Sony Corporate Blog

Sony and Animation

Animation has a history spanning over 100 years. Today, animation covers a broad range of styles, production techniques, and genres, and attracts many fans around the world, transcending differences in language and culture.

The Sony Group combines creativity and technology to provide a wide variety of animated films to the world. Sony also distributes animated films, in addition to producing them, and aims to create new value by combining its IP with the strengths of other Sony businesses. This edition of the Sony Corporate Blog will introduce some of Sony's recent activities in the world of animation.

Producing Animation Globally

The Sony Group produces animation on a global scale, mainly in Japan and the United States.
In Japan, many anime titles are planned and produced by Aniplex, a group company of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan)("SMEJ"). Among them, "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie - Mugen Train," which was released in theaters in October 2020, has achieved the record for the highest box office revenue in Japan and been watched by a global audience of over 40 million worldwide (*1).

  • *1: As of May 24, 2021

In addition to the smash hit television series, "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba," Sony has also adapted many other popular works from Japanese creators, including the "Puella Magi Madoka Magica" series, the "Sword Art Online" series, and the "Fate" series. The "Fate" series has also been developed into the smartphone game "Fate/Grand Order", which was the top grossing mobile game worldwide in 2019. This IP has also opened up new possibilities for the business of promoting characters derived from anime.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba © Koyoharu Gotoge / SHUEISHA, Aniplex, ufotable
Fate Grand Order © TYPE-MOON / FGO PROJECT

In the U.S., Sony Pictures Animation, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has been actively producing films at its own studio. Established in 2002, the studio has captivated global audiences with their lineup of animated features like "The Smurfs" and "Hotel Transylvania." In 2018, the company teamed up once more with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, – the filmmaking team who got their start in animation as the directors of "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" at Sony Pictures Animation – to produce "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," which was highly regarded as a groundbreaking work and went on to win the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature. "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" was produced in partnership with the team at Sony Pictures Imageworks, and uses the latest technology to achieve a complex blend of CG and hand-drawn animation, resulting in an innovative visual style inspired by the Spider-Man comic books. A sequel is currently in production and scheduled for theatrical release in October 2022.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Adding hand-drawn details to CG animation

The global pandemic has led to a number of challenges in animation production since last year, but Sony has been able to overcome many of these hurdles with technology. For example, in order to capture the vocal performances for "The Mitchells vs. The Machines," which was recently released on Netflix, the actors were able record their voices at home with tablets and high-end microphones while video conferencing under the direction of the filmmakers. Sony Pictures Animation’s first musical film, "Vivo," which is scheduled for release on Netflix this Summer, and the much-anticipated "Hotel Transylvania: Transformania," which will debut in theaters this October, are also being produced remotely to avoid delays in production despite the challenges imposed by COVID-19.

"Vivo," scheduled for release Summer 2021
"Mitchells" production crew working remotely

Utilizing and Expanding In-house
Distribution Platforms

In addition to production, Sony is also exploring new possibilities in terms of how to deliver its animated works to audiences. The methods for viewing films have grown more diverse in recent years, with going to the theater no longer the only option, and the demand for digital content distribution is higher than ever, especially since the global pandemic last year.

The Sony Group aims to contribute to the growth of the Japanese animation industry through the operation of "Animax," a channel dedicated to anime , and its own animation Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) service, Funimation. We are focusing its efforts on delivering compelling Japanese animation to fans around the world.


Developing Anime IP from All Angles

Anime IP also has a high affinity with other businesses within the Sony Group. As an example of the synergy between anime and music, a variety of artists have created music to fit into the world of anime, such as SMEJ artist LiSA who sings the theme song for "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.” Sony is also continuing to develop collaborations between anime IP and electronics products, and has recently launched "Demon Slayer" collaboration models such as Walkman® and wireless headphones in Japan and China.


Aniplex Online Fest

Additionally, Aniplex Online Fest 2021, an online event for anime fans around the world, will be held this weekend. In a time when it is not easy to go out, this event will be delivered online free of charge, bringing the latest news and behind-the-scenes of anime titles, as well as live performances of theme songs by some of the biggest names in anime music.

Dive into the World of Anime Aniplex Online Fest 2021 7.3 sat PM6:00~Pacific Daylight Time / UTC-7
【Event Details】
Streaming Platform: 
You Tube(Japanese & English)
Saturday, July 3 from 6 PM* PDT/UTC-7
*Streaming time may be subject to change.

Please look forward to more developments in the world of animation created by Sony.

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