The Unofficial History of Pioneer Anime:
Part 0: Prelude
by Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
"In 1992, Pioneer LDC (the developer of the laser disc) announced its serious entry into the OAV market. With a long-standing reputation for understanding the peculiarities of the anime subculture, Pioneer's decision was eagerly greeted by fans of the genre." - Best of The East, Animerica Vol. 1 #2
Fall 1992 brought the release of Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki, the light- hearted comedy that avoids all the ruts of previous genre greats. Created by Hiroki Hayashi and Masaki Kajishima, Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki proved to be "a heaven-sent project for Pioneer." The first volume was released simultaneously with a CD soundtrack filled with the superb sounds from the unforgettable OAV series.
With the 6th OAV volume of Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki released on March 25, 1993, the Tenchi craze was just beginning to brew. Soon, word got out about how addictive the series was. Anime Conventions began playing imports of Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki and word spread like wild fire among otaku about this superb anime.
Early 1993, rumors of a proposed English-translated anime division of Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P. began to spread at Northern California based-anime conventions. The rumors turned out to be true. Pioneer was indeed working on Laserdisc projects with an English dub on the digital tracks and the original Japanese soundtrack on the analog track with "close-captioned subtitles" that appear at the bottom of the television screen and can be turned on and off without interference with the picture.
Pioneer was quick to announce that Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki would lead the lineup of Pioneer's new American based Anime division. It's release date: December 8, 1993 for a retail price of $34.95. Green Legend Ran and Kishin Heidan were also announced to follow. But, what would set the American releases apart form their Japanese counterparts would be that all of the "new releases will be recorded in ‘jitter-free' CAV format, a marked step up from the CLV-formatted Japanese import discs."
Pioneer even announced that they planed "to eventually ‘catch up' with the overseas production schedule in order to release their bilingual LDs as closely as possible to the release date in Japan."
In a market that was still an infant, where people thought Akira was the end all of Anime, Pioneer could do anything.