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Lotus launches cartoon portal

KatanaXtreme specializes in Japanese content

TOKYO — Lotus, a Tokyo-based sales, production and rights management outfit, has launched what it claims is the first business-to-business international portal specializing in Japanese toon, comic and game rights.

Called KatanaXtreme, the English-language site is up and running in a beta version, with a full-scale launch skedded by the end of the year.

Among U.S. partners in the site are Comic Book Movies, which works with Lotus in pic development and production; Lexicon Filmed Entertainment and Capitol Films, which are contributing coin and production support, and Harbor Light Entertainment, which will provide US distribution and production support.

The site is divided into an area for all visitors that shows clips of clients’ toons, and an area for registered members that has more detailed info about product on offer. Registration is free; Lotus makes its coin by offering research, sales agency and other services.

“The main advantage of the site is that it assembles all rights information about given contents in one place,” said Lotus prexy Hiroshi Koizumi. “Too often in Japan that information is scattered among the various rights holders.”

The aim, he adds, is to “facilitate the production of feature films between Japan and Hollywood.”

Among Japanese contributors of toon content are Production I.G., Tatsunoko Prod., Anime International Company and Tsuburaya Dream Factory.

Lotus plans to use KatanaXtreme as a springboard to expand its PR, production and franchising biz, especially in Europe, where it intends to localize the site in co-operation with partners.

“We won’t just translate the site into, say Italian, but develop content specifically for that market,” Koizumi explained.

Its premiere partner in the pic biz is Comic Book Movies, launched in 2004 by “Batman” producer Michael E. Uslan to develop pics from comic properties.

Repping for CBM in Japan, as well as the rest of Asia, Lotus was instrumental in securing rights for CBM to several comics by manga icon Shotaro Ishinomori (“Kamen Rider,” “The Legend of Zelda”) that CBM plans to develop into live-action pics.

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