13:00 - 29th March 2015, by NEO Staff


Ever wondered what it took to launch a new anime label in the UK? We go behind the scenes with Jerome Mazandarani and Andrew Hewson, as they move from fronting the UK’s favourite anime brand, Manga Entertainment, to launching Animatsu, a brand new anime company!

“To say that last couple of months have been a bit of whirlwind for me would be an understatement. I know you’ve been curious about what I’ve been getting up to since I left Manga Entertainment, so we thought it would be a good idea to give you a diary!” Jerome Mazandarani

Friday 10 October:
Last day at the Manga office. Tears were shed, drinks were drunk, sausages were eaten! Both of us were full of mixed emotions – sad to be leaving but at the same time extremely excited for what was to come.

Sunday 12 October:
Andrew and I fly to Nice and then get a short car ride to Cannes for MIPCOM – the world’s largest content market. We check into our apartment but before unpacking we manage to take a cheeky selfie from the balcony. Check out my room – could that be a hot tub? I couldn’t possibly comment!
We headed off to the Palais des Festivals to pick up our badges and programmes in order to plan our itinerary. Later that evening we attended the annual TV Tokyo MIPCOM dinner and caught up with our friends from Japan and Europe including Dybex, Kana, Mediatoon and of course TV Tokyo. Naruto even made an appearance to show us how to properly eat ramen!

Monday 13 October:
First day of meetings; MIPCOM is a great opportunity to meet all of the major anime producers and broadcasters from Japan in one place over three intense days without having to travel all the way to Tokyo. So! While TBS is at MIPCOM selling their hit TV show formats to UK broadcasters, I can also meet with them to talk about licensing exciting titles! In just a short period of time we managed to secure a lot of great new anime to release on the Animatsu label next year.
Monday night was the Kodansha party where we got to see many friends from the industry from all around the world, including the guys from Funimation, TV Tokyo, VIZ Media and many more. When it’s not raining in Cannes it can be pretty spectacular. Just look at that view!

Tuesday 14 October:
No rest for the wicked! We had another full day of back to back meetings, all highly productive and successful I might add. Tuesday evening we headed to the Old Town to meet Funimation for dinner. It was great to catch up with them and chat about their plans.

Wednesday 15 October:
We flew back to London in the early evening and then spent the rest of the week setting up the new company. It is a massive amount of work setting up a company. Why didn’t anyone warn me? During this time we finally settled on a design for the Animatsu logo we loved, and a few days after that, our business cards arrived. It was all coming together nicely, and in such a short space of time as well, which was surprising and also encouraging.

Monday 20 – Sunday 26 October:
Even though we have left Manga, we promised them we’d come back as consultants to manage their epic booth at the MCM London Comic Con. It was a great way to end our careers with Manga; all of our favourite people were there. We did a pretty awesome panel with NEO’s very own editor-in-chief, Gemma Cox. Attack on Titan was the big hit on the booth, we must have sold over 500 copies on DVD and Blu-ray. Amazing! We even had one very special guest turn up on the booth. He was happy to sign autographs and eat people!

Wednesday 29 October:
Comic Con has left us both shattered, but there’s no rest for the wicked. I flew out to Dallas for a couple of days to meet some more of my licensing friends. It was a flying visit but what a great city! I flew back on Halloween, and I got a few hours to myself, so I visited downtown Dallas and Dealey Plaza and the JFK Museum. I even stood on the infamous Grassy Knoll ¬– it’s surprising how small the whole area is.

Wednesday 5 November:
I barely had a week back in London before I had to fly to America again, specifically Santa Monica to attend the American Film Market (AFM) where I met with more producers and licensors. Once again, I closed some pretty great deals. It was my first at AFM and I have to say, it was a fascinating insight into the world of film production and sales. I took my skateboard with me. I was so bloomin’ busy I never got to use it though. Next time hopefully…

Tuesday 11 November:
I’m back in London and my head finally knows what time zone I’m in. We’ve officially moved into our new Soho office. We’ve even put up the MONDO Ghost In The Shell prints they gave me at San Diego Comic Con. Now it’s time for the real hard work – executing license agreements, setting up the release schedule, marketing and PR plans etc. Stay tuned for more news about Animatsu in the weeks and months ahead by checking out upcoming issues of NEO, and by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @AnimatsuEnt.

TAGS: Animatsu
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