Streamline Pictures Anime Company
A bit of info about Streamline Pictures.
Now no longer in business, Streamline Pictures deserves credit for being among the oldest of the US anime companies. Co-founded by the late Carl Macek, creator of Robotech, their releases of movies like Vampire Hunter D, the splatterfest-genre-creating Fist of the North Star, and the quintessential classic AKIRA sparked the interest of many an anime fan during the early '90s. In addition to home video, they got a few films into limited theatrical runs, and also have the distinction of being the first anime company to have their wares shown on the Sci-Fi channel.
Unfortunately, as the market expanded, they distinguished themselves as the only company that didn't release subs. True to Macek's style, they also had a loose attitude when it came to accurate translation.
As for its fate, the company for all practical purposes stopped doing business in 1996, when it was absorbed by its parent company, Orion Pictures; Orion, in turn, was absorbed by MGM in 1997, though Streamline didn't officially shut down until 2002. While their treatment of anime might seem poor by modern standards, Streamline earned its place in anime history and played a significant part in bringing anime into the mainstream.
In its heyday Streamline had a large collection of big-budget theatrical movies and several OAV and TV series under license. The rights of most were eventually bought by other anime companies, but a few are still, sadly, unlicensed and unavailable.
Streamline Pictures Complete Release List
- AKIRA (Geneon, then Bandai)
- AKIRA Production Report (Geneon)
- Babel II (AnimeWorks)
- Barefoot Gen (Geneon)
- Casshan - Robot Hunter (ADV, then Eastern Star)
- The Castle of Cagliostro (Manga)
- Crimson Wolf (unlicensed)
- Crying Freeman (ADV)
- Dirty Pair: Affair on Nolandia (ADV, then Nozomi)
- Dirty Pair: Project Eden (ADV, then Nozomi)
- Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy (ADV, then Nozomi)
- Doomed Megalopolis (ADV)
- Eight Man After/Perfect Collection (unlicensed)
- Fist of the North Star (Eastern Star)
- Lensman (unlicensed)
- Lupin III (assorted TV series collections; Geneon)
- Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo (Geneon)
- Lilly C.A.T. (unlicensed)
- Megazone 23 Part 1 (ADV)
- Nadia (ADV)
- Neo Tokyo (ADV)
- Planetbusters (aka Birth; ADV)
- The Professional: Golgo 13 (Urban Vision, then Eastern Star)
- Robot Carnival (unlicensed)
- Romance of the 3 Kingdoms (unlicensed)
- Robotech: Macross Perfect Collection (ADV/AnimEigo)
- Robotech: Southern Cross Perfect Collection (ADV)
- Robotech: Mospeada Perfect Collection (ADV)
- Robotech II: The Sentinels (ADV)
- Silent Mobius: The Motion Picture (Bandai)
- Twilight of the Cockroaches (unlicensed)
- Vampire Hunter D (Urban Vision)
- Wicked City (Urban Vision)
- Windaria (ADV)
- Zillion (unlicensed)
- 3 x 3 Eyes/Perfect Collection (Geneon)
A few of the titles listed above (Babel II, 8 Man After, Fist of the North Star) were briefly released on DVD during Streamline's waning years by Image Entertainment, before going out of print entirely.
What Their Releases Are Like
For the most part Streamline's productions were solid if not stellar for the era; their dubs were of above-average quality in terms of acting, but relatively poor in terms of accuracy. They almost never released subtitled versions; the sole exception was the AKIRA special edition and some interesting tapes that showed the original subtitled episodes of Macross, Southern Cross, or Mospeada along with the corresponding Robotech episodes created from them. They didn't generally edit anything for content, commendable for the era, although despite theatrical releases their VHS tapes were mostly pan-and-scan. They also released a handful of LaserDiscs.
The company was all but dead when the DVD era dawned, although Image Entertainment grabbed some of the titles that hadn't been bought up (including the Fist of the North Star film) and stuck them onto crude DVDs pretty much straight from Streamline's masters, so there are a few DVDs that are effectively Streamline's handiwork floating around. The DVDs (like some of Streamline's LDs), interestingly, have a Japanese audio track, but no subtitles whatsoever.
Some of their titles were also shown on cable TV in North America, in particular late night broadcasts on the Sci-Fi Channel.