We're all quite aware that apart from the economic downturn in the United States, anime has been steadily declining for quite some time. Instead of discussing the causes or laying blame on any one party as countless other individuals, companies, and media outlets have done, we have compiled an ongoing timeline of the decline on anime in the United States.
The timeline is far from complete, and will be regularly updated to reflect any changes in the anime industry. Please feel free to add any events we may have missed in the comments.
January 01, 2003 – Mandarake USA (Santa Monica, CA) closes
Mandarake is one of the largest second hand anime chain store in Japan.
May 26, 2006 – Central Park Media lays off employees, rumors of bankruptcy surfaces
An anime and manga publisher based in New York. Central Park Media is responsible for such titles as Armored Trooper Votoms, Black Jack, and (La) Blue Girl.
Fall 2007 – Anime Gamers USA closes
Anime Gamers USA was the retail store for Broccoli International USA.
December 03, 2007 – Geneon US division shuts down
Geneon produced and distributed anime in Japan, while the US branch translated and distributed anime and soundtracks for Western audiences.
Geneon was responsible for such titles as Chobits, Black Lagoon, Gungrave, Hellsing, and Rozen Maiden.
February, 2008 – Newtype USA Magazine releases its final volume
Newtype is a highly successful anime-themed magazine in Japan. They reviewed manga and anime, ran columns written by industry professionals, and produced a tip column for artists working with computer graphics and manga style illustrations among various other material.
July, 2008 – PiQ releases its fourth and last volume
PiQ was Newtype USA’s successor.
June, 2008 – Tokyopop lays off 39 employees, renames itself "Tokyopop Group"
Founded in 1997, Tokyopop is one of the largest manga publishers outside of Japan. This restructuring saw the loss of 35%-40% of it's American workforce along with various other reorganizations. Tokyopop has stated that their release dates will be spaced out more than before because of the restructuring.
July, 2008 – Funimation picks up Geneon titles for US distribution
Funimation is large anime licensor in the US which has picked up many titles left over from other company’s closures.
July 01, 2008 – Bandai Visual dissolves into its parent company, Bandai Entertainment
Bandai Visual USA distributed and marketed Bandai Visual’s anime and manga productions. Bandai Visual released such titles as Wolf's Rain, Code Geass, and Lucky Star.
December, 2008 – Broccoli Books ceases operations, and titles revert back to Japanese holders
Broccoli Books published manga in North America for Broccoli Co. which produced them.They have released manga including Disgaea, Coyote Ragtime Show, and Galaxy Angel.
December 12, 2008 – Tokyopop lays off 8 more staff members
The marketing director for Tokyopop, Marc Pavia, claims direly low sales numbers as the cause.
2008 – Gonzo states a 30 million deficit
Gonzo is an anime studio in Japan owned by the GDH group that produced such titles as Afro Samurai, Full Metal Panic!, Gantz, and Vandread.
Q1 2009 – 4Kids Entertainment reports a net loss of US$2.0 million
4Kids Entertainment is an international American television and film production company. It is known for dubbing anime, most famously, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!
2009 – Anime Insider ceases publication
Anime Insider is an anime-themed magazine in the league of Newtype.
2009 – TAJ Productions disbands
TAJ Productions was a dubbing studio responsible for a large quantity of titles such as Slayers, the ninth and tenth seasons of Pokemon, and Revolutionary Girl Utena.
April 27, 2009 – Central Park Media files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with $1.2 million in debt
August 31, 2009 – Licensor Kadokawa Pictures USA closes
Kadokawa Pictures is a successful movie studio in Japan. It is most famous for the Gamera giant monster series and the Daimajin trilogy. Kadokawa has licensed other anime titles such as Spice and Wolf, Shuffle! Memories, Demonbane, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
September 1, 2009 – ADV announces selling off assets to 5 different companies
ADV was a major multimedia entertainment company responsible for translating and distributing such titles as Neon Genesis Evangelion.
December 12, 2009 - Imagi Studios lays off 100 employees out of 400
Imagi Studios worked on the 2009 Astro Boy film and on the 2010 Gatchaman movie.
January 2010 - Imagi Studios closes American office
April 25, 2010 - Bang Zoom! Entertainment warns of ceasing dubbing in 2011.
Bang Zoom! Entertainment is an anime dubbing company.
May 2010 - 4Kids Entertainment reports a net loss of US$3.5 million
The loss is reportedly due to television and internet advertising revenues were less than projected as well as delays from licensers which prevented 4Kids from beginning the dubbing and localizing process for a group of new shows.
May 11, 2010 - Viz Media lays off 55 staffers, closes New York branch
Viz Media is responsible for localizing popular manga such as Naruto, One Piece, Death Note, and Bleach. These layoffs are reported as being the result of a streamlining process to better thrive in the current economy. This restructuring represents a 40% staff loss for the company, although Viz Media has stated that none of their titles will be canceled.
May 11, 2010 - Go! Comi lets its website expire
Go! Comi was responsible for titles such as After School Nightmare. The company has not published a volume of manga since October 2009, its twitter account has been deleted, and its user forums have been shut down. The site administrator in January claimed that the companies delays are due to economic downturn and digital theft.
May 13, 2010 - New York Stock Exchange begins delisting process for 4Kids Entertainment
The NYSE automatically begins delisting when the market capitalization over 30 trading days has been less than US$15 million. 4Kids may request a review of this decision, but if it does not do so in the next ten business days then it will trade stock on the over-the-counter market.
May 30, 2010 - Tokyopop closes North American publishing division
Tokyopop is one of the largest manga publishers outside of Japan.
December 29, 2011 - Bandai Entertainment closes online store
Bandai Entertainment is a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings and a major distributor of Japanese animation on DVD and programming for television broadcast in North America.
January 3, 2012 - Bandai Entertainment it will cease to publish titles soon and layoff employees
Layoff and publications (anime and manga) scheduled to cease in Feburary 2012.
News image ©2006 Nagaru Tanigawa / Noizi Ito / member of SOS