Creator / Discotek Media

Discotek Media (also known as Eastern Star) is an entertainment corporation in the business of licensing, translating, and releasing Japanese anime and live-action movies, adult anime, independent movies, and television series to home-video in the North American market. Despite being formed in 2005, they didn't become active in the anime business until around 2008 (their early output consisted mostly of samurai films with a couple of old Toei anime movies thrown into the mix). The crash of the North American anime industry in the late 2000's  probably aided the rise of Discotek with other major distributors going out of business, drastically cutting back, or at least not renewing obscure vintage titles, this left the small startup Discotek free to carve out its own niche.

Since then, they have become quite well known for licensing a lot of vintage anime from the 1970s to the 1990s, along with re-releasing titles whose original licenses have lapsed, and also occasionally licensing more recent series (seeing them with anything produced since 2000 is a rarity). They are also known for being the current champions of the Lupin III franchise in North America.

Since they're a small company without a lot of resources, their policy originally was to never commission English dubs themselves, though they'll gladly use a preexisting dub if one exists and they can get it. Fans don't seem to care too much since their other policy is to release their titles completely uncutnote  and to use the highest-quality materials they can get their hands on. Basically, any announcement they make will cause underserved parts of the anime fandom to rejoice. In 2015, Discotek commissioned their first English dub; the Lupin III short film, Gravestone of Daisuke Jigen.

They also recently announced a partnership with streaming site Crunchyroll to release a few select titles from Crunchyroll's catalogue for home video. In return, some titles from Discotek's catalogue became available on Crunchyroll for streaming.

They have a YouTube channel where they upload trailers for their upcoming releases.

Series licensed by this company include:

Tropes relating to Discotek Media:

  • Bowdlerization:
    • Invoked with their release of The Castle of Cagliostro, which includes a "Family Friendly" version of the Manga dub that removes all of the Obligatory Swearing present in the original Manga dub. This dub was created specifically for this release, and according to Reed Nelson, it's intended to bring the movie closer in tone to the original Japanese script and the Miyazaki movies released by Disney. However, the "fifteened" version is still there too.
    • An example that was apparently unavoidable is their DVD release of Violence Jack. As pointed out on their website, the release is uncut for the most part, but contains mosaic censoring over certain scenes.
    • An unintentional example. When they released Blue Submarine No. 6, unbeknownst to them, the English dub they included was the censored version used when the series aired on Toonami. Fortunately, they've announced plans to re-release it with the uncensored dub. It's currently set for a late 2015 release.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: They're often an official version of this. A good number probably a majority of their acquisitions had, at some point in the past, been licensed by another company, but the properties then went into limbo for whatever reason (i.e. the license expired and/or the original company that held the US rights to the property went under). Sadly, however, even Discotek isn't safe from this, as most of their early anime and live-action movie licenses such as War in Space, Lupin III: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy, and Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy have gone out of print. In some cases, such as the initial four-volume releases of the Fist of the North Star anime, this is because Discotek put out a more recent rerelease.
  • No Dub for You: Sort of. If there's no pre-existing English dub for a show or movie they plan on releasing, it definitely means they'll be putting it out sub-only (with the exception of the bellow mentioned Gravestone of Daisuke Jigen). If there is a dub, odds are good they'll include it note . If there are Dueling Dubs, they might try to get all of them.
    • Apparently, even the existence of a pre-existing dub is still no guarantee they'll include it, as their release of Dallos demonstrates (though to be fair, the dub for that series wasn't particularly good quality). To a lesser extent, there's their release of Space Adventure Cobra, which includes the Streamline dub, but not the Manga dub due to copyright issues.
    • Averted with their release of Gravestone of Daisuke Jigen, which will include a brand new English dub. Whether or not this is merely a one-time exception to their rule or a test to see if dubbing is a practice the company can get into remains to be seen.
    • They're also open for a possible dubbed home video re-release of the first season of Free! after the initial sub-only release. Crunchyroll currently has a dub of the first season with the Funimation cast from Season 2 on its website.
    • Possibly an inverted example is their upcoming DVD release of Sonic X, which will only be the edited 4Kids English dub and unlike with Samurai Pizza Cats and Monster Rancher, there are currently no plans for a separate release of the uncut version with subtitles. That's because 4Kids, when streaming the show subtitled on Hulu, did not provide TMS with the timed subtitle scripts. This means that a subtitled release (or even re-dubbed) would require a complete recreation of the subtitles from scratch, a feat that Discotek isn't sure is worth the time, effort, and cost.note 
    • Similarly to the Sonic X example, their re-release of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust will only have the English dub with no Japanese track included. However, unlike Sonic X, the English dub was actually recorded first due to the movie being released in America and Australia over a year before Japan got it, making this a straight example.
  • No Export for You:
    • Invoked to avert. Some of their acquisitions of older series like Mazinger Z, Lupin III (Green Jacket), and the original Cutey Honey resulted in the series' respective trivia pages on this site having to be rewritten to remove this.
    • Played straight with Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Fans had been asking for years that the Japanese audio be included on any re-release, but when Discotek requested it, they were denied, the original rights-holder stating that the Japanese track was not to leave Japan.
  • Pastiche: The box art for their DVD releases of the Fatal Fury TV specials and movie recreates the style of the package design for the Neo-Geo home cartridges. Similarly, the box art for their release of the Mega Man cartoon imitates the style of the box art for the NES games (though without Bad Box Art Mega Man, for better or worse).
  • Sequel First: They've released Diebuster (even doing so with the name Gunbuster 2) and Tekkaman Blade II, with no announced plans of rescuing and releasing their predecessors Gunbuster and Tekkaman Blade.
    • They released several Lupin III specials before they put out the original "Green Jacket" series. Had negotiations not fallen through, they would have released the third Lupin movie (Babylon) before the first (Mamo). But since this franchise runs on Negative Continuity, it's not too big a deal.
  • Up to Eleven: When licensing older shows, Discotek usually goes for series from the 70's and 80's. The anime adaptation of Dororo is their first foray into anything from the 60's.
    • Their release of The Mystery of Mamo, with four English dubs (two of which were thought to be lost).
  • Vanilla Edition: Usually averted, as their releases tend to include at least one extra. The only time this was played straight was with their second release of Lupin III (Green Jacket), which was cheaper than the previous release, but included none of the rather extensive special features.