Creator / Sentai Filmworks

On September 1, 2009, longtime anime licensor ADV Films – which had spent the previous two years enduring a spectacular public collapse†  – announced that it sold most of its assets to five different companies, all of which are based in Houston. Industry observers generally believed that the move was an attempt to end a relationship with a hostile shareholder while still maintaining its core competency and what assets it had left.

So, the old ADV is now dead, at least legally. Here is what arose out of its ashes…

  • Section 23 Films is a distributor and marketing company of Sentai Filmworks, Switchblade Pictures, and AEsir Holdings. Go here if you want to know which titles were licensed by the pre-collapse ADV.
  • Sentai Filmworks is the licensor company for acquiring Japanese anime into the North American market. It is, essentially, ADV under a new name. Here's their website.
    • Sentai operates several title-dependent sub-labels, including Maiden Japan and (occasionally) Happy Carrot.
  • Seraphim Digital Studios acquired Amusement Park Media, ADV's production studio. Sentai Filmworks eventually establish their own recording studios called Sentai Studios.
  • Valkyrie Media Partners acquired the Anime Network. The Anime Network website (on-line player and forum) continues to operate as it did before the sale.
  • Switchblade Pictures acquires Japanese live-action films for distribution in the North American market.
  • AEsir Holdings licensed rights to most of ADV Films' former library of titles (some titles were later licensed directly by Sentai Filmworks). This was the dumping ground for ADV's "toxic" assets.

After the September 2009, new releases typically have these credits:

(anime) Licensed bySentai Filmworks
(live action) Licensed bySwitchblade Pictures
DistributorSection 23 Films
DVD ProductionSeraphim Digital Studios
Internet StreamingAnime Network

See Section 23 Films for the list of anime series formerly licensed by ADV Films.

List of Anime released by Sentai Filmworks:

Tropes Related to Sentai Filmworks

  • All-Star Cast: Generally avoided, as Sentai tends to use newer voice actors like Margaret McDonald, Blake Shepard, Caitlynn French, and Genevieve Simmons. However, it's relatively common to see some of the old ADV veterans show up in lead roles, occasionally even on the same dub.
  • Amateur Cast: When they do dubs, they tend to lean towards casting newer voice actors, similar to how BangZoom now does.
  • Breakthrough Hit: CLANNAD, which established them as a worthy successor to ADV after the old studio's collapse, as well as a rival to the larger anime distributor, Funimation.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: They are more likely to dub anime titles that fall into this category nowadays, particularly Diabolik Lovers and Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: The company, like its predecessor, is based in Houston.
  • Fanservice: While not the biggest offender when compared to Media Blasters and Funimation, a few of their romantic comedy and ecchi titles fall into this. Bonus points that two of the tiles they've licensed involves the Sengoku Period.
  • Forced Meme: The "lewd" card. Comes from a scene in episode five of Infinite Stratos season 2, where Maya gave Charlotte a red card for lewd behavior in the episode's pageant scene. Needless to say, this image is often thrown around in regards to Jessica Calvello note  or whenever Sentai Filmworks licenses an anime that is a bit sexually explicit.
  • Friendly Rivalry: To the Dallas-based Funimation. Despite the now infamous lawsuit Funimation filed against Sentai in 2012 regarding a contract issue, their respective representatives and public relations managers like to tease each other through various social media websites and some are good friends with each other. Additionally, many of the voice actors and staff that Sentai employs also will do work on Funimation dubs.
  • Improbably Female Cast: A lot of their anime they pick up tend to have disproportionately large female casts. Bonus points if some of their shows get an English dub. A justified trope, because many of the titles they've licensed are Harem romantic comedy fanservice series (or Key/Visual Arts titles). Hence, this is why there are more voice actresses working with Sentai Filmworks than male voice actors.
  • No Budget: Sort of. Unlike the larger anime license companies like Funimation, Viz Media, and even their direct predecessor ADV Films, Sentai Filmworks runs on a somewhat limited budget. They also have a tendency to occasionally rush things because of this (even for their sub-only releases), which leads to their generally bare-bones releases – no extra features other than clean openings and endings, and trailers – and on a few occasions, lackluster adaptations, a few of which have unfortunately even sported errors or inconsistencies in translation. Also, like L.A. based recording studio BangZoom!, they try to avoid giving their dubs A-level casts, in favor of newer (cheaper) talent. Fortunately, they aren't as bad when compared to Media Blasters.note 
    • To put it in perspective, Greg Ayres has stated that the time and budget Sentai gives the dubbing staff to complete 12-13 episodes is equivalent to what ADV gave them to make four episodes.
  • No Dub for You: Up until around 2011, they released almost all of their properties on DVD with Japanese audio only – CLANNAD and Ghost Hound were the only major exceptions prior to this (and even those two were originally sub-only). Nowadays, they release a decent number of their titles with English dubs from Seraphim Digital Studios, though they still release several titles sub-only.
    • In recent years, they even re-released some of their titles that were initially sub only with all-new English dubs, such as Special A and Maria†Holic. In general, they're most likely to dub shows that have proved to be popular (even originally sub-only home video release) and/or seem to appeal to western audiences, as that would mean they'll probably sell well and therefore justify the production of said dub.
  • The Other Darrin: While they have used Bang Zoom! Entertainment for continuity with the dubs of properties they rescued from Bandai and Geneon, two of their titles, Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA and Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen, which are related to rescue licenses, had them use their in-house studio and their own voice actors instead outsourcing. The reasons are unknown, although some fans speculate that it's because it's much cheaper to use their own voice talent over Californian voice actors. It makes some sense, as the two titles mentioned are spinoffs of the original work rather than being a continuation of the actual series so its not quite as glaring to use different voice actors.note 
  • Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Due to the fact that Sentai Filmworks (as well as ADV Films) had a good history of using the same voice actors in their dubs, it's not uncommon for several voice actors who work with Sentai Filmworks to be associated to certain character archetypes. Some notable examples include Greg Ayres as a kid hero, Brittney Karbowski as the Token Mini-Moe or tsundere, David Wald as a father type character or a badass, and Monica Rial as Token Mini-Moe. In some cases, some of their voice actors share the same roles with the Japanese VA (i.e. David Wald with Keiji Fujiwara and Brittney Karbowski with Rina Hidaka being the most famous examples).
  • Production Posse: Tends to cast the following VAs in their dubs in general: Emily Neves, Margaret McDonald, Blake Shepard, Caitlynn French, Genevieve Simmons, and Jessica Calvello. Meanwhile, veteran mainstays from the ADV years such as Greg Ayres, Monica Rial, Brittney Karbowski, and Luci Christian are likely to be cast as major characters… if they're not too busy working on Funimation titles up in Dallas.
  • Seinen: The vast majority of Sentai's licenses fall into this category.
  • Shoujo: A good-sized portion of Sentai Filmwork's catalog also falls into this demographic, and some have been lucky enough to get dub treatment.note 
  • Slice of Life: When compared to other anime licensors and distributors, Sentai Filmworks are more likely to license anime in this genre than other licensors. However, most of their Slice of Life anime releases (particularly the Manga Time Kirara titles) are often released sub-only. note 
  • Spiritual Successor: To ADV Films, inheriting many of their staff and voice talents.
    • It started out as The Remnant of ADV, leading some to nickname them "Neo-ADV" – referring to the Neo-Zeon remnants that cling around in Gundam. To the surprise of many, however, through snatching up titles that other companies passed on (a sub-only release of a title Funimation rejected was better than nothing for the consumer), combined with business savvy and sheer tenacity… they actually nickel and dimed their way up by the mid New Tens into being a respectably sized and reasonably stable company - though they're still a shadow of what they were in the ADV boom years of 2004-2007.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Many of their shows they licensed have at least one loli in them, and two of the voice actresses they use specialize in this trope (with a third one slowly specializing on this trope and two more voice actresses being cast into these characters as well)
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: Sentai dubs have a much greater tendency to keep Japanese honorifics and Verbal Tics of the characters compared to dubs made by other companies (including the old ADV, which did this only on a few occasions), as the latter generally try to avoid this as much as possible. However, this seem to be changing, as many of their recent dubs, including for series taking place in Japan, do not include honorifics at all. They also almost never dub in-universe songsnote , something which Funimation, by contrast, almost always does.