Nozomi Entertainment Anime Company
A bit of info about Nozomi Entertainment.
Nozomi Entertainment is the anime production division of RightStuf, one of the "big two" in mail-order/online anime retail. As with the other (AnimeNation), they started dabbling in releasing anime under their own label, which has gradually grown over the years into a mid-level player in the North American market. This puts them in good company, alongside the pioneering US Renditions, which was connected to one of the earliest anime mail-order companies in the US.
In 2007 they rebranded their anime division from RightStuf to Nozomi, although nothing else changed. In recent years they've been licensing increasingly high-profile titles, including several that have been dropped by other companies. Notably, they've periodically done pre-orders for special-interest series--The Irresponsible Captain Tylor and, more recently, Emma, for example, and given the fans who put their money where their mouth was a credit on the DVDs themselves, much like AnimEigo.
In 2012, they made an official announcement about a change in direction that had already been underway for a while--focusing Nozomi's releases on collector-oriented special edition sets. They also created a new spin-off label, Lucky Penny, to handle the release of niche series.
Nozomi (or rather RightStuf, in their early days) initially started out with a mix of cult favorites (Irresponsible Captain Tylor, in particular) and oddball one-offs, like the Yamamoto Yohko OVAs. They have gradually been increasing their presence, and in 2010 picked up the licenses to several high-profile series that had fallen by the wayside when CPM and Geneon closed up shop, most notably the classics Revolutionary Girl Utena and El Hazard. They've also continued with relatively high-profile cult favorites such as Maria Watches Over Us, Emma, Aria the Natural, and most recently the long-overlooked Dirty Pair TV series, followed by spiffed-up re-releases of the OVAs and movies abandoned when ADV went under. Their catalog represents a wide variety of genres, ranging from slice-of-life to yuri and shounen-ai romance to action.
The centerpiece of their title would arguably be Maria Watches Over Us, although Utena may now take that title, and the '60s-era Astroboy TV series is globally the best known. Notably, they've kept almost everything they've licensed in print, with the exception of a handful of obscure early VHS releases.
What Their Releases Are Like
RightStuf's earliest releases were largely little-known subtitled VHS, of decent if unremarkable quality; some of their first DVDs were a bit shaky in terms of production quality, although they did go so far as to mail every pre-orderer a replacement disc to make up for a production screw-up on The Irresponsible Captain Tylor DVD set.
More recently, Nozomi has upped the quality substantially, and some of their premium box sets--for example, the Tylor special edition re-release or Emma--are quite fancy, with snazzy little mini-books included as extras. They've also been pretty good about translation liner notes on some series, albeit not quite as obsessive as AnimEigo, a company whose style they have increasing overlap with.
Nozomi has not yet released anything on Blu-Ray, although in 2010 they started getting into streaming video.
Critical Mass Video Titles
Critical Mass is the adults-only label of Nozomi Entertainment, RightStuf's anime production division. Most of their material comes from a single Japanese studio, although they also have a few other licenses and took over a chunk of SoftCel's catalog when ADV broke up and rebranded.
RightStuf International Titles
Up through 2007 RightStuf's production division went by RightStuf International, at which point it was renamed Nozomi Entertainment.