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Funimation President Talks Netflix's Evangelion Acquisition: 'We'd Do Better at Brand-Managing'

posted on by Karen Ressler

FUNimation Entertainment president Gen Fukunaga recently spoke to news website Polygon about Netflix's acquisition of the streaming rights to the Neon Genesis Evangelion television anime. In short, he doesn't think Netflix will do right by the series.

"I'm 100-percent sure that we'd have done a much better job brand-managing it and turning it back into what it was," he told Polygon.

Fukunaga's primary worry seems to be that it will get lost in Netflix's sea of content, which would be a loss for anime fans because it would hurt their ability to find the iconic series. He used his company's handling of My Hero Academia as an example. "Had My Hero Academia gone onto Netflix, it would have just dropped on the platform with any number of titles and probably would have died as a brand," he said. "Funimation markets it 360 — theatrical marketing, etc. — gets it available on iTunes and Xbox and PlayStation and gets it on other streaming platforms on its own, and really promotes it 360."

While Fukunaga was blunt that he really wanted the license for Funimation, he also made it clear why he thought Netflix ended up with the license instead. "Honestly, Netflix is willing to significantly overpay for something like [Evangelion] and outbid anybody by multiples, no matter what their ROI [return on investment] is," he said.

Netflix announced its acquisition of the original television anime and the Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth and Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion films last month. Netflix has not yet announced release plans, but it seems the series will get a new dub.

The original anime and films are some of the most influential and critically acclaimed works in the history of the medium, but has long remained out of print and unavailable in North America. ADV Films' last release of the anime was the "Platinum Edition" DVDs in 2004 and 2005. The company shut down in 2009.

Since then, the only iteration of the anime franchise available in North America has been the Rebuild of Evangelion film series, licensed by Funimation.

Source: Polygon (Allegra Frank)

Thanks to LegitPancake for the news tip.

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