Japan’s Toei Animation and Korea’s CJ ENM on Saturday unveiled a slew of new projects stemming from their previously established cooperation pact.
New shows include: a series that will be produced in both live-action and animated formats; a live-action series; and a third animated series.
“The genesis of this cooperation was the idea that we should play to the strengths of Korean content and Japanese animation,” said Yi Jongmin, the CJ executive who leads the joint venture’s shared control unit. “That was before we considered language barriers and cultural differences and suffered from the disruptions of the COVID pandemic.”
He was joined on stage at the Asian Contents & Film Market, on the sidelines of the Busan International Film Festival, by Washio Takashi, the Toei Animation veteran who is currently enjoying success with “One Piece Red” and the legend of the Korean production Tcha Seung-jae. The presentation took place one year to the day since the two companies announced their pact. Representatives of JK Film, Blaad Studio, a production company acquired by CJ ENM in 2020, also made presentations.
The dual-format project is an action-fantasy series that follows warriors battling to capture the goblins who are wreaking havoc on the human world. The show has a temporary English name of “Myth Chasers” and a Korean working title which translates to “Sulwha Relics Conservation Division”. Blaad’s Seo Hojin said the live-action iteration will likely be completed in 2023, ahead of the animated show in 2024.
The live action series “Super Girls” is another fantastic action drama. Her story follows a group of young women working in the K-pop entertainment industry who gain superpowers overnight in an accident. Together, they use their newfound powers to battle bad guys in the workplace.
The subject is very topical because the Japanese entertainment industry is currently going through the beginnings of the #MeToo movement. Informal organizations and the Japanese media are arresting high-ranking figures accused of sexual violence, workplace harassment and abuse of power.
The third project “Crystal” is an animation series in the fantasy-adventure-drama genre. Blaad’s Seo gave few details, describing it only as a “massive universe” and saying “Crystal” will likely be the first of three joint projects to hit the market.
Yi and Washio went to great lengths to explain that the new projects are meant to attract international audiences and markets.
Toei Animation has engineered a pivotal strategic pivot to go beyond its core animation business and capitalize on the established strength of Japanese intellectual property to expand internationally. This is exemplified by “Saint Seiya,” a big-budget live-action adaptation of a Manga property that filmed in Eastern Europe and is now in post-production. Washio said that over the past three years the company has grown its international revenue from 42% of its total to 62%.
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