3:05pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Marvel, Disney Team with Toei and Bandai for Japan-Only 'Avengers'
The Avengers are headed to Japan, with the news that the Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd. will produce Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, the first original Marvel animated series created specifically for Japanese audiences.
The new series will feature all-new teen characters teaming up with a special group of Avengers -- Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America, with the addition of Spider-Man -- to deal with a plan hatched by Loki to take over the world, according to Disney's announcement of the project. The remaining superheroes (and some villains, as well) have been trapped inside "a new technology originally developed as portable security devices for capturing and securing villains around the world," according to the show's official synopsis.
If that sounds pretty toyetic -- especially given that the Avengers and teen sidekicks will spend part of the series "reclaim[ing] the scattered disks" (Gotta catch 'em all, after all) -- then there's a reason for that. The series is part of a collaboration with Toei Animation and Bandai, with the show's release being accompanied by a full range of related merchandise that is, according to Disney's announcement, "sure to breathe new life into the boys market in Japan."
This isn't the first time Walt Disney Japan has created all-new series featuring existing properties for the Japanese market; Stitch, the company's 2008 spinoff from the 2002 movie Lilo & Stitch, relocated the character from Hawaii to an island off the coast of Okinawa. Similarly, Marvel has previously attempted to break into the Japanese market with alternate animated versions of Iron Man, Wolverine, the X-Men and Blade.
Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers is scheduled to debut in spring 2014.