Marvel characters to get anime treatment

Scene from the seminal Ninja Scroll film
Scene from the seminal Ninja Scroll film
As part of the company’s aggressive strategy to grow the exposure of its character franchises in international markets, Marvel is partnering with Madhouse (Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D), one of the top Japanese animation studios in the world, to create brand new characters inspired by the Marvel Universe for the Japanese market.

Working closely with Marvel, Madhouse will produce cutting edge Japanese anime series based on Marvel’s world-renowned character library for the Japanese market. The characters will be adapted visually, using the unique style of Japanese anime, and their back stories and histories will interweave the local culture and history of Japan, with an eye toward making their mythology more relevant to the Japanese audience. This collaboration will result in a completely new character base, which will eventually cross-over into the current Marvel Universe.

“Marvel has continuously looked to push the boundaries with the Marvel Universe and seek new mediums for our characters. Madhouse is helping us expand the Marvel brand with a truly global vision tailored to themes and artistic styles popular in Japan, creating a uniquely localized and cross-cultural adaptation of the Marvel Universe,” said Simon Philips, President of Worldwide Animation for Marvel.

Madhouse is currently in production on the first of four new series (12 x 30 minutes), which are scheduled to launch in spring 2010. The initial series will feature characters including Iron Man and Wolverine, among others, and Madhouse will ultimately look to adapt the entire Marvel Universe, creating in essence a whole new character base for Marvel.

The Marvel anime series will debut on Animax, the first and largest 24-hour network dedicated to anime.

Marvel and Madhouse will be exploring related merchandising initiatives to support the new series.

With a library of over 5,000 characters built over more than sixty years of comic book publishing, Marvel Entertainment is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in licensing, entertainment and publishing, with emphasis on feature films, television, DVD, consumer products, video games, action figures, role-playing toys and promotions.

Madhouse is one of the top animation studios in the world working exclusively with some of Japan’s top anime directors. They have created many well-known titles such as worldwide hits Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D, Trigun, Tokyo Godfathers, and Metropolis, Japanese successful TV series such as Death Note and Nana, as well as Paprika (an Official Selection at the 2006 Venice Film Festival) and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2007 Japanese Academy Award for Best Film – Animation)

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