Kodansha’s Rights Business and Anime / Game Division

The rights business with manga as content is becoming a large scale at major publishers. One of the most talked-about recently was that Kodansha launched a new animation and game division on February 19, this year. The rights business division has been reorganized, but it is a large department with about 60 employees and staff. We talked to Yohei Takami, General Manager of the Anime and Game Division, about the aim and activities of the new establishment.
“Up until now, Kodansha had a huge department called the Rights Division, which handled both animation and live-action, including commercialization. On the other hand, there was another department called International Rights, which sells overseas. What I did this time was to cut out animation and games and create a new department that combines the staff of the former/domestic rights and the former/international rights. In addition, the IP business department was newly established this time. This is the department that mainly handles the commercialization of legendary works and advertising.
The background is the change in the environment surrounding animation and games. Already, in order to produce it, we had to look overseas from the planning stage. The reality was that we had to work with companies in Europe, the United States, and China. That’s why we decided to bring international and domestic teams together to improve ventilation.
For example, when it comes to big titles such as “Attack on Titan”, you have to keep an eye on games made overseas. When a game hits, it becomes a huge business worldwide. International and domestic are borderless, aren’t they?
In the past, it was a method of first making it in Japan and then taking it overseas and selling it, but that does not mean that Simul (simultaneous) distribution can not be done overseas. If there is a gap between the broadcast and distribution of the anime, pirated versions will spread, and if you make it a distributor, the price will drop. Since the purchase is quick, it is expected that the program will be sold overseas when the animation production committee is formed in Japan. ”
It is known that “Attack on Titan” is recognized all over the world, but it is said that it is an era when “The Quintessential Quintessential Bride” and others that are sold in Japan can be sold overseas. Of the international and domestic rights business, animation and games have moved to a new department, so the conventional department will handle live-action and events.
The movement reflects the times when manga and anime crossed national borders and became borderless due to digitalization, but how do you read manga overseas? Is it paper or digital comics?
“It depends on the country and region. For example, in Europe, especially in France, many people still read in paper books. More and more people are looking at it digitally, but the fact that paper is still strong is history and tradition. There is a culture in that manga is read on paper.
For North America, we have a subsidiary called Kodansha USA Publishing, so for paper and electronics, most of our main works are from there. ”(Mr. Takami)
It is said that fantasy works are very popular in Europe and the United States, but what is the current situation?
“Especially boys’ fantasy is popular. In the work of” Weekly Shonen Magazine “, it used to be” FAIRY TAIL “, but now” The Seven Deadly Sins “is selling well.
The work of Hiro Mashima, the creator of “FAIRY TAIL”, has been serialized from 2018 as “EDENS ZERO”, but since it will be animated from April, Netflix will distribute it overseas at the same time as broadcasting. , Has become a hot topic all over the world.
“The Seven Deadly Sins” is now a big hit overseas with the game “The Battle of Light and Darkness (Grand Cross)”. It was produced by a Korean company called Netmarble, which uses animation images. “(Same as above)
“Sailor Moon,” a legendary work serialized in “Nakayoshi,” is still popular in Europe and elsewhere, and is said to be read on paper and digitally.
“Recently, works called” Naro-kei “such as” That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime “that are selling well in Japan are also big hits all over the world.” Working cells “are also selling well in the work of” Monthly Shonen Sirius “. “(Same as above)
It is said that sexual expression and violent expression in Japanese manga and anime are a problem overseas, but what is the current situation?
“In the case of Japanese TV anime broadcasting, both adults and children can watch it, but in Europe and the United States, distributors impose age restrictions, so conversely, if you clear it, Individual expressions may be relatively free. “(Same as above)
When it comes to simultaneous distribution all over the world, it is necessary to prepare in advance such as translation, but how do you do that?
“We work very closely with overseas partners, such as handing over the materials in advance to prepare for translation.
Simulcasting is now common all over the wo