Owner firm of Japanese superhero Ultraman set to expand after winning global rights

09, Aug. 2019

Various goods of Japanese superhero character Ultraman presented at a media event in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 8.
Various goods of Japanese superhero character Ultraman presented at a media event in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 8.

KUALA LUMPUR, NNA – The brand owner of Japanese superhero character Ultraman is set to expand its business globally after winning an intellectual property (IP) lawsuit, with one of its television series scheduled to air in Malaysia from this month.

Tsuburaya Productions Co. will start broadcasting Ultraman R/B, a recent series involving the character, on Malaysia's pay TV run by Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad on Aug. 30, President Masayuki Nagatake said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Tsuburaya won the copyright outside of Japan for the Japan-origin brand Ultraman, an alien warrior who came from the fictitious Land of Light to defend Earth from monsters, in a battle against a Japanese firm at a U.S. court last year.

At the first major press conference overseas after the legal triumph, Nagatake explained his company’s plans for the next three years, including the global launch of Ultraman Tiaga, the latest series which premiered in Japan in July, in 2020.

Tsuburaya said the Ultraman IP generates $11.5 billion in global revenue, of which 90 percent derives solely from licensing and merchandizing in partnerships with many authorized retailers, manufacturers, publishers and distributers, among other businesses.

The IP includes Ultraman heroes, monsters and characters related to the brand.

“We will launch Ultra Galaxy Fight, an online series featuring Ultraman’s New Generation Heroes, to be broadcasted on YouTube from Sept. 29. We are also in the midst of producing Season 2 of Netflix’s Ultraman which was released in April and has gone on to be a smash hit,” said Nagatake.

Tsuburaya is also in the midst of producing a movie entitled “Shin Ultraman” which is an adaptation of the original Ultraman released in 1966. It is scheduled to be released in 2021, he said.

Tsuburaya is owned 49 percent by Bandai Namco Holdings Inc., a leading toy maker and entertainment conglomerate in Japan, according to Bandai Namco’s financial statement.