Chinese Company Plans Live-Action Dramas Based on Dragon Zakura, Other Manga
posted on by Karen Ressler
Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding has begun producing live-action dramas based on Japanese anime and manga for a Chinese internet streaming market, starting with an adaptation of Norifusa Mita's Dragon Zakura manga.
The show has an estimated budget of 50 million yuan (about US$7.81 million) for 40 episodes, each 40-minutes long, and will cast Chinese actors. Alibaba purchased the rights from Tokyo's Cork Agency, which will supervise the editorial process.
Alibaba plans to distribute these dramas over streaming websites, and the company agreed to purchase Chinese video streaming platform Youku Tudou in November. Alibaba also plans to sell tie-in merchandise via its online store.
Youku Tudou was one of several Chinese websites that were fined by the Chinese government earlier this year for hosting violent or sexual animated series from Japan.
As of April 1, new regulations in China require video websites to seek approval to stream foreign media. The Chinese Ministry of Culture announced in June that it has blacklisted 38 Japanese anime and manga titles, such as Attack on Titan and Highschool of the Dead, from distribution in China, online or in print.
Mita's 2003-2007 Kodansha Manga Award-winning Dragon Zakura manga has previously been adapted into a Japanese television drama in 2005, with a sequel in 2010, and a Korean live-action television series in 2010. The series follows an ex-biker gang member and lawyer who restarts his life as a teacher at a rough high school.