Setting the stage for next month’s Licensing Expo 2022, Toei Animation Inc. together with U.S. agent Crunchyroll released the latest Dragon Ball franchise report— a comprehensive look at the success of their collective licensing efforts. Over the last 14 months, Toei and Crunchyroll executed a record high total of 37 license agreements (18 new licenses and 19 renewals).
The 18 new agreements will result in an exciting variety of merchandise for fans of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super series as well as, for the first time ever, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, the new feature film scheduled for release this summer. New branded goods include apparel from Bioworld, Hypland and NTD, statues and games from Oniri Creations and Mattel, plushies from Youtooz, housewares from Just Funky, stationery from Trends International and Insight Editions, and gifts and novelties from Monogram International and Hallmark. Renewals for DB, DBZ, DBGT and DBS include Party City, FIGPIN Collect Awesome, Boston America, Uncanny Brands, Bioworld and Trends International.
Apparel and accessories were once again top categories for the franchise. While demand for mass market apparel continues to be strong, streetwear has now become the hot consumer apparel segment — a trend that began in 2018 with Primitive Skateboarding’s highly-successful “Primitive X Dragon Ball Z” collection and subsequent “Primitive X Dragon Ball Super” in early 2021. In December, DJ Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak followed with “Dim Mak X Dragon Ball Z,” a limited edition streetwear collection that included t-shirts, hoodies, bomber jackets, hats and tote bags. And now L.A.-based Hypland joins this list with a ground-breaking collection showcasing DB, DBZ and DBS: Super Hero and featuring a mix of apparel and merchandise, including t-shirts, hoodies, outwear, skateboards, tapestries and bags. In late 2021, FILA launched “Dragon Ball Super X FILA,” a limited footwear collection featuring seven character-inspired styles — a first for Dragon Ball Super and only the second footwear collection ever for the franchise.
JumpStart, the parent company of Neopets, will be proudly hosting a charity auction, debuting a 25-piece collection of Neopian art featuring characters from the beloved game. The auction will go live on GiveSmart on Monday, May 9, and will end on Sunday, May 15, 2022. The full collection from the Neopets private vault includes fine art paintings with luxe frames, large standees and high-quality special posters that have adorned the walls of JumpStart Games headquarters.
The pieces will be auctioned individually on GiveSmart.com via live online auction. The proceeds will be distributed equally to four organizations who were chosen with Neopets users in mind: World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The Trevor Project, Project HOPE and Eden Reforestation Project.
“The rich history and vibrant lore of Neopets over the past two decades has culminated in a collection of fine art pieces, posters, and standees from past conventions and events. While the Neopets team greatly treasure these beloved art pieces, we decided that we would part with a selection from our private vault to benefit charity,” said Michaela Thompson, Marketing Manager of Neopets. “Given the injustices, suffering, and inequity prevalent in the world’s current climate, we wanted to raise money for charities close to the hearts of both our team and our users, while simultaneously sharing this glimpse of iconic Neopets history with the fans. We will proudly distribute 100% of the auction’s proceeds to the selected charities, and we will continue to stand by our convictions to support those in need — which I think we can all agree is a core Neopian value.”
Fermin Muguruza & Harkaitz Cano’s graphic novel about dsicrimination, race and radicalism gets a second adult animated feature extension in Black Is Beltza II: Ainhoa. This installment follows Ainhoa, the daughter of Manex and Amanda, and travels the global historical landscape of the 1980s, traversing Lebanon, Afghanistan, Algiers — and an insurgent Basque Country shaken by heroin. Directed by Muguruza, the sequel opens in theaters across Spain on September 30 through Barton Films.
Produced by Talka Records & Films, the film is also written by Muguruza with Cano and Isa Campo. LoturaFilms (Donostia, Spain) and Draftoon (Rosario, Argentina) again produced the animation, co-producing this time with Lagarto Films (Buenos Aires). Imanol Zinkunegi is the animation director and Beñat Beitia repeats as art director together with Marina Omedes and Karin de Kroo from the Nueveojos studio (Barcelona).
Mattel has launched a virtual Masters of the Universe experience, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: You Have the Power! on Roblox. The game invites Roblox players and MOTU fans alike into the world of Eternia, where they can compete in PvP battles as their favorite characters, inspired by the Netflix animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
Developed by Gamefam, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: You Have the Power! s a free-to-play RPG available through Roblox on Xbox One, PC & mobile for players of all ages. Players can join the fray as one of many Masters of the Universe, battling against their friends and other players in unique Eternian locales. They can also collect and upgrade additional Masters and their cosmetics, and explore Castle Grayskull to uncover its many mysteries.
Film Fund Luxembourg is touring the festival circuit with several high-profile animated co-pros. At Cannes, a special session will introduce Little Nicolas – Happy as Can Be (dir. Amandine Fredon & Benjamin Massoubre, Bidibul Prod.) while Signe Baumane’s My Love Affair with Marriage (Antevita Films) heads to Tribeca’s Narrative competition, where the XR episodic Missing Pictures (Clément Deneaux, Wild Fang Films) is up in the Immersive section. Little Nicolas and Love Affair are also screening in competition at Annecy.
Luxembourgish animation is also making the cinema rounds. European audiences can catch the Greek mythology adaptation Icarus from writer-director Carlo Vogele (Iris Prod.) and Ari Folman’s highly anticipated reimagined Holocaust tale Where Is Anne Frank (Samsa FIlms, Doghouse Films).
Fans of Aang and co. can rejoice as Season 2 of hit podcast Avatar: Braving the Elements premieres today. From Nickelodeon and iHeartMedia, the official companion podcast for Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra‘s second season (40 episodes) follows as hosts Janet Varney (the voice of Korra) and Dante Basco (the voice of Prince Zuko) move on to re-watch Book 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which sees the introduction of beloved characters including Azula, Toph, Ty Lee and Mai.
Joining Varney and Basco this season as guests are Jack De Sena (the voice of Sokka), Grey DeLisle (the voice of Azula), Cricket Leigh (the voice of Mai) and James Sie (the voice of Cabbage Merchant). Original series creators and co-chief creative officers of Avatar Studios, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko return to share how they felt when the original series was renewed for a second season. Additional guest stars will be announced in the coming months. Find it on iHeart or wherever you get your podcasts!