Playhut: Not Just Toying With Anime

The Playhut Company, a leading toy designer and manufacturer, has launched a new entertainment and media company called Playhut Entertainment. The entity will primarily produce anime and children’s programming for home video and broadcast. It will also be involved in the creation of license-related media products directed to various audiences from preschoolers through teens and beyond.

Playhut Ent. is the brainchild of Playhut founder president and Brian Y. Zheng, and will be under the leadership of John Anello Jr.

Anello is the former president and founder of Cexton Records and Productions. He has also served as VP of NEC’s Signafy Media Watermark Technology Company and has been a consultant to several media companies, including Disney. He is the recipient of a Telly Award for TV Production and holds a Juris Doctor law degree with a specialty in Intellectual Property for Media.

Anello tells Animation Magazine Online that Playhut Ent. has acquired nearly 30 animated properties with a focus on anime, and that each series consists of 52 episodes. The company is currently preparing six titles for U.S. broadcast and home video distribution. Those include the action series Bird Island, Tang Dynasty and Di Quing, as well as the preschool properties Little Monk, Errant Little Monk and Panda Mountain.

Other properties in the library may be licensed out to other companies. Anello says they are “looking at, but not looking for” other properties for possible acquisition.

In addition to producing and distributing English language versions of popular Japanese animated shows, Playhut Ent. is also creating new properties and content, including a preschool series titled LittleSignz, which is in the character design stage and will probably employ cel animation, possibly mixed with Flash, to bring traffic signals and signs to life.

Playhut Ent. will be a presence at upcoming trade shows and expos, including the Licensing Show in June.