Back in the 80s it was business in the front and party in the back - all the time! No film distributor exemplified this wisdom more than Peregrine Films, who released a slate of Japanese anime films just in time to miss out on the anime video explosion. Their marketing strategy was explained in a garishly airbrushed glossy booklet.
Peregrine took nine fairly recent anime films, either used the 'international' versions already extant or found somebody to dub them, and released them to home video. Some of these films were odd men out even in Japan, like SPACE WARRIORS
A Toei compilation film of the Ashi television series BALDIOS, this show was mostly known for the usage of a minor character in an internet meme twenty years later. Other titles like TECHNO POLICE had similar weird also-ran or never-were pedigrees.
But other Peregrine titles were, shall we say, less forgettable. Like, say, Captain Harlock's feature film MY YOUTH IN ARCADIA.
Only now the film is called VENGEANCE OF THE SPACE PIRATE and it's got a lackluster dub that features weird audio problems, and the box art uses scenes that don't actually appear in the film. Another troubled production was their version of MACROSS:
Retitled CLASH OF THE BIONOIDS - a title that guarantees no viewers over the age of 10 - this version of the 1984 MACROSS feature is the 'international' dub that was packaged as a extra on the Japanese laserdisc release. If you've ever watched a bad kung-fu film from the late 70s you will recognize all the voice 'talent'. To date this is the only legitimate version of the MACROSS movie to ever get a United States video release. Where's the justice here? Who will save us? Look up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Locke The Superman!
Oh wait, we can't call him "Locke The Superman", because DC Comics will sue us, even though they didn't invent the word "Superman" and the two characters are nothing alike. Let's change it to "Superpower". That'll work. This is another stiff, weirdly accented dub ("esper" is pronounced "esp-aar") of the 1984 Locke film based on the popular SF manga by Yuki Hijiri.
Different Locke anime videos have been released in America on three separate occasions, and yet the plucky little green-haired dude can't ever seem to catch a break, even with his "lightning sword". Another hard-luck story is producer Haruki Kadokawa, who spent the 80s producing slick high profile films until he got busted for cocaine. (He's out now.) One of Kadokawa's slickest productions was the awesome Rin Taro film DAGGER OF KAMUI:
A stylish and colorful historical fantasy, KAMUI is about a half-Ainu boy raised as a ninja who finds a treasure and goes to America and meets Mark Twain and falls in love with an Indian princess who's actually French nobility and defeats an evil ninja Buddhist priest against the backdrop of, what was that, the Meiji Restoration? There are hallucinogenic ninja fights and a Siberian husky sidekick and lots of flashing blood everywhere. Of course like most of these film releases, KAMUI would be heavily edited, dubbed badly, and retitled REVENGE OF THE NINJA WARRIOR, which is about as generic a martial arts title as you can find.
Other Peregrine films included versions of PHOENIX 2772 and CYBORG 009 - LEGEND OF THE SUPER GALAXY. In fact most of these films would get trimmed by about half an hour and released on home video by the "Just For Kids" label. A few years later uncut versions would be released again by "Best Film & Video", some with their original titles. But the real irony is that if this had all happened four or five years later - once a market had been established for direct-to-video releases of uncut, subtitled anime without dumb kiddy titles or crazy dubbing - think of how (to use 80s terminology) AWESOME that would have been!!