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VIZ Co-Owners Buy 2 EU Anime Companies


ANN's caught word that Shogakukan and Shueisha-- the co-owners of U.S.-based VIZ Media --have purchased not one but two anime distributors in Europe. The two companies are France's Kaze, and Germany's Anime-Virtual. I'm not entirely clear on this, but from ANN's post it looks like both companies handle their own localization, dubbing and subbing.

These companies will become part of VIZ Media Europe, which already handles some amount of marketing and distribution in Europe for VIZ (read: Shogakukan and Shueisha) titles. France and Germany are both considered pretty big markets for anime, especially France, home of Japan Expo-- one of the world's biggest Jpop culture conventions. (At 164,000 attendees in 2009, it's over four times the size of Anime Expo in Los Angeles, which had 44,000 attendees in 2009). That said, the actual dollar value of their markets ($24 million USD) is somewhat smaller than the US, which was pegged at $2.8 billion in '07 (which was down from 2003's $4.84 billion). I'm not sure if that includes Poland and Sweden, which Anime-Virtual also has divisions in.

Anyway, it's an interesting move. I tend to associate VIZ Europe with being "that company that markets the stuff that VIZ will announce for US release in a year or two" (which happened to Honey and Clover, Nana, Monster, and a few other highly-anticipated titles). It'll be interesting to see how they do controlling the local localizers, as it were.
Zeouterlimitson Aug. 28, 2009 at 9:29 a.m.
Hmm, wonder how Kaze compare with Beez... 
  Anime Virtual publishes Geass in Germany, while Beez do it in Britain, Ireland and France..

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