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Home >News >India >Japan's Akatsuki looks to tie up with Netflix, Amazon for Indian animation
Apart from English and Hindi, Akatsuki looking at dubbing them into other top Indian languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Bengali

Japan's Akatsuki looks to tie up with Netflix, Amazon for Indian animation

  • Akatsuki will initially dub Japanese originals into Indian languages which will be available by the end of this year
  • In another two to three years, the company wants to look at developing Indian originals with local writers and talent

New Delhi: Japanese entertainment company Akatsuki Inc that announced its foray into India late last year is looking to tie up with a host of video streaming players and cable television services to adapt its local content for Indian audiences.

New Delhi: Japanese entertainment company Akatsuki Inc that announced its foray into India late last year is looking to tie up with a host of video streaming players and cable television services to adapt its local content for Indian audiences.

Starting with video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar and YouTube, the company best known for mobile games such as Dragon Ball Z (that had notched up 250 million downloads since its release, according to a Forbes report) and Bringing Up My Girl, and franchises such as Japan Sinks 2020 and Kumarba, said it will initially dub Japanese originals into Indian languages which will be available by the end of this year.

Starting with video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar and YouTube, the company best known for mobile games such as Dragon Ball Z (that had notched up 250 million downloads since its release, according to a Forbes report) and Bringing Up My Girl, and franchises such as Japan Sinks 2020 and Kumarba, said it will initially dub Japanese originals into Indian languages which will be available by the end of this year.

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“Apart from English and Hindi, we’re looking at dubbing them into other top Indian languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Bengali. But in another two to three years, we want to looking at developing Indian originals with local writers and talent here," said Yuki Kawamura, head of global IP (intellectual property) expansion, in-charge of international business development and corporate development at Akatsuki Inc. Kawamura said the popularity of Japanese anime such as Doraemon and Shin-chan in India helped the company recognize the potential of the market.

“In contrast to Japan which has an ageing population, India has a huge kids segment which doesn’t have access to quality video content except perhaps live action," Kawamura added. India is the company’s only international focus, at the moment where it plans to invest “multiple millions of dollars every year."

Conversations with cable TV and VoD platforms had started earlier this year but things have paused because of the covid-19 pandemic. Akatsuki wants to eventually get to developing local Indian IPs but since that will take some time, it wants to bridge the timeline by dubbing five to six shows currently in the pipeline, details of which Kawamura declined to share.

Having long been seen as an entirely kids genre, animation is slowly catching up with Indian audiences. Disney’s animation film The Lion King, voiced by Shah Rukh Khan, crossed the 155 crore mark last year, emerging as the highest grossing Hollywood animation flick in India. Netflix is gung-ho about the success of Indian animation original Mighty Little Bheem that it says had the largest launch of any preschool original and the second-largest launch of any kids’ original animated series on the service. Several traditional forms of media may find their expansion derailed but the Indian animation and VFX segment is estimated to grow to Rs. 156 billion by 2022 according to the Ficci-EY media and entertainment industry report 2020.

Vivek Krishnani, managing director of SPE Films India Pvt. Ltd, the Indian division of Sony Pictures had said in an earlier interview to Mint that studios and filmmakers now realize the value of entire families going to theatres to watch animation. Localization initiatives such as getting a popular voice cast are taken to ensure Indian audiences connect with animated content in the language of their choice, apart from getting a fun, colloquial twang to the script and dialogues. There is much focus on writing afresh for local Indian versions of animation films, like all Hollywood films now, and not merely translating them from English.

“We’ve seen the trend set by companies like Disney in India and we hope to enhance that," Kawamura said. “The demand for animation has always been there but I don’t think there was full supply and we want to bridge that gap."

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