History of
Pioneer Anime

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P-Anime History Part 1
P-Anime History Part 2
P-Anime History Part 3
P-Anime History Part 4
P-Anime History Part 5
P-Anime History Part 6
P-Anime Compact Disc
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Mihoshi

The Unofficial History of Pioneer Anime:
Part 6: May 1998 - December 1998

by Adam "OMEGA" Arnold

The unstoppable Pioneer forges ahead in May with the release of The Wanderers penultimate Volume 6 and Dragon Ball Z The Movie: The World's Strongest. June 9 brings the VIZ/Pioneer release of Ranma 1/2 Movie: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China on DVD. On June 30 we get the final 2 volumes of Street Fighter II V laserdisc (volumes 9 and 10), Dragon Ball Z Volumes 10 and 11, and the first volume of the joint VIZ/Pioneer Night Warriors - Darkstalker's Revenge release.

El-Hazard 2 is the continuation of the much, loved El-Hazard: The Magnificent World OVA. "Makoto and Company continue their adventures from the original OVA's continuity" with a 4 episode (2 volume) series set before the final scene of the first OVA. Volume 1 is released July 14 before the release of the seventh and final volume of The Wanderers (July 28) on VHS dubbed and subbed. A Laserdisc was scheduled to be released with all 4 episodes when the second volume of El-Hazard 2 was released on August 25, but due to Pioneer stopping production of Laserdisc this release was scrapped.

July also not only brought El-Hazard 2 volume 1 and The Wanderers Volume 7 but Tenchi-Muyo! Collection Volume 5 and 6 as well. And August 25 brought 5 different releases, El-Hazard 2 Volume 2, Dragon Ball Z Volume 12 and 13, VIZ/Pioneer's Night Warriors - Alpha: Darkstalker's Revenge DVD #1 (contains volumes 1 and 2), and even the long awaited Bastard!!: Resurrection (Volume 1).

Bastard!!, the six episode OVA series (3 volumes) is about Dark Schnider, a wizard with unimaginable power, as he does battle in a series right out of a RPG lovers dreams. "Interestingly, the word "bastard" in the title is the name of a certain type of medieval sword, not the little baby that traps the spirit of a studly magician banished to infinite infancy by a wizard who'd had enough of his ill-tempered excesses. But now the town is menaced by evil forces so the locals have to figure out how to bring him back. Anime Movie Guide calls Bastard!! 'a hugely successful OAV series with titanic battles, armored warriors of both sexes, excessive use of dangerous magic, and masses of fun." Prior to its release was "The Best of Bastard!!" CD Soundtrack featuring all the excellent music form this hit series.

Pokémon fever hits America as Pioneer's dub of Pokémon hits the syndicated air-waves on September 7. VIZ in conjunction with Pioneer will release Pokémon on home video starting on November 10 with Pokémon: I Choose You, Pikachu!

September 15 brings us the first volume of a can't miss Pioneer OVA, Battle Athletes. Battle Athletes (Dai Un Do Kai: Battle Athletesses) is one of those few series that just make you feel good about being human. This 6 episode OVA (3 volumes) is about Akane Kanzaki, former 'Galactic Beauty' winner Tomoe Midou's daughter, and all the trials she must face with her U.S.S.A. friends. This is a series set in the distant future (4999 AD) where humanity strives for perfection through athletics (sounds like an All Sport commercial, doesn't it?) in order to Battle against an alien race in a 'Galactic Olympics.' Will Akane succeed in getting out from her mothers shadow? Or will another take her place?

September 29 brought the three volume set of the Dragon Ball Z movies for one price. And it also marked the debut of Pioneer's second price cut/repackaging. El-Hazard: The Magnificent World OVA gets its' makeover with the rerelease of volume 1 for a new lower price. October 6 gives us the seocnd Viz/Pioneer DVD with Ranma 1/2: Movie 2. Nihao My Concubine.

As a sign of how much Pioneer has changed over the past few years, Pioneer has changed their familiar BLUE logo to a new RED logo. Pioneer's products have changed and so have the ways they are used and viewed (Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki on DVD anyone? It is rumored to happen.). Pioneer has renewed their focus on innovation and what it can mean to you. "The bottom line is that we wanted to change our logo to reinforce the new direction we are heading in as a company."

On October 13, Pioneer unveils their first 'Pioneer Family Entertainment' label with the release of the first volume of Kimba:  The White Lion.  This is the new color series from the 80s that retells classic Kimba stories about a lion cub who predates Disney's The Lion King.

November 24, brought the release of three titles.  First is the late release of Tamagotchi: Video Adventures, featuring the all-new 30 minute, American made mini-movie called "Now Museum, Now You Don't''.  The movie also comes with a sing-a-long song (minus the words), and a 'How To Draw Tamgaotchi' segemtent (complete with sock puppet).  Now the movie is aimed towards kids and definitely not Anime fans, because this isn't the Japanese movie that was made during the height of the Tamagotchi craze.  But, the movie is a great 45 minute escape for anyone who enjoys the first and second generations of Tamagotchi.

Next we get the  first home video release of the Viz/Pioneer dub of the one of the hottest Game Boy games, Pokémon.  In one of the fastest moves to get a new TV series to home video, Viz./Pioneer gives Pokémon Trainers' everywhere the first 3 dubbed episodes along with a special 'Pokérap' song in the first volume, Pokémon: I Choose You, Pikachu!.  Ash is a young boy who dreams of being a 'Pokémon Master', but then on the day he is ment to begin his training... he wakes up late and all the good Pokémon are gone.  But, Professor Oak has one special Pokémon left.  A Pikachu with electric powers that can shock almost anything.  Ash and Pikachu soon begin their journey to track down all 150 known Pokémon.

And lastly, Pioneer gives us the release of one of the most loved Shoujo series of recent years, Fushigi Yuugi.  Now, Pioneer has the most to lose with this series because it has been one of the most popular series for fan subbers to 'sell' to eager Otaku and it is also an incredibly long series.  But, Pioneer is out for blood and they mean for this series to succeed.  The subbed version is called Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play while the dubbed version is called The Mysterious Play: Fushigi Yugi.   But, with either version is it still the adventures of Miaka Yuki and her friend, Yui Hongo.  The story begins with the two in a cram school prepping for the high school placement exams, after class the two go to the Tokyo National Library and a Miaka sees a beautiful bird by the vending machine and decides to follow it.  The bird vanishes into a room where Miaka finds a book open on the floor.  Yui soon joins Miaka and they begin reading the book, 'The Universe of the Four Gods.'  It somehow places its incantation on the two and they become part of the story.  But how do they get out?

December 8 marks the release of the final climatic volume, Bastard!!: Exodus as Dark Schneider must battle his lover, Arshes Nei,in a battle one won't be coming back from.  And also on this date is the long awaited (of much dreaded, if you are an OVA lover) release of Tenchi In Tokyo (aka Shin Tenchi-Muyo! TV Series 2).  Volume one, A New Friend, brings Tenchi to Tokyo so he can apprentice to be a shrine caretaker and to go to college as well.  But, the weird girls from outer space don't want things to change.  And just who is this Sakuya girl anyway?  If you love the Sailor Moon idea of a bad-guy-a-week, and tons of Super Deformed action, then by all means grab Tenchi In Tokyo: A New Friend before some one else does.

Pioneer's Anime division has grown from a small fraction of the market, to a leader that is pumping out new products by the week. Pioneer has seen an infant market grow into a recognizable and respected one, thanks to the contributions from a verity of different sources all acting on a growing market that has seen almost as many troubles as the American comics industry. Only time knows for sure where the story of Pioneer will go in the future. But, that story is one that will be told by another.

End of Part VI

Battle Athletes #1 Stickers

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  • Note 33: El-Hazard 2 Volume 1 and 2 are available VHS dubbed for $24.95 and VHS subbed for $29.95.
  • Note 24: The Best of Bastard!! CD Soundtrack is available for $15.98.
  • Note 35: Bastard!! Volume 1-3 are available on VHS dubbed for $24.95, VHS subbed for $29.95. The Complete Bastard!!: VHS Boxed Set collecting all three bolumes on 3 tapes, English dubbed for $59.98 and English Subbed for $69.98.
  • Note 36: Battle Athletes Volume 1-3 are available on VHS dubbed for $24.95 and VHS subbed for $29.95.
  • Note 37: El-Hazard: The Magnificent World Volume 1-4 are available on VHS dubbed for $19.95 and VHS subbed for $24.95.
  • Note 38: Kimba: The White Lion Volume 1 & up are available on VHS dubbed for $19.95.
  • Note 39: Tamagotchi: Video Adventures is available on VHS dubbed for $14.95.
  • Note 40: Pokémon Volume 1 & up are available on VHS dubbed for $14.95 and on DVD for $24.95.
  • Note 41: Fushigi Yugi / The Mysterious Play Volume 1-8 are available on VHS dubbed for $24.95, VHS subbed for $29.95, and on coming to DVD for $29.95 .
  • Note 42: Tenchi In Tokyo Volume 1-8 are available on VHS dubbed for $24.95, VHS subbed for $29.95, and on DVD for $29.95.
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  • DISCLAIMER: All pictures on this and other pages are trademarked by Pioneer/AIC and are used on these pages without permission for informational use only.
    The Unofficial History Pioneer Anime © 1998-2000, Adam Arnold
    Last Addition --- January 1, 1999