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Manga UK to rebrand as Funimation

Date: 2021 April 13 19:35

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Venerable UK anime brand to be retired in favour of new parent company's identity, social media idents to be moved over to existing Funimation UK addresses.

In an announcement on its official blog, Funimation confirmed that their UK home video division, Manga UK, will rebrand as Funimation. The fan-favourite UK anime label will start changing over to its parent labels identity, starting with their website and social media teams. The post also states that Blue Exorcist and its Kyoto Saga retcon would be available to UK and Irish viewers to celebrate. The change is expected to be completed by May 2021.

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Details as follows:

Manga UK Logo

From Tim Anderson, Senior Vice President of International for Funimation Global Group:

"As we continue to build the global Funimation brand, we want to celebrate a community and ethos where anime fans know they belong-with us and with one another. By unifying our brands, it will be apparent to fans, creators and the entire ecosystem that it is a winning formula to deliver more content, more experiences and more community in service to anime. By fully leveraging the global Funimation brand, it's a win for fans."

Manga UK's Twitter account went on to confirm that for their Dragon Ball releases, the Manga label would remain on packaging for continuity purposes.

Editorial comment: With its amazing run as one of the last remaining original non-US labels, Manga has released some of the most important and well-loved anime of the past thirty years from its heyday of Ghost in the Shell and Akira, its late 90's hits like the Neon Genesis Evangelion films, to its recent hits of Dragon Ball and Naruto. By rebranding as Funimation, we can't help but feel that one of the most amazing and interesting companies to release anime in English-speaking territories is being changed prematurely. While all the staff at Manga are being retained across the board, we feel that the loss of the Manga brand is the end of an era, stretching from the early days of anime on VHS, through the days of DVD and blu ray, to the current streaming landscape. We will miss seeing that familiar logo at the start of our blu ray's and DVD's (and for some staff members, VHS).

Manga Entertainment was founded in 1991 as Island World Communications by Chris Blackwell and Andy Frain as part of Island Records' Island World Group. In 2004, IDT Entertainment acquired the company (including its US operation), itself being acquired by John Malone's Liberty Media in 2006. In 2011, the US operation ceased licensing after the release of Redline. Staff from Manga UK left the company in 2014 to form Animatsu, a new company that would handle licensing and marketing of new anime titles while Manga UK would handle sales and marketing. In 2015, the UK division was acquired from Starz Media (the former IDT) along with former corporate parent Anchor Bay UK by former managing director Colin Lomax. Anchor Bay UK was renamed Platform Entertainment. The same year, Animatsu announced that the two companies were merging together with the staff returning to work at Manga. In December 2016, as the same time Starz Media (along with Manga US) was acquired by Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Kaleidoscope Film Distribution purchased Platform Entertainment and spun off Manga UK as an independent unit. Funimation purchased Manga UK in 2019, merging their own UK operation into Manga.

Source: Official Funimation blog
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