Streamline Pictures was an American distribution company that was best known for its distribution of English dubbed Japanese animation.



Founded in 1988, it was the first North American company that was founded primarily for the intention of distributing translated anime uncut and faithful to the original content. The founders of Streamline were Carl Macek, who had worked for Harmony Gold USA during the mid 1980s, most notably on the series Robotech, and Jerry Beck, an animation historian and film distribution veteran who had worked at MGM/UA, Orion and Expanded Entertainment. At one point or another, Steve Kramer, Ardwight Chamberlin, Tom Wyner, and Mike Reynolds all of whom served as series staff writers (and voice actors) on Robotech, worked as independent writers and voice actors for Streamline.

High profile products distributed by StreamlineEdit

The first high profile product distributed by Streamline was its December 1989 release of the anime film Akira. Streamline is also known for its 1989 theatrical distribution of the film Laputa: The Castle in the Sky directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and its 1992 video dubbing of The Castle of Cagliostro. Streamline also dubbed My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service, in 1988 for Tokuma Shoten, although these were only used as in-flight films by Japan Air Lines at the time. As a fan of Miyazaki's films, Macek did not think Castle in the Sky (of which Streamline was the distributor) had received the quality of dubbing that a Miyazaki film deserved. He thought that it could have been done better, so the Japanese releaser Tokuma Shoten gave him the opportunity to prove his words. For his first project, he asked to dub My Neighbor Totoro, one of his favorite Miyazaki works. The Streamline dub of My Neighbor Totoro was released theatrically in the U.S. by Troma Films in 1993; but its dub of Kiki's Delivery Service appeared only on the 1990s Japanese laser disc release of that title. (Since then, however, Castle in the Sky and My Neighbor Totoro have both been redubbed by Disney.)

Tokuma Shoten was pleased with the quality of the initial work, and it immediately hired Streamline Pictures to produce the English language version of Kiki's Delivery Service. Soon after its release, the film was bought by Japan Airlines who showed it during their flights between Japan and the U.S. (The film has since been redubbed by Disney.) It also licensed and dubbed other popular anime series and movies such as Fist of the North Star, Wicked City, Lensman, Vampire Hunter D and The Professional: Golgo 13.

Home video marketEdit

Streamline, in being the first company dedicated to making anime accessible to the English speaking world, was notable for releasing a wide variety of anime that fit in a wide variety of genres, many of which do not fit completely in any genre such as Twilight of the Cockroaches. During the 1990s VHS era, before the common availability of hybrid DVDs, anime distributors released anime via subtitled or dubbed tapes with the subtitled editions being noticeably more expensive than the dubs which were expected to sell better. Streamline is also notable in being the only such company to eschew this practice and release only dubs of its anime. The only exceptions were the later Akira subtitled release and their Robotech Collection, which included episodes of the original Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada episodes on the same tape along with their Robotech counterparts.


Because of Carl Macek's notoriety with a certain branch of fandom, Streamline became one of the early catalysts of the sub vs. dub debate. Macek's philosophy towards anime dubbing, as stated in several interviews, most notably published Protoculture Addicts and Animag, has become largely synonymous with the negative connotation concerning "Americanized dubs".

Later yearsEdit

In 1992, Streamline opened a Spanish-dubbing division, called Streamline Pictures Español. The next year, they started publishing manga as Streamline Comics. From the start, Streamlines manga was distributed by Hyperion Books, the book publishing arm of The Walt Disney Company.

One of their last anime dubs was Ojamajo Doremi, which they only dubbed 26 episodes of before Disney took over production. Disney distributes all of Streamline's episodes of the series, and once they took over they kept the cast and crew of the dub.

Streamline Pictures was eventually absorbed into Orion Pictures, which, in turn, would fold into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer one year later. Streamline subsequently went out of business in 2002, after spinning off Streamline Pictures Español and Streamline Comics into their own company, Streamline LLC. Streamline LLC is currently owned by Urban Vision Entertainment, though the manga is still distributed by Hyperion.

Gradually, as its licenses lapsed, the rights to its film and television library (as dubbed or subtitled by Streamline) were divided between MGM, Disney, Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros., Universal, Lionsgate, Urban Vision, and ADV, while the rest of the rights reverted back to the original owners. (ADV has since closed down, with all of its Streamline assets currently in the hands of FUNimation.) Some of the titles were relicensed to other companies.

Today, Beta tapes of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kampfer, Angel Beats, High School of the Dead, Oreimo, and Aria the Scarlet Ammo carry the Streamline name as a tribute to the company (the English dubbing style also homages Streamline's).

List of titles releasedEdit


External linksEdit

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