Amazon ramps up original content in Japan

Amazon has unveiled 12 original productions for its SVOD service in Japan, including reboots of the iconic Kamen Rider and Ultraman franchises.

Kids series Kamen Rider Amazons, produced by Toei to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the masked rider show, is already streaming, while the Ultraman Orb spin-off is scheduled for delivery in December 2016.

Amazon’s new Japanese line-up also includes romcom series Hapi Mari Happy Marriage, starring Dean Fujioka; variety show Uchimura Summers Second, featuring comedians Summers and Teruyoshi Uchimura; and documentary series Prime Japan and Invisible Tokyo (see full list below).

The Japanese content will be available to Prime subscribers in the US, UK, Germany and Austria, in addition to Japan.

Amazon is also acquiring Japanese SVOD rights to international content, including hot UK drama series The Night Manager, as well as subtitling its original US content, such as Transparent, into Japanese.

Amazon launched its SVOD service in Japan last year, but until today’s press conference in Tokyo had kept tight-lipped about its original content plans.

“We’re excited to add a great line-up of original Japanese programming to supplement the English-language series we’ve already created in the US,” said Amazon Video vice president Roy Price in Tokyo. “When we introduced Prime Video in Japan last year, we said we would be bringing 20 original series and we’re thrilled to introduce the first twelve of those today.”

Netflix, which launched in Japan around the same time, has already announced several Japanese acquisitions and original productions, including an adaptation of Naoki Matayoshi’s novel Hibana, which starts streaming on June 3.

Netflix Japan is also producing an as-yet-untitled drama series produced by comedian Sanma Akashiya with backing from Yoshimoto Kogyo and Dentsu Digital Holdings. Production is scheduled to start this summer for delivery next spring.

FULL LIST OF AMAZON JAPAN PRODUCTIONS:

Uchimura Summers Second (variety): Popular show now streaming, scheduled for global delivery in autumn 2016. Comic duo Summers and Teruyoshi Uchimura welcome guests each episode with their unique style of laidback comedy.

Kamen Rider Amazons (kids): Season 1 now streaming, Season 2 scheduled for delivery in Spring 2017. A reboot of the legendary special effects TV series to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the masked rider show.

Prime Japan (documentary): Popular show now streaming. Shot in 4K resolution, this documentary series introduces the enduring appeal of Japanese culture.

Hapi Mari Happy Marriage!? (drama): Scheduled for delivery from June 22, 2016. A romcom depicting a marriage of convenience based on a best-selling comic book and starring Dean Fujioka.

Rakuen The Secret Of Paradise (documentary): 4K travelogue series in which a popular Japanese photographer journeys to remote islands in search of paradise. Scheduled for delivery from June 30, 2016.

Invisible Tokyo (documentary): Scheduled for delivery from July 15, 2016. A new style of documentary that follows the cultural leaders who are dragging Tokyo into the future.

Baby Steps (drama): Scheduled for delivery from July 22, 2016. This live-action adaptation of a popular comic book depicts a coming-of-age drama about high-school students aiming to become tennis players.

Hitoshi Matsumoto Presents Documental (variety): Scheduled for delivery in autumn 2016. A new style of original variety show from Hitoshi Matsumoto, the well-known Japanese comedian and film director (Symbol).

Businessmen Vs. Aliens (drama): Scheduled for delivery from September 8, 2016. A new type of situational entertainment on the theme of “space”.

Ultraman Orb Spinoff (kids): Scheduled for delivery from December 2016. A spinoff from the latest Ultraman series, a new chapter for a special-effects hero who is popular with every generation.

Sake To Sakana To Ishizuka Hidehiko (variety): Scheduled for delivery from November 2016. A travelogue on Japanese sake with popular gourmet reporter Hidehiko Ishizuka.

Magi (drama): Scheduled for delivery in Summer 2017. A period drama about the four young Japanese men sent as ambassadors to Rome by the Christian Daimyos.