Updated on December 2nd, 2022
With Netflix and Amazon Prime not coming slow on the original anime series, Walt Disney has also entered the race for releasing more anime in the future, partnering with Kodansha.
During the Asia-Pacific content showcase that was in taking place in Singapore on Wednesday, Walt Disney announced that they are deepening their partnership with Kodansha and will now be facilitating new anime originals, just like Netflix, in the future.
Kodansha is a Japanese publishing company that is globally known and started functioning in 1910. It has published some of the most famous series like Attack on Titan, Ghost in a shell, The Quintessential Quintuplets, and Your Lie in April.
The new partnership of both these companies will start with the premiere of Season 2 of Tokyo Revengers (Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown Arc) on both Disney and Disney + exclusively.
What does It mean For Anime?
The biggest question anime fans are asking is “How will this affect Anime and its distribution?”. It should be pointed out that Disney Plus is not exactly popular with anime fans right now.
Disney Plus exclusively owned anime like Bleach TYBW arc and Summer Time Rendering’s streaming rights and these titles were not released simultaneously with Japan’s release time.
Some of the biggest anime sequels, like Attack on Titan’s final season, Rent a Girlfriend season 3, and That Time I got reincarnated as a slime season 3, are owned by Kodansha. If Crunchyroll has not secured the streaming rights for these sequels, these titles could end up with Disney Plus, just like Tokyo Revengers season 2.
In the US, Hulu will most likely stream these anime titles. However, in most of Europe, Australia and Latin America, Disney will have the streaming rights for upcoming Kodansha titles. So fans shouldn’t expect a simulcast release.
Reaction from officials of Walt Disney on this new partnership
The officials at Walt Disney are more than just happy about this new deal they signed with Kodansha. Carol Choi, the Executive Vice President of original content strategy at APAC ( Walt Disney Company Asia-Pacific), added her comments on this:
We are thrilled to deepen our strategic collaboration with our long standing partner Kodansha on such an exciting genre. Japanese anime fills the white space in our content development plans and we believe this expanded collaboration will be a game changer in Disney’s future animation strategy in Japan. We look forward to bringing the anime titles and prized IP by Kodansha to the world stage
Carol Choi on the new partnership with Kodansha
Luke Kang, the President of APAC, also added his comments during the announcement of this new partnership in Singapore:
We are focusing our content development on what we refer to as our content whitespace. Investing in areas that require more local specificity – either due to high popularity in select markets, like Japanese anime, K-dramas or Indonesia rom-coms and horror, or the need for local storytelling with talent that are familiar to our local audiences
Luke Kang on the new partnership with Kodansha
History of Walt Disney and Kodansha
Kodansha and Walt Disney have been old partners since 1950 when both announced their partnership for the first time. Kodansha was the original company that published the famous Disney characters in a manga art book. Kodansha included characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Seven Dwarfs (From Snow white franchise) and Pluto Pup (From the Mickey Mouse Franchise) in this art book.
To this day, Kodansha is still doing the same for Disney in their magazine, Disney Fan, to keep their old partnership intact.
Has anime finally become that popular?
When such a big company is ready to fund new anime titles, we can finally say that anime is a worldwide phenomenon. According to the Consultancy Parrot Analytics, the demand for Japanese anime increased by about 118% over the past two years globally, especially during the pandemic, making it one of the fastest-growing media in the world.
Also, Walt Disney revealed that the streaming time of anime on Disney + also increased eight times since the last year, which was the catalyst for this new partnership.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter