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 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 them by Manga UK who also provided the dubs. Together with AnimEigo, U.S. Renditions and Streamline Pictures, CPM pioneered the distribution of anime for mature viewers in North America.
During their heyday, CPM incorporated MD Geist as part of their 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 their Anime 18 division - released Urotsukidoji: 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 all across the United States in both subtitled and dubbed formats.
In the mid-1990s, CPM expanded to distributing manga and manhwa (Korean manga) 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.
In early 2003, CPM acquired AnimeFURY Studios (AFS), a small media company which had been promoting unlicensed anime titles in the US and promoting them through third-party licensors. AFS consisted of a fan community of fansubbing individuals who had maintained over four million freely distributed compact discs of anime media from over 600 titles available only in Japan. CPM utilized this vehicle to promote its next set of potential licenses, but abandoned the project in 2005 with lack of support from its third-party licensors. The company subsequently resold the websites www.animefurystudios.com and animefury.com back to their original owners in early 2006.
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 discontinued their 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 as of 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 their 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.
Bankruptcy and liquidation
Central Park Media filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 27, 2009 and is facing liquidation 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 American television and VOD, despite not releasing anything on video for over a year. Many of their titles have aired on the Sci-Fi Channel and are still available through iTunes. Some of its titles were also acquired by ADV Films and re-released in July 2009.
Asia Pulp Cinema
Asia Pulp Cinema was CPM's East-Asian film distribution division.
US Manga Corps
US Manga Corps was the anime distribution division for Central Park Media, catering to high school students and older audiences. The US Manga Corps mascot is from MD Geist, an obscure OVA from the 1980s.
Another distribution division that specialized in anime-related software, such as screen savers featuring Ranma ½ and Bubblegum Crisis. They also released several anime titles under this product line, most notably The Slayers.
- For a list of titles distributed by CPM Press, see the CPM Press category
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 Bare 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).
- For a list of titles distributed by Anime 18, see the Anime 18 category
Anime 18 was Central Park Media's distribution division for pornographic anime. A18 released its titles under several labels, with the main label - Anime 18 - used for hentai 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 the year of 2009, the licenses for all Anime 18-related products and movies were transferred to Critical Mass.
- "Contact Us." Central Park Media. March 12, 2007. Retrieved on September 14, 2009.
- "250 West 57th Street." W&H Properties. Retrieved on September 14, 2009.
- Anime News Network Buried Garbage - M.D. Geist
- Interview with John O'Donnell
- "Musicland files for bankruptcy." Anime News Network. January 12, 2006. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "Central Park Media to Restart Manga." Anime News Network. October 17, 2005. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- Cha, Kai-Ming; Reid, Calvin (March 29, 2007). "Japanese Publisher Claims CPM Infringes". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved July 5, 2009.[dead link]
- "Central Park Media Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy." Anime News Network. April 28, 2009. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "Anime News Network - CPM to Re-release Some Older Titles in the Future." Anime News Network. March 3, 2007. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "Sci-Fi Channel and Manga Entertainment Add New Anime Programming as Ani-Monday Block is Renewed for a Second Season." Anime News Network. July 14, 2007. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "ADV Adds Grave of the Fireflies and Now and Then, Here and There." Central Park Media. May 5, 2009. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "Asia Pulp Cinema." Central Park Media. March 30, 2004. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "U.S. Manga Corps New Releases." Central Park Media. April 7, 2004. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "Software Sculptors CD-ROMs and Anime Videos." Software Sculptors. January 29, 2007. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- Anime News Network - Software Sculptors Responds to Slayers DVD Audio Problems, October 28, 2000
- "The CPM Comics Page." February 7, 1997. Central Park Media. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "CPM Press." Central Park Media. June 8, 2003. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "CPM Press." Central Park Media. April 1, 2004. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "Anime 18." Central Park Media. February 7, 1997.
- Central Park Media's Licenses Offered by Liquidator