TV Asahi, Japan’s leading television network, hosted a world premiere for their upcoming show ‘Super Shiro’ at MipJunior.
More than 100 MIPJunior delegates were in attendance for the world premiere of the new chase comedy, which was followed by a panel discussion featuring TV Asahi’s Takahiro Kishimoto, Science SARU’s Eunyoung Choi and Cartoon Network’s Leslie Lee and Hoyoung Jung, in conversation with World Screen’s Mansha Daswani.
Cartoon Network has picked up the Science SARU-produced show, inspired by the Shin chan franchise, for its AsiaPac feed, with TV Asahi looking for partners in the rest of the world this MIPCOM. The series premieres on the Japanese platforms AbemaTV and Videopass, and in China, at midnight local time tonight.
The session included a feature message from renowned Japanese animator Masaaki Yuasa, who founded Science SARU with Eunyoung Choi in 2013, followed the world premiere of episode four of Super Shiro.
“Super Shiro is inspired by Shin chan,” said Kishimoto, the head of animation at the international business department at TV Asahi. “Shin chan was very popular, but by 2015 I realized the show had lost its status is this ever-changing TV landscape. That made me think about how I can revitalize the show. I was interested in the popularity of Tom and Jerry. I came up with the idea, what if we produce a new spin-off of Shin chan in this chase-comedy style and make a show around Shiro, Shin chan’s pet dog. This could travel the world easier and give us more opportunities for licensing and merchandising.”
Episode four, which was screened at the conference, “represents the whole essence of the series,” Kishimoto said. “It’s my favourite, and it’s one of the favourites of Yuasa-san.”
After coming up with the idea for the show at MIPCOM 2015, Kishimito shared the concept with Mr Umezawa at Shin-Ei Animation. “The biggest challenge we faced is that this type of show, the chase comedy, is very new to us. We weren’t sure we could make it until Science SARU came on board.”
Yuasa-san had been working on Shin chan for a long time, Choi, co-founder and executive producer at Science SARU, said. “He’s worked on a lot of TV shows, but not so many kids’ shows. We set up Science SARU in 2013. We produced with Adventure Time, working with Cartoon Network. That was our first project. It was a great collaboration with Cartoon Network. Yuasa-san loves kids’ shows, but there are not that many kids’ new shows in Japan. When we heard about Super Shiro, we said, wow, this is amazing! Shiro is super cool. He becoming a superhero is a great idea. We had so much fun making Super Shiro.”
Leslie Lee, VP of Cartoon Network in the Asia Pacific, said that one of the greatest appeals of Super Shiro “was the DNA of the show. It’s irreverent, funny, laugh out loud, it has a lot of heart. I was watching it in the screening room yesterday and was still laughing. It has great repeatability and is really, really funny. And working with such an esteemed partner as TV Asahi and Science SARU, it’s been a great collaboration.”
Hoyoung Jung, senior manager for acquisitions at Cartoon Network in the Asia Pacific, added, “It was a really easy choice for us. As a U.S. company, it’s not easy to get involved in a Japanese IP from an early concept stage. It involved a lot of discussions with Takahiro.”
On the cross-party collaboration, Jung noted, “It started with Takahiro and a piece of paper with sketches, and then we were into it. As you may know, in Japan, most of the popular IPs are based around production committees. That involves a lot of parties. For the case of Shin chan, it involves publisher, animation studio, advertising agency, broadcaster and production house. For us as a U.S company to get involved in this kind of committee through TV Asahi wasn’t easy and it was one of the first for us to be involved at the concept, script and storyboard stage. It involved a lot of communication and collaboration from all parties.”
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Kishimoto added, “but we were determined.”
Lee lauded the “resilience and persistence” of all parties involved in the show.
Cartoon Network will be premiering Super Shiro in AsiaPac in Q1 2020. “It’s very watchable on both small and big screens,” Lee said.
Outside of Asia, “We have received some interest from broadcasters all over the world,” Kishimoto said. “We’re happy to explore the possibility of collaboration with local or regional distributors and licensing and merchandising companies.”