Evolution Appointed as North American Licensing and Merchandising Agent for Yo-Kai Watch and LBX
LOS ANGELES, Calif., TOKYO, Japan May 26 2015 – DENTSU ENTERTAINMENT USA, INC. and LEVEL-5, Inc. have appointed leading licensing and merchandising agency EVOLUTION USA, LLC to bring the hugely popular multimedia franchises YO-KAI WATCH and LBX (a.k.a Little Battlers eXperience) to the USA and Canadian markets. Evolution will premiere the YO-KAI WATCH property to key licensees and retailers at the upcoming Licensing Expo in Las Vegas (June 9-11th) at booth F155 and will be licensing and managing the franchises as the full service licensing and promotions agency, with products and retail promotions premiering on store shelves beginning in Fall 2016.
Hasbro has been previously announced as the YO-KAI WATCH master toy licensee for the USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Central and South America and will introduce an innovative line of toys for the franchise beginning in Spring 2016. VIZ Media, LLC has been granted the publishing rights for Manga (Graphic Novels) under the Perfect Square imprint. Nintendo of America is launching a North American version of the best selling Nintendo 3DS handheld game in 2015.
“As leaders in the licensing industry, Evolution is the perfect partner to license and manage these amazing properties in the North American market as we expand the franchises globally”, said Mr. Marc Harrington, Sr. Vice President, Global Strategy & Development.
“YO-KAI WATCH' has taken the Japanese retail market by storm selling in excess of $1.0 billion of toys and other merchandise in Japan, not counting games, music or publishing, since its introduction in January 2014 on TV TOKYO," says Travis J. Rutherford, President Licensing & Retail, Evolution. “Plans are well underway for a major rollout of this sensational franchise across North American market and our team looks forward to working closely with Dentsu and Level-5 and supporting all the efforts of Hasbro, Nintendo and VIZ Media to maximize this opportunity across all retail channels”.
YO-KAI WATCH is an original concept created by renowned Japanese game company LEVEL-5, Inc. and the Nintendo 3DS video games have sold 7.2 million units in Japan. With an imaginative plot, great characters, comedy and adventure, YO-KAI WATCH has become one of the most popular franchises of all time in Japan. The story centers around a young boy who gets a special watch empowering him to discover and summon mysterious Yo-kai that help him solve problems in his daily life usually caused by other trouble-making Yo-kai. The YO-KAI WATCH animated series, a joint production effort of LEVEL-5, Inc., Dentsu Inc., and TV TOKYO Corporation, is the top-rated show for kids 4-12 across all genres on TV TOKYO and has the highest average household ratings among all regularly scheduled animated programs on the network. A major broadcast partnership in the USA is in work but has yet to be formally announced.
LBX – also an original concept created by LEVEL-5, Inc. – is based on an extremely popular Japanese animated television series and franchise. LBX has been renewed by Nicktoons for a second season and will add an additional 26 episodes, slated to begin running in fall, 2015. Bandai America will continue as the master toy licensee, and additional merchandising and licensing opportunities are now being sought.
About LEVEL-5, Inc.
LEVEL-5 Inc. plans, creates, and markets videogame software in Japan. The company's flagship PROFESSOR LAYTON series has shipped over 15.5 million units worldwide, while the mega-hit INAZUMA ELEVEN series has shipped approximately 7.5 million units worldwide. The Little Battlers eXperience animated series, based on the hugely successful games of the same name, will soon make its western debut in Europe and the Americas. The company released Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for North America and Europe, featuring animations by the Academy Award-winning Studio Ghibli, and music by Joe Hisaishi. In September 2010, LEVEL-5 Inc. opened an office in California. While maintaining its base as a game company, LEVEL-5 Inc. continues to actively explore collaborations with other media, as it strives to become a world-class entertainment brand. More information on LEVEL-5 Inc. can be found at http://www.level5ia.com and http://www.level5.co.jp.
About Dentsu Entertainment USA, Inc.
Dentsu Entertainment USA, Inc. was formed in 2010 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dentsu Inc. (Tokyo Stock Exchange, Code 4324). Dentsu Inc. is the world's largest advertising agency, and a leading producer of Japanese animation, with approximately 43,000 full-time employees and more than 750 subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide. Dentsu Entertainment USA develops original animation programming and media content for domestic and international markets, and manages licensing programs for new and existing intellectual properties. Current projects include: YO-KAI WATCH™ now in development for the Americas in 2015, which debuted on TV Tokyo and is consistently ranked as the top-rated show in its time block; LBX™ (a.k.a. "Little Battlers eXperience"), a highly successful animation, video game and toy franchise, based on miniature customizable robots; and Monsuno®, an innovative toy line and animated boys action adventure series currently airing on Nicktoons and free-to-air channels in more than 150 countries. Dentsu Entertainment USA is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA. For more information, please visit www.DentsuEntertainment.com.
About Evolution USA, LLC
Evolution has the expertise to fully monetize all forms of intellectual properties through licensing, digital monetization, promotions, location based entertainment, retail development and brand management on a global basis. Evolution is also adept at managing manufacturing and distribution, which enables it to develop intellectual properties from concept to the retail shelf. Learn more at www.evomgt.com.