At the centre of the joint European licensing programme is the creation of an exclusive product line that joins One Piece hero Chopper with Hello Kitty. This will be managed by Sanrio.
“This is a meaningful partnership for both Toei and its legions of One Piece fans across Europe,” said Ryuji Kochi, general manager of Toei Animation Europe. “Sanrio’s global reputation and its passion for imaginative and inspiring brands makes us very excited for our wonderful collaboration.”
Paolo Casarini, licensing director at Sanrio, added: “It is a delight to work with Toei Animation and its team of designers in creating a truly unique alliance.”
Chopper – who is a blue-nosed reindeer turned half human – first debuted in 2001. Over 660 episodes of One Piece and 11 movies have been produced, while ten channels across Europe air the series on a regular basis.
In France alone, One Piece remains number one in sales for licensed books across the country.