This is delayed on my part… quite delayed, in fact, considering that Central Park Media was slated for liquidation waaay back in April. But in lusting after the remastered Revolutionary Girl Utena set, I began to feel sad and nostalgic over poor old CPM, another one of our more niche companies that has found itself the victim of the economic times in the domestic anime market.
CPM may seem like a strange distributor to mourn; after all, its probably best known for its slew of releases of bad OVA’s from the 80’s. That and its, uh, adult Asian movie releases.
However, this perception, while not entirely inaccurate, leaves out a lot – let’s remember that CPM brought us Grave of the Fireflies, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and the wonderfully impenetrable Cat Soup. They’re also the one’s responsible for the fact that nearly every anime fane knows about Slayers, as they released every iteration of it prior to the recent resurrection of the show. Also, although it really isn’t well-known these days, they also released Record of Lodoss War, a title that used to be one of those titles in the American anime fandom. And, even if it isn’t exactly an illustrious title, they did bring us La Blue Girl.
CPM was really willing to touch a whole lot of titles no one else was interested at all in. In addition to Revolutionary Girl Utena and Cat Soup, they also brought over Here is Greenwood, Now and Then, Here and There, Shadow Star Narutaru, Kakurenbo and… *snorts* The Ping Pong Club (ok, maybe someone would’ve picked up the other one, but that one is pretty puerile). These are, simply put, titles that none of the other licensing companies had any interest in, because they were seen as being simply too niche to make any profit.
Of course, the fact that they were so niche probably has a lot to do with the fact that CPM went bankrupt. That and, I’m sure, some poor business decisions in general along the way (is there really that much of a market for bad, pulpy Asian movies?).
When Geneon went bottoms up, I was pretty bummed… but I also figured a lot of their licenses would get rescued, and that a lot of the shows they may’ve licensed in the future would get snapped up by someone else. With Central Park Media, though, I feel as if there is a void left – really, who the hell else would’ve licensed something like Cat Soup? That thing was legitimately weird! (It was also probably a very cheap release, since there was nothing to subtitle! Or dub!)
I’d also like to toss in here that I LOVED Maze, and was happy they released it, and that I also loved the piles of ultra-cheesey shoujo that they released (Don’t Call Me Princess!, Over the Rainbow; Popcorn Romance… basically all that stuff I’d be mortified to be caught reading). And maybe I’ll also love them forever for Aquarium.