US: Marvel tweaks heroes for Japanese market

Animation studio Madhouse to produce Japanese anime series based on Marvel Universe.
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Marvel Entertainment is teaming up with top animation studio Madhouse to create new characters inspired by the Marvel Universe for the Japanese market.

Madhouse will produce cutting edge Japanese anime series based on Marvel's extensive character library. The characters will be adapted visually, using the unique style of Japanese animation, and their back stories and histories will interweave the local culture and history of Japan, with an eye to making their mythlogy more relevant to the Japanese audience.

This collaboration will result in a completely new character base, which will eventually cross over into the current Marvel Universe.

"Marvel has continuously looked to push the boundaries with the Marvel Universe and seek new mediums for our characters," explained Simon Philips, president international and worldwide head of animation, wireless and gaming at Marvel Entertainment (pictured).

"Madhouse is helping us expand the Marvel brand with a truly global vision tailored to themes and artistic styles popular in Japan, creating a uniquely localised and cross cultural adaptation of the Marvel Universe."

Madhouse is currently in production on the first of four new series (12x30-minutes), which are due to launch in spring 2010. The initial series will feature characters including Iron Man and Wolverine. The series will debut on ANIMAX, the first and largest 24-hour network dedicated to anime.

"This will be the first time there will be a full Japanese anime style for Marvel and the Madhouse creative team is fully engaged to bring this to a worldwide audience," said Jungo Maruta, president and CEO at Madhouse.

In addition, Marvel and Madhouse will be exploring related merchandising initiatives to support the new series.

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