Saturday, April 24, 2010

Toei Animation to Expand Mobile Offerings and AnimeBB Even More Around the World?

A recent article which we have been able to read a part of on C21Kids has us wondering if Toei Animation is going to expand their digital anime services to North America. In a piece featuring Kanji Kazahaya, the General Director and President of Toei Animation Europe, the challenges facing the delivery of anime are discussed, and there is a statement about how the digital switchover has created new opportunities for Japanese production companies. We are really hoping *fingers crossed* that this means that their hugely AnimeBB service could be expanded around the world through cable providers and the internet, as well as their popular mobile ANIMO service spread around as well. Some of this was hinted recently at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by some of Toei Animation’s other representatives. Late last year, SFR launched Captain Harlock and Fist of the North Star through a video demand service in collaboration with Toei Animation. Episodes (or better known as “mobisodes”) are shortened down to 3 or 5 minute clips, and are available to subscribers of Vodaphone’s Live Portal. French Otaku also have access to the episodes on their VOD service Club Video.

The article then takes a short look at Toei Animation’s first foray outside of Japan – Europe. When they started, the concept of anime was foreign to Europeans so they would first ask their customers to watch an entire series instead of just a short clip to understand its value. This proved to be a huge success, and set up Toei Animation for international recognition. There were a couple other really interesting things that we saw in the article, in reference to DragonBall Z. He noted that the “show’s high level of acceptance in the global market stimulated cultural protectionism”. Watching the show episode by episode, he remarks, you can also find some negative and/or controversial elements but the backbone of the show is still very important for kids, teaching them important lessons about values like friendship and trust. Hmm… Can we say that about Sailor Moon too? We wish we could read the rest of this article but subscription fees even for one month are a little high (and with reports and projects going out by the end of May, we’re on a bit of a tight budget). Nonetheless, if we hear any more about this new development, we will let you know!

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