|EnubīshīYunibāsaru Entāteimento Japan gōdō gaisha|
|Formerly||LaserDisc Corporation (1981–1989)|
Pioneer LDC, Inc. (1989–2003)
Geneon Entertainment Inc. (2003–2009)
Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, LLC. (2009–2013)
|Headquarters||Minato, Tokyo, Japan|
|Products||Anime, film, music|
|Parent||Universal Pictures International Entertainment|
(NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment)
NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan LLC (Japanese: NBCユニバーサル・エンターテイメントジャパン合同会社, Hepburn: Enubīshī Yunibāsaru Entāteimento Japan Gōdō-gaisha) (abbreviated as NBCUEJ) is a Japanese music, anime, and home entertainment production and distribution enterprise headquartered in Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo. It is primarily involved in the production and distribution of anime within Japan.
The company was founded in 1981 by Warner-Pioneer as LaserDisc Corporation, a LaserDisc player production company. In 1989, the company was renamed Pioneer LDC, Inc. as it branched into the anime, music, and film industries, and later Geneon Entertainment Inc. (after being acquired by Dentsu in 2003). In 2008, Geneon merged with Universal Pictures Japan to form Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, LLC; in 2013, the company changed its name to the current NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Some of the well-known anime series the company has produced are A Certain Magical Index, The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Danganronpa: The Animation, Golden Kamuy, and Seraph of the End among many others.
Their North American branch (founded as Pioneer Entertainment, later Geneon USA) specialized in translating and distributing anime and related merchandise, such as soundtracks across the region. After declining fortunes, it was shut down in 2007. After its shutdown, they licensed their titles out to other anime distributors for distribution, such as Funimation. At one point, they distributed their titles directly in Australia through Universal Pictures and Sony's home video joint venture, but they have stopped.
Warner-Pioneer founded the LaserDisc Corporation (レーザーディスク株式会社, RēzāDisuku Kabushiki-gaisha) in March 1981 to produce LaserDisc players in Japan. The LaserDisc Corporation changed its name to Pioneer LDC, Inc. (パイオニア エル・ディー・シー株式会社, Paionia Eru Dī Shī Kabushiki-gaisha) in 1989 as part of an attempt to branch off into the anime, film, and music industries. The first anime title they released was Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki in 1992. Its North American division was later renamed again to Pioneer Entertainment.
In July 2003, the company was acquired by Japanese advertising and marketing company firm Dentsu and renamed to Geneon Entertainment Inc. (ジェネオン エンタテインメント株式会社, Jeneon Entateinmento Kabushiki-gaisha), while its North American division, Pioneer Entertainment, was renamed Geneon USA. Geneon is a portmanteau of the English words, generate and eon.
On November 12, 2008, Dentsu announced that it was selling 80.1% of its ownership in the company to NBC Universal's Universal Pictures International Entertainment (UPIE), who planned to merge the company with its Universal Pictures Japan division—which had no longer theatrically distributed Universal Pictures films in Japan, having delegated its theatrical distribution tasks to Toho subsidiary Toho-Towa since the dissolvement of United International Pictures Japan in 2007—to form a new company. The merger later closed, with the new company known as Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, LLC. (ジェネオン・ユニバーサル・エンターテイメントジャパン合同会社, Jeneon Yunibāsaru Entāteimento Japan Gōdō-kaisha). On December 9, 2013, the company once again changed its name to NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan LLC.
On January 1, 2016, Paramount Japan was purchased by NBCUniversal and dissolved shortly afterwards. This was due to Paramount Pictures establishing a joint-venture with Toho-Towa named Towa Pictures Company Limited, which would distribute Paramount's films in Japan.
Viz Media (then known as Viz Video) made a deal with Geneon (then known as Pioneer) to release Viz's properties to DVD, such as Ranma ½ before Viz began producing their own DVDs. Pioneer also worked with Bandai Entertainment before they started to produce their own DVDs. In November 2004, they signed a deal with Toei Animation to distribute some of their titles into the North American market. Launching titles included Air Master, Interlude, and Slam Dunk. However, in late 2006, the deal ended and all of the released titles went out of print. In 2006, they were named "Best Anime Company" by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation. In March 2007, they became the exclusive North American distributor for Bandai Visual USA.
Four months later, it was announced that ADV Films would take over the distribution, marketing, and sales of their properties in the United States, starting October 1, 2007. According to the announcement, they would continue to acquire, license, and produce English subs and dubs of anime for release in North America. However, the deal was canceled in September before it was implemented, with neither company giving details as to why beyond stating they were "unable to reach a mutual agreement."
On September 26, 2007, they announced that they would close distribution operations, with titles solicited through November 5 shipped. Titles that were in mid-release or licensed but unreleased were left in limbo. The Bandai Visual USA titles that were being distributed by Geneon were not affected by this closure, though some were delayed while Bandai Visual found a new distributor. Another North American anime company, Funimation, began negotiating with them to distribute some of the company's licensed titles. In July 2008, a formal arrangement was announced and Funimation acquired the rights to "manufacture, sell, and distribute" various Geneon anime and live-action titles.
The company is also a record label, which means they handle music distribution for multiple musicians, like fripSide and Kotoko. Their first major live event was called the "NBCUniversal Anime x Music festival", and was held in 2018. They also use their music as soundtracks for their anime productions. One example of that is the band fripSide performing the first opening for A Certain Scientific Railgun.
As Pioneer LDC, they developed and published several video games for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation, such as games based on Magical Girl Pretty Sammy, Tenchi Muyo!, and Serial Experiments Lain.
They also opened an anime cafe in Akihabara, which featured items themed towards their series, such as A Certain Magical Index, Is the Order a Rabbit?, and Yuyushiki. Some examples of these items were a drink with a hand inside, hot chocolate and spaghetti, and curry pizza.