Netflix has struck partnerships with six Japanese creators as it continues to step up its investment in original anime.
Here are the details:
- The six creators include writers, artists, and filmmakers. They are: Clamp (a collective of female manga artists, Cardcaptor Sakura), Shin Kibayashi (manga storywriter/screenwriter, The Kindaichi Case Files), Yasuo Ohtagaki (manga artist, Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt), Otsuichi (writer/filmmaker, Goth), Tow Ubukata (novelist/anime screenwriter, Mardock Scramble), and Mari Yamazaki (manga artist, Thermae Romae).
- Although details of the partnerships are thin on the ground, Netflix has confirmed that the creators will develop original anime series for the platform, which has over 167 million subscribers. It will also “explore ways for members to engage with these new shows off-screen through publishing and consumer products.”
- Taiki Sakurai, chief producer, anime at Netflix said, “We’re excited to work with these extraordinary creators to bring best in class anime to Netflix. These partnerships are part of our broader investment strategy to support Japanese anime — giving creators the ability to tell bold, innovative stories and giving them access to fans all around the world, because storytelling is boundless in the world of anime.”
- The announcement comes as the anime streaming wars heat up. Netflix has been very active, acquiring classic titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Studio Ghibli library, while ramping up its slate of originals. In recent years, the company has struck production partnerships with a range of Japanese studios, including Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell) and Wit Studio (Attack on Titan).
- Anime gives Netflix an edge over Disney, who may view adult-skewing Japanese animation as off-brand for its new streaming service Disney+. That said, Netflix is certainly not the only mainstream platform to set its sights on this market. HBO Max recently snapped up the Studio Ghibli films for the U.S. (Netflix has the international rights). Disney’s Hulu and Amazon Prime have also invested in anime.
- Meanwhile, dedicated anime streamer Crunchyroll is entering the production space at full throttle. It announced its first slate of eight original series this week, and has set up an in-house studio to create more. The platform — which, like HBO Max, is owned by Warnermedia — has 50 million registered users and two million subscribers.
For more information about the different animation strategies of the various platforms, check out Cartoon Brew’s ultimate guide to streaming animation.