Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and Cartoon Network Studios (CNS) are expanding into anime production, and Jason DeMarco has been tapped to spearhead the effort. The executive has joined the sister studios in a new role: senior vice president, anime and action series/longform.
The position mirrors DeMarco’s existing role at Adult Swim, which he will keep: senior vice president, head of anime and action series. He will report to both Sam Register, president of WBA and CNS, and Michael Ouweleen, president of Adult Swim.
At WBA and CNS, DeMarco will develop series and longform programming based on original, library, and third-party anime and action properties. He will work closely with Japanese studios, artists, and creators. First up: he’s serving as lead creative executive on The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, the upcoming anime feature produced by New Line Cinema and WBA, directed by Kenji Kamiyama, and animated by Japan’s Sola Entertainment.
DeMarco has experience in anime, having co-created Adult Swim’s Toonami block, which he continues to manage. He is currently overseeing production of Adult Swim anime originals Fena: Pirate Princess, Uzumaki, and Blade Runner: Black Lotus. A 20-plus-year veteran of Adult Swim and Cartoon Network, the executive also founded the former’s record label Williams Street Records.
Says DeMarco of the new role: “I got into this business because I love action cartoons and storytelling. Being able to work in anime and action development, two areas of animation I care about deeply, is a dream come true. I can’t wait to bring everything I’ve learned from Toonami and Adult Swim to our animation studios.”
WBA and CNS have both made their share of action-adventure animation, the former in particular having produced many series set in DC’s superhero universe. But anime, a fast-growing market outside Japan, is a new area for both.