Saudi-owned MBC Group, which is the top broadcaster in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), is boosting anime offerings on its Shahid streaming platform by ordering up a slew of new content from several Japanese studios.
Reflecting a strong appetite for anime across the region – especially in Saudi, where Toei Animation’s “One Piece Film: Red,” shot to the top of the box office last month – MBC has extended its partnership with Toei to add more episodes of its “One Piece” TV series, the original iconic pirate adventure story written by Eiichiro Oda.
MBC has also snapped up exclusive rights in MENA to TV Tokyo’s “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War,” the 52-episode Japanese anime TV series that is a sequel of the “Bleach” manga series by Tite Kubo. “Bleach,” which returns following an eight-year hiatus, will drop on Shahid day-and-date with Japan and the U.S.
Furthermore MBC has expanded it partnership with Japan’s Aniplex, following the success on Shahid of the anime adaptation of Hajime Kamoshida’s light novel “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai,” about a male high school who meets several girls who are experiencing “puberty syndrome.”
The expansion will see the addition of more than 200 hours of Aniplex content on Shahid, including “Stay Night,” “Sword Art Online” and “Gurren Lagann.”
Tareq Al-Ibrahim, director of content for SVOD at Shahid, said: “Anime is extremely popular in the Middle East region – particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – so needless to say, we are incredibly excited to be making new additions to our ever-expanding anime catalog on Shahid, bringing new and hit titles that audiences will love exploring.”