Leading Japanese music company Avex, is launching into the animation business with a major new project that it expects will generate international sales of $806m (Y100bn) by 2003.

The company is setting up a new subsidiary, Avex Mode to work with best selling author Yoshimi Ishikawa on the project, Son Goku no Boken (Son Goku's Adventure), an animation about a monkey with magical transformative powers. The story is based loosely on a well-known Chinese folk tale that also served as an inspiration for the hit Dragonball series.

In addition to the animated film, Avex is making a 100-episode TV series, set to start broadcasting in October, game software, DVDs. soundtrack CDs and character goods.

"In the Son Goku project, our approach is to put the accent on the 'man' in manga," commented Ishikawa. "We are creating an animation for adults."

Launched in 1988 by chairman and president Tatsumi Yoda as an importer of Western music, Avex currently has a market value of 130 billion yen ($1.04 billion).