Anime Vice News

Central Park Media's Latest Gasp: Bankruptcy

After a long struggle, Central Park Media files for bankruptcy and closes up shop.

I don't know how many of you guys have been into anime long enough to know Central Park Media, whose various anime labels (U.S. Manga Corps, Software Sculptors, Anime 18, Be Beautiful, etc) released various anime including Revolutionary Girl Utena, Project A-Ko, La Blue Girl, Slayers, various yaoi and a lot of other stuff.

It's a company that has long been in trouble, having not released anything in at least the last year, and prior to that its only money-maker was yaoi-- until BL licensor Libre, who had taken over after Japan's primary BL publisher Biblos went under, declared nearly all of CPM's yaoi licenses invalid because they hadn't been renegotiated.

I've watched the increasing disappearance of CPM with sadness for a long time, particularly because probably half of the people I know in the anime industry owe their start to or have otherwise worked for Central Park Media at one point or another, and the company was really one of the earliest pioneers of anime in North America.

CPM has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, which means that the company will be completely liquidated, rather than Chapters 11 or 13, which allows the company to restructure and continue trying to operate.

So it is with great sadness that I bid farewell to Central Park Media. I hope you'll join me in remembering the good times (oh, La Blue Girl!) and setting aside the not-so-good times. Those of ye who have shared of CPM's bounty, please offer an anecdote (perhaps a favorite title?).
ganchanon April 28, 2009 at 8:49 p.m.
It's fair to say that the lion's share of my early exposure to anime came from the release catalog of CPM.  Especially Slayers and Patlabor... *sigh*

That said, I wonder if I could score the rights to La Blue Girl...
Nikoon April 28, 2009 at 8:49 p.m.
I'm glad I just recently bought Grave of the Fireflies. As sad as it is, I'm somewhat looking forward to any CMP sales so I can finally pick up classics I've yet to see (such as Project A-ko).

As I asked in my blog post, I wonder how many CMP titles FUNi is going to end up saving.
paplooon April 29, 2009 at 3:10 a.m.
My favorite CPM titles would have to be Harlock Saga, the Utena Movie, Patlabor TV, RG Veda, and one of the earliest unedited anime I saw, Battle Arena Toshinden [which I later bought a DVD of, and was apparently the first ever anime dvd release]. They produced and licensed a lot of great shows throughout the years [wish I'd been collecting when they did the RGVeda and Tokyo Babylon laserdiscs- such great artwork!], and managed to put much of their older catalogue out on DVD [many of which have had no japanese dvd release like The Humanoid] with however many extras they could get their hands on or make. They were also really helpful with Clubs and Conventions. They'll be missed.
MorpheusDreamweaveron April 29, 2009 at 4:57 a.m.
I mainly remember CPM from New York conventions. I scored the three season sets of Slayers for $25 a piece at the last Big Apple Anime Festival (back when getting DVDs that cheap was a real steal, rather than just a sale). Then there was the crazy panel that CPM did at the New York Anime Festival a couple of years ago, when the company owner gave his take on his company's status and the anime industry in the United States.... and then he sent everybody with shopping bags to raid his booth in the exhibition hall. (I still have a couple of Lodoss War scripts that I got that day, though I've since given away most of the other loot that I ended up with.)
Ruby_Alexandrineon April 29, 2009 at 1:14 p.m.

I still have Chiralty that they published quite some time ago.  It reminds me of when manga was at its infancy in the States and how it was published in American standard comic book format!   I have to admit that the print quality was crap yet I do consider the series a gem since the yuri genre is under-appreciated in the West.  I wish I would see more Maka Maka-esque mangas.

giaon April 29, 2009 at 2:56 p.m.
Morpheus: I was at NYAF that day and had interviewed John O'Donnell earlier, too...I picked up a few books, including Duck Prince, which I hope someone picks up.

Ruby: I read Chirality! It came in a grab-bag my BFF got when we were like...14 or 15. ^_^;
N15PCAon April 29, 2009 at 6:01 p.m.

One good that might come out of  this is that Funimation might pick up the right to Revolutionary Girl Utena.

transgojoboton April 29, 2009 at 7:38 p.m.
I think Utena would be a perfect license rescue for Nozomi. Then, they may not have to do any "rescuing" at all, since Enoki Films owns distribution rights and they could just chat away with them.

Meanwhile, I would very much like to see the Patlabor TV/OVAs, Now and Then, Here and There and Lodoss Wars saved from certain doom.

Of course, I'm not sure how feasible that could be. Since I'm not a privy to the contracts they held with Japanese licensors and distributors (obvs), I have no idea if anything CPM released was even technically still theirs at the time of the chapter filing; most of their titles could've reverted back to the original Japanese licensors. Would that mean Bandai Visual would be the one R1 companies would have to talk to about a second Patlabor release?

My head will a splode.
Count_Zeroon May 4, 2009 at 10:54 p.m.
It is my great hope that the some of the shows that were previously licensed by CPM be re-licensed and brought into print.

As far as who has the rights to what at the time of the filing - I attempted to contact them to find out the status of several licenses for the site I write for by telephone and E-Mail and got no response (no response from E-Mail messages and could only get a busy signal over the phone), so I have no idea what the status of their licenses were prior to the bankruptcy, or even what the license terms were.

Dig Deeper into Central Park Media

At one point one of North America's biggest anime and manga publishers, although it has been very quiet of late due to several hard blows to its business.

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