Shogakkan, Shueisha eye animation companies

TOKYO — Publishing giants Shogakkan and Shueisha have jointly acquired two Europe-based distributors of Japanese toons, according to a report in the Nikkei newspaper. Following the acquisition, for an undisclosed amount, the partners plan to merge the distribs and launch into local production of comics and toons.

In early September, Paris-based Kaze and Berlin-based Anime Virtual will be merged into Viz Media Europe, which produces and distribs Japanese toons and comics in the European market. The company is a subsid of San-Francisco-based Viz Media, which is jointly owned by Shogakkan, Shueisha and Shogakkan-Shueisha Prods.

Founded in 1993, Kaze already handles the Shogakkan titles “Detective Conan” and “Nana,” as well as the hit sci-fi/fantasy trilogy “20th Century Boys.”

Launched in 1995, Anime Virtual distributes Japanese toons in Germany, Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe. New titles include “Magister Negi Magi,” “XXXHolic the Movie” and “Saiyuki Requiem.”

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