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 release to 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 movies with a couple of old Toei anime movies thrown into the mix). The North American anime industry crash of 2008 probably aided the rise of Discotek: with other major distributors such as Geneon 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 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 for the Lupin III
franchise in North America.
Their policy is to never dub any anime themselves, though they'll gladly use preexisting dubs if they exist; 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 causes any anime fandom to rejoice. With their announcement that they'll release Gravestone of Daisuke Jigen
with a brand new english dub, however, there's a chance that they're going back on their "no dubbing" policy.
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.
- Digital Destruction: 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 rerelease it with the uncensored dub.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: A good amount of Discotek's acquisitions were previously licensed by another company, and then went into licensing limbo once something happened (i.e. the license expired, or the company who licensed it went under).
- No Dub for You: If there's no pre-existing english dub for any show or movie they plan on releasing, it definitely means that they'll be releasing it sub-only.
- 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 in 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 of not producing any dubs or a test to see if dubbing is a practice the company can get into remains to be seen.
- No Export for You: Another trait that some of Discotek's acquisitions (mostly the older ones such as Mazinger Z, Lupin III (Green Jacket), and the Saint Seiya movies) share is the lack of a previous U.S. release.
- Pastiche: The box art◊ for their DVD releases of the Fatal Fury OVAs and movie recreates the style of the Neo Geo box art for the original video games. 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, sadly).
- 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.
- Vanilla Edition: Usually averted, as their releases tend to include at least a few special features. 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 special features.