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DLE Develops Okko's Inn Director Kitaro Kousaka's Next Project

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Company also constructs new studio

Anime studio DLE revealed on Thursday in its first-quarter financial results for fiscal year 2019 (April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020) that it is developing director Kitaro Kousaka's next work. The work is a key part of the studio's initiative to establish a base of intellectual property development. The company is constructing a new studio related to the project.

Kousaka's Okko's Inn (Waka Okami wa Shōgakusei!; seen right) anime film opened in Japan in September 2018, and is based on writer Hiroko Reijō and artist Asami's juvenile literature series. The film tells a story not told in either the original book series or April 2018 television anime series — specifically, a story about Okko and her parents. DLE and Madhouse animated the film along with the television anime, but Kousaka (A-Girl, Nasu: Summer in Andalusia) directed the film instead of the television anime's directors. Similarly, Reiko Yoshida (K-ON!, The Cat Returns, Girls und Panzer) wrote the script instead of the television staff.

GKIDS and Fathom Events held United States screenings of the anime film on April 22-23. GKIDS and Shout! Factory will release Blu-ray Disc and DVD on July 2. The film will also launch for digital download on the same day.

DLE appointed Tomoya Katsuyama as its new representative director on September 20. The previous representative director, the studio's founder Ryūta Shiiki, remained with the company as a regular board director.

Asahi Broadcasting Group Holdings bought a majority of DLE's shares for 2.772 billion yen (about US$25.21 million) on May 29, and made DLE a subsidiary. Before the buyout, Shiiki held a 35.69% share of the company, with Hasbro, Inc. owning 3.54% in shares. After the buyout, Asahi Broadcasting Group Holdings holds 51.96% of the shares, with Shiiki owning 17.15% and Hasbro owning 1.70%.

Japan's Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission reported in February that Japan's Financial Services Agency fined DLE 135.4 million yen (about US$1.22 million) for violating Japan's Financial Instruments and Exchange Law after the company reported inflated sales from falsified transactions. DLE then announced on March 30 that it had sold its shares of the coyote joint venture to its co-shareholders Toei and Toei Animation Music Publishing.

DLE was founded in 2001, is perhaps best known for its work on the Eagle Talon anime franchise. The studio's other anime include Sword Gai: The Animation, Ore-tacha Yōkai Ningen, Thermae Romae, Haiyoru! Nyaru-Ani, Glass no Kamen Desu ga, Hakuōki: Otogisōshi, and Insufficient Direction. DLE also produces live-action content and also hosts events such as Tokyo Girls Collection.

DLE also partnered with Chinese film company Shanghai Griffin Film Corporation in 2016 to produce new creative projects in both Japan's and China's animation industries. DLE established an American branch in 2012.

Source: Animation Business Journal (Tadashi Sudo)

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