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Pioneering anime firm shuts down


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POSTED: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A moment of silence, please, for Central Park Media, the latest casualty in the anime and manga industry.

Before last week, when it was announced that the company had filed for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy after a year of laying largely dormant, casual anime and manga fans might not have known the name “;Central Park Media.”; More familiar were the names of CPM's various divisions - U.S. Manga Corps and Software Sculptors for mainstream anime, Anime 18 for hentai (erotic adult) anime, CPM Manga for mainstream manga and Be Beautiful for boys' love manga.

Those fans may not really have cared about CPM, either. In the end, the company's catalog was mostly a roll-call of dated, obscure and just plain awful anime. You'd have to do some research or be a pretty hard-core fan to know what “;Arcade Gamer Fubuki,”; “;Harmageddon”; and “;M.D. Geist”; are about, for instance. (Apparently you'd also have to be a bit of a masochist to want to watch those series, as all three have been profiled as “;Buried Garbage”; in Justin Sevakis' Anime News Network column.)

But it's easy to forget now that once upon a time, CPM was a driving force in the emerging U.S. anime home video market of the 1990s. Its first release, “;Dominion Tank Police”; (then known simply as “;Dominion”;) in October 1991 would be followed over the years by several classic anime series, including “;Patlabor: The Mobile Police,”; “;Project A-Ko,”; “;Record of Lodoss Wars,”; “;Revolutionary Girl Utena”; and “;Slayers.”;

Perhaps what CPM will be most remembered for, though, will be three titles: “;Grave of the Fireflies,”; “;La Blue Girl”; and “;Urotsukidoji.”; “;Grave of the Fireflies,”; the story of two orphaned Japanese siblings struggling to survive at the end of World War II, is a heartbreaking film that everyone must see at least once. (Helpful hint: Stock up on tissues before you watch.)

As for the other two titles, I've heard those are the series most often associated with hentai, but my mommy told me not to watch that kind of stuff.

My sympathies go out to all who lost jobs due to the closure.

Pups on the Road

The “;nemu*nemu”; spring tour is winding down for online comic co-creators Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga with an appearance at the Moanalua High School Spring Craft Fair from 9 a.m. to

2 p.m. Saturday. They'll be bringing their usual array of T-shirts, plushies, books, pins and other swag. The school is located at 2825 Ala Ilima St.; visit www.nemu-nemu.com for a map and other updates.

Meeting roll call

» MangaBento: Remaining meetings this month for this group of anime- and manga-inspired artists are 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and May 24 at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com for details.

 


Cel Shaded is a weekly look at the world of Japanese anime and manga. Follow Jason S. Yadao on Twitter at twitter.com/jsyadao or e-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)