Meet Molang

Mil­lim­ages preps preschool se­ries based on break­out Korean char­ac­ter. By Tom McLean.

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

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.”

Since it’s not al­ways so­cially ap­pro­pri­ate to shout out your love for your fa­vorite an­i­mated ti­tles, DreamWorks has signed a deal with Poet­icgem to get you cov­ered — lit­er­ally. A new ap­parel line of retro-in­spired adult day­wear fea­tur­ing the fan­tas­ti­cal, furred and fe­ro­cious stars of DWA’s monster fran­chises Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Mada­gas­car. Our only quib­ble about these high-im­pact de­sign duds is that the an­nounce­ment named these prop­er­ties “clas­sics,” which makes us feel in­cred­i­bly old.

Luck­ily, DreamWorks has also signed a de­li­cious deal with food li­cens­ing com­pany Praim Group, which will be cre­at­ing a collection of seven deca­dently DWA-in­spired choco­late bars fea­tur­ing an­i­mated char­ac­ters. Among the prop­er­ties com­ing to a ter­ri­bly tempt­ing dis­play rack near you will be ac­quired Clas­sic Me­dia char­ac­ters Frosty the Snow­man, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Un­der­dog, Hot Stuff, Santa Claus Is Com­ing to Town and two dif­fer­ent Shrek de­signs. Just when you think you can’t pos­si­bly cram any more Simpsons good­ies into your life, the uni­verse finds a way to open your wal­let. 20th Century Fox Con­sumer Prod­ucts has teamed up with bak­ery-themed ap­parel and ac­ces­sories bou­tique Johnny Cup­cakes for a new collection fea­tur­ing Spring­field’s most no­to­ri­ous denizens. The best buy is an over­sized “cup­cake mix” box, which con­tains three col­lectible items cel­e­brat­ing one of the fea­tured char­ac­ters: Homer, Bart or Krusty the Clown. Additional treats launched in Johnny Cup­cakes “bak­eries” and on­line late last month. U.K. fash­ion la­bel Drop Dead is also now of­fer­ing a collection in­spired by the show’s hy­per vi­o­lent toon-within-a-toon Itchy & Scratchy.

If you have more room on your book­shelf than in your dresser, NECA has un­veiled which Simp­soni­fied celebri­ties will ap­pear in the lineup for its third se­ries of The Simpsons 25 of the Great­est Guest Stars fig­urines. In short or­der you can get your hands on jaun­diced ver­sions of Penn and Teller, pro wrestler Bret Hart, Stephen King, Leonard Ni­moy and R.E.M. The sec­ond se­ries on shelves now is com­prised of Brit­ney Spears, Mark Hamill, Lucy Law­less and Tony Hawk, in case you missed the memo.

Ever since launch­ing into the pub­lish­ing world in 2000, Ital­ian property Geron­imo Stil­ton has been bur­row­ing into the hearts of young read­ers and, thanks to At­lantyca En­ter­tain­ment’s an­i­mated se­ries, view­ers. Now in ad­di­tion to en­joy­ing the show and the trans­lated books from Scholas­tic, re­cently ap­pointed exclusive li­cens­ing agent Law­less En­ter­tain­ment can start plas­ter­ing the mouse jour­nal­ist-cum-ex­plorer’s mug on all sorts of good­ies. Given what a suc­cess the lit­tle guy has been around the world, you can ex­pect him to have more li­censees than there are holes in a Swiss cheese soon enough.

Af­ter you drink away the pain of spend­ing al­most a grand on a sci-fi themed bar­ware set, you’ll prob­a­bly be ready for a nap. We rec­om­mend crash­ing out with the of­fi­cial Domo Blan­ket avail­able from ThinkGeek for $24.99. The 50-inch-by-60-inch throw is made of cud­dly fleece and fea­tures the tele­vi­sion mas­cot turned in­ter­na­tional sen­sa­tion’s dis­tinc­tive open-mawed face. If you’re more into gen­tle, gi­ant for­est sprites than chomp-happy brown mon­sters, May we draw your at­ten­tion to the To­toro Bed. On the one hand, it’s prob­a­bly not of­fi­cially li­censed since it seems to be only avail­able on eBay from a va­ri­ety of sell­ers, most in China, for about $150-$300. On the other hand, it’s a bed that looks like To­toro. So … yeah.

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