Cool Japan Fund Invests in North American Anime Group Led by Sentai Holdings

As part of its effort to expand the overseas market for Japanese anime, the Cool Japan Fund has invested USD $30 million for shares of Sentai Holdings, LLC, parent company of Sentai Filmworks, HIDIVE and Anime Network (hereafter, “Sentai”). Sentai’s independent status makes it a rarity in North America as a licensor of Japanese anime, which is beloved not just in North America but throughout the world.

The Sentai group leverages multiple revenue streams including subscription-based Internet streaming services (HIDIVE), home video and packaged media sales, cable TV SVOD distribution (Anime Network), character goods and branded merchandise, B2B content licensing, and a direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform. Sentai Studios is a leader in delivering Japanese source material to global audiences with fully integrated translation, localization, subtitling, dubbing and quality control facilities.

Since its founding in 2008, Sentai has established itself as a major force in the industry, having licensed over 700 titles of Japanese anime. The company also produces collector-friendly premium box sets that include exclusive must-have items. Through industry expertise, Sentai is able to provide insightful fan-oriented interaction via social media sites, promotional events, theatrical premieres and more.

“We are extremely proud of the work we’ve done at Sentai to bring great anime storytelling, experiences, characters and collectibles to fans around the world for more than a decade,” said John Ledford, CEO of Sentai Filmworks. “The investment by Cool Japan Fund allows us to further our potential by expanding and deepening our long-running support of the Japanese anime industry.”

With more than 27 years of experience in the anime industry, John Ledford has been the driving force behind multiple anime hits in the North American market including Made in Abyss, Haikyu!!, DanMachi, Food Wars, and Gatchaman. Prior to Sentai, Ledford oversaw projects such as the original English-language adaptation of Neon Genesis Evangelion and the omnibus East meets West anime project, Halo Legends.

Given the anime industry’s limited opportunities for domestic expansion, the current growth in the overseas content streaming market has become of increased importance. Through this investment, the Cool Japan Fund aims to provide support at the copyright level. In turn, this effort will increase the overall presence of Japanese anime in the North American market and help expand the scope of associated/exported merchandising. This will be done by Cool Japan Fund’s two-pronged approach to not only sell streaming platform rights via niche-market copyright acquisition, but also to bolster the marketplace by fostering relationships with and making important investments in overseas partners.

The Cool Japan Fund considers Sentai, which has carefully and considerately fostered a fan base for Japanese anime while forging a path in the North American market, to be of major importance. The investment will contribute to Japanese anime and related merchandise having an increased presence in the North American market, supporting medium- to long-term growth in the Japanese animation industry as a whole.

Section23 Films Announces October 2019 Releases

Home video distributor Section23 Films today announced its October 2019 slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks’ feature-length film, based on the hugely popular franchise known to insiders as DanMachi, Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Arrow of the Orion. Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

Coming October 2019

Title: JOSHIRAKU
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 10/1/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Marii, Kigurumi, Tetora, Gankyo and Kukuru are five young women with completely different interests and personalities, but there’s one thing that they all share: performing Rakugo, a unique form of Japanese comic theater in which a single artist sits in front of an audience and tells an entire story, portraying multiple characters solely through changes of voice and minimal movements. It’s a challenging art but all five of our heroines are determined to become the best they can… and in the meantime, they find themselves hanging out together, both at the Rakugo theaters and around town. They also have a shared acquaintance, a mysterious stranger who’s always wearing a wrestling mask! What’s that about? To find out, pull up a seat and watch as our heroines put on the best show in town in Joshiraku.

Title: MR. TONEGAWA: MIDDLE MANAGEMENT BLUES
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 10/15/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $89.98

SYNOPSIS: Nobody knows what it’s like to be the bad man… except the bad man’s right-hand man, who has to take the boss’ deranged ideas and turn them into functioning plans. So, when the sadistic president of the Teiai Group decides he’s bored with the routine leg breaking and widow/orphan evicting, he assigns the task of coming up with something “special” to his ruthless Number Two, Yukio Tonegawa. But how do you amuse someone who destroys a dozen lives before breakfast? There’s a huge pool of potential victims in the form of TFO’s swollen roster of defaulting borrowers, but if Tonegawa and his team of nearly identical men in black look-alikes can’t create a “game of death” that tickles the boss’ demented funny bones, they may end up playing the game themselves in Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues.

Title: IS IT WRONG TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON? ARROW OF THE ORION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 82 min.
Street Date: 10/22/2019
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98, $29.98

SYNOPSIS: Living above the legendary dungeons of Orario ought to be enough danger for anyone, and in his short time as a member of the goddess Hestia’s familia, Bell Cranel has experienced more perils and pitfalls than most. So, when Bell unexpectedly wins a free trip, is it too much to hope that he might have actually won a real vacation? Of course it is. Inexplicably chosen as the champion of Hestia’s friend, the goddess Artemis, Bell quickly finds himself up to his neck in ruins and monsters as yet another epic quest begins. And where Bell goes, can the ever-jealous Hestia be far behind? Explore the world of DanMachi like never before as all of your favorite characters return in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of the Orion.

Title: KASE-SAN AND MORNING GLORIES
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 60 min.
Street Date: 10/22/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: A relationship is like a garden. It’s hard, really hard, to plant the initial seeds. Once you’ve gone through the agonizing process of wondering if the other person even likes you, fought the fear that telling her could destroy everything, and made your confession, the most difficult part begins. Because you have to keep nurturing this wonderful new feeling to keep it growing. Not just in your own heart, but in hers. And since even the most beautiful rose can cut you to the bone with its thorns, who can you talk to for advice? Especially when you’re both girls in high school? For shy Yamada and boyish Kase, time is running out. High school is coming to an end and they must make a choice: stay together and let their love grow, or separate and let it die in Kase-san and Morning Glories.

Title: YUMEIRO PATISSIERE
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1575 min.
Street Date: 10/29/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Everyone’s good at something, but after years of being overshadowed by her sister’s musical skills, Ichigo Amano’s main talent seems to be making cake disappear into her tummy. Then the famous pastry chef Henri Lucas discovers that Ichigo has a truly exceptional sense of taste and makes her the sweetest offer ever: to study at a prestigious culinary school that specializes in desserts! It sounds like a dream come true, but Ichigo has a lot to learn and becoming a pâtissière won’t be as easy as pie. Fortunately, three handsome fellow students are there to help and things really get cooking when the school’s magical Sweet Spirits join in! Has Ichigo bitten off more than she can chew or is her baking star about to rise? Find out in the sweet and frothy confection that is Yumeiro Patissiere.

Sentai Filmworks Announces New Anime Licenses

Sentai Filmworks announced at its panel at Anime Expo that it has licensed the Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul, Food Wars! The Third Plate, Kase-san and Morning Glories, and Delinquent Hamsters anime.

The company will debut Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul (Gekijōban Made in Abyss: Fukaki Tamashii no Reimei), the new anime film in the franchise, in 2020.

Sentai Filmworks teased that it will release Food Wars! The Third Plate, the third season of the Food Wars! anime, on home video. The company is producing an English dub for the anime.

Sentai will release an English dub for Kase-san and Morning Glories, the original video anime adaptation of Hiromi Takashima’s Kase-san and… (Asagao to Kase-san.) yuri manga. The distributor will release the anime in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal.

Sentai Filmworks will release an English dub for the Deliqnuent Hamsters (Yankee Hamsters) short anime series.

Source: ANN

Sentai Filmworks Licenses The Demon Girl Next Door Anime

Sentai Filmworks has announced that it has licensed The Demon Girl Next Door (Machikado Mazoku) anime. The license covers the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, and Portugal. Sentai Filmworks will offer a streaming simulcast in Summer 2019, and a home video release will follow.

The Demon Girl Next Door is scheduled to premiere on Japanese television on July 12, 2019.

Source: ANN

Sentai Filmworks Licenses the Wasteful Days of High School Girls Anime

Sentai Filmworks has announced that it has licensed Wasteful Days of High School Girls, the television anime adaptation of Bino’s Wasteful Days of High School Girl (Joshi Kōsei no Mudazukai) manga. The company will simulcast the series on select digital outlets in Summer 2019 with a home video release to follow. Sentai Filmworks holds the license to the series in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

Wasteful Days of High School Girls is scheduled to premiere on Japanese television on July 5, 2019.

Source: ANN

Sentai Filmworks Licenses the O Maidens in Your Savage Season Anime

Sentai Filmworks has announced that it has licensed the television anime adaptation of Mari Okada and Nao Emoto’s O Maidens in Your Savage Season (Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo) manga. The license is for exclusive worldwide rights outside Asia, Germany, France, and Australia. The anime will have a simulcast in Summer 2019, and a home video release will follow.

O Maidens in Your Savage Season is scheduled to premiere on Japanese television on July 6, 2019.

Source: ANN

Section23 Films Announces September 2019 Releases

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its September 2019 slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks’ TV animation hit, Tada Never Falls in Love. Available on Blu-ray and special Limited Edition Premium Box Set.

Product details follow, in order of release

Coming September 2019

Title: THIS ART CLUB HAS A PROBLEM
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 9/3/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: A totally ordinary art club at the totally ordinary Tsukimori Middle School. There, Subaru Uchimaki squanders his artistic talent on his true passion and life’s mission: drawing the ideal “2D wife.” Club member Mizuki Usami finds herself with a crush on the hopeless Uchimaki. The seemingly uninterested club president is always sleeping, but he keeps a close eye on Uchimaki and Usami’s antics. Then there’s the mysterious Colette, who’s usually lost in her own little world. When this ragtag bunch gathers together as the Art Club, there’s sure to be some problems…

Title: BOOK OF BANTORRA BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 675 min.
Street Date: 9/10/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: In another time and place, on a world of pain and sorrow, when someone dies, their soul doesn’t go to Heaven or Hell – it becomes a book. A book that reveals the deceased’s innermost secrets and that can be read by anyone. Protecting these priceless treasures is the elite organization known as the Armed Librarians. It’s their job to keep the books and the knowledge within them safe from those who would misuse or destroy them. It’s a tough, dangerous job, so Chief Librarian Hamyuts Maseta recruits only the best and the brightest psychics to join her team of expert fighters. Even so, will they be able to stop the fanatics of the Shindeki Church from wreaking vengeance on the entire world? Only time will tell, but that book hasn’t been written yet. Don’t miss the non-stop action of The Book of Bantorra Complete Collection.

Title: DI GI CHARAT ULTIMATE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 320 min.
Street Date: 9/17/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: What do you do after your parents spend all their money unsuccessfully trying to take over the planet Di Gi Charat? If you’re an Alien Princess with cat ears and a tail, and shoot ray beams from your eyes like Dejiko, you travel to Earth and try to become a famous singer, of course! That’s harder than it sounds however, and Dejiko, her sidekick Puchiko and their balloon-like protector Gema soon find themselves working in a game store in the only place where cat girls and living balloons seem completely normal: Akihabara in Tokyo, Japan. Now all they have to do is sell a few games, fend off various intergalactic invaders, outperform wannabe singers from other worlds and maybe learn about a strange little Earth emotion called love in the ultimate collection of Di Gi Charat.

Title: INITIAL D LEGEND THEATRICAL COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 180 min.
Street Date: 9/17/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When an unplanned street duel launches tofu delivery driver Takumi Fujiwara into the world of high stakes street racing, the competition isn’t going to know what hit them. The son of another legendary driver, the unassuming Takumi quickly becomes the downhill racing phenomenon to beat, with a line of challengers as long as the deadly Mt. Akina road itself! There’s no time to blink. No chance to second guess your strategy. The streets of Japan become a deadly arena for an incredible battle where if you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough! Hold onto your breath as the legendary series that introduced the sport of drift racing to the west is reinvented in a series of new feature films that will strip the surface from the blacktops in the New Initial D: Legend Theatrical Collection.

Title: TADA NEVER FALLS IN LOVE
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/24/2019
Format: BD, PBS
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $129.98

SYNOPSIS: Nothing lasts forever, so opportunities presented must be taken before they are lost. In Japan, this philosophy is symbolized by the brief bloom of the cherry blossom, and it is under the cherry blossoms that Tada, who dreams of becoming a famous photographer like his late father, meets a girl who has lost her way. As it turns out, Teresa is staying at the hotel next to café owned by Tada’s family and she and her companion Alexandra will be attending Tada’s school, where they even join his photography club. What Tada doesn’t know, however, is that Teresa is secretly a princess who’s come to Japan to experience normal life before returning to her own country and an arranged marriage. And that means that the attraction that they begin to feel for each other may be as ephemeral as the cherry blossom in Tada Never Falls in Love.