Dentsu, Japan’s behemoth advertising company, has shown that despite its vast resources, it can still manage to be pretty tone-deaf.
What do I mean? The company has launched an anime studio—cool!—but called it “Dentsu Japanimation Studio.”
Young OUSA readers may not be aware, but there was a time in the early days of western anime fandom when folks weren’t quite sure what to call the stuff. Anime is a Japanese word, after all, and wasn’t immediately available in the English lexicon. One solution—which ANN’s Justin Sevakis credits to Central Park Media—was to call it “Japanimation,” i.e., Japan plus animation. Problem was, delete the “animation” and you were left with an anti-Japanese slur.
Naming issues aside, it sounds as if Dentsu Japanimation Studio will team up with several anime companies, like Sunrise, MAPPA, David Production, Production I.G and more to create anime-based ads for Japanese and foreign markets.
This isn’t Dentsu’s first foray into anime—they’ve actively funded titles in the past, such as the Katsuhiro Otomo sci-fi adventure/cup noodle ad Freedom.
Seriously, though, did no one think to ask if “Japananimation” would sound funky abroad?