a Japanese novel authored by Hideyuki Kikuchi, originally published in 1983 by Asahi Sonorama. An anime film adaptation was released theatrically on December 22, 1990, directed by Kazuo Yamazaki. An English adaptation of the film was produced and released by Manga Entertainment on home video in Australia and the UK and by Central Park Media in North America.Adolescence of Utena
Adolescence of Utena (少女革命ウテナ アドゥレセンス黙示録, Shōjo Kakumei Utena Aduresensu Mokushiroku) is a 1999 Japanese anime film directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara, written by Yōji Enokido, from a story by Ikuhara, and produced by J.C.Staff. The film is a retelling of the plot of the anime and the manga Revolutionary Girl Utena, but like the two it has its own continuity. In English-speaking territories, it was released as Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie. In 2001, Central Park Media licensed and released the movie, with the English voice cast to reprise their roles from the TV series. In 2010, following the closure of Central Park Media, Right Stuf Inc. announced their license to the film, as well as the TV series.Alien Nine
Alien Nine (エイリアン9, Eirian Nain) is a Japanese manga series by Hitoshi Tomizawa, which was later adapted into an anime OVA series by J.C.Staff. The manga was serialized in Akita Shoten's Young Champion magazine, spanning 3 volumes. In 2003, Tomizawa released a 1-volume sequel to the series called Alien 9 Emulators. Both the manga and anime are noted for their moe art style contrasting the realistic art style seen in most seinen series at the time and heavy violence despite the young main characters, Pokémon-like monster designs, and initial appearances of a slice-of-life-esque series.
The English adaptation of the series was first licensed by Central Park Media, and has played on Comcast's Anime Selects. Central Park Media released the title under their "US Manga Corps" line, on a single DVD, and later re-released the DVD in a box set with all three manga volumes, which was also licensed by Central Park Media under their "CPM Manga" line. Central Park Media filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and the DVDs and manga volumes subsequently went out of print in North America.Ariel (anime)
ARIEL (エリアル, Eriaru) (which stands for "All a-Round Intercept and Escort Lady") is a mecha anime OVA series. ARIEL is also known as The ARIEL Project. It was released in the United States by Central Park Media in 2003.Battle Skipper
Battle Skipper (Japanese: 美少女遊撃隊バトルスキッパー, Hepburn: Bishōjo Yuugekitai, lit. "Lovely-Girl Commando Unit Battle Skipper") is a Japanese direct-to-video animated series based on the small toy mecha action figures by Tomy. The series was released in the US by Central Park Media.Cyber City Oedo 808
Cyber City Oedo 808 (Japanese: サイバーシティ OEDO 808) is a 1990-1991 cyberpunk original video animation. It was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Set in the year 2808 in the city of Oedo (Tokyo), it tells the story of three criminals who are enlisted into fighting crime in exchange for reduced sentences. They are Sengoku, an anti-social maverick, Gogol, a mohawk wearing hacker, and Benten, an androgynous bishōnen.
The UK release of the OVA includes a completely new score by Rory McFarlane.Cybernetics Guardian
Cybernetics Guardian (Japanese: 聖獣機サイガード, Hepburn: Seijuki Cyguard) is an anime Original Video Animation. The Original Japanese version was released in 1989 by Anime International Company, and an English Language version in 1996, licensed by Central Park Media. It is about John Stalker who is a research pilot for the fictional Central Guard Company. John was born in the city of Cyber-wood, in an area known as the Cancer Slums. The antagonist of the story, Adler, plans to attack the citizens of the Cancer Slums.
In this Japanese animated science fiction adventure, cities of the future are plagued by violence, and the Central Guard Company is commissioned to find a solution to urban crime. One designer creates a Guard Suit with special psychic powers, while another develops a robotic killing machine that will not only eliminate the bad guys, but also get rid of his romantic rivals in the process. But when John Stalker is given the assignment of testing the Guard Suit, it uncovers a dark and dangerous secret he has kept hidden from the world.DNA²
DNA² (Japanese: D・N・A² ～何処かで失くしたあいつのアイツ～, Hepburn: Dī En Ei Tsū: Dokoka de Nakushita Aitsu no Aitsu) is a science fiction manga series written and illustrated by Masakazu Katsura. It was serialized across Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine between 1993 and 1994, spanning a total of five tankōbon volumes.
DNA² was adapted into a 12-episode anime television series which ran on Nippon Television from October 7, 1994 to December 23, 1994. This was followed by a three-episode anime original video animation (OVA) in 1995. Produced by Madhouse and Studio Deen, the anime series was directed by Jun'ichi Sakata, whereas the character designer and animation director for the series was Kumiko Takahashi. DNA² has been broadcast in Japan by Animax, which has also aired the series across its respective networks worldwide, including its English-language networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia. All 15 episodes were licensed in North America by Central Park Media until their closing in 2009. The five volumes and box set are out-of-print. Discotek Media has since re-licensed the series for a DVD release in 2014.Demon City Shinjuku
Demon City Shinjuku (Japanese: 魔界都市〈新宿〉, Hepburn: Makai Toshi: Shinjuku) is a novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi that was adapted into an original video animation (OVA) in 1988, directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The title has also been translated as Hell City Shinjuku and Monster City. It was also released as two manga by ADV Manga in 2003 and 2004. The novel was also released in English in 2011 by Digital Manga Publishing, compiled with its sequel Demon Palace Babylon.
The film was released in North America by Central Park Media in 1994. Portions of the opening fight scene were featured in the 1995 cyberpunk film Johnny Mnemonic.Discotek Media
Discotek Media is an American entertainment company based in Altamonte Springs, Florida. It is in the business of licensing, translating/subtitling and releasing Japanese anime, live-action movies, and television series to home-video in the North American market. Their animated releases include Fist of the North Star, Lupin III, the Galaxy Express 999 movies, and D.N.Angel. Formed in 2005, Discotek primarily focuses on licensing retro titles from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, but have also acquired several recent titles from the 2000s and 2010s. They created their first English language dub for their 2016 release of Lupin III: Jigen's Gravestone. Discotek releases are distributed by Alternative Distribution Alliance.
They are also known for being one of the first publishers to support SD content on a Blu-ray Disc to help collectors and videophiles get the best experience as possible. Using this format, its compact packaging makes the product fit the shelves perfectly, as well as a better encode than a DVD, plus have around 20 hours of main content on the disc itself. The result is a cheaper product than its DVD counterpart. This only affects shows 24 episodes or more that does not have an HD master at all, or its Japanese Blu-ray does not look good upscaled to 1080p. The first so-called "SD on BD" product was the English version of Samurai Pizza Cats, then it was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and then Fist of the North Star before they became focused on the format from May 2018 onwards.Gall Force
Gall Force (ガルフォース, Garu Fōsu) is a metaseries of science fiction anime OVA by the studios Artmic and AIC, with production by Youmex. The original character designs were by Kenichi Sonoda, though these were dropped for the Gall Force: The Revolution remake. Central Park Media has licensed most of the films and OVAs with the exceptions of Ten Little Gall Force, Scramble Wars and The Revolution.Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no Haka) is a 1988 Japanese animated war film based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka. It was written and directed by Isao Takahata, and animated by Studio Ghibli for the story's publisher Shinchosha Publishing (making it the only Studio Ghibli film under Tokuma Shoten ownership that had no involvement from them). The film stars Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Yoshiko Shinohara and Akemi Yamaguchi. Set in the city of Kobe, Japan, the film tells the story of two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, and their desperate struggle to survive during the final months of the Second World War.Guardian of Darkness
Guardian of Darkness (Japanese: 暗黒神伝承 武神, Hepburn: Ankokushin Denshō Takegami, also known as Takegami: Guardian of Darkness) is a three-episode OVA anime series released by J.C.Staff between March 1990 through January 1992. The episodes are licensed for release in North America by Central Park Media and in the United Kingdom by ADV Films UK division.Legend of Lemnear
Legend of Lemnear (極黒の翼 バルキサス, Kyokkoku no Tsubasa Barukisasu) is an anime OVA directed by Kinji Yoshimoto with character designs by Satoshi Urushihara, produced by AIC. It was released on August 25, 1989 on video in Japan. The English subtitled version was released in 1995 and distributed by Central Park Media and U.S. Manga Corps.
The series had been adapted as a fantasy manga (レジェンド・オブ・レムネア, Rejendo obu Remunea) written by Kinji Yoshimoto with art by Satoshi Urushihara. It is licensed in North America by CPM Manga, in Poland by JPF and in Russia by Comics Factory. It focuses heavily on the "swords and sorcery" genre, and in typical Urushihara style provides a great deal of fan service.Outlanders (manga)
Outlanders (アウトランダーズ, Autorandāzu) — is a popular manga comic written by Johji Manabe, combining aspects of the space opera, science fantasy, fan service, magical girlfriend and harem genres.They Were Eleven
They Were Eleven (11人いる!, Jūichinin Iru!) is a manga by Moto Hagio which ran in Shōjo Comic for three issues from September through November 1975. It was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1976, and a sequel Horizon of the East, Eternity of the West was produced in 1976. It was published in English as part of the anthology Four Shōjo Stories. The anime film was licensed and released in North America by Central Park Media. It was first released on subtitle VHS in the early 1990s, then later re-released on VHS in 1996 with a newly produced English Dub. It was later re-released on DVD in 2004 (with both language tracks). It is now out of print. The manga was also briefly published by Viz Media under the anthology 'Four Shoujo Stories', but it is also currently out of print.
The manga was adapted as a one-episode, 40-minute television drama broadcast on 1977-01-02 as part of the Shōnen Drama Series on NHK. Ten years later, it was adapted as a theatrical anime movie, released November 1986. In 2004, a theatrical stage adaptation was produced.Virgin Fleet
Virgin Fleet (聖少女艦隊バージンフリート, Seishōjo Kantai Virgin Fleet) is a 1998 anime OVA series created by Oji Hiroi (of Sakura Wars fame) and Yasuhiro Imagawa and produced by AIC and Beam Entertainment. A video game sequel was released in 1999 for the Playstation console.Wanna-Be's
Wanna-Be's (ウォナビーズ) is a 1986 Japanese direct-to-video animation written by Toshimichi Suzuki. Kenichi Sonoda created the character designs of the animated version.