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Disney makes anime deal with Kodansha it calls a "game changer"

Disney and Kodansha expand their partnership, will co-produce original shows for Disney+

Tokyo Revengers
Image credit: Kodansha

Starting in 2023, the Walt Disney Company is getting more heavily involved in the anime business, with the company announcing Wednesday an expanded partnership with Kodansha that will see the two co-producing original material for Disney+ internationally.

The news of the two companies’ increased collaboration was announced during a content showcase held in Singapore on November 30, as relayed by the Hollywood Reporter. The deal will also include Disney licensing anime based on pre-existing Kodansha-published manga, starting with Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown Arc, launching in January 2023 on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar in the Asia-Pacific market.

“We are thrilled to deepen our strategic collaboration with our long standing partner Kodansha on such an exciting genre,” explains Carol Choi, Disney’s executive vice president of original content strategy for Asia-Pacific. “Japanese anime fills the white space in our content development plans and we believe this expanded collaboration will be a game changer in Disney’s future animation strategy in Japan. We look forward to bringing the anime titles and prized IP by Kodansha to the world stage.”

Disney has been growing its anime offerings slowly for some time, partially in response to an increased demand worldwide; according to the company’s presentation, it has increased its locally-produced Asian content on Disney+ 800% over the last year.

Kodansha has a long history of working with Disney before this latest announcement; the two companies have been collaborating on projects since the '50s, with Kodansha’s Disney Fan magazine in its 32nd year of continued publication.

News of the new terms with Kodansha comes weeks after Disney announced that it would be the exclusive worldwide streaming home for VIZ Media’s Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, with Disney+ handling distribution outside of the US, Asia, and Arabic-Speaking Africa/Middle Eastern markets, with Hulu handling the US. And that original Grogu short from Studio Ghibli, of course.

Kodansha titles showed up during the Best and Worst Manga panel at New York Comic Con 2022.