Netflix and Amazon are crowding the market with their originals. This shouldn’t be a problem for the new Ellation Studios. Its content will reflect the unique interests and diversity of fandom.
We live in a world of content inflation. Big companies like Netflix and Amazon are wielding large amounts of cash to create shows that attract and retain huge numbers of subscribers. Signs are the online originals battle is about to intensify as the likes of Disney and NBCU prepare to enter the fray.
Ellation announces own studio
It is into this environment that Ellation is launching Ellation Studios. Headed by Margaret Dean, former GM of Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and current president of Women in Animation, Ellation Studios will create original content for Ellation’s flagship brands, Crunchyroll and VRV. It has production facilities in Burbank and Tokyo.
Ellation Studios and the originals it produces is unlikely to get lost in the noise caused by the massive marketing machines at Netflix and Disney. The fandom audience it is targeting has always been adept at filtering out the noise and focusing on the content it loves. Moreover, the production house’s content clearly differentiate itself by reflecting the diversity of that audience.
First production showcases anime artform
The first production from Ellation Studios, High Guardian Spice, will be Crunchyroll’s first original series. The show chronicles the growing pains of four girls; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, as they become the heroes they have always admired. It will premiere in 2019.
High Guardian Spice is unique in many ways. The show’s creator Raye Rodriguez is a lifelong anime fan and Audu Paden, director of the Animaniacs and other animated series, will act as a mentor. The production team has an all-female writing room and diverse group of artists and creatives. It is also looking to re-establish hand-drawn 2D animation as an art form. According to Ms. Dean:
“With Crunchyroll Originals, we’re looking to showcase animation as an art form, delivering meaningful original content that draws from our strengths as a truly international service dedicated to super-serving anime fans. The art style of ‘High Guardian Spice’ combines anime influence with an untold story and unique perspective.”
Though High Guardian Spice is Crunchyroll’s first exclusive production, the company has co-produced 50 shows with Japanese production houses. These shows include Kiznaiver, Classroom of the Elite, Space Patrol Luluco, and Laid-Back Camp.
Games, documentary reflect diverse audience
Crunchyroll is not only creating original shows that align closely with its audience. Since half of the anime community identify as gamers, Crunchyroll released its first game in July. DanMemo (also called “Memoria Freese”) is a mobile game based upon the anime title DanMachi (aka Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon). Crunchyroll partnered with Sumitomo and GREE, a gaming company based in Japan, to produce the game.
Further reinforcing the diversity of its audience, Crunchyroll produced a documentary centered around Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Daniels. The short film He Was Anime details how anime influenced Mr. Daniels life and the lives of those around him.
Ellation studios to announce content slate soon
Ellation Studios will announce a wider slate of content later this. Expect the diversity of the content produced to continue. According to Joellen Ferrer, VP of Communications at Ellation:
“We’re just unveiling “High Guardian Spice” at the moment, but we’re excited to announce our wider slate later this year. We’re taking big swings with a number of brand initiatives, and we look forward to sharing what we’ve been creating with our community.”
Why it matters
Though there is a massive amount of original online content, services can still differentiate their shows by carefully targeting them at their audience.