GKIDS Acquires N. American Rights to 4 Makoto Shinkai Films | Cafe Talk

Hey all!

Between all the EVERYDAY EVA posts and BTS PTD ON STAGE in Seoul tweets, GKIDS has made another surprising move in the licensing and distribution world of anime.

Just today they announced they announced the acquisition of 4 films by Makoto Shinkai: Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and Children Who Chase Lost Voices. This means that all of Shinkai’s major films except for Your Name. (Funimation) and The Garden of Words (Sentai Filmworks) have been licensed by GKIDS. And all of them will be DUBBED on Blu-ray!


“We are thrilled to represent these vital early films from Makoto Shinkai,” said GKIDS’ President David Jesteadt. “They display the astounding visuals and emotional stories of longing and human connection that have made him one of the most exciting and important directors in animation today, and we look forward to reintroducing them to fans old and new.”

From GKIDS Official Website—read the rest here!

I’m still reeling from this announcement. WOW. That means they currently release:

  • All Studio Ghibli titles
  • Makoto Shinkai (minus those two)
  • Mamoru Hosoda (split w/Funi)
  • Satoshi Kon (split w/ ElevenArts)
  • Masaaki Yuasa (all?)
  • Hideaki Anno’s NGE & EOE 🤯

Given their current trajectory, I predict that in the next couple years, GKIDS will probably announce acquisition for:

  • Anno’s Rebuild of Evangelion
  • Hosoda’s first four films (from Funi)

Annnd, if I can strike out on a limb:

  • Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell
  • Kenji Kamiyama’s GitS SAC

Regardless of what they manage to acquire, I’m amazed GKIDS is always so thorough and elegant about the whole process. I imagine licensing wars get ugly between companies, so for them to proceed with such refined marketing, wide access theatrical screenings, & affordable physical releases is beyond me.

Now, I know next to nothing about how the industry works. But what I DO know is that GKIDS is tackling classic and popular anime titles, most of which were in license purgatory or without an official Blu-ray release for the longest time. Plus they DUB everything. 😩👏

Dubbing is so important because it helps with global outreach. If you like dubs, awesome! Otherwise, you get you get your fave anime films in hi-def. In retrospect, the fact that they acquired BOTH dubs for Neon Genesis Evangelion shows just how much the fans matter to them.

I foresee GKIDS acquiring most if not all of the major works of big-name anime directors even from other companies that have already released their stuff. Discotek and Sentai only just recently put out their Shinkai Blu-rays—Funi’s hold on Hosoda’s catalog is probably next.

And I think this is a great thing. It means less work their team had to do in terms of lending dubs to releases. Plus, Funi is one of those companies that just produces quality work, especially when it comes to art-house films. 👏

The benefit of operating and releasing all of these films under one label also makes it easier for fans like myself to own it all in nice, consistent packaging. As a collector, I couldn’t be happier with what GKIDS is doing for the anime industry right now!

I’ve been a Shinkai fan for as long as I’ve been watching anime, so I just had to share this HUGE news on the blog. Absolutely incredible. I’ve written over 10k words on his works, and to see them all officially licensed now makes my heart so full. Here, have a smiling Kiki 🙂

What are your thoughts on GKIDS and this license announcement? Do you enjoy Shinkai films as much as I do? Please feel free to share any thoughts in the comments below!

– Takuto

8 thoughts on “GKIDS Acquires N. American Rights to 4 Makoto Shinkai Films | Cafe Talk

  1. Wow, I didn’t know GKIDS did that. I’m glad Voices of a Distant Star and The Place Promised are finally being re-licensed. It’s like their buying up things from multiple creators like with Ghibli for example.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GKIDS really is doing the most to rescue old films and acquire the newest ones, too. Without the work that they and other companies like Discotek do, I fear these titles would be lost to time!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s good and I like the comparison with Discotek in that regard. Hilariously enough, 5CM was previously held by Discotek after ADV folded. I’m glad those companies are able to rescue so many anime.

        Liked by 1 person

      • After I bought Discotek’s release of 5 Cm, I was confident that was going to be the end of it. The turnover sure came quicker than I expected 😅 but yeah, the folks up at Discotek are great. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, it’s quite surprising with how quick the turnaround since Discotek is usually doing more rescuing than any other company I can think of. Hahaha! Interestingly enough, the first Blu-Ray I ever bought was a Discotek release which was the remastered version of Jungle Emperor Leo (1997).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I remembered a bit of Children Who Chase Lost Voices. I saw this on Toonami a while back and I really enjoyed it. I was able to snag the DVD from Sentai before they stopped making more copies. This is good news because I want to explore more of Shinkai’s films.

    Liked by 1 person

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