Back on 07 November 2013, the Sankei Shimbun published an article in its entertainment section examining the popularity of Japanese animation, not only within Japan, but abroad. The article, written by Toshiko Yuhara, provides a few quotes from the Vice President of Toei Animation, Kōzō Morishita, someone who is very familiar with the Dragon Ball franchise. Morishita was involved in the planning process of every animated Dragon Ball property, including the most recent series, Dragon Ball Kai.
While the article, entitled “The Deep-Rooted Popularity of ‘Rising-Sun Animation’ — One Reason is ‘Adult-Oriented’ [Genres], which Do Not Exist Overseas”, does discuss the numerous problems the animation industry has encountered in entering foreign markets (mainly adjusting to foreign business models and rampant piracy issues), it also notes some of their successes with pitching high profile franchises and utilizing new technologies (internet streaming, simulcasting episodes, etc.). Two such recent high profile ventures undertaken by Toei Animation were detailed by Yuhara: the CG animated film “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” and, of course, “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods”.
The article, presumably based on additional dialogue with Kōzō Morishita, goes on to specify the film’s success so far and Toei Animation’s plans for it internationally:
“Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods” has grossed 3 billion yen domestically, and is set to be released in 26 countries overseas. It has already been released in Latin America, where it achieved 850 million yen at the box office in the first weekend.
We have known for some time now that “Battle of Gods” was created with an international release in mind, but this detail provides a glimpse into what exactly they are shooting for. Unfortunately, not all of the countries have been unveiled thus far, but we are starting to get a better idea lately. Numerous countries and regions have already announced licensing of the film, or have even screened it, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy, Spain, and so on. Next up, North America…?
Yuhara closes the article with an inspiring and profound quote from Kōzō Morishita, who is more than likely just talking about Toei Animation’s ambitions to become a global giant within the industry.
Japanese animation is a product we can take pride in around the world. It is possible to break out of the shell of Japan, and to go out into the world.
Thanks to our buddy kei17 for the heads-up, back when the article was first released.
Oh that sounds like an interesting article. These are things I’ve thought of and it would be fun to read a take on it from Japan. It doesn’t look like there is an English translation though. That’s slightly ironic.
The article isn’t quite as interesting as you might think, nor probably as detailed as you’re looking for (the article’s only 6 short paragraphs). A lot of it is Morishita hyping up Toei Animation and the author describing their current practices of thwarting piracy abroad, all of which are things they’ve been doing for a while now.
I wonder if it’s possible to get Ocean to sidestep Fox’s bad idea deathgrip on US distribution and bring it out in Canada.
Sounds like we’ll have to wait for the DragonBall license to end in 2015 and have Toei of America come to town!
So, 26 countries in total, or in addition to those countries that have got it already? Because if it’s in addition, with all the countries in Latin America and Asia, the list isn’t that big anymore…