The first co-productions with France and Japan began in the early 70s (in Italy too with Calimero for example) thanks to the French director René BORG who was working in animation. Through the Japanese actress Keiko KISHI, married to his friend, the director Yves CIAMPI, René BORG met the president of studio Eiken. He produced the anime Zoom the White Dolphin with that studio in the early 70s, first French-Japanese co-production. The series only included 13 episodes but it opened the way to future collaborations.
Four years later, René BORG helped the French director, author, screenwriter, and producer Albert BARILLÉ and the company Procidis. He produced with studio Tatsunoko Pro a 50-episode anime, adapted from the adventures of Colargol the bear, a French fiction that first featured puppets. The series aired in the early 70s and was very popular with the French audience. Following this success, Albert BARILLÉ and René BORG kept on, still with studio Tatsunoko Pro, and produced the first opus of the Once Upon a Time... saga: Once Upon a Time... Man.
The era of French-Japanese co-productions was launched! A few months later, the French producer and screenwriter Jean CHALOPIN, still with René BORG, went to Japan with a new project: Ulysses 31. It was a huge success and contributed to launching Jean CHALOPIN’s company DIC. It aired on Japanese TV in 1988 only, that is seven years later than in France.
Cult anime followed, such as The Mysterious Cities of Gold in 1982 or Once Upon a Time... Space in 1984. In Italy too, successful co-productions were created, such as Sherlock Hound directed by Kyousuke MIKURIYA and Hayao MIYAZAKI himself.
The companied DIC, Procidis or Rever kept on producing series with Japan but productions are now only financed by one of both sides and are no longer real co-productions. In 2010, the French company Ankama started again the co-production adventure with major Japanese authors with their licenses, with a mild success.
Japanese animation is 100 years old: come celebrate with us!