Tokyo Broadcasting System Television, Inc. (TBS)’s anime character business continues to grow globally. TBS agreed to supply stickers featuring 16 characters from its popular anime series Beyond the Boundary to the free voice call and messenger smartphone application WeChat, which is operated by Tencent, China’s largest IT company.
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Based on the ‘light novel’, as termed in Japan which targets teens and young adult demographic, by Nagomu Torii, Beyond the Boundary is a schoolyard battle action story featuring the character of Akito Kanbara, who was born of a human and a youmu, one of the fearsome monsters that humans battle. Another key character is Mirai Kuriyama, who is an ikaishi, or warrior from another world. Since the program started airing in October, it has established a strong and loyal fan base, and the motion picture Beyond the Boundary –I’ll Be Here is scheduled to reach theaters across Japan this spring.
TBS has licensed “Beyond the Boundary in markets outside Japan as well, where its popularity continues to rise. In China, the characters of the program have received very enthusiastic support from online communities, thereby inspiring the new sticker service on WeChat.
WeChat is a free voice call and messenger smartphone application operated by Tencent, China’s largest IT company as measured by market capitalisation. Growing rapidly, Tencent is the world’s third-largest IT company after Google and Facebook. WeChat is used by 1.1 billion people in over 200 countries and regions and is said to be the world’s most popular messenger application.
The stickers TBS is supplying to WeChat are a set of 16 created under the direction of leading anime studio Kyoto Animation and featuring cute action scenes with the popular characters Mirai Kuriyama, Ai Shindo, and more. The digital stickers feature versions of the characters with big heads and small bodies for an even cuter appearance. Outside of Japan, this service is available free to all WeChat users.
Going forward, TBS plans to proactively promote its anime programmes through the growing Chinese smartphone applications and services market, as well as through other media worldwide.