Netflix to Bow ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ Anime Series Based on Games

Netflix will release an original anime series, “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness,” based on the games, in 2021.

The horror-action series, centered around the stories of the two popular characters, Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, will be produced and supervised by Capcom’s Hiroyuki Kobayashi, who is responsible for bringing out numerous titles in the “Resident Evil” series.

TMS Entertainment, which has birthed various anime series, will produce the series, while Quebico, led by Kei Miyamoto, the producer of Resident Evil: Vendetta, will be in charge of 3DCG animation production.

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With the first game released in 1996 on Sony PlayStation, the “Resident Evil” series is nearing its 25th anniversary.

Zack Snyder’s ‘Army of the Dead’ Will Also Get Prequel and Anime Series at Netflix

Zack Snyder’s new zombie action heist film Army of the Dead, scheduled to debut on Netflix in 2021, is spawning a film prequel and anime series at the SVOD service.

“I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to partner with Netflix again as we expand the Army of the Dead universe with both an international prequel, as well as exploring the visually dynamic world of animation,” Snyder said in a statement. “It’s been a great collaboration and we are thrilled that Netflix sees this as as big of an IP as we do.”

Army of the Dead follows a group of mercenaries into a zombie infested Las Vegas who try to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted. It stars Dave Bautista,  Ella Purnell, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, Huma Qureshi, Omari Hardwick, Tig Notaro, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Matthias Schweighöfer, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder and Samantha Win.

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The anime series, “Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas,” chronicles the origin story of Scott (Bautista) and his rescue crew during the initial fall of Vegas as they confront the mysterious source of the zombie outbreak. Snyder will direct two episodes of the anime series. In addition to Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Tig Notaro, Omari Hardwick and Ella Purnell will reprise their roles in the anime series.

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Shay Hatten, one of the writers of the screenplay for Army of the Dead, will write the prequel as well as the anime series. The prequel will be directed by and star Grimme Award winner Schweighöfer and will follow his Army of the Dead character Ludwig Dieter.

“It has already been a great pleasure to be part of this wonderful ensemble around Zack Synder — a fascinating project. I am happy that it is now being developed on so many different levels,” Schweighöfer said in a statement.

Crunchyroll Bows New Membership Tiers

Anime streaming service Crunchyroll has introduced new membership tiers.

Updates to the Crunchyroll Android and iOS applications began rolling out Aug. 24 offering access to the new benefits. Not all users will have access right away, but the updated application should be fully available to global fans in early September.

The new tiers are:

  • “Free,” with ad-supported streaming access and new episodes available one week after premiere;
  • “Fan,” at $7.99 per month and including ad-free viewing, full access to Crunchyroll’s anime library of more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes alongside immediate access to simulcast series day and date with their premiere in Japan, access to Crunchyroll’s library of digital manga, and access to one stream;
  • “Mega Fan,” available for $9.99 per month and including ad-free viewing, full access to Crunchyroll’s anime library alongside immediate access to simulcast series day and date with premiere in Japan, access to Crunchyroll’s library of digital manga, offline viewing, access to four concurrent streams, and $15 off a purchase of $100 every three months at the Crunchyroll Store; and
  • “Ultimate Fan,” at $14.99 per month and including ad-free viewing, full access to Crunchyroll’s anime library alongside immediate access to simulcast series day and date with premiere in Japan, access to Crunchyroll’s library of digital manga, offline viewing, access to six concurrent streams, $25 off a purchase of $100 every three months at the Crunchyroll Store, an annual Ultimate Fan member swag bag, and exclusive access to the purchase of Ultimate Fan merchandise.

 

Consumers without a current premium membership can learn more by going to crunchyroll.com/welcome. Premium members can learn more at crunchyroll.com/acct/membership.

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In addition to a large collection of anime, Crunchyroll connects the anime community through Crunchyroll News, shopping exclusives on the Crunchyroll Store, a variety of mobile games, and live and virtual events such as the upcoming Virtual Crunchyroll Expo.

Crunchyroll Crosses 3 Million Paid Subs

Anime streaming service Crunchyroll has crossed 3 million paid subscribers globally and more than 70 million registered users, according to the service.

With more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes, Crunchyroll is available in more than 200 countries and territories with select series simulcast in eight languages day and date with the premiere in Japan, according to the service.

“Crunchyroll’s global growth has been incredible,” Joanne Waage, GM of Crunchyroll, said in a statement. “We launched in 2006 and it took us about 10 years to hit 1 million subscribers. It took us only two years after that to break 2 million, and even less than that to hit 3 million subscribers where we are today. But we don’t just measure success based on paying subscribers. We have an active and growing AVOD community of more 70 million registered users. Our goal has always been to grow the love of anime globally, and these numbers show our labor of love is paying off — and this is just the beginning.”

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Crunchyroll is part of Otter Media, a WarnerMedia company, that manages and invests in a portfolio of digital-first media brands. Late last year, Crunchyroll closed the majority acquisition of VIZ Media Europe Group, expanding its suite of consumer brands to include streaming services Anime Digital Network (in partnership with Citel, a subsidiary of Média-Participations) and Anime on Demand, DVD and manga publisher KAZÉ, and live action content distributor Eye See Movies.

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Other recent developments include:

  • Earlier this year, Crunchyroll announced its inaugural slate of Crunchyroll Originals, with 12 total series announced thus far. The first two originals were “Tower of God,” a Crunchyroll and Webtoon Production, and “The God of High School.”
  • Crunchyroll has launched more than 20 Crunchyroll Loves collections, the brand’s in-house streetwear line, featuring rapper, songwriter and singer Megan Thee Stallion; the iconic franchise Godzilla; and horror manga artist Junji Ito; as well as series “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” and “DARLING in the FRANXX” among other franchises.
  • Crunchyroll has helped launch seven games to date, reaching more than a combined 500,000 monthly players, with more to come before the end of the year. The most recent game, “Mass for the Dead,” which was released at the end of April, is based on the anime series “Overlord.”
  • Earlier this year, Crunchyroll and HBO Max teamed up to bring fans more anime. Crunchyroll currently curates the Crunchyroll hub on HBO Max, bringing select fan-favorite titles to the platform each quarter. Crunchyroll has also announced several linear TV partnerships, including curating anime for the Toonami block on Adult Swim and for a special anime block for TNT Comedy in Germany. Crunchyroll EMEA also distributed the popular sports series “Captain Tsubasa” across eight countries on more than 40 linear TV channels.
  • Crunchyroll currently manages merchandising rights for more than 350 anime titles, working with more than 100 global licensees to provide anime fans with lifestyle, fashion, and home goods products from their favorite series.
  • In 2019, Crunchyroll participated in more than 190 events across 18 countries, reaching more than 22 million fans. This year, Crunchyroll has participated in 21 virtual events across Crunchyroll, Anime Digital Network, Anime on Demand, and KAZÉ. Crunchyroll also hosts the Anime Awards, the brand’s yearly celebration of the best in anime, reaching more than 11 million votes this year (up from 5 million the year before), with more than half coming from international fans. Crunchyroll also hosts an annual anime convention, Crunchyroll Expo, and will introduce a Virtual Crunchyroll Expo this labor day weekend.
  • Crunchyroll serves the global anime community, managing more than 350 social channels that cater to more than 40 million anime fans. This also includes the publication of Crunchyroll News, the owned and operated editorial arm of Crunchyroll read by more than 2.5 million fans per month.

 

“Crunchyroll is a pioneer in the direct-to-consumer space, who for the last 14 years, has shown the industry first-hand what it takes to build a successful DTC business with a die-hard, passionate fan base supporting it,” Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, said in a statement. “I am so proud of the entire Crunchyroll team for this incredible accomplishment and for their continued focus on harnessing the global anime community through authentic storytelling. It’s what makes Crunchyroll so much more than a DTC — it’s the preeminent Anime brand globally.”

Crunchyroll is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, Lausanne, Chisinau and Berlin (AV Visionen).

Two Acclaimed Anime Films Get Steelbook Treatment in October from Shout! Factory

Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, in October will re-release My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Princess Mononoke (1997), two Japanese animated films from Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki.

The films will be available Oct. 20 in a limited-edition Steelbook that includes a Blu-ray Disc and DVD combo pack, along with hours of bonus features and a booklet with art and statements from the filmmakers.

My Neighbor Totoro tells the story of a professor and his two young daughters, Satsuki and Mei, who move into a new home in the countryside, only to find life is not as simple there as it seems. They soon discover that the house and nearby woods are full of strange and delightful creatures, including a gigantic but gentle forest spirit called Totoro, who can only be seen by children.

Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, theatrical trailers, “Behind the Microphone”; textless opening and end credits; the featurettes “Creating My Neighbor Totoro,” “Creating the Characters,” “The Totoro Experience,” and “The Locations of My Neighbor Totoro”; a making-of featurette, “Producer’s Perspective: Creating Ghibli”; and an eight-page booklet with statements from the producer and director.

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Set in the late Muromachi period (1336-1573) in Japan, Princess Mononoke follows young warrior Ashitaka as he heads west in search of a cure for a deadly curse he’s been inflicted with. He stumbles into a bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi, the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home and the forest spirits that live there.

Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, theatrical trailers, TV spots, a “Behind the Microphone” featurette; and an eight-page booklet with statements from the producer and director.

Funimation Streaming Service Coming to Latin America

Anime content provider Funimation is expanding its streaming service to Latin America this fall.

Currently available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, the service will expand to Mexico and Brazil later this year.

Funimation also announced it would offer select subtitled and dubbed anime series in Spanish and Portuguese. The announcement was made during FunimationCon 2020, a free two-day virtual fan festival celebrating anime.

“Anime is special in that it speaks equally to people from different cultures, regions and languages around the world,” said Colin Decker, CEO of Funimation global group. “Audiences in Latin America are among the most passionate in the world and have been clamoring for more. Expanding Funimation to Mexico and Brazil is the natural next step for us to serve those fans and extend our brands.”

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Funimation is an independently operated joint venture between U.S.-based Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan). Its streaming services offer a catalog of more than 700 anime series and 13,000-plus hours of content available on 15 platforms and in 47 countries, according to the company.

Shout! Factory Releasing Anime Series ‘B: The Beginning’ on Disc and Digital Oct. 6

Shout! Factory will release B: The Beginning — Season One for digital download and as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack Oct. 6.

The popular Netflix anime series from Production I.G. (“Psycho-Pass,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Attack on Titan”) and director Kazuto Nakazawa is a character-driven crime procedural that blends the visual styles of anime, dystopian sci-fi, supernatural fantasy and gritty mystery.

The tiny city-state of Cremona has been shocked by a string of gruesome murders. As only vicious killers are being targeted, and from an enigmatic mark left at each crime scene, people call this mysterious executioner “Killer B.” When former detective Keith Kazama Flick is called back on duty after an eight-year hiatus, a new team assembles at the Royal Investigation Service with the purpose of putting an end to the bloodshed.

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B: The Beginning — Season One includes all 12 episodes with both the original Japanese audio with English subtitles, and an English dub. Extras include a mini-poster, two art cards, the pilot film that inspired the series, an interview with Nakazawa, and “Clean Opening — Clean Ending.”

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Also arriving Oct. 6 is B: The Beginning — The Ultimate Collection, a limited-edition set housed in a slipcase with three art cards and a 160-page hardback book packed with information about every element of the show’s world and story, taking fans behind the scenes of its production with staff interviews, character designs, background artwork, location information and more. The set includes the Blu-ray of the first season and a 21-track soundtrack CD.

Shout! Factory to Re-release 2013 Japananese Drama ‘The Wind Rises’

Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, in September will re-release The Wind Rises, a 2013 Japanese animated historical drama film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

The film will first be available for digital download and on demand Sept. 1, with the Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and standalone DVD version coming Sept. 22.

A fictionalized biopic of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter and A6M Zero aircraft, the film begins when he moves to Tokyo in 1923 to fulfill his dream of becoming a highly accomplished airplane designer. He had always been fascinated by aviation but was unable to become a pilot due to a medical condition. As rumors of war escalate, Horikoshi reunites with a young woman he met shortly after his big move. The two fall deeply in love, just as the young woman falls ill with tuberculosis. Horikoshi becomes inspired by visions of Italian aeronaut Caproni, and he realizes he must confront the mounting tragedies with dignity.

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Special features will include an exclusive booklet, a feature-length storyboard, the documentary episode “10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki,” “Behind the Microphone,” a film completion press conference, original theatrical trailers, and more.

The Wind Rises was the highest-grossing Japanese film in Japan in 2013, and received 13 nominations and 17 awards, including one Academy Award nomination. Hayao Miyazaki won the award for “Writing in an Animated Feature Production” at the 41st Annie Awards, and the film’s musical composer, Joe Hisaishi, was awarded the Japan Academy Prize in the category of Best Music Score.

The Wind Rises was also selected as “Audience Favorite – Animation” at Mill Valley Film Festival.

Shout! Factory Bags Distribution Deal for Anime Series ‘B: The Beginning’

Shout! Factory and U.K. animation distributor Anime Limited June 8 announced a North American home entertainment distribution deal for the suspenseful anime series “B: The Beginning.”

Shout! Factory plans to bring the first season of “B: The Beginning” to home audiences later this year, with plans for a Blu-ray Disc as well as an electronic sellthrough release on select digital platforms.

“We’re thrilled to be embarking on this new relationship with Anime Limited,” said Melissa Boag, SVP of Family Entertainment at Shout! Factory. “They’re well-known for their expert, high-quality releases and forward-looking business strategy, and we’re excited to partner with them.”

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“We’re excited to be collaborating with Shout! Factory to bring our ultimate edition of ‘B: The Beginning’ to U.S. audiences,” added Andrew Partridge, founder and CEO of Anime Limited. “Working with Shout! Factory provides access to their experience and expertise in the US, while developing the Anime Limited collector’s edition in a brand-new market. Shout! Factory is the ideal company to set out on this new venture with, and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do together.”

The deal was negotiated for Shout! Factory by Jordan Fields, VP of Acquisitions at Shout! Factory, and Partridge.

“B: The Beginning” is a character-driven mystery thriller created by Kazuto Nakazawa (Parasite Dolls) alongside the renowned studio Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, Psycho-Pass), and was directed by Nakazawa. The soundtrack is composed by Yoshihiro Ike (Blood: The Last Empire, Tiger & Bunny), with the theme song provided by former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman.

Shout! Factory Schedules August Home Release for Two Anime Films by Hayao Miyazaki

Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, Aug. 25 are re-releasing Kiki’s Delivery Service and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, two animated films from award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, as limited-edition Steelbook Blu-ray Disc and DVD combo packs. The collector’s sets come with hours of bonus features, including a booklet with art and statements from the creators.

Originally adapted from the 1985 novel by Eiko Kadono, Kiki’s Delivery Service is coming-of-age tale of a resourceful young witch who uses her broom to create a delivery service, only to discover she has lost her gift of flight after a moment of self-doubt. As she overcomes her problem, the time comes for her to leave home and learn a craft (according to an old witches tradition) and she embarks on her new journey with her sarcastic black cat, Jiji.

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Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, original theatrical trailers, Ursula’s painting, the locations of Kiki’s Delivery Service, an eight-page booklet with statements from the producer and director, and the featurettes “Creating Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “Producer’s Perspective: Collaborating with Miyazaki,” “Flying with Kiki & Beyond” and “Behind the Microphone.”

Based on Miyazaki’s 1982 manga of the same name, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was originally released two years later, in 1984. The Japanese animated epic, science fantasy and adventure film takes place 1,000 years after the Seven Days of Fire destroyed civilization, where warring human factions survive in a world devastated by atmospheric poisons and gigantic insects. The peaceful Valley of the Wind is nestled on the edge of the Toxic Forest and led by the courageous Princess Nausicaä, whose love of all living things leads her into terrible danger, as she fights to restore balance between humans and nature.

Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, the original theatrical trailers and TV spots, audio commentary with Hideaki Anno and Kazuyoshi Katayama, an interview with Toshio Suzuki and Hideaki Anno titled “Nausicaä and Evangelion! The Whereabouts of the Giant Warrior?,” a 12-page booklet with statements from the producer and director, and the featurettes “Behind the Microphone” and “Creating Nausicaä.”