ADV Films was a multimedia American distribution company based in Houston, Texas. The company primarily focused on bringing material from Japanese Science Fiction and Fantasy sources to the United States.
ADV Films began as A.D. Vision (short for "Animation Dubbing Vision") on August 17th, 1992, founded by video game and anime fans John Ledford, Matt Greenfield, and David Williams. For the next 17 years of its life, the company brought numerous Japanese TV shows and anime to Western audiences. Among these series were such well-known anime classics like Azumanga Daioh, Gantz, Fullmetal Panic, Robotech, Grave of the Fireflies, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and, of course, Elfen Lied. In 2002, the company began airing their television channel called Anime Network where viewers could pay to watch all the animated assets under their licensing. ADV had its hands in various aspects of the Japanese fantasy industry, including dubs and subs of live-action shows and movies, as well as magazines and publication of scanlated manga.
Due to weak sales, the company saw a decline in profits around the mid-2000s, and on September 1st, 2009, it was disestablished, and its assets were either sold off to other multimedia companies. These companies buying their properties were ones such as Funimation (which has since merged with Crunchyroll as of 2022), with others left within the ownership of their five successor companies: Section23 Films, Sentai Filmworks, AEsir Holdings, Valkyrie Media Partners, and Seraphim Digital. The three founding members still work with these five companies as mentors and creative consultants.
Section23 Films is the distributor/marketing company of Switchblade Pictures, Sentai Filmworks, AEsir Holdings, and Maiden Japan. Sentai Filmworks is the licensing company that acquires Japanese anime for the North American market. Seraphim Studios acquired Amusement Park Media, ADV's production studio, and is now named Seraphim Digital Studios. AEsir Holdings holds the licensing rights to most of ADV's titles. Valkyrie Media Partners has ownership of Anime Network, and the channel continues to run as it did before ADV's fall.
Relationship to Elfen Lied
ADV Films is responsible for distributing Elfen Lied to American audiences through DVD and Anime Network in 2005. The company had said Elfen Lied was one of their bestselling and most notorious releases of that year. They released the series several times onto DVD, with separate volumes called Vectors, and a complete series edition that did not have the OVA despite ADV possessing the OVA's license at the time.
As of the dissolution of ADV, the rights for Elfen Lied rest with AEsir Holdings and Section23 Films. In December of 2012, ARMS released a Blu-Ray remaster box set of the series, including the OVA and soundtrack. In September of 2013, Section23 Films and Sentai Filmworks released Blu-Ray and DVD versions of the remaster to North American audiences under the ADV Films banner.