Interview with Hanabee CEO Eric Cherry

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The Australian Anime Industry is currently going through a period of great growth. Last year a new company joined the fray down under in the form of Hanabee. Since beginning operations they have made quite an impact on the community and industry. I recently got a chance to conduct an interview with CEO of Hanabee, Eric Cherry in order to get his thoughts on the state of the industry and its future.

Q. Hanabee is a relative newcomer to the Australian anime industry, having only just begun operation last year. What do you believe sets Hanabee apart from the rest of the industry down under?

A. At present, we exist as a company purely to service the anime and gaming community. All our activities are designed with the same audience in mind, and I believe we’re the only company with this approach.

Q. How would you describe Hanabee’s position in the current landscape of the Australian anime industry?

A. Hanabee is a pretty dynamic company. We’re continuing to try out ideas that we hope resonate more and more with the community. If we keep having success in this area it should go a long way towards putting us in the position to exist. 

Q. In the past few years there has been a notable increase in the popularity of more niche titles such as those from the noitaminA brand. Hanabee has even recently announced the acquisition of Kids on the Slope, another series that ran on noitaminA. What do you believe makes these kinds of titles so popular?

A. I think noitaminA’s overall success is attributed to the high level of talent they were able to attract to their projects. Kids on the Slope has the Director/Musical Composition A-Team from Cowboy Bebop behind it so I think it has a real chance of resonating with a wider anime audience. 

Q. A lot of the titles in Hanabee’s library could be classified as niche. Can we expect to see more mainstream series licensed by Hanabee in the future?

A. Yes.

Q. Simulcast streaming has become a mainstay in the industry at this day and age with both Madman Entertainment and Siren Visual having tried their hand at it. Is this something that Hanabee would be interested in trying out?

A. Australia’s a funny market for simulcasting because it’s not big enough to generate substantial revenue from advertising or subscription sources, but I think it will eventually. We will jump in at one point, but we will need to be smart about it.  

Q. There are several anime distributors in Australia, but very few manga distributors. Has Hanabee considered releasing manga in Australia?

A. We have, but we’re not ready to make any announcements one way or the other right now. 

Q. Since its inception Hanabee has proven itself to be a company strongly involved with the anime community. Why do you believe it is important to stay so closely in touch with your audience?

A. Thanks. I can’t imagine a situation where it wasn’t important for a company to stay closely in touch with its audience, so it’s kind of a hard one to answer. I suppose if Hanabee was to grow substantially, a close relationship with the community may become harder, but it will always be important. 

Q. Social Media is undoubtedly an incredibly useful tool for connecting with your audience. What can anime fans expect from Hanabee on Facebook and Twitter?

A. The element of surprise is one of the things that keeps it fresh, so I wouldn’t be willing to answer this question directly. That said, we’ll continue to invest resources into this area and come up with innovative ways to use it. 

Q. What advice do you have for someone looking to get working in the anime industry?

A. Send us your CV and if an opportunity that suites your skill set comes up we’ll contact you. 

Q. How do you view the current state of the Australian anime industry and where do you see it heading in the future?

A. It’s expanded a lot in a short amount of time so I expect it will eventually have to contract a bit, then probably ebb and flow like the USA market does. 

Q. Is there anything you would like to say to all the fans of Hanabee reading this?

A. Reach out. Message us, make suggestions, come see us at conventions, share with us the ideas you have to build your own community and we’ll do everything we can to support you. 

Q. Thank you for your time.

A. Indeed, thanks for the opportunity!

That concludes our interview with Hanabee CEO, Eric Cherry. For more information on Hanabee and their products you can check out their official website here. As always be sure to let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Senior Editor & Anime Specialist

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