Beyond Entertainment has struck a co-production partnership with Tokyo-based indie animation studio Custom Nuts.
The two firms have agreed a slate development deal, known as Beyond Custom Nuts, to co-produce animated series for the international market, with the first three projects, Jock & Sunny, Shape & Shapers and Classical Chaos, launching this month at Kidscreen.
Jock & Sunny is a 52 x 7-minute anime hybrid sci-fi slapstick-comedy for children following the titular characters, who are stranded in a fantasy sci-fi version of Tokyo and must survive shady odd jobs, the local rock scene and deportation if they’re ever going to build new lives.
Shape & Shapers is a 26 x 11-minute anime, combining elements of slapstick and factual for a 13+ audience, inspired by surfing, subculture, and the evolution of the modern surfboard.
Classical Chaos will be a 26 x 11-minute series as well as feature-length specials and is a curated collection of kid-relatable animated classic literary adaptations, combining the aesthetics of anime and golden-era vaudevillian cartoons.
Custom Nuts was co-founded in 2019 by Silas Hickey, the former APAC regional head of development and original production at Warner Bros Discovery’s Cartoon Network, and Matthew Howison. The company was established to combine the sensibilities of Japanese anime and western cartoons into a new kind of hybrid animated entertainment. Based in Tokyo, it also has offices in Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
Beyond Entertainment is part of Australia-based producer and distributor Beyond International, which was taken over by Banijay last month. Its kids programming includes Beat Bugs and Motown Magic for Netflix and Milly Molly, Labrats, and Hoopla Doopla for ABC and CCTV China.
Melinda Wearne, Beyond Entertainment’s executive charged with scripted development and production across kids and premium drama, is credited with driving the new relationship. She said: “Our partner’s knowledge of, and expertise in, both anime and western cartoon narratives gives it a unique edge and together we are well placed to create and deliver truly global entertainment.”
Silas Hickey of Custom Nuts added: “Beyond’s scale and expertise will help us to accelerate the time from script to screen without compromising on quality – or our creative vision – and will allow us jointly to retain more control and ownership over our IP as we take it out to the market.”