Level-5 Brings Japan to Global Audiences

Level-5 is expanding its reach and bringing properties like "Yo-Kai Watch," "Inazuma Eleven," "Snack World," and "The Layton Series" to all major markets.

Multimedia entertainment company Level-5 Abby creates, produces and distributes content for children, adults and gaming and anime fans around the world.

A joint venture with Dentsu, one of the top ranking global advertising networks, and video game publisher Level-5, Level-5 Abby brings its Japan-born franchises, including tentpoles like “Yo-Kai Watch,” “Inazuma Eleven,” “Snack World” and “The Layton Series,” to screens in all major markets.

Now the company is focusing on expanding its IP to consumer products around the world, and has established a global network of offices and staff, as well as signed on to exhibit at Brand Licensing Europe, taking place Oct. 10-12, to reinforce that mission.

“Going forward, we’ll aim to work directly with partners on a local level to build ecosystems where video games, mobile games, TV content and consumer products interact with each other, creating a rich and engaging universe for the end consumer,” says Sandrine de Raspide, senior vice president, licensing and marketing, Level-5 Abby.

To that end, Level-5 opened a Hong Kong office late last year to manage the company’s properties directly in the EMEA regions and Asia, excluding South Korea and Japan.

Properties driving that growth and product extensions include a diverse portfolio of entertainment brands.

“All of our IP has TV content and video games at its heart,” says de Raspide. “From there, we layer on other key categories such as mobile games, publishing, consumer products and promotions.”

“Inazuma Eleven–Ares no Tenbin” is an animated TV series (126 episodes) based off of Level-5’s soccer RPG video game franchise. De Raspide says that for this property, self expression will be an important focus for the brand across its product categories. Product launch for the brand is targeted to hit retail in spring 2018, just prior to the World Cup.

Another property focus for the company is “The Snack World.” The cross-media project follows the magical adventures of a boy named Chup and his friends, and has CGI animation, a full product line, mobile games, comic books and a video game from Nintendo to support it.

The TV series launched in Japan this spring, and toys and the video game rolled out over the summer. More than 110,000 Nintendo 3DS games were sold in the game’s first week, says Level-5. Partners on board for the brand on the product side include Kellogg’s and Calbee, with more in the works. The property will launch into EMEA in Q3 next year with a range of collectibles.

Lastly, “The Layton Series” is a push for Level-5. The brand, based off a series of puzzle adventure games, expanded this year with the launch of the mobile “Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy” in July, and a video game from Nintendo that hit market this fall. This is the first mobile launch for “The Layton Series,” but the franchise has seen more than 16 million units sold and generated $650 million-plus in sales over its six video game titles and 10-year history. A new TV series is in development, and 50 episodes are on-track to deliver in 2018.

Beyond EMEA and Asia, the company has big plans for product extensions around the world including a focus in Latin America and the U.S. with early driver categories such as toys, apparel and publishing, as well as additional game extensions for console and mobile games.

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