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.”

Crunchyroll Taps Julian Lai-Hung to Head Asian Content Strategy

Crunchyroll, the anime-centric producer/distributor owned by WarnerMedia, continues to aggressively re-assert its brand globally, naming Julian Lai-Hung as the head of content strategy & business development focused on Japan and Asia-Pacific markets.

AT&T and The Chernin Group in 2014 formed over-the-top video conglomerate Otter Media, which became majority owner of 8-year-old Crunchyroll. AT&T melded the anime company to WarnerMedia after acquiring Time Warner.

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Julian-Lai-Hung

Based in Tokyo, Lai-Hung will focus on building out Crunchyroll’s content strategy, driving the originals initiative and identifying new business opportunities with existing and new partners.

Lai-Hung cut his teeth working for Netflix where he helped the SVOD pioneer launch the service in Japan and oversaw the global anime category as director of content and anime in the region, and at Warner Bros., where he led a team as the VP of international digital distribution and global sales.

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While at Netflix, Lai-Hung was executive producer across a number of titles, including “Terrace House Aloha State,” “Million Yen Women,” “Godzilla: Monster Planet,” “Kuromukuro” and “Blazing Transfer Students.”

In addition to Lai-Hung, recent Crunchyroll appointments include Alden Budill as head of global partnerships and content strategy; Terry Li as head of 360 and GM of Crunchyroll Games, and John Easum as the head of Crunchyroll EMEA following the acquisition of VIZ Media Europe Group.

“Given Julian’s deep expertise and passion for the medium, he’s the perfect addition to our team to progress our efforts to identify new partnerships and creative opportunities,” Budill said in a statement.

GKIDS, Shout! Factory Set Home Dates for Anime Film ‘Ride Your Wave’

GKIDS and Shout! Factory have set an Aug. 4 home release date for Ride Your Wave, the latest film by anime amateur Masaaki Yuasa, who is known for  Night Is Short, Walk on Girl.

The film will be available for digital download, on demand, in a Blu-ray Disc-and-DVD combo pack, or as a standalone DVD.

Winner of the 2019 Best Animated Feature award at the Fantasia, Sitges, and Shanghai International film festivals, Ride Your Wave follows a surf-loving college student named Hinako who has just moved to a small seaside town. When a fire breaks out in her apartment, she is rescued by Minato, a handsome firefighter with whom she eventually falls in love. Just as they become inseparable, Minato loses his life in an accident at sea, which leaves Hinako so distraught that she can’t even look at the ocean. One day, as she is singing a song that reminded her of their time together, he appears on the water and she realizes she can summon him on any watery surface as soon as she sings the song.

Featuring an all-star Japanese voice cast that includes Ryôta Katayose and Rina Kawaei, Ride Your Wave also has a hit theme song in “Brand New Story,” performed by Generations From Exile Tribe. The home entertainment release also includes an all-new English-language version of the film, featuring the voices of Joey Richter (A Very Potter Musical) as Minato, Merit Leighton (“She-Ra and the Princesses of Power”) as Hinako, Sarah Williams (Kill la Kill, Puella Magi Madoka Magica) as Yoko, and Michael Johnston (Teen Wolf) as Wasabi.

Additional bonus features include an interview with producer Eunyoung Choi, animated storyboards, a character still gallery, trailers and TV spots, as well as an exclusive 12-page booklet with a statement from Masaaki Yuasa and other art.

HBO Max, Crunchyroll Partner for Anime on May 27 Launch

WarnerMedia’s pending SVOD platform HBO Max and sister company Crunchyroll, are teaming up to bring dubbed and subtitled anime on the platform when it launches on May 27.

Max subscribers will have access to 17 anime titles, including Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Re: ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-(Director’s Cut), and Keep Your Hands off Eizouken alongside the Crunchyroll Original series In/Spectre. Additionally, Max subs have access to Crunchyroll’s catalog of 1000+ titles, including Rurouni Kenshin, KONOSUBA -God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!, Bungo Stray Dogs, Berserk, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Kill la Kill, Your Lie in April, ERASED, Kiznaiver, Schwarzes Marken, 91 Days, The Testament of Sister New Devil and Rokka -Braves of the Six Flowers.

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WarnerMedia parent AT&T bought out Crunchyroll and Otter Media from The Chernin Group in 2013. Crunchyroll claims more than 60 million registered users and 2 million subscribers.  is available in more than 200 countries and territories and simultaneously translates simulcast series into eight languages around the world.

“This WarnerMedia family collaboration is bringing together an incredible collection of content with a passionate fandom and HBO Max is ‘tottemo ureshiii’ to expand the reach of this inventive artistry,” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max, president, TNT, TBS, and truTV, said in a statement.

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Shout! Factory March 17 Launches Streaming Channel TokuSHOUTsu on Pluto TV

Shout! Factory TV March 17 will launch a new linear streaming channel, TokuSHOUTsu, on AVOD service Pluto TV.

The 24/7 channel explores the world of tokusatsu — the Japanese entertainment genre known for its unique special effects and epic battles. Appearing on Channel 681 in the Tech + Geek section, TokuSHOUTsu presents tokusatsu content not available on any leading streaming service, curated especially for fans of the genre, according to Shout!.

Free to Pluto TV’s 22+ million monthly active users, the ad-supported TokuSHOUTsu will be home to the U.S. debut of the cult classic “Kamen Rider,” debuting with the inaugural 98-episode series from 1971. TokuSHOUTsu will also launch with “Ultraman Leo,” as well as “Super Sentai,” the series that ultimately led to the “Power Rangers” phenomenon.

Pluto TV is available on all leading digital streaming devices and services, including Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, as well as major smart TVs and game consoles. For viewers looking to stream content on demand, “Kamen Rider,” “Ultraman Leo” and “Super Sentai” will also be available on Shout! Factory TV.

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“We’re so proud to launch TokuSHOUTsu as the ultimate destination for fans to watch the best tokusatsu content spanning more than 60 years,” said Gene Pao, Shout! Factory’s SVP, digital enterprises, in a statement. “We know fans have come to appreciate the carefully curated content that Shout! Factory distributes, and we’ve created this channel with the legions of tokusatsu enthusiasts in mind. We’re thrilled to add it to our umbrella of fan-centric streaming options.”

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“’Kamen Rider’ is the number one kids’ program in Japan, and is still beloved after all these years,” said Shin-ichiro Shirakura, producer of the series. “We are so excited that the show will finally be available for all of our fans in North America.”

TokuSHOUTsu also will feature original content, including “Let’s Talk Toku,” a new, original weekly talk show produced by and for tokusatsu fans and hosted by genre expert Squall Charlson.

Shout! Factory, Eleven Arts Set Home Release Dates for ‘Sound! Euphonium: The Movie’

Shout! Factory and Eleven Arts on March 9 announced home release dates for Sound! Euphonium: The Movie — Our Promise: A Brand New Day.

The anime film will be released on digital download and On Demand on May 19, and in a Blu-ray Disc plus DVD combo pack on June 6.

Sound! Euphonium comes from Kyoto Animation, the critically acclaimed studio behind A Silent Voice: The Movie, Liz and the Blue Bird, and Violet Evergarden.

Bonus features include interviews with the English voice cast, featuring the talent of Christian La Monte (Shuichi Tsukamoto, director of English dub), Laura Post (Reina Kousaka) and Xanthe Huynh (Satsuki Suzuki).

In the film, Kumiko is now in her second year at Kitauji High School, “and with a new year comes new problems,” according to a news release. “As if making it to Nationals wasn’t hard enough, Kumiko is tasked with mentoring the concert band’s troublesome first years — each with their own distinct personality and problems to solve. With Kumiko busy juggling both the concert band and her new role as senpai, how does her relationship with Shuichi fit into the picture?”

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Sound! Euphonium is a popular franchise, starting as a series of YA novels and adapted into a manga and an anime series that ran for two seasons.

Eleven Arts is a Los Angeles-based distribution company known for bringing acclaimed anime films to North America. Eleven Arts’ anime titles most recently include A Silent Voice, Millennium Actress, Penguin Highway, Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms, Laughing Under The Clouds: Gaiden, Liz and the Blue Bird, Penguin Highway, and The Wonderland.