Emon Transfers Its Majority Stake in Anime Studio Artland

posted on by Egan Loo
Chinese/Japanese firm had owned 51% of studio behind Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Macross, Mushi-Shi

Emon Animation Company, a Chinese/Japanese firm, announced on Friday that it transfered its entire majority stake in the anime studio Artland to the Tokyo-based company LEVELS on July 12. Emon transfered its 51% stake in its consolidated subsidiary Artland to LEVELS, while Artland President Kuniharu Okano retains his 49% stake.

In its press release, Emon explained that its long-term corporate goal is developing the Chinese animation business based on respect for Japanese animation production practices. It invested in Artland after 2015 as a bridge to that goal.

However, Emon added that more than one year after its investment, the unanticipated difficulties facing an overseas company restructuring a Japanese anime studio became clear. After discussions within Emon and with Artland's president, Emon decided to transfer its stake to enhance Artland's future prospects and brand value.

Teikoku Databank had reported earlier in July that Artland ceased operations as of June 30, and the company has hired a lawyer to handle its post-operation affairs. The company lists Artland's debt at 298 million yen (about US$2.62 million) as of the end of December 2016.

Late anime director Noboru Ishiguro established Artland in 1978. The studio produced such iconic anime as The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Megazone 23, The Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Mushishi. The company incorporated in 2006 and became a subsidiary of Marvelous. At that time, it produced such anime as Mushishi and Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. In 2010, Marvelous split Artland into a rights holding company and the actual animation studio. The studio recently worked on 2015's Komori-san Can't Decline series.

Teikoku Databank listed that Artland's annual income as of November 2013 was about 260 million yen (about US$2.29 million), but by December 2016 the annual income was 21 million yen (about US$184,000). Teikoku Databank explained that even though the company continued to make popular works such as Mushishi, Artland's outsourcing costs comprised almost 90% of its production costs, and the company continued to accrue debt.

Emon Animation Company announced in June 2016 that it was investing in the studio for the purpose of strengthening its anime production capacity. Emon Animation Company had bought 51% of the stock in Artland, and planned to restructure the company. Emon is the Japanese branch of Haoliners, an animation brand based in Shanghai and a subsidiary of Shanghai Haoliners Cultures Media Co., Ltd.

[Via Hachima Kikō]

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