Growing up, watching TV meant catching up on the latest adventures of Captain Majid, Detective Conan, or Grendizer — depending on what triggered your senses most and obviously what your parents allowed you to watch back then. As years went by, we grew up and suddenly lost interest in them, meaning that most of these shows got pushed back to the bottom of our priorities, slowly turning into nostalgia-inducing programs that always manage to put a smile on our faces the moment we hear the first tune of their theme songs.
As the world entered the digital era, these classics ended up being left behind, leaving a whole generation to be brought up on other cultural references and landmarks. One channel though has taken it upon itself to bring these anime cartoons back, reminding viewers of the timeless stories and compelling characters that have captivated audiences in the region for decades.
In a recent announcement made this week, iconic Middle Eastern broadcaster MBC announced that it has teamed up with Stu Levy, CEO and founder of TOKYOPOP, an American distributor, licensor, and publisher of manga, manhwa, and Western manga-style works, to develop the region’s newest hotspot dedicated to the promotion and production of anime content in the Arab World. Dubbed MBC Anime, the soon-to-be-launched portal will “commission, produce, and invest in a series of world-class quality anime titles,” with plans “to heavily invest over the next several years in the venture, with an ambition to expand further after this time frame,” according to a released statement.
“During the first investment period, MBC Anime aims to forge substantive relationships with key anime studios in Japan, supporting and investing in a multitude of compelling projects,” said the press release, emphasizing on the incredible popularity this pocket of entertainment still enjoys.
“Anime and manga are incredibly popular in the Middle East and North Africa, with Saudi Arabia being the leader in terms of viewership in the region,” said Sam Barnett, MBC Group chief executive. “We are thrilled to announce that Stu Levy has joined us to head up MBC Anime. Stu is a renowned figure in the anime industry, known for his expertise in distribution, licensing, and publishing. We’re very excited about the prospects for this cooperation,” he added, expecting these efforts to pump life back into a trend that rocked the childhoods of thousands across the Arab World mere years ago.
Speaking on the partnership Levy said he is “impressed by (MBC’s) licensing approach and dedication to the space. Their commitment to not only anime, but building long-term relationships in Japan made me confident of the real potential for exciting growth opportunities working together.”
We don’t know about you, but we personally can’t wait to see how anime and manga culture will continue to thrive and evolve in the Middle East and North Africa, rejuvenating, while simultaneously offering a new form of entertainment and art that has resonated, and hopefully still resonates with audiences across our side of the world.