The Biggest Non-Event of the Year ... so far

History is full of events that are supposed to be, or cited as, being completely earth shattering - Geraldo Rivera's opening of Al Capone's Vault, or the US Stock Market Crash of 1987 - this week, the North American anime community saw its biggest non-event of the year, possibly.

Here's a piece of news that I missed immediately from the English Language anime news wires, but thankfully, the website that originally broke the news, Toon Zone, has a forum moderator/reviewer that is a friend of mine. He told me about the story at a party and I went to researching it the following day. Since the only report put out by this article at Anime News Network was the sum of all other information available, I decided to wait before I posted the official report of the year. However, that didn't stop folks on anime forums from doing some serious speculation, yours truly included. I tried to keep everything positive, but there were many differing viewpoints from the level-headed folks who were patient, to those over-reacting and wanting to get a hold of certain titles and horde them like mattress money.

So, the big hubbub? Central Park Media, the owner of CPM Manga and its video line, US Manga Corps, had some layoffs/internal restructuring and issues with creditors. Since the Musicland Bankruptcy very late last year and the massive store closings early this year (Suncoast, Media Play, Sam Goody, et al were all Musicland stores) isn't a story too new to many in the US Anime Community. ADV and FUNimation, as well as others, have had to shift sales schedules around the bankruptcies, which have hurt a market nearing over-saturation. With the loss of major nationwide retails chain as well as a flooding market becoming almost as diverse as it is in Japan, none of this bodes well for anyone involved in the US industry. CPM; however, not being a licensing giant like ADV, FUNimation, and Bandai, looked to be harder hit by the Musicland Bankruptcy and signs on the Internet were beginning to point to them declaring Bankruptcy of their own.

Because of market conditions as they are in the US, we've seen pretty much all companies have been scaling back licenses, and we've seen companies like AnimEigo and Tokyo Pop shifting their focus, but the Industry has been fortunate enough not to have a company completely leave since the liquidation of US Renditions in the mid-1990s. It looked like the US Anime Industry would have it's first casualty in roughly a decade.

But all was for naught; the worrying - all over nothing. According to ANN and ICv2, the language is vague but none of it points towards filing for any chapter of bankruptcy. In fact, most of any thoughts of bankruptcy [Anime News Network] were cleared up the following day when CPM announced that their releases will be continuing with schedule.

So, with fans of classic wrentching their hands, worrying about a complete Votoms release or trying to complete something else from CPM (I know I have a couple of series from them that are unfinished, Votoms included), has thus far gone unfounded. While I'll keep an eye out on the issue, I think there is little to worry about at the moment.

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