Media company Ellation (home to the Crunchyroll and VRV brands) announces the launch of its original content division Ellation Studios, and the first-ever Crunchyroll Originals series High Guardian Spice. The Studios comprise production facilities in Burbank, CA and Tokyo devoted to creating and developing new shows for Crunchyroll and VRV.
Margaret Dean, former General Manager of Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and current President of Women in Animation, has been named Head of Studio for the new outfit.
Dean is charged with developing originals for both brands, including overseeing production for High Guardian Spice, slated to premiere in 2019. The series is created by life-long anime fan Raye Rodriguez, and his production team features an all-female writing room, along with a diverse and passionate group of artists and creatives. Audu Paden, director of the Animaniacs and other beloved animated series, joins Rodriguez as mentor and supervising director.
In High Guardian Spice, the lives of four fierce girls — Rose, Sage, Thyme and Parsley — converge at High Guardian Academy, the one place where they can stumble towards adulthood while becoming the heroes they’ve always admired. As they master the ways of battle and sorcery, our foursome form allegiances and comical kinships, uncover legacies and betrayals, and discover their true identities while preparing to protect the world from an ominous unknown threat.
“With Crunchyroll Originals, we’re looking to showcase animation as an art form, delivering meaningful original content that draws from our strengths as a truly international service dedicated to super-serving anime fans,” said Dean. “The art style of High Guardian Spice combines anime influence with an untold story and unique perspective. Raye’s team has been inspiring to work with, and we’re can’t wait for fans to see what we have in store for them.”
The series’ creative team will appear at this year’s Crunchyroll Expo in San Jose, with a Saturday panel featuring Dean, Rodriguez, Paden, and story editor Amalia Levari.
“Crunchyroll Originals aims to elevate animation as a medium for storytelling, as most animated series in western culture is geared towards kids or comedy. Our fans grew up watching anime, and today anime inspires creators from around the world and influences so much of broader pop culture. We look to tell distinct, impactful stories best executed in the medium of animation from a global creative community who is inspired by anime,” said Kun Gao, founder and General Manager of Crunchyroll. “With this in mind, we are excited to introduce more shows and announce the rest of our slate in the coming weeks.”
Ellation’s original programming lineup, built on existing licensing and co-production strategy, already includes more than 50 co-pro series including Kiznaiver, Classroom of the Elite, Space Patrol Luluco and Laid-Back Camp.