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Funimation Entertainment
Type Subsidiary
Genre Anime, Japanese films
Founded Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. (1994)
Founder(s) Gen Fukunaga
Headquarters Flower Mound, Texas,  United States
Key people Gen Fukunaga Founder/CEO
Industry multimedia entertainment
Owner(s) Navarre Corporation
Website http://www.funimation.com

Funimation Entertainment (formerly known as Funimation Productions, and usually stylized as FUNimation) is an American entertainment company. Originally founded in 1994 by Gen Fukunaga, the company became a subsidiary of Navarre Corporation on May 11, 2005. Funimation produces, markets, and distributes anime and other entertainment properties in the United States and international markets. The company is headquartered in Flower Mound, Texas.[1]

Contents

History

FUNimation was founded in 1994 in Fort Worth, Texas, by Gen Fukunaga.[2] The company rose to prominence by acquiring the rights to the popular anime franchise Dragon Ball. By 1999, they were able to get widespread television exposure via Cartoon Network's Toonami programing block and the Dragon Ball phenomenon quickly grew in the United States as it had elsewhere. Two previous attempts by Funimation to release Dragon Ball to network television had been canceled, before the series and the company found success on Cartoon Network.

On May 11, 2005, Funimation was acquired by Navarre Corporation for US$100.4 million in cash and 1.8 million shares of Navarre stock. As part of the acquisition, the president Fukunaga was retained as head of the company, transitioning to the position of CEO, and the company's name was changed from Funimation Productions to Funimation Entertainment.[3][4]

In 2007 Funimation moved from North Richland Hills, Texas to Flower Mound; the standalone Flower Mound facility has double the square footage of the space Funimation occupied previous North Richland Hills facility; in the North Richland Hills facility Funimation shared the building with other tenants.[1] Funimation moved into the Lakeside Business District with a ten year lease.[5]

According to an interview in February 2008 with Navarre Corporation CEO Cary Deacon, Funimation was in early stage negotiations to acquire some of the titles licensed through Geneon's USA division, which ceased operations in December 2007.[6] In July 2008, Funimation confirmed that they had acquired distribution rights to several Geneon titles, including some that Geneon had left unfinished when they ceased operations.[7]

At Anime Expo 2008, Funimation announced that it had acquired over 30 titles from the Sojitz catalog that had previously been licensed by ADV Films.[8]

On November 23, 2009, Funimation announced that they will begin their initiative to co-produce original anime titles based on major intellectual major US properties, and have hired Chris Moujaes as Director of Original Entertainment.[9]

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Reaction to fansubbing

In 2005, Funimation's legal department began to pursue a more aggressive approach toward protecting their licensed properties, and started sending "cease and desist" (C&D) letters to sites offering links to fansubs of their titles. This move was similar to that taken by ADV Films several years before with several of the major torrent sites.

Funimation's legal department served C&D letters for series that had not yet been advertised or announced as licensed, including Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Black Cat , and Solty Rei, with a few known series also mentioned in the letter[10]. Funimation repeated this method of "announcing license via Cease and Desist" letters on 2006-10-06 when it sent letters to torrent sites demanding that distribution of xxxHolic's TV series, Mushishi, Ragnarok the Animation and other series cease.[11]

Foreign distribution

Funimation does not directly release its properties in non-U.S. (English language-speaking) markets, instead sublicensing to other companies such as Revelation Films in the United Kingdom and Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.

Towards the end of 2005, Fullmetal Alchemist (along with Beez Entertainment's Wolf's Rain) became one of the flagship programs on the relaunch of satellite channel Rapture TV and had only one edit, that of changing the opening to "Ready Steady Go" (the second opening), instead of the few minor edits the show received for its Adult Swim airings. YuYu Hakusho has also been acquired for television broadcast in the UK. However, it has not been announced who has picked it up and who the intended audience is.

Funimation Channel

Funimation has launched the "Funimation Channel", the second 24 hour anime digital cable network in North America (the first being A.D. Vision's Anime Network). OlympuSAT is the exclusive distributor and the Funimation Channel is now available to video service providers. On May 1, 2008 however Funimation pulled all their programming from Colours TV. Funimation has yet to give a reason for the cancellation.

Alternative distribution

In July 2008, Funimation and Red Planet Media announced the launch of a mobile video-on-demand service for AT&T and Sprint mobile phone subscribers.[12] Three titles were part of the launch, Gunslinger Girl, Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase, and Galaxy Railways, with entire seasons of each made available.

On September 19, 2006, Funimation created an official channel on YouTube where they upload advertisements for box sets, as well as clips and preview episodes of their licensed series. In September 2008, they began distributing full episodes of series at Hulu.[13] In December of the same year, Funimation added a video section to their main website with preview episodes of various series. In April 2009, they began distributing full episodes of series at Veoh.[14][15] Full episodes are also available on the YouTube channel.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Funimation moving headquarters to Flower Mound". Fort-Worth Star Telegram. 2007-06-07. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-30963771_ITM. Retrieved 2007-06-07.  
  2. ^ "Interview with Gen Fukunaga, Part 1". ICv2. 2004-11-01. http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/6036.html. Retrieved 2008-02-08.  
  3. ^ Navarre Corporation (2005-05-11). "Navarre Corporation Acquires Funimation, and Provides Financial Update and Guidance". Press release. http://ir.navarre.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=105157&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=709018&highlight=. Retrieved 2006-07-08.  
  4. ^ ICv2 (2005-05-12). "Navarre Completes Funimation Acquisition". Press release. http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/6866.html. Retrieved 2008-02-08.  
  5. ^ "FUNimation Entertainment scripts HQ move". Dallas Business Journal. 2007-06-08. http://www.flower-mound.com/econdev/articles/FUNimationEntertainmentscriptsHQmove.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-20.  
  6. ^ "Navarre/FUNimation Interested in Some Geneon Titles". ICv2. 2008-02-08. http://www.icv2.com/articles/home/12043.html. Retrieved 2008-02-08.  
  7. ^ funimation.com (2008-07-03). "FUNimation Entertainment and Geneon Entertainment Sign Exclusive Distribution Agreement for North America". Press release. http://funimation.com/f_index.cfm?page=news&id=454. Retrieved 2008-07-03.  
  8. ^ animenewsnetwork.com (2008-07-04). "Funimation Picks Up Over 30 Former AD Vision Titles". Press release. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-07-04/funimation-picks-up-over-30-former-ad-vision-titles. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  9. ^ "Funimation Starts Intitiative For Co-Producing Anime". Anime News Network. 2009-11-23. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-11-23/funimation-starts-initiative-for-co-producing-anime. Retrieved 2009-11-23.  
  10. ^ "Funimation Enforces Intellectual Property Rights (ANN)". http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/article.php?id=7979. Retrieved 2006-10-14.  
  11. ^ "Funimation Sends out Cease & Desist Letters For Multiple Anime (ANN)". http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/article.php?id=9625. Retrieved 2006-10-14.  
  12. ^ "Full Seasons of the Best Anime from FUNimation Channel Launch on JumpInMobile.TV – The New Mobile Video-on-Demand Service from Red Planet Media". Anime News Network. 2008-07-09. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-release/2008-07-09/full-seasons-of-the-best-anime-from-funimation-channel-launch-on-jumpinmobile.tv-the-new-mobile-video-on-demand-service-from-red-planet-media. Retrieved 2008-07-09.  
  13. ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-09-23/hulu-website-launches-channel-for-free-legal-anime
  14. ^ Rojas (2009-04-01). "Legal Anime Watching on Veoh.com". The Funimation Update. Funimation Entertainment. http://blog.funimation.com/2009/04/legal-anime-watching-on-veohcom/. Retrieved 2009-04-04.  
  15. ^ "Funimation Adds More Anime to Veoh Video Website". ANN News. Anime News Network. 2009-04-02. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-04-02/funimation-adds-anime-to-veoh-streaming-site. Retrieved 2009-04-04.  

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