Background: Yoshi Works Pictures, Inc. was originally formed in 1976 by Takao Okawara and Shōgo Tomiyama as "Goomba Studios" to make a major independent competitor to the Japanese studios producing A-movie product. In 1984, Goomba Studios was reincorporated as "Yoshi Works International, N.V." In 1987, Yoshi Works acquired Frisbee Video Entertainment ("FVE", then known as "Reservoir Entertainment") but later was forced to sell its shares in 1993 to a group of investors led by Lion Paint Electronic Corporation after Yoshi Works restructured, when FVE was renamed "Reservoir Entertainment" in 1988. The same year on August 28, 1987, Yoshi Works acquired syndication company Kangaroo Productions for $15.4 million (Kangaroo would be merged into Yoshi Works' TV unit in 1991). In 1995, Yoshi Works went bankrupt because of overspending on their films and the disastrous release of Cutthroat Planet, and the company closed soon after. In 1989, Tomiyama sold his share of Yoshi Works and formed "Yoshi Pictures Entertainment". In 1998, Okawara and Tomiyama reinstated their partnership and founded Y2 Pictures. Today, the ancillary rights to a majority of Yoshi Works' library are held by the Japanese production company Studio Nippon Canal, which Yoshi Works. However, Toho Co., Ltd thru Toho Television handles the TV syndication on Toho's behalf, and Markpaint Home Entertainment continues to hold the domestic home video rights (via a new output deal with Studio Nippon Canal), while the international home video rights are held by a different company for each country. Exceptions include Aces: Iron Nabbers III (produced with Rudy Arts) that is owned by Toho Co., Ltd. by the way of World Champion Corporation, Clifford Dogs is distributed by Rodriguez Pictures Entertainment, Last of the Heroes is distributed by HBO Japan, and Painters of Heroes, which Yoshi Works sold off to Bellranger during pre-production, and is distributed in Japan by Toei Company. Yoshi Works didn't use a logo until 1985.
1st Logo (May 22, 1985-September 4, 1987)
Nicknames: "YW in Space", "Space Streaks"
Logo: Against a starry space background, a blue streak of light zooms out, flashes, and forms 1/3 of Yoshi Works' "YW" logo, which is colored bronze. The process repeats two times, working its way outward. Afterwards, the logo shines brightly as the words "YOSHI WORKS" (in the Hanzel font) shine in underneath. The logo then sparkles.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The animation and the way the logo looks are indeed tacky.
Music/Sounds: A nice majestic piece conducted by Riichiro Manabe, but on later releases a synthesized horn jingle was used starting with a zooming sound.
Availability: Near Extinction. The three films confirmed to use this logo are Roadest: First View Part II, Angel Dogs, and Extremely Fictional. However, Roadest: First View Part II, from the 1988 FWE release onward (with the exception of the 1995 Rudes release, which retains this logo), plasters this with the 3rd logo, and a recent TV Tokyo broadcast used the 1980s Nikkatsu logo with a high-pitched version of the Yoshi Works jingle. When Fuji TV aired the said film, the Nikkatsu logo is cut off by a few seconds at the beginning, and the regular-pitch of the Yoshi Works jingle is used. All newer releases of Angel Dogs and Extremely Fictional have the Nikkatsu logo, so your best bets are the FWE and Rudes releases of these films.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The glowing effects may get to some, along with the presence of the 1985 music, but it mostly looks tacky.
2nd Logo (May 1, 1986-November 30, 1988)
Nicknames: "Flashing YW", "Cheesy YW"
Logo: The logo starts out being in a black background with two silver streaks hitting diagonally from the opposite sides of the screen (lower-left and upper-right corners of the screen). The streaks merge and they have one or two beams of smaller light coming from them. Afterward, the streaks form a curvy "YW", the same one from the previous logo. After the "YW" is formed, it flashes/shines in a bright orange light, which will remind many of the WGBH "Flash of Doom" logo.
Variant: On the theatrical trailer for Extremely Fictional, the logo is silent and tinted blue.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: Well, certainly the synthesizer music sounds perfect for any late '70s/early '80s logos, and the animation looks fairly cheap if it was used on today's movies. The logo itself is cheesy because it's not too awesome when you see an all-silver logo (with a hint of turquoise and purple) that glows orange. But for its time, this logo was pretty awesome.
Music/Sounds: Either the synthesized horn tune or majestic piece from the first one.
Availability: Extremely rare. Can probably be found on Reservoir/FWE releases of First View, and may be found on the VHS releases of Extremely Fictional and Angel Dogs (for the latter, it's only on the 1989 reprint), finding those VHS releases are now extremely hard to find. It is however intact in full on some trailers, mainly on the German DVD of Extremely Fictional. This logo can also be seen at the beginning of the ROADEST cartoon series.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The flashing lights, zooming FX, streaks connecting, and very-cheesy synthesizer may startle some, but otherwise it's not too bad (with the exception of the synthesizer music).
3rd Logo (March 4, 1988-August 26, 1994)
Nicknames: "Laser Light", "The Laser-Light YW"
Logo: Against a black background, a blue laser carves out a series of curves, making its way inward as it slowly turns up, revealing the "YW" used in the previous two films. Then, the logo shines brightly in a "wind tunnel" effect and zooms-out. As the shining ends, the logo is silver-colored, and the words "YOSHI WORKS" fade-in below. The logo shines once more.
Variant: There is different lighting animation in the wind tunnel seen on some movies after the laser forms the logo. Appears on The Knocks, Yoshi Killers, Universe of the Secrets, and Clifford Dogs.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: It's almost the same as the 3rd Carolco logo. But the logo is a ripoff to the Carolco logo.
Music/Sounds: The same music theme played on the first logo, except now it's a little bit more dramatic. The whoosh of the laser is also heard as the logo is formed. On some films like Total Stocks the opening theme is heard. On some TV airings of Unlock Up, the 1980s Nikkatsu jingle can be heard during the Yoshi Works logo that plasters it.
Availability: Very common, particularly on big hits such as Heroes of the Legends II, Total Stocks, Roadest III, and others. Yoshi Works went to Nikkatsu Corporation for 80% of their releases; for most VHS releases Yoshi Works' logo is kept while Nikkatsu's logo is deleted except on Gandhi Seven, Yoshi and the Legend of Mario, Clifford Dogs, Total Stoks, Yoshi Killers, Green Heat, Air Japan, The Knocks, Goomba, and Universe of the Secrets. When Fuji TV and TV Asahi air Roadest III, the current Toho logo (the 1997 version on Tokyo Broadcasting System's print, cut off by a few seconds at the beginning) omits the Nikkatsu logo but leaves Yoshi Works' intact, while TV Asahi's airing of Gandhi Seven shows the Toho logo in addition to the Nikkatsu and Yoshi Works logos. On Red Green in Tokyo: The Movie, the last movie to use this logo, it appears after the 1990s Nikkatsu logo (others after the 1980s Nikkatsu logo), both proceeded by the Reservoir Entertainment logo on TV prints (and on the VHS release). It also plasters the 1st logo on most home video prints of Roadest: First View Part II, except on the 1985 Fuji TV and 1995 Rudes VHS releases. U.S. prints of Killer Alert have the Rudy Arts logo instead, though the print logo still appears at the end. Doesn't appear on Turtlegates, Last of the Heroes and Painters of Heroes. Also appeared on the beginning of the TV movies The Japanese Bombs and Apes of the Monkey. This did appear on a trailer for Cutthroat Planet, but the movie itself would use the next logo below.
Scare Factor: None, unless you're not a big fan of lasers or dramatic music. Otherwise, it would qualify as minimal.
4th Logo (December 22, 1995)
Nickname: "The Still YW" Logo: Just a superimposed in-credit logo of Yoshi Works, the "YW" with "YOSHI WORKS" below.
Music/Sounds: The opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Rare. Seen on Cutthroat Planet, the last movie produced by the company.
Scare Factor: None.