Sentai Filmworks is an anime licensing company based in Houston, Texas, specializing in Japanese animation and film. The company was formed in 2008 by John Ledford, formerly of A.D. Vision.
Some of Sentai's notable licensed anime series include Clannad, Highschool of the Dead, Angel Beats, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, WataMote, Diabolik Lovers, Akame ga Kill!, and Parasyte -the maxim-, as well as the films Grave of the Fireflies and Short Peace.
When asked by a fan on Facebook what the reason was for calling the company "Sentai", chief executive officer Matt Greenfield responded, "It's a multi-layered pun, mostly for the benefit of the Japanese. Although Sentai can be translated as Squadron, Regiment or Flotilla, it basically means a team or group assembled with specific training and equipment for a specific purpose. Plus, Sentai was formed to help keep the anime industry alive in the U.S., so the superhero aspect is a double-play on that that Americans can get."
Beginning in 2008, Sentai had started releasing their first titles, which included Clannad, Princess Resurrection, Indian Summer and Mahoromatic (formerly licensed by Geneon). Their titles were initially distributed by ADV Films. On September 1, 2009, A.D. Vision had closed their doors and sold off their assets, which included transferring distribution rights to Section23 Films.
Sunrise & Tatsunoko deals
On July 4, 2013, during their industry panel at Anime Expo, Sentai Filmworks announced their plans to release a number of classic titles from Tatsunoko Production. The current list of released titles from the partnership include the original Gatchaman series, Time Bokan: Royal Revival, Casshan and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Movie, with more titles to follow.
Sunrise announced a licensing deal with Sentai Filmworks that included a number of titles from Sunrise’s library that were formerly licensed by Bandai Entertainment during their Otakon panel on August 8, 2013.
Localization and dubbing
Sentai's anime titles were initially localized and produced by Seraphim Digital. Certain titles such as Queen's Blade Rebellion and Persona 4 The Animation were produced by NYAV Post and Bang Zoom! Entertainment, respectively. In 2014, Sentai Filmworks had opened their in-house localization and recording facility, Sentai Studios. However after opening Sentai Studios their English dubbing work has decreased drastically.
On June 1, 2015, Sentai made an announcement on their website that Akame ga Kill! had been picked up by Adult Swim and would air during its Toonami block, almost one week after its announcement at MomoCon 2015. The show began airing on August 8, 2015, and set a new record for having the highest audience count for a Toonami premiere. Since then, Sentai-licensed show Parasyte -the maxim- has begun airing on Toonami as well, and Sentai has promoted the time that the two shows air as "#SentaiHour" on social media.
Sentai Filmworks does not directly release its properties in non-North American (English-speaking) markets as opposed to its predecessor, A.D. Vision. Instead it sub-licenses to other companies such as Manga Entertainment, MVM Entertainment, Anime Limited and Animatsu Entertainment in the United Kingdom, and Siren Visual, Madman Entertainment and Hanabee in Australia and New Zealand. In 2011, MVM licensed Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful after Sentai's re-release of the series, and has done the same to Broken Blade, Dream Eater Merry, Rozen Maiden and Bodacious Space Pirates for release in the UK.
Sentai Filmworks licensed Azumanga Daioh: The Animation and released a complete DVD of the anime on May 3, 2016 as part of the Sentai Selects DVD sets. However, the DVD does not include Azumanga Daioh: The Very Short Movie due to Sentai not having licensed the short for a DVD release.