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Ex-FUNimation Execs Form Illumitoon Ent.

Three former execs from FUNimation have formed Illumitoon Ent. Ltd., dedicated to bringing exciting anime titles to the U.S. Formed in January 2006 in Fort Worth, Texas, the company focuses on acquiring exciting anime from Japan, with the emphasis on making them relatable for an American audience.

Of course, we always want to include the original Japanese tracks with our shows, for the serious anime fan, says Barry Watson, the companys president/ceo. Its just that we want it to be accessible and engaging for a mass audience as well.

Illumitoon Ent. boasts a 43,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, which it shares with Fort Worth-based CRM Prods., a top-tier film and video production company. As such, Illumitoon has at its disposal the latest in new, technical innovations, as well as top-notch facilities to reversion its shows.

Illumitoon has acquired a number of titles, and is looking forward to launching DVD releases as early as January 2007. Its first major acquisition is a 78-episode series from Toei Animation, BEET THE VANDEL BUSTER (Japanese Title: BOUKEN OH BEET).

BEET is based on the popular SHONEN JUMP manga and features a design staff, which did the successful DIGIMON series. BEET is currently airing in Japan, and features a large array of merchandise from Bandai.

Were obviously very excited about launching with this title. Its an extraordinary work from Toei Animation, says Watson. We think it picks up where the DRAGONBALL Z series left off.

For more than a decade, Watson presided over FUNimations production staff, overseeing production on such titles as DRAGONBALL, DRAGONBALL Z, YU YU HAKUSHO, FULL METAL ALCHEMIST and a host of other shows. It boils down to just making good shows people want to see again and again, said Watson.

Illumitoon Ent. ( is a newly formed collaboration of business and creative professionals focused on delivering customized, quality entertainment to the North American markets. The companys principals Waston, Stephanie Giotes, coo/general counsel and Richard Ray, evp have more than 20 years combined experience in acquiring, producing and distributing anime, as well as creating original productions for the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.