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Anime Welcomes New Player to Market

12 Oct, 2005 By: Chris Tribbey

In a time when some companies have stopped licensing anime, the genre is welcoming a new North American distributor. Florida-based Discotek Media (discotekmedia.com) is releasing an early Toei Animation offering, Animal Treasure Island (Nov. 15, $29.98), based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. The DVD will be in widescreen with both an English dub and the original Japanese with subtitles.

Executives behind Discotek are self-proclaimed “diehard cult, Asian and anime film fans with the intent to license and distribute some of the titles that are in desperate need of a good release,” according to press materials.

Zero Woman is their first live-action DVD (Oct. 25, $29.95), but they've got several other anime titles on tap: The 1969 Puss ‘n Boots and the 1979 Taro the Dragon Boy (Jan. 24, 2006) from Toei, and several “Lupin” titles, with Lupin III: The Legend of the Gold of Babylon and Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy. AnimEigo has released Fuma before on DVD, but the rest will see their first releases on the format. Discotek also has the live-action “Lupin” movie Strange Psycho-Kinetic Strategy coming Feb. 21, 2006.

Animal Treasure Island was a 1971 feature-length anime directed by little known Hiroshi Ikeda, but featured animation and consulting by top Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Nausica? of the Valley of the Winds). Treasure Island is different from the 26-episode TV series directed by Osamu Dezaki (Black Jack, Golgo 13).

While it's proven that there's a limited market for older anime titles, it will be interesting to see how Discotek does with these oldies, with Ryko Distribution handling sales and distribution.

“We will be concentrating on excellent translations, remastered video and presenting them in their original aspect ratio,” according to Discotek's Web site. “No dub titles, no cutting corners.”

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