The latest in Sony news is huge for anime fans, with Sony-owned Aniplex set to open a large anime VR content facility in Japan in fall 2024. Demon Slayer was announced as the first anime to join the featured lineup. The VR center will be 1200sq meters big and located in a tourist hotspot, 5 minutes away from Tokyo Station. It’s also been teased that it will include the latest VR and sound technology, such as floors that vibrate in real-time with visuals, and interactive weather conditions similar to 4D technology like breeze. Sony’s Intellectual Property management company, Sony Creative Projects, will supervise the VR center. The price of admission will be announced later.
Aniplex is also currently seeking cooperation from TV stations, publishers, and other companies that handle content outside of the Sony group to contribute titles for their new VR facility. This suggests that fans may expect some surprising titles to be revealed soon. It’s worth noting that Aniplex publishes the Demon Slayer games, soundtracks, and movies (along with Toho), with Aniplex involved in the production of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train and To the Swordsmith Village alongside Ufotable and Shueisha. Aniplex of America also licenses all the anime series and movies in the United States.
Sony’s new VR center will join Universal Studios Japan in offering interactive VR content as it sets out to capitalize on the growing content industry in Japan. The Digital Content Association of Japan reported that Japan’s 2022 content industry was up 4.5% from 2021, reaching a record 13.2tn yen. The company also seems poised to expand its grip on the anime industry after the acquisition of Crunchyroll on August 9, 2021. Sony recently revealed news that in its first quarter report paid Crunchyroll members had exceeded 12 million.
The Winter 2023 season will see Aniplex’s continued involvement in some huge titles. It’s set to produce the Japanese dub of Heaven Official’s Blessing, while through its subsidiary A-1 Pictures, will animate the upcoming Blue Exorcist: Shimane Illuminati Arc and Solo Leveling anime. Through Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Sony’s involvement in anime even extends to anisongs (anime songs), with YOASOBI’s chart-topper “Idol” being a great indication of anime’s massive potential.
© Koyoharu Gotoge / SHUEISHA, Aniplex, ufotable