A consortium of Japanese anime producers and rightsholders has joined forces to develop a new anime streaming site in English.  The new site will offer major titles such as Mobile Suit Gundam, Modoka Magica, One Piece, Lupin the Third, and Prince of Tennis.

We had the opportunity to interview Eri Maruyama of Daisuki International Business Development for details on this new distribution channel for anime in the U.S.

Which anime-producing companies are behind the Daisuki site?  What percentage of the anime produced in Japan do these companies involved in creating the Daisuki site create?

The shareholders of DAISUKI.net are at the same time contents holders and anime production companies.  There has never been anything like that.  The companies are Aniplex, SUNRISE, Toei Animation, TMS Entertainment and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS).  They have already produced many anime titles and DAISUKI.net is going to show a selection of them.  But we are also planning to show titles from other studios and companies in the future to offer an even wider variety.

What is the overall purpose of the Daisuki site?

The overall purpose is to provide Anime fans from all over the world with legal Anime content.

Will the site be streaming only or will there be a download-to-own component?

At the moment, we are planning streaming only.

What is the revenue-producing model for the Daisuki site?  Will it be ad-supported or will there be some sort of subscription fee like the music portals (Pandora, Spotify, etc.)?

There will be no subscription fee.  The streaming service on DAISUKI.net will be for free (except for some premium content maybe); it will be ad-supported.

Some of the titles mentioned in the initial Daisuki press release such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica and One Piece are already being streamed here on other sites.  Will those sites be able to continue to stream these series once Daisuki is up and running?

Yes, other sites may continue their streaming services. The streaming on DAISUKI.net will not be exclusively limited to DAISUKI.net.  Also, DAISUKI.net’s purpose is not to earn users who only come to DAISUKI.net.  Our primary aim is to provide Anime fans with legal content, so as long as they watch anime on other legal sites, we are absolutely happy with that.

Will the primary focus of the Daisuki site be on streaming new series from the anime powerhouses involved, or will it be on streaming series that have already had their run on Japanese TV?

We are planning to stream both newer series as well as older, classic, nostalgic titles.  We want to offer a large variety.

A similar consortium of leading manga publishers created the "J-Manga" site to combat online piracy and create a central legitimate online hub for manga.  Given the perceived failure of the "J-Manga" site to accomplish its goals, how do you plan to avoid a similar fate for Daisuki?

No one knows what the future holds.  But we are optimistic (and hoping!) that if users had the choice to choose from illegal or legal content and the conditions are the same, they will go for the legal content.  To achieve this we need to make our service attractive.  For example, DAISUKI.net will offer the streaming for free and we are also planning HD quality.

Besides that we set a high value on connecting with fans from all over the world directly.  We have realized that it is not enough to just "send out" content from Japan without knowing what overseas fans like and wish.  Therefore we want to link with local fans from various areas of the world to create an exchange--and eventually to create an exchange between overseas fans and Japanese creators.  Overseas fans can get the opportunity to express their feedback to the production companies directly.

Also, DAISUKI.net plans to participate actively in overseas anime conventions all over the world to reach local fans.

Are there any plans to include other anime studios, like Bones, Studio Pierrot, Kyoto Animation, etc. (or their productions) on the site?

We are planning to add titles from other companies and studios as well, so we will not stick only to our shareholders (though we cannot talk about specific titles yet).

How do you plan to handle fulfillment on the anime-related goods that will be offered on the site?  Will you have a warehouse operation here in North America?  What sorts of anime-related merchandise do you plan to offer?

DAISUKI.net will ship worldwide. We are working on the operation for it.  The online shop will offer original merchandise; some of them, created in cooperation with the production companies, may only be available at DAISUKI.net store.

Will you please explain to linguistically-challenged Americans the meaning of the word "Daisuki"?

"Daisuki" is Japanese and means "loveable," "to be fond of," or "like very much."  We hope that many people from all over the world will "daisuki" Japanese anime even more through our service/website!

When do you plan to launch the Daisuki service?  Do you have plans to expand it beyond the Web to include mobile phones and tablets?

The first launch is planned for this spring. In the future, we want to expand our service e.g. with apps for smartphones, tablets or game consoles.