Noted anime producer Madhouse has been reduced to the laughing stock of the industry after it emerged that the company is stuck producing an anime adaptation of an office comic for Chinese TV.
The anime itself is apparently an adaptation of an animation/4koma manga concerning the office adventures of a box-headed man, popular in China.
The announcement that Madhouse is pursuing some kind of joint venture (China actually banned foreign cartoons from its TV stations so Madhouse would likely not be able to operate independently in China in any case) with a Chinese partner comes by way of a JETRO newsletter; the only details so far made public are that it is a 52 episode TV series due in late 2011.
Strangely, the happy news is not yet mentioned on Madhouse’s site, although the comic’s site trumpets the fact.
Incidentally, Madhouse is owned by Index Holdings, a mobile phone software company which recently bought and dissolved Atlus and later posted some rather large losses – presumably it has decided China is the way forward and ordered Madhouse to pursue more business there.
Another troubled Japanese company, also with interests in mobile gaming and publishing, has recently been talking up its hopes that expansion into China will rescue it; the management of both companies seem increasingly to be engaged in corporate escapism – after struggling in both Japan and the west, all they can think to do is pin their hopes on China…