Warner Bros. Discovery Going All In On Anime

By Nina Phillips | Published

Suicide Squad ISEKAI

Warner Bros. Discovery president of Asia-Pacific, James Gibbons, announced how the company is looking to expand their focus on anime. They’re hoping to not only hit an elusive age group but to expand the global audience of anime with new themes and stories pulled from other sources. The newest Warner Bros. anime focuses on DC villains, Suicide Squad ISEKAI is an example of how they’re looking to start this expansion.

Warner Bros. Anime Through The Years

This isn’t Warner Bros. Discovery’s first anime. They’ve had the studio up and running since 2011, and have produced over 80 live-action series, movies, and anime during that time. Some of the most notable are JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Record of Ragnarok, and Batman Ninja. Both JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Record of Ragnarok are very popular on Netflix and frequently feature in the streaming platform’s weekly top 10 list.

There have been an average of 10 Warner Bros. anime released every year since they opened, but they’re looking to be more ambitious. Not only are they looking to produce more anime every year, but the company is also looking to pull in audience members by taking inspiration from non-Japanese sources.

Looking To Tap A New Audience


The goal of expanding Warner Bros. anime is to draw in a target audience that’s not easy to reach. Gibbons explained in his interview that the age range between 18 to 30 years old is very hard to hit. “Anime is one of the best ways to reach the 18 to 30-year-old audience, which is incredibly elusive. Globally, albeit not in every market, but certainly in the U.S., parts of Europe, and Latin America, we’ve got strong anime audiences.”

Suicide Squad ISEKAI

Their most recent Warner Bros. anime is Suicide Squad ISEKAI. This series is based on DC characters such as Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Clayface, Peacemaker, and King Shark. In true Isekai fashion, these characters won’t be terrorizing Gotham, but a different world full of magic, dragons, and orcs.

Working alongside them on Suicide Squad ISEKAI is WIT Studio, the company responsible for hit series such as Spy x Family and Attack on Titan. Osada Eri is in charge of the directing, while Nagatsuki Tappei handles the screenplay for this Warner Bros. anime. Suicide Squad ISEKAI will debut first in Japan around July, but won’t get an international debut until closer to the end of the year.

If this show does well, it likely won’t be the only new DC-based animated show to come from Warner Bros. Discovery. The company sees a lot of potential in superhero and supervillain anime. Not only would it connect well with those who already watch anime, but it could draw in fans of DC who haven’t tried out anime before.

Expansion Plans Include More DC Anime

books of magic

Gibbons understands that it’s a fine line to hit to draw in both fandoms with their Warner Bros. anime. As he says, “There is Japanese anime that comes from original IP. But there’s also anime that comes from elsewhere. And we’ve looked at our DC universe and said, ‘Can we take these characters and reinvent them in world of world of anime,’ which is not straightforward because you have to do it the right way. You have to work with the right studios to make it happen and to build your fan base.”

In addition to producing Warner Bros. anime, the group is looking to expand to other popular Asian forms of media, such as Korean dramas and Chinese shows. It will take some work, as Chinese shows are a bit of a newer category, and K-Dramas have more of a mature audience, but the fan bases for both are growing rather quickly and are hot markets.

Expanding The Asian Market

Finally, as part of their big upgrade plan, Warner Bros. Discovery doesn’t only want to produce Asian media but to make their TV shows and movies more available to Asian consumers, especially in Southeast Asia.

Gibbons explains the plan as such, “For Southeast Asia, we will be launching with a much broader content proposition. Even though we have HBO Go now doesn’t mean we’ve made the entire library available. So, first, there’ll be much deeper access to what we already have. In addition, the entire factual side of the business will come online. That’s not there at all [on HBO Go]. We’ll also expand the kids part of it. And in addition, we’re going to take a strategic, defined approach on the Asian content side. So, when you add all that together, plus a dramatically improved tech stack, I think that we’ll have a brand new service.”

Source: Variety