Decoding International Investment in Japanese Anime by Muse Communication Co., Ltd.Unveiling the Enigmatic World of Production Committees! Exploring the Investment Secrets of the Anime Industry!
Muse Communication Co., Ltd., a prominent Asian distributor of Japanese animation, has been investing in Japanese anime since its successful venture with “Junji Ito Collection” in 2018. Every year since then, they have been funding and producing 1-2 anime projects. This time, we invited Ms. Hui Ling Kao, the business specialist responsible for anime investments at Muse Communication Co., Ltd., to answer fans’ curiosities and questions about the unfamiliar field of anime investment. Join me to uncover the mysteries!
Interviewer: How did the company decide to invest in Japanese anime? What was the motivation behind it?
Hui Ling Kao (Kao): Muse Communication, as a professional and internationally recognized distributor of Japanese animation, naturally aims to gain deeper insights into the Japanese anime industry through diverse collaborations. Each Japanese anime nowadays is backed by a “production committee,” comprising various corporate entities such as publishing companies, TV stations, music labels, animation studios, game companies, DVD, and merchandise vendors. These units invest collectively. We believe we can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the Japanese anime production process by joining these committees. Therefore, our company actively initiated discussions and negotiations with Japanese copyright holders regarding anime investment matters.
Interviewer: What was the company’s first successful investment? How do you determine the success or failure of an investment project?
Kao: Regarding commercial success, the anime “Junji Ito Collection,” aired in 2018, was a notable benchmark investment. It performed well visually and generated various proposals for offline events and merchandise licensing – the potential for the IP’s continued development extended beyond its broadcast period. Fans actively supported it by watching the official anime, participating in events, and purchasing related products. For the company, this was indeed a successful investment project.
Interviewer: How does the process differ between investing in anime projects and purchasing regular ones?
Kao: Apart from differences in geographical regions and timeframes, investing provides more insight into the committee production progress before the anime airs. This allows us to strategize and plan overseas promotions. Regular purchases often have a preparation period of about three months for one season. This includes localizing logo design, visual graphics, material organization, and distribution. Due to the delayed release schedule in Japan, promotional efforts for regular purchases are frequently hindered. However, we can coordinate international release dates with the committee for investment projects and synchronize with Japan’s copyright holders. This flexibility provides better control and authority over localization efforts.
Interviewer: What types of anime genres has the company invested in? What genres are preferred for investment?
Kao: Initially, the company’s investment aimed to understand the Japanese anime industry and gain experience, so there weren’t strict genre limitations. For instance, we invested in “Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san,” aired in 2018, and adaptations like “If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord” in 2019, along with “The Ones Within,” an adaptation of a popular light novel series. Between 2020 and 2021, the company also invested in five works, such as “ARTE,” “Woodpecker Detective’s Office,” “Talentless NANA,” “Dr. Ramune -Mysterious Disease Specialist-,” and “I, Tsushima.” These works cover a wide range of themes, including exploring workplace experiences, character histories, suspenseful mysteries, fantasy adventures, and heartwarming stories. We have sought possibilities in various genres of investment projects and received genuine feedback from the market. For the years 2022 to the present, we’ve invested in titles like “Skeleton Knight in Another World,” “Beast Tamer,” and “Reborn to Master the Blade: From Hero-King to Extraordinary Squire,” catering to fans’ preferences for Reincarnation in Another World, a slice of life, and harem elements.
Interviewer: Could you provide a sneak peek of the company’s upcoming investment projects and plans?
Kao: In the upcoming Fall season, the company will have a new investment project titled “Berserk of Gluttony,” scheduled to premiere in October. The character design for this series is quite captivating. It uses the concept of the seven deadly sins as skills and weapon names. The male protagonist not only possesses the skill of “Gluttony” but also wields a sin weapon named “Greed.” Although some initial aspects of the setup may remind people of characters like Maple, who doesn’t want to get hurt, and reincarnated gluttony Slime who also had Gluttony skill, as the story progresses, changes in the main character’s personality and transformations of his weapon will offer refreshing surprises, creating a sense of delight. The action scenes are skillfully depicted and quite impressive! The female lead has a versatile charm, making her a perfect candidate for a beloved character, and the upcoming female supporting characters are equally enticing. It’s believed that this series will become one of the popular choices of the season! Moving forward into 2024, the company plans to introduce diverse investment projects almost every season. They also hope that fans will support Muse Communication’s investment endeavors by participating in community activities and watching official content.
Interviewer: Finally, please introduce this work to everyone!
Kao: First, let’s focus on this series’s music and voice actors. The opening theme, “Jekyll & Hyde,” and the ending theme, ” Ao no Genseki,” are both performed by EverdreaM, a vocal duo formed by the voice actresses Misato (Misato Matsuoka) and Hitomi (Hitomi Sekine). They are also the voice actors for the characters Wtath Myne and LUST Eris, respectively.
As for the main cast, the lineup is not to be underestimated. The female lead, Lady Roxy, is portrayed by Hisako Tojo, and the male lead, Gluttony Fate, is voiced by Ryota Osaka. He left a memorable impression with his performance as Gyutaro in “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba,” so there’s much anticipation for what he’ll bring to this role. Additionally, his important partner, Greed, is played by the veteran voice actor Seki Tomokazu(Sanemi Shinazugawa in “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba “). The interactions between these two characters are highly anticipated! Fans who are interested should keep an eye on this work in October!