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Highlights | Licensees Focus

ANIPLEX OF AMERICA EXPANDS DEMON SLAYER: KIMETSU NO YAIBA FRANCHISE

9 May - 2024

Aniplex of America, Inc. unveils an extensive expansion of the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba franchise in 2024, introducing a wide array of new products and forging multiple new licensing and promotional partnerships, including direct-to-retail collaborations, as well as toy, apparel, gift accessories and gaming products.

These launches and new agreements coincide with the season four debut of the acclaimed anime sensation on May 12, exclusively on Crunchyroll in the U.S. The announcement was made today by Yosuke Kodaka, President, Aniplex of America, Inc.

Aniplex of America is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Aniplex Inc.—a division of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Inc.—best known as a producer and distributor of anime films and series, including the multiple award-winning Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Aniplex of America oversees the distribution and licensing of the anime across North and South America, the United Kingdom and Ireland, South Africa, and Australia and New Zealand.

Demon Slayer has become an unstoppable force in anime. Based on the best-selling manga with over 150 million copies in circulation, three seasons of the Demon Slayer anime series are currently accessible across multiple platforms. According to data released by Netflix for the 1st half of 2023, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was, by far, the most watched anime series on the platform. The 2020 critically acclaimed action-packed period fantasy film Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train dominated the global box office, grossing over $470 million, earning $49 million in the U.S. alone, and holds Japan’s all-time box office record, surpassing esteemed titles like Frozen, Spirited Away, Avengers: Endgame, and Your Name. And, most recently, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Swordsmith Village Arc was the winner in several top categories at the 2024 Crunchyroll Anime Awards including Best Animation, Best Art Direction, and Best Fantasy.

Demon Slayer has amassed a dedicated fanbase, drawn in by its gripping storyline, breathtaking animation, and unforgettable characters,” commented Mr. Kodaka. “We’re thrilled about the forthcoming release of the Hashira Training Arc and delighted to be working with partners who continue to expand the universe providing fans multiple ways to engage with the brand at every touchpoint.

In the U.S., two exciting new collaborations will launch this year. Aniplex of America is continuing its relationship with leading footwear and apparel retailer Footlocker for a new Demon Slayer x Adidas footwear and accessory range. This is the second collab with Footlocker, the first was an in-demand Demon Slayer x Champion product range of apparel. Additionally, a new deal has been inked with the most viewed and most-victorious organization in competitive gaming, Team Liquid, for Demon Slayerthemed computer accessories and exclusive apparel designs. With 250+ colleagues, Team Liquid has garnered over 2 billion views across all its platforms.

Also in the apparel category, Aniplex of America has signed a licensing agreement with visionary DJ and two-time Grammy-nominated music producer Steve Aoki’s DIM MAK, an influential independent record label, music, and fashion lifestyle brand he founded in 1996, for a line of apparel that will launch later this year. Other current top-tier apparel and accessories partners include Crocs, who launched their popular limited-edition Demon Slayer line at New York Comic Con last year; fan-favorite lifestyle apparel company, Bioworld; and pop-culture product manufacturers Isaac Morris and CultureFly.

New 2024 product launches in the Toy category include the May 20 launch of the second wave of two product lines from Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America: the 5-inch “Ultimate Legends” action figures featuring 27 points of articulation; and the Gashapon Blind Pack collection, “Great Posing Figures.” These product lines join a phenomenal line of import product developed by global partner, Bandai Co. Ltd. In addition, new character figures will be available from McFarlane Toys which include four new 5-inch characters and two new 7-inch characters. Earlier this year, Zuru launched “Anime Pop,” a mystery box of 5-inch plush and will be adding new Demon Slayer product this summer.

In other licensed product categories, Funko continues to expand its collection of super popular Pop! vinyl figures with several new characters recently launching. And in the home and lifestyle sector, Just Funky has a line of tableware and throws. Products from Monogram (coin banks, blind bag clips) and Great Eastern Entertainment (plush, keychains) continue to sell well at retail; and Trends International has a wide range of new posters and calendars coming this year.

In the gaming category, Sweep the Board, a four-person digital board game developed by CyberConnect2 and published by SEGA and Aniplex launched April 26 for Nintendo Switch. The same trio is behind the successful multi-platform fighting action-adventure game The Hinokami Chronicles which, as of February 2024, had sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide. Gaming accessories licensees include Secretlab who launched a second collection of Demon Slayer-inspired gaming chairs this week featuring ergonomic design and iconic elements from the series; while AplusX Inc. and Cyber Power PC have delivered promotions with mousepads and keyboard cap products respectively.

Aniplex of America will be attending Licensing Expo 2024 in Las Vegas (booth U224) with a view to extend its partnerships in categories such as publishing, homewares, packaged goods, health, beauty, fashion collaborations, and more.


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