"A Centaur's Life" "A Centaur's Life"

Bilibili is building up its animation production capacity. The Chinese streaming titan has acquired the Shanghai-based animation company Haoliners Animation League, including its Japanese subsidiary Emon Animation Company.

Haoliners Animation was founded in 2013 by Haoling Li, who directed the series To Be Hero and co-directed the feature Flavors of Youth. As well as these works, the company is also behind Fox Spirit Matchmaker and The Silver Guardian. The Tokyo-based Emon, which was founded in 2015, has provided animation on several Haoliners projects, among them To Be Hero, Flavors of Youth, Spiritpact, and A Centaur’s Life (image at top). Its other credits include Attack on Titan.

Bilibili started out in 2009 as an online community focused on anime, comics, and games. It has grown to encompass user-generated content, licensed and original shows, live broadcasting, and mobile games across a range of genres. At the last count, in Q3 2020, it reported 197.2 million average monthly active users.

Bilbili is a major resource for both anime — that is, animation from Japan — and Chinese animation. At a showcase in November, the company unveiled a slate of 33 animated titles for 2021, including four theatrical features. In a statement at the time, Bilibili vice chairwoman and COO Li Ni said:

Bilibili’s ten-year ambition between 2014 and 2024 is that we hope to become a Chinese anime hub that drives the Asian animation industry and leads the way in terms of both animation output and audience scale in the next decade.

Last April, Sony acquired a stake of just under 5% in Bilibili, investing around USD$400 million. The companies committed “to pursue collaboration opportunities within the area of entertainment business in the Chinese market, including anime and mobile games.”

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