Ninja Hattori-kun Comedy Anime Gets Remake in India
posted on by Egan Loo
The Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi and Hakuhodo DY Media Partners have begun pitching India-produced remakes of popular anime programs to television stations throughout Asia this year. The first project in this initiative is the first new animated program in nearly 25 years for Ninja Hattori-kun, the comedy action manga/anime franchise from Doraemon co-creator Motoo Abiko or "Fujiko Fujio (A)." Faced with Japan's stagnating domestic anime marketplace due to its declining birthrate, the two partner companies plan to break into Asian markets with sizable youth demographics by taking advantage of India's lower production costs.
Shinei Animation, a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Asahi, is jointly producing the project with Reliance MediaWorks, a major Indian production company. Shinei is handling the writing and direction, while Reliance will be in charge of the actual animation process and audio recording. Whereas a 30-minute program would cost 10 to 15 million yen (US$130,000 to US$195,000) to produce in Japan, a similar program would cost about half that in India.
The new 26-episode Hattori-kun production will begin airing in India this May. (The original work began airing there in 2006, and it rose to the top of the children's animated television ratings with its huge popularity.) The new version will then be "imported back" into Japan on TV Asahi this summer, and the partners have decided to pitch it to stations in 10 countries, including Korea and Thailand.
TV Asahi is exploring the possibility of directly establishing a presence in India for animation production. It is also considering joint productions for Perman, Crayon Shin-chan, and other titles. According to The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA), there were 195 television anime programs in 2010 — which is down 30% from the peak in 2006. Advertising, sale of goods, and other related businesses totaled about 92 billion yen (US$1.2 billion), which represented the fourth consecutive year of decline.
The financial news source Nikkei previously reported last week that the Japanese publisher Kodansha and the anime studio TMS Entertainment are collaborating on an Indian/Japanese animated series adaptation of Ikki Kajiwara and Noboru Kawasaki's Kyojin no Hoshi baseball manga. However, the new production will remake the story with India's ball game of choice, cricket.
Image © Fujiko Studio/Shinei