Setting a New Standard with “Hanazuki: Full of Treasures” – Animation Scoop

Setting a New Standard with “Hanazuki: Full of Treasures”

The traditional methods used to get animated content made and broadcast are evaporating in front of our eyes. So far, no particular replacement is obvious, but more than a few industry heavyweights are placing their chips on the table. One of those is Hasbro, and one of its chips is Hanazuki: Full of Treasures.

It’s easy to view Hanazuki as yet another cheapo webseries pumped out to sell toys. While selling toys is an ultimate goal of the series, it’s actually intended to kickstart a new girl-friendly franchise to re-engage the demographic as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic runs out its course.

However, rather than go the traditional route of creating a traditional show, toys to go along with it, and a marketing push to get it in front of kids, Hasbro is embracing a more contemporary approach. For starters, Hanazuki is a webseries with episodes clocking in and around the 10 minutes mark; easily watchable on a phone or tablet. It’s also on YouTube where anyone can view it for free. Lastly, there will be a tie-in app coming that will likely extend the property into the interactive space. Toys surely come in at some point, but the initial emphasis is on the characters and the story.

The series also emanates from an original idea from Dutch creators Niko Stumpo and Hanneke Metselaar instead of a corporate committee. It’s a surprisingly straightforward, entertaining cartoon with little pretence to anything else. It’s reminiscent of the original creator-driven shows of the 1990s which were entertainment first, and toy-selling machines second. One beget the other of course, but in focusing on a quality show, producers discovered that the toys sold themselves. While Hanzuki does owe a lot artistically to contemporary shows like Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and Natasha Allegri’s Frederator webseries Bee & Puppycat, the show doesn’t make such debts too obvious.

Although aimed at girls and rather saccharine in appearance, the show is not overly filled with femininity. Whether this is a sign of the times, or simply a creative decision is unknown, but there is a decent degree of universal appeal to the show. An aspect that’s actually become more important as audiences disappear into niches and specialist content.

The show being available on YouTube is a hopeful sign of faith in the platform. At a time when more and more content is slowly receding into walled gardens, it’s nice to see a major company like Hasbro recognize that there is potential in allowing anyone and everyone to view your content. This free-for-all approach runs counter to what the major networks are doing, which is to make content available online, but to require a cable or satellite subscription to view it.

Hasbro’s initiative with Hanazuki: Full of Treasures signifies a new era in kids animated entertainment even though it doesn’t appear to. Making a (presumably) large investment on a major new entertainment property that will not inhabit any of the traditional places that such properties are found is a vote of confidence in the animation sector as a whole, and the new business models that its embracing. I personally hope the show succeeds (because I happen to like it) but also because there needs to be a shake-out of all the various methods that creators, producers, and even YouTube itself, are using to try and make web content profitable. Eventually someone has to crack the nut, and with this latest attempt, Hasbro may finally have done so. This is definitely something to keep a close eye on to see how it develops.

Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

Being tall, Irish and a civil engineer by trade, Charles stands out in the animation crowd, hence his position as the Animation Anomaly.
Charles Kenny
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