CLAMP x Netflix collaboration: what we know so far

As it’s likely known in general by now, CLAMP have partnered with Netflix to collaborate on developing all-new original anime content for the streaming service. I wasn’t able to write properly about this any sooner and after the official announcement a press conference was held so I decided to gather all the information that’s been revealed so far.

This is part of a bigger project in which Netflix will join forces with 6 leading names from Japan’s manga and anime industry who have created works that caused worldwide impact, including CLAMP. The other 5 names that are part of this project are Shin Kibayashi (The Kindaichi Case Files), Yasuo Ohtagaki (Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt), Otsuichi (Goth), Tow Ubukata (Mardock Scramble) and Mari Yamazaki (Thermae Romae).

In an official statement, CLAMP member and leader Nanase Ohkawa said the following about the project:

“We are very pleased to be welcomed into this brand new initiative, we look forward to the day our shows created with Netflix reach fans across 190 countries.”

What else has been revealed at the press conference:

  • Ohkawa commented that the current anime industry is moved around DVD, Blu-ray and goods sales and that can be a problem for series that have good quality but not good sales, this system makes it harder to deliver good animations to the world. This system also imposes big challenges and difficulties for young creators. She hopes that this opportunity with Netflix will shift things around and offer different conditions for anime creators and viewers.
  • She believes this moment to be a turning point in anime industry, adding that for TV Animes there usually are production committees composed by many people and while this may work, it’s also harder to get general approval due to a larger group of people involved. Sometimes an idea by the director is not taken further due to lack of approval from the production committees. With Netflix, there will be less people to get approval from, allowing a bigger creative freedom.
  • CLAMP members were previously subscribers of Netflix so the proposal was welcomed with great enthusiasm by them. Ohkawa mentions that while TV has a great outreach, a global simultaneous distribution is something that can only be done with a distribution like Netflix, therefore CLAMP said they would like to participate by all means.
  • CLAMP were asked to work on character designs for 20 characters. Ohkawa said she was surprised considering that most animes nowadays usually have only around 10 characters. They are looking forward to the image that the production will make of them.
  • This article seems to indicate that Shin Kibayashi (The Kindaichi Case Files, Psychometrer Eiji) will be in charge of writing the scripts for the anime series that CLAMP are working on the character designs, implying that the 6 names will collaborate with each other, instead of each having their own individual series. He mentions that they are already looking for animation studio and director candidates to be in charge of the series he will allegedly be working with CLAMP. He emphasises that Netflix is coordinating everything and making sure everybody is happy with each decision.
  • Ohkawa mentioned the fact that there is a possibility of turning these anime series into live action series, for which she will be looking forward as a viewer.

My thoughts and comments:

This piece of news comes of course with great enthusiasm. I had hoped for a CLAMP x Netflix collaboration since the streaming platform became big worldwide (I’m also particularly happy that it’s from a platform that I actually have a subscription and not one of which I don’t, of course!).

It is great that CLAMP is included on this project and a true recognition of their international appeal and impact. However, when I first heard the announcement, given that there was little information about it, I immediately assumed that CLAMP would be in charge of both character design and story, meaning that Nanase Ohkawa would provide the scripts, too. I was a little disappointed to learn that at least for the time being, CLAMP’s contribution is limited to character design.

Sure, that alone is great news but I was hoping for a 100% CLAMP original anime. In fact, it’s still early to know but considering that the anime series is still being developed, maybe CLAMP will get more involvement along the way (fingers crossed).

This partnership could bring other fruits too, such as bringing more CLAMP anime series to Netflix catalog worldwide and other original anime series with CLAMP’s involvement. It will also bring CLAMP even more visibility and more opportunities for other projects and works. I’ll be looking forward to that.

One of the articles seems to indicate that CLAMP’s series will be written by Shin Kibayashi. He has several pen names so you might know him from a different pen name. He has won a Kodansha award recently and his portfolio includes works centred around mystery and suspense/thrillers, which may indicate that CLAMP’s series will be of a similar genre. Shin Kibayashi (as Yuma Ando) is the writer behind the manga series Psychometrer Eiji, which I read years ago and I remember having liked it a lot! In that sense, even if Ohkawa won’t be providing scripts, at least not initially, he seems like an interesting choice.

I was really happy with Ohkawa’s statement regarding the current business model for anime series. This is something that I have been discussing privately with certain friends and I am happy that Ohkawa on behalf of CLAMP is also worried about it and supporting alternative business models such as this one.

I will update as more information is revealed (hopefully in a faster fashion this time around) but for the time being let’s all celebrate and hope for the best of what this will bring to all of us =)

Source: AV Watch, Oricon.