Amazon Japan Unveils Ambitious Original Content Slate

Amazon Japan unveiled an ambitious slate of a dozen projects on Tuesday as the content division of the online retail giant continues its international expansion. The slate of original shows, which will be available on the Amazon Prime subscription service, cover everything from family and drama to comedy and documentary.  The announcement was made by Amazon Japan president Jasper Cheung, Amazon Studios chief Roy Price and Amazon Japan content head James Farrell.

Amazon Prime first launched in Japan last year. At the time, Amazon Studios said they would be producing up to 20 original shows for the Japanese market. Today’s announcement reps more than half of that initial commitment.

The shows include Magi, the true story of four Japanese youths who traveled to the Vatican decades ago only to return to Japan and discover Christianity has been banned. The series, which starts filming next summer, is based on a book by Midori Wakakuwa. Also in the pipelines are a Manga animation of Baby Steps, a teen rom-com about a wannabe tennis star; another Manga series Businessmen vs. Aliens as well as live-action adaptations of popular superhero franchises Kamen Rider and Ultraman. 

Japan is a key territory for Amazon Studios, with half of the company’s envisaged 40-strong slate of original international programming set aside for the country. Amazon has been ramping up its international activity across the board.

Amazon is in advanced talks to come onboard Strange New Things, an event sci-fi TV series that Kevin MacDonald is directing, Matt Charman is writing and Left Bank Pictures is producing. The project is an adaptation of Michel Faber’s The Book Of Strange New Things, which was critically praised upon its release in 2014, with the Guardian newspaper calling it, “astonishing and deeply affecting.”

Amazon commissioned The Collection, its first original UK drama series, from producers Lookout Point, who also co-produced BBC-TWC epic adaptation War And Peace. The eight-episode series was created by Pretty Little Liars and Ugly Betty exec producer Oliver Goldstick, in association with BBC Worldwide. The show tells the story of an illustrious Paris fashion house (think: Dior) just after World War II.


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