DigiCharat Coming to the US?

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A Japanese news article states Broccoli has invested millions in Digital Manga, and will open a string of "Gamers!" anime stores in America by 2002.

Source: Broccoli, America Character Business Expansion (Japanese only)
Referrer: rec.arts.anime.misc

According to the article, Broccoli (known for their "Gamers" anime chain stores, and the anime series "DigiCharat") has invested US$2 million with the Digital Manga corperation and will open their first US "Gamers" store this July in Los Angeles. A second store in the LA area is also planned.

The article concludes by saying 3-5 more stores are expected to open on the West Coast by 2002.

A translation (provided by our own Mori Yuji) goes as follows:

The character business firm Broccoli (at Tokyo, the president is KITANI Taka-aki) announced Broccoli and Digital Manga (at L.A.) cooperated in character item distribution. Broccoli will start stores in L.A. and other cities and sell the character articles in cooperation with Digital. Broccoli invested $2 million in Digital while JAFCO, the leading stockholder of Broccoli, will invest $1 million in Digital in April. It means Broccoli will acquire an almost 30% stake and JAFCO will nearly 15%. Broccoli has their own thirteen stores called "Gamers" in Japan and will open a store in L.A. by July, and will another one in a suburb of L.A. within the year. They plan to set up three to five more stores in the West coast in 2002.

Update 4/19

The official Digital Manga Press Release, excerpted from Anime News Service:

LOS ANGELES, CA - Broccoli Co, LTD (, Japan's second largest distributor of Japanese animation (anime) and game merchandise, invested in Digital Manga, Inc. (, a California corporation, who distributes anime and
related merchandise in the US. Digital Manga will begin distributing Broccoli's original products, which includes "DiGi Charat" and "Aquarian Age" character goods, exclusively in the US.

Digital Manga also plans to open a retail store in the Los Angeles area by July 2001. Broccoli, which operates a chain of retail stores in Japan called "Gamers," will be supplying the retail store with merchandise from Japan.

There are also plans for Digital Manga to begin licensing Broccoli's character goods in the US.

Established in 1994, Broccoli opened the first character goods store "Gamers" in 1996. Currently, Broccoli operates 13 retail stores in Japan, and is the second largest retail chain specializing in anime.

Digital Manga, a California corporation based in Los Angeles, was established in 1996. A multi-faceted anime company, Digital Manga distributes anime and related merchandise in the US, localizes anime by translating and creating English language versions, and licenses Japanese properties overseas. Digital Manga and Production I.G ("Ghost in the Shell") are currently co-producing the English language version of "FLCL," the newest title by Gainax ("Neon Genesis Evangelion").

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