The makers of hit Japanese children’s show Ninja Hattori have partnered with Green Gold Animation Studios, the creators of a popular Indian animation franchise Chhota Bheem, to produce a new season of the long-running anime series that has a massive popularity in India.
Japanese television series like Doraemon and Shin Chan occupy a major time space on Indian television today. Based on Japanese comics—manga, these shows have a huge fan base in the country, following which one of the shows Ninja Hattori is being given a makeover especially for the Indian market.
Japan’s leading private broadcaster TV Asahi and its animation production arm Shin-ei Animation have teamed- up with India’s animation studio—Green Gold Animation for the creation of the new episodes of Ninja Hattori.
An action comedy animation franchise that has been running over three decades with a large number of followers across the world, Ninja Hattori is a star in India, too. Here, the series has been dubbed in local languages such as Hindi, Tamil and Telugu to cater to the audience in various parts of the country.
Since its launch in 2006, Ninja Hattori has remained one of the top-rated kids’ shows in India.
The show is about a ninja boy Hattori who has come from the Iga mountains and now is a part of the Mitsuba family along with his brother Shinzo and his ninja dog. Hattori helps Kenichi with his problems and constantly keeps an eye on him as a good friend.
Origin of Japanese anime popularity in India
It all started in 1990 when everyone grew up watching Rudyard Kipling’s collection of series, The Jungle Book which was a Japanese style animation series and was a must watch for many on Sundays when it aired on the Doordarshan channel, India’s national TV broadcaster.
Later, original Japanese anime made entry in India with the programmes such as Doraemon on Hungama channel and Ninja Hattori on Nickelodeon. This was followed by a rush of other animation television series from Japan and rest of Asia, with shows like Chibi, Maruko Chan, Pokemon, Shinchan, etc.
Confusing ‘anime’ with ‘cartoons’
In Japan, anime is like a cult. It is as commonplace and celebrated as Bollywood is in India. People from all age groups take this form of art quite seriously, and characters and genres have their dedicated fan following. However, in India, anime is still a foreign concept and not as popularly accepted amongst adults as it is in Japan. One of the most common misconceptions is confusing it with ‘cartoons’. ‘Anime’ and ‘cartoons’ are two different styles of animation.
While cartoons and anime are both caricature sketches that are in turn animated, the latter has a very distinct style of art using specific visual elements for its characters. Anime originated in Japan and is aimed not just for humour (unlike cartoons) but quite often branch into stories that deal with serious issues, adventures, romance and other subjects inspired by real lives or situations. A majority of the animes are based on manga comics which were not easily available in India until online shopping companies started selling them.
Green Gold Animation’s Chhota Bheem, an original home-grown content, was a game changer in the Indian industry when it aired on Pogo channel, as it gave confidence to Indian broadcasters that local shows could have a tremendous response and break the monopoly of the international ones.
Now, Shin-ei’s experienced team of writers and directors, in collaboration with Green Gold animation studios expert team of animators, are getting ready to create the new Ninja Hattori episodes in 2D-HD through a digitally mastered process. What Indian kids watch at home on their TV’s is truly changing, with room for a lot more.