Sunday, June 28, 2009

Toei Fails To Shop Around Sailor Moon

We mulled over this for over a week over whether we should bring this to light or not, but we decided we should. Mainly because, it has a lot of relevance to our current campaign and the situation with Sailor Moon. Earlier this month, the Licensing International Expo took place in Las Vegas. This expo is a huge industry show where companies from all around the world set up booths/pavilions with their works that are ready to be licensed. Just to give you an idea of the companies who appear at this show, we'll drop a few names: Marvel, Cartoon Network, Disney, Mattel, Nickelodeon, Cookie Jar Entertainment, Sanrio, Viz Media, and Toei. Before we go any further, we'll have to add a small caveat. Should you go wandering around the site to look at individual exhibitors, DO NOT CONTACT ANY OF THEM. These are mainly for serious buyers and licensors only. We have provided safer addresses in our forums should you want to write any of them. It's important to note that Bandai and FUNImation did not have a presence here this year. We took a peek at Toei's page, and we learned that they did not shop around Sailor Moon for a potential license (but they did shop around some other old anime). The titles that they put up this year were:

Marie and Gali: This is a new anime that began airing in March in Japan. M&G's episodes are not full length per se, but 5-minute shorts that aired on NHK. It's about a GothLoli named Marika who hates science, but somehow ends up in a strange town where she meets some of history's most famous scientists. We haven't seen this one, and as of this writing it is not licensed in North America. The official website is here.

Asataro, The Onion Samurai: This looks like a silly series about a band of feudal superheroes that are vegetables. Kinda reminds us of Slayers meets Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island. His famed weapon is his onion juice, he has a sidekick who has a garlic head, and another who is a cucumber. The bad guys are potatoes. This is not licensed in North America either! We found a video clip, here! Official website is here!





GeGeGe no Kitaro: An old series from the late 60s which has been revamped several times since, the latest being in 2005. Back in the 60s and 70s it was directed by one of our favorite Studio Ghibli directors, Isao Takahata. The plot is still the same - a young boy strives to help find a way for Yokai (spirits) to live in the same realm as humans, and also helps out humans who get in trouble with evil Yokai. Video clip here, Official Site here. This is not licensed in North America yet!


My 3 Daughters: This is one based on a mother's blog in Japan about how she raised her three daughters. This is a slice-of-life comedy that was big in Japan, but unfortunately not licensed here yet. This began in April of this year! Official site is here!


Digimon Data Squad:Already licensed, this is the 5th Digimon series. Need we really say any more about this show about digital monsters that fight against others? We don't think this series has much to worry about since there's an abundance of video games, toys, and other merchandise, and it's still relatively popular with the younger set. It's on the Disney Channel too, so it's still doing relatively well. Official site is here!





Master Hamsters: If Hamtaro was a superhero, this is what he would look like. These hamsters passed their Master Exam, which gave them special Master Badges to turn into Master Hamsters. They get special powers like super strength and the ability to speak and understand human language. Of course at the end of the day, they love their sunflower seeds! This looks like one for the kids! Video clip here, and official site here! No license yet.






Happy Lucky Bikkuriman: This is another franchise revival, but the original is not as old as Kitaro . This one first began in 1987, and is another superhero show. Bikkuriman and his friends help save the world from devils. This spawned from a simple sticker tag game that used to come with candy over 20 years ago. Video clip here,and official site is here!

Pretty Cure, Yes! Pretty Cure 5, and Fresh Pretty Cure . This is the current "big thing" in Japan with respect to Magical Girls! Already a hit in Canada, it's a waiting game to see if this will show up on Cartoon Network in the fall or be released on DVD. The show has already been hailed as successful as Sailor Moon in Japan and we're hoping it will achieve just as much international success! Official site is here!






Moguragumi:We spent an hour trying to figure out what the heck these little critters are. We have come to the conclusion that these are webisodes and cute characters that are available for licensing. We have no idea what these guys are about, and judging by the buzz on the internet, we think they are probably popular with the mobile market, but probably wouldn't be a huge hit on this side of the pond. See for yourself at the official site here.





Dragon Ball Series We're pretty sure you all know what this is about. We're not going to say much about this except that we think it's pretty much as popular as it can get (however, Toei must do a better job with the rumored upcoming sequel). The story of Goku and his evolution into the great hero of the Universe is a hit with almost every anime fan. Official site here!




One Piece: Already licensed and a hit. This is another hot one in Japan and in North America. This one is about the trials and tribulations of Monkey D. Luffy, a teenager who accidentally consumes a strange fruit, and he becomes super stretchy! He is on a quest to find the legendary one piece, the treasure left by the Pirate King. Official site here!






Fist of the North Star: Another old series that has had various resurrections over the years. This one is a martial-arts and assassins drama. But, this is pretty old, and we can't say for sure how hugely popular this is. An older version was released on DVD in North America 5 years ago... Maybe Toei wants to redub this? Add the recent films to the North American market? Who knows...we do know the series is currently streaming with Toei's ventures in the North American Market. Official site here!



Captain Harlock: This series is over 20 years old. It's about a space pirate who saves the universe from its enemies. This, like FotNS is also streamed everywhere in North America. We also can't say how popular this is (though we don't think it is very popular). Official site is here!






Saint Seiya the Hades: Older Saint Seiya series are licensed by ADV (one of the only Toei titles that they have the rights to), but this one is up for grabs. We do know that Saint Seiya is popular with older, more hardcore, anime fans. This one is about orphans who unite to protect the Earth from the reincarnation of an evil Goddess. Official site is here!





Now , for our opinion. We don't really see any new standouts. Of course, Dragon Ball will always be a hit with anime fans, Digimon with kids, and Pretty Cure if it is managed correctly. But as for the others, we can see them being popular with niche audiences, and not wide ones.

However, Toei not shopping around Sailor Moon could mean one of a few things. First, perhaps Toei and Funimation are once again just teasing fans with talk of Sailor Moon to lure their opinions about other series. Second, there could still be underlying issues with Toei and/or Princess Naoko Planning (Naoko's own company). Genvid had an epic article some years ago of how the show was nowhere to be found in the character licensing directory. Or third, Toei doesn't care about Sailor Moon, while Funimation does. Perhaps Funimation's strategy is much like ours, trying to show fan pressure to Toei. Either way, since this new development, Operation Moonrise has become even more important now for fans to get their voices heard to Toei. In this economy, it would likely to be much cheaper to deal with something that is a proven hit rather than gamble with a new (or old) unknown series, so to speak. In any case, we are a little worried about the prospects of Sailor Moon and we cannot urge fans enough to get involved in our campaign. It isn't right for Toei to continue to name drop Sailor Moon in most if not all of their press releases, and for Funimation to speak of some interest in the series after five years, and for them not to aggressively pursue a second chance for the series. We are sure many of our readers can agree.

In other, lighter news, Toei Animation Europe has gone mobile in France, delivering mobile contact through Zaoza's downloading platform. Proposed content includes mini-videos, wallpapers and animated wallpapers.

On another note, Yoshihiro Togashi's work was shopped around by Viz - Hunter x Hunter was one of the works they showed for licensing! Though we have to wonder how a company would be willing to deal with his sporadic hiatuses.

3 comments:

St├ęphane Dumas said...

I wonder, if Toei will plan to release in North America the English dub of PPGZ (Powerpuff Girls Z) who was realized by Ocean Group? (but unfortunately they changed some stuffs like the BGM, that version was aired in the Phillipines and some exterpts was posted on Youtube).

I would wish then Toei with an agreement from Marathon studios from France, to do an anime remake of Totally Spies (called "TS Z" for example) and with the upcoming TS movie who'll be released in France on July 22, here the a clip of the English trailer, maybe we could dream of a crossover movie or OAV Sailor Moon-Totally Spies ;-)

As for Captain Harlock, there was various series and OAV of this anime, the more well known is the late 1970s version known as "Albator" reffered often as "Albator 79" since there was another version released in 1984 and named "Albator 84".

Besides the return of Sailor Moon on the airwaves, I wish for a return of my favorite old-school anime Goldorak (UFO Robot Grendizer) ^^;;

Anonymous said...

Sailordees, if you are reading this, I'd like to inform you that the Moguragumi site has gotten an interesting update:http://moguragumi.com/

Apparently Toei is working on a Moguragumi anime called Wonder Mole:http://moguragumi.com/wonder_mole/original/wonder_index.html

Let's hope this makes it outside Japan.

Moon Chase said...

Thanks Anonymous! I'll try to hit this as soon as I can (unfortunately, the report will start taking priority come monday).