|Headquarters||Wilmington, North Carolina, United States|
|Key people||Robert Woodhead
Roe R. Adams, III
|Products||Anime, Samurai cinema|
AnimEigo is an American licensor and distributor of anime. It was founded in 1988 in Ithaca, New York by Robert Woodhead and Roe R. Adams, III. It is now based in Wilmington, North Carolina, and run by Natsumi Ueki, Robert's wife. Their first release, Metal Skin Panic Madox 01, was also the first anime to be commercially released exclusively to home video in the US which was not bound by the content restrictions of American broadcast TV or film. The company has released such titles as Urusei Yatsura, Oh My Goddess!, Vampire Princess Miyu, Gainax's industry/fandom sendup Otaku no Video, the original Bubblegum Crisis OVA series, and Kimagure Orange Road. They have also expanded into Japanese films that are live-action rather than animated; these are mostly classic "Jidaigeki" (samurai films) such as Zatoichi, Lone Wolf and Cub and the influential edited/dubbed version of Lone Wolf and Cub, Shogun Assassin (which AnimEigo completely reconstructed), but they also include other films such A New Love in Tokyo, a film about Japanese call girls. Their completed release of Urusei Yatsura is one of the longest releases of an anime series in the US market ever, with over 50 volumes in all.
The company is well-known for the quality of its translation and subtitles, and pioneered such techniques as multi-color subtitles, overlapping dialogue, and supertitles that explain important cultural, linguistic and historical tidbits. Alert viewers will often find subtle references to pop culture and current events hidden in the subtitles when they match what the characters are actually saying. Sometimes the references are blatant; in episode 18 of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, the dying Roy Fokker not only repeats the famous words of Mr. Spock from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan -- "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few..." but adds Captain Kirk's reply -- "or the one". AnimEigo also includes comprehensive cultural and linguistic "liner notes" with their releases.
AnimEigo also licensed two Lupin III films: Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy and Lupin III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon. Because of legal issues surrounding the Lupin name (which was used by author Monkey Punch without permission from the estate of Maurice Leblanc), the titles were released as Rupan III (which is the romaji pronunciation of Lupin). Even after the Lupin name passed into public domain in the 1990s, AnimEigo continued to distribute the films as Rupan III.
Their name is a portmanteau of "anime" and "eigo" (英語), the Japanese word for the English language. The UK affiliate was called Anime Projects, releasing many of AnimEigo's titles on the other side of the Atlantic.