Netflix is co-producing three feature films with Studio Colorido including “Drifting Home”, which premieres in September, as it invests more deeply into original anime. The film will also premiere in cinemas domestically.
Anime has proven a draw for Netflix globally, but more specifically in Japan, where 90% of its users watch the genre.
“In order to … win globally, we must win locally first,” Kaata Sakamoto, Vice President of Content for Japan expressed in an interview.
The Asia-Pacific region was the bright spot in Netflix’s first-quarter earnings. The company said it was seeing “nice growth” in the region, including Japan; where it reported 5 million users in September 2020.
Netflix offers access to a broader audience than the hardcore anime fans traditionally targeted by the industry, Studio Colorido President Koji Yamamoto told Reuters in an interview.
The studio favours stories in which characters are pulled from their ordinary lives by a fantastical turn of events such as “Penguin Highway” from 2018, in which an elementary schoolboy investigates the sudden appearance of penguins in his town.
Family-friendly fits with Netflix’s strategy of expanding its content offerings in Japan, including launching some 40 original anime titles, scripted dramas such as “First Love”, and unscripted series like “Last One Standing.”
“We are ramping up our investment in Japanese content, not just in volume but in a variety of genres and formats,” Sakamoto expressed.