Chris Beveridge at Mania.com (formerly AnimeOnDVD) reports that Central Park Media has finally filed for bankruptcy. I am impressed that they were able to stave it off as long as they did. They were hurt bad when Musicland (operators of Sam Goody, Sucoast Motion Picture Company, and MediaPlay.com) filed for bankruptcy back in 2006. As Mr. Beveridge notes, CPM was at the forefront of anime distribution in the U.S. for quite a while, releasing the first anime DVD in the U.S. They have a long list of titles that they’ve released over the years including one of the first anime I watched, Project A-Ko, along with well known titles like Revolutionary Girl Utena, Slayers, and Grave of the Fireflies. Their Anime 18 adult title division, which was recently sold to Critical Mass Video, also released well known titles Ogenki Clinic, La Blue Girl, and Urotsukidoji among others.

Unfortunately, these stories of layoffs and closings are far more common that I’d like to see. Part of the cause is that the economy has hit many parts of the manga and anime industry quite hard, part of it is that the industry created its own bubble by overreaching and licensing too many shows and manga and not getting the returns they expected. The end result is that many companies have taken hits: Tokyopop laid off over 40 employees last year and has trimmed thier release schedule. Geneon USA closed down after failed attempts to get ADV to distribute for them. ADV transferred rights to over 30 shows to FUNimation. FUNimation is one of the few companies that seems to have weathered this extremely well. Kudos to them for their good business planning and handling the current industry landscape.

It’s unfortunate that there have been so many casualties in the industry lately, and I wish the best of luck for all those who find themselves out of a job due to this. While CPM has been somewhat marginalized in the last few years, they were one of the major forces that allowed anime to gain a foothold in America. Thanks for the memories, CPM.

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