Some of the biggest names in the entire anime industry are making major moves! Ellation, the company behind both VRV and Crunchyroll, announced the formation of Ellation Studios today and the first Crunchyroll Original series. Of course, they aren’t the first company to look into producing their own content. Netflix has been creating original anime and anime-inspired series for several years. Shows like SEVEN DEADLY SINS allow for direct curation of relevant content. Using a company’s built-in and subscription-based streaming service gives a company the ability to lock in a certain viewer base. If only one site has legal streams for an anime, that site takes all of its viewers.
Ellation’s content design and production facilities are located in both Burbank, California and Tokyo, Japan. Knowing Crunchyroll, this means they’ll be able to use the best and brightest at multiple parts of the globe. Japanese production networks are much stronger in Japan obviously. Combining them with a large marketing force operating out of California and propagating across both the Western and Eastern portions of anime fans is significant. The former GM of Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and current president of Women in Animation, Margaret Dean, is the head of this new studio.
On top of that, the announcement comes with information about the first Crunchyroll Original series. Ellation is keeping us on our toes with this announcement, and the immediate release of information for an original series bodes well for the new effort. Their new anime, HIGH GUARDIAN SPICE, is already making waves both in terms of business practice and gender diversity in anime.
A Diverse and Original Experience
HIGH GUARDIAN SPICE by Raye Rodriguez captures the whimsical and cool feel of classic anime with modern animation. The series is one of the first ever to feature an all-female writing room. The various artists and production staff working on the show also come from a much more diverse set of backgrounds than the average anime studio. This (hopefully!) means that anime will be getting representation while maintaining some degree of Japanese authenticity. It’s rare for the two to blend well. Crunchyroll Studios is doing well to make it their opening original series. Check out the HIGH GUARDIAN SPICE trailer below:
HIGH GUARDIAN SPICE features a set of four female protagonists. Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, and Sage all attend High Guardian academy, a school combining sorcery and heroism. The unique take on a traditional magical school anime has a much greater focus on character development and growth. From the talk in the announcement, it looks like the anime will examine what it means to progress past adolescence toward adulthood. There is an unfortunate number of trash magic school anime out there. Given that, this is a great break of the mold plaguing the genre right now.
A New Era for Crunchyroll and VRV!
Kun Gao, the founder and general manager of Crunchyroll, and Margaret Dean both have high hopes for the series. In statements given via Crunchyroll, the two made it clear that HIGH GUARDIAN SPICE is meant to be a pleasant medley of all the best parts of anime.
Crunchyroll has already co-produced many popular anime like KIZNAIVER and has done well when they did. But Crunchyroll Studios as a holistic entity allows Ellation to make use of its impressive hold on the international anime market. They can develop unique content with reliable viewership. Especially for Western audiences, this means a greater number of anime that appeal to Western interests without subsuming that classic anime essence. For any fan of any kind of anime, this is incredibly exciting news to wake up to.
The team behind HIGH GUARDIAN SPICE will appear at Crunchyroll Expo 2018, running from September 1st through the 3rd. We’ll likely get more information and key looks at the show there prior to the 2019 release date. In the meantime, let us know your reaction to this exciting news in the comments below!
Featured image from YouTube