Today, in advance of Licensing Expo 2019, global anime distributor and Sony Pictures Television subsidiary Funimation issued its first ever My Hero Academia franchise report. In addition to a comprehensive review of new license agreements for the brand since last year's expo, Funimation details existing licensees including renewals and expanded rights as well as spotlights key partnerships in select major categories.
Funimation first acquired the exclusive international rights to the My Hero Academia anime series in early 2016 from Toho Co. Ltd., which debuted in April that same year in Japan and on FunimationNow in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland. Supported by Funimation's brand marketing and fan engagement strategy, the show's storyline about a group of students attending a hero academy quickly resonated with North American audiences who grew up with and continue to gravitate to superhero lore in pop culture.
Coupled with the end of its second season, My Hero Academia was universally recognized by both fans and critics as the best in anime in 2017 - winning accolades and honors from major outlets including IGN, ComicBook.com, Gamespot, Anime News Network and Fandom.com. Now three years, three seasons and a hit feature film later since its premiere, My Hero Academia has achieved franchise status - amassing a fanbase and level of brand recognition unprecedented for a new series.
Produced by the critically acclaimed studio Bones, "My Hero Academia" is based on the New York Times best-selling superhero manga of the same name that first appeared in Shonen Jump in 2014. To date, there are a total of 22 volumes in the manga series with an estimated 20+ million copies in print around the world. Funimation recently released the home video for the My Hero Academia: Two Heroes feature film and will be releasing Season 3 of the series on home video later this year.
Before 2018's expo, Funimation had already laid a solid foundation of 13 licensing partnerships for the franchise. Since then, the company has expanded the My Hero Academia brand with an additional 18 new agreements encompassing a wide array of partners from both well-established and fast-growing companies. In less than a year, Funimation has more than double the total number of franchise licensees to 31, with additional new partnership discussions already underway ahead of Licensing Expo 2019.
These 18 new agreements will result in an exciting variety of new branded merchandise for fans of the franchise, such as toys and collectibles from McFarlane Toys, The Loyal Subjects, Just Toys, First4Figures and Zag Toys including Mochibi plushies from Infinifan and Pop!, Vnyl and 5 Star figure lines from Funko, as well as gifts and novelties like FigPins from China Manufacturing Direct (image04) and backpack clips from Surreal Entertainment. Collectively, My Hero Academia is now represented across all major merchandise categories, ranging from apparel, accessories, figures and collectibles to home goods, wall décor, gifts, calendars and costumes.
- The list of new My Hero Academia licensing agreements secured by Funimation includes:
- Bandai Co., Ltd.: for toys and collectibles Figure collectibles and accessories
- Bunbougo Cafe: for gifts and novelties including can badges, key rings, clear folders and mini sketchbooks
- Boston America: for food and beverages including beverages and candies
- China Manufacturing Direct: for gifts and novelties including a new collection of FigPins (combination enamel pins and collectible figures)
- Colorworld Books: for gifts and novelties including metal prints and metal bookmarks
- Culture Fly: for gifts and novelties, branded retail and subscription My Hero Academia collector boxes
- First4Figures: for toys and collectibles including ¼ scale resign figures and premium vinyl statues
- Ground Up: for footwear including casual and athletic footwear, slippers and seasonal footwear like sandals and flip flops
- Infinifan: for gifts and novelties as well as toys and games including plush dolls, watches, time pieces and magnetic dry erase boards
- Just Toys: for toys and games including mega merge action figures, buildable figure dioramas and plush with light or sound feature
- McFarlane Toys: for toys and games including 6-12" action figures and playsets
- Rabbit Tanaka: for gifts and novelties including reusable nylon art sleeves with tattoo art for arms, cuffs and ankles
- Surreal Entertainment: for gifts and novelties including backpack clips, slow-rising foam balls and figures, and plush pillows
- The Loyal Subjects: for toys and collectibles including a collection of Action Vinyl stylized action figures
- The Traly Group: for gifts and novelties including a collection of enamel pins (for Target distribution only)
- Trans World Entertainment: for food and beverages as well as health and beauty including cereal, chocolate bars, other confectionaries, beverages and beauty products like soap, bath bombs and perfume
- USAopoly: for toys and games, table top games, including My Hero Academia Monopoly game
- Zag Toys: for toys and games including Domez collectibles
- The list of previously existing My Hero Academia licensing agreements secured by Funimation (with new additional productions and distribution where noted) includes:
- Abysse America: for gifts and novelties including a collection of polystone, resin or PVC figures based on the characters from the film
- Banpresto: for gifts and novelties, specifically the DXF figure but now with expanded distribution as well as new additional products like the DXF Figure SP and Kyun Chara figure lines as well as plush mascots.
- Bioworld: for apparel, sleepwear, underwear, accessories and electronics including t-shirts, jackets, bottoms, robes, belts, hosiery, umbrellas, jewelry, briefs, headphones and ear buds
- Funko: for stylized vinyl and stylized 3D keychains, as well as new additional products like retail boxes, apparel, accessories, stationary, food and beverages and digital goods including pop vinyl figures, post-it notes, loungewear, bags, lanyards, jewelry, blankets, drinkware, candies, drinks and digital stickers
- GameSamba: for mobile games including free to play app games
- GB Eye: for gifts and novelties including posters, framed products, lanyards and dog tags
- Great Eastern Entertainment: for gifts and novelties, stationary, toys and games and accessories including lanyards, clocks, patches, pillows, puzzles, posters, stamps, wallets and wristbands, as well as new additional products like apparel, bags, buttons, cosplay, headwear, jewelry, keychains, pins and wallets for own store, e-commerce, and conventions distribution only
- Just Funky: for home goods and accessories including beverageware, dinnerware, cooking utensils, bedding, auto accessories, home décor and pet accessories, as well as new additional products like acrylic standees, puffy stickers, snow globes, beanbag chairs, cardboard boxes, storage bins and bags, sticky notes, eye masks, event-specific pins, ornaments, slime, crockpots and consumables
- Monogram International: for accessories including 3D foam key rings, pewter key rings, 3D foam magnets, and banks
- Shinobi 7: for toys and games, specifically a fully self-contained strategic card game with expansion packs
- Spirit Halloween: for gifts and novelties, specifically a collection of adult and children sized costumes and relevant accessories
- Trends International: for stationary and paper including a collection of posters of all sizes and the new addition of calendars
Funimation will be actively seeking additional partners at Licensing Expo 2019 for themed merchandise in a variety of categories. For more information or to schedule a meeting, please visit Funimation (K-230) booths to speak to a licensing representative. This news comes direct from Funimation.
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