Toei Animation, Asia's largest animation house, has launched a wholly-owned subsidiary to produce animation for families and young adults, over a range of media platforms. Called Laterna, the new subsidiary is capitalised at $420,000 (Y50m) and is headed by Tsutomu Tomari, Toei Animation president.

Instead of developing projects exclusively with in-house staff, Laterna will work with creators worldwide on a contact basis, project by project. It also plans to solicit story and character ideas from fans as well as professionals.

The company will use a production committee of industry professionals to help identify story ideas, as well as advise on budgetary and other production- and distribution-related decisions. It will seek project financing from outside the Toei group, including loans.

Parent company Toei will continue to focus on animation for children, from planning and production to distribution and marketing. Founded in 1948 and a member of the Toei Group since 1956, Toei Animation is a leader in the Japanese animation industry, with hits including the Dragonball and Digimon series.