Millimages preps preschool series based on breakout Korean character. By Tom McLean.
If you think Hello Kitty is cute, wait until you meet Molang.
The breakout character, created in 2009 by Korean university student Hye-Ji Yoon, is on a steady path toward television stardom with the preschool set via France-based Millimages.
The company optioned the character last December and based on strong response from broadcasters produced a pilot episode to show at MIP-TV that also was well received.
Developed at Millimages by producer Marie Caroline Villand, the series is an affectionate and humorous look on the relationship between Molang, an eccentric and enthusiastic rabbit, and Piu Piu, a shy, discreet and emotional little chick. Despite their many differences, these two enjoy a unique friendship.
“They live together; one is a happy character and the other is a bit serious,” says Roch Lener, president and CEO of Millimages. “They react differently but they solve all their adventures through understanding, friendship – helping each other. It is funny, but it is also caring.”
Molang and Piu Piu also have a big group of friends they usually meet up with at the end of each episode. The characters express themselves in a universal language that was created from scratch. Though the characters speak an unknown language, they are easy to understand.
The planned TV series would be 104 episodes of three-and-a-half minutes each that can be linked together as 52 seven-minute episodes. While it’s primarily set for TV, the series also is optimized for digital platforms such as phones and tablets and Millimages is planning to develop apps, interactive programs and merchandising to further immerse people in Molang’s world.
While the TV series is nominally aimed at preschoolers, Lener says his hope is that the universal appeal of the project would cross over into older age groups — much the same way the character has succeeded in Asia.
After creating Molang, Yoon posted the character on her blog and started making stickers. He suddenly became a hit with girls ages 10 to 20. Yoon partnered with FeelBug to create merchandise and licensed products throughout Korea.
Lener says the appeal of the character is very strong in Asia, mostly with girls and young women who know the character as an emoticon on popular Asian chat services, such as Line, KaKaoTalk and WeChat.
Lener says he expects financing for the series will be completed soon and production to begin by the end of the year. Millimages also is looking for merchandising agents in territories outside of Asia, with the best opportunities in Europe, the United States and Latin America.
”The fact it is already very famous in Asia means it will certainly expand from there,” he says, adding that in showing the pilot to potential buyers and partners has found adults respond to it too.
“People are moved by the simplicity of the show,” he says. “It’s really aiming at a point nobody can miss. It’s very clear.”
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