Funimation is one of the distributing companies that released Tenchi Muyo OVA 3, Tenchi Muyo! GXP, Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar, Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club and Ai Tenchi Muyo. Following the collapse of Geneon, Funimation also took over distribution of most of the earlier Tenchi Muyo! productions, excluding the Mihoshi Special, Magical Girl Pretty Sammy OVA series, and Magical Project S TV series.
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Funimation Entertainment (previously 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.
Funimation was founded in 1994 in Fort Worth, Texas, by Gen Fukunaga. The company rose to prominence by acquiring the rights to the popular anime title Dragon Ball, and its two sequel series, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. By 1999, they were able to get widespread television exposure via Cartoon Network 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 previously 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.
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. Funimation moved into the Lakeside Business District with a ten year lease.
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. 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.
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.
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 Chronicle, Black Cat , and Solty Rei, with a few known series also mentioned in the letter. 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 seriess, Mushishi, Ragnarok the Animation and other series cease.
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. Yu Yu 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 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.
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. 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. In December of the same year, Funimation added a video section to their main website with preview episodes of various series. In April of 2009, they began distributing full episodes of series at Veoh.Full episodes are also available on the YouTube channel.