Not just translate, but transcreate Japanese anime content on Disney Kids Network: Devika Prabhu

At the launch press conference of the anime series 'Pokémon Horizons', Prabhu, Business Head of the Kids and Infotainment Cluster at Disney Kids Network, mentioned that the series will help Pokemon surpass last year's 87 million views

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Delhi: Having generated 87 million views across the Disney Kids Channel in India in the last year alone, The Pokemon Company (TPC) announced the launch of the anime series 'Pokémon Horizons' at a press conference in Mumbai.

(Source: BARC | 2+ India Urban | Wk1 - Wk 52'23)

The new animated show will premiere on Hungama on May 25, 2024. 

Disney’s Kids channel Hungama has been home to the Pokémon series since 2014.

Calling it a ‘big-ticket’ property, Prabhu Devika Prabhu, Business Head, Kids and Infotainment Cluster Disney Kids Network, said, "We are thrilled to have contributed to the growth of the Pokémon fanbase in the country, with 87 million views in 2023 alone. With a new set of Pokémon, the chance of Hungama fans and viewers experiencing these characters on our platform is tenfold.”

For the first time in Pokémon’s history, the series features a female lead, Liko, who, along with her partner Pokémon Myaoha, will explore the exciting new world of Pokémon with another young trainer named Roy. 

At the press conference, TPC also unveiled the original opening and ending tracks composed by the music duo Vishal-Sheykhar and sung by Armaan Malik and Shirley Setia, created especially for Indian fans.

Susumu Fukunaga, The Pokémon Company, remarked, "The new series comes with a brand-new storyline, new Pokémon and human characters, so there is a lot to look forward to. You will enjoy a fascinating adventure on an airship and see how secrets unfold due to the mysterious objects the main characters possess. All this is packed into a heartwarming story of friendship and self-discovery. We are also delighted to air our new series on the hugely popular Hungama channel. Their reach is bound to take our content to viewers across the entire country.”

In addition to Liko and Roy, Pokémon Horizons: The Series also features other new characters, including interesting groups like Rising Volt Tacklers and the Explorers. There are many new Pokémon, each bringing unique abilities to the screen. Fans will see Captain Pikachu navigating the characters on daring voyages across the sea and sky.

According to a report, India currently ranks 4th in the global viewership of anime, with a community of 30 million fans and counting. In the future, it is predicted that 60% of the global growth of anime will be driven by India. 

Regarding the popularity of anime culture, Prabhu highlighted that multiple generations of fans and viewers have grown up immersed in this content.

She further emphasised that the increasing reach each year reflects the enduring popularity of Japanese anime.

On the Disney network, Japanese anime content has a predominant share of over 50%, and Pokemon in particular has generations of fans following, Prabhu added.

Keeping a balance between being relatable and sparking curiosity is key for Hungama TV, and this guides how they adapt shows for their audience. Shows like Doraemon and Shin-chan, popular in India and Japan, are less known in the West. Prabhu notes that many of these shows are directly translated from Japanese for our screens.

Prabhu highlighted the close collaboration between Disney Kids and The Pokémon Company for localisation. 

"We aim to capture the essence of the original script across all translated languages. We don't simply translate; we transcreate," she emphasised. 

She further explained that the platform broadcasts Pokemon in multiple languages, including Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu, reaching audiences across the entire country.

"This is our approach to localisation, it's not just about translation; it's about making content relevant and popular in each language. We infuse local flavour into our transcreation," she expressed.

Prabhu further stated that with Pokemon, “We have a very extensive marketing and promotional campaign planned, there will be a music video, which will be a central point of our promotion, multi-city on-ground events.” 

The Pokémon Company has allocated Rs 25 crore over a span of five years for activities such as advertising and marketing.

Pokémon has also become the official partner of the Mumbai Indians for the 2024 season.