Toy News Autumn/Winter 2021

Page 21

Akedo Warriors

And what do you think it is about Akedo that has caught the imagination of kids and audiences today?

that it becomes a real feast for the eyes and has you on the edge of your seat as a viewer, just as you would be as a player in real life.

The games that kids play together (video and otherwise) change constantly and evolve, but the heart of them all - the bonds, camaraderie, laughs and the lows - are timeless. Likewise, online gaming has never been more popular, and the virtual friendships formed through these games (like that of Jet, Bria, and Cub in Akedo) are more and more commonplace especially post-pandemic. So, when you take both of these things, and insert them into a futuristic ‘anything-can-happen’ world like Akedo, it becomes something at once very relatable and relevant, but also incredibly unique and exciting.

What elements of the toy line and game play did you draw on to develop the series, and how do you ensure that it all ties back around into the toy line itself - staying true to the themes of the toy brand, etc?

Why does the Akedo toy line lend itself to this form of animation so well? The whole aesthetic of the Akedo toyline is great - it’s at once retro and futuristic, and has such a cool, comedic edge that means it really stands out. So, we worked from that and developed it further as we got to the animation development. The designs of the cast of warriors are so varied and unique, they virtually leap onto screen, and really come to life when we’re able to showcase their personalities in how they move, speak and emote. Likewise, we’re able to take the core of the combat from the toys and represent that element in such a big, out-of-this-world way

Everything in the show is built from the toys and all the battles depicted follow the exact same rules and format as the Akedo toy line – health and damage points work the same, warriors have the same strengths and weaknesses, and they even move very similarly. This keeps the gameplay consistent for the viewer and is even designed to act like a tutorial of sorts - watching the show will not only entertain you but make you a better real life Akedo player too. Our main aim was that the show feels the same to watch as the toy feels to play with when a warrior split strikes, for example, it’s a hugely exciting moment in both the show and the toy. How is your partnership with Moose Toys reflective of trends and demands in the toy space and children’s content space today? Where do you think the future of children’s entertainment and its relationship with toys is headed?

The symbiotic nature of toy and content is well established and WildBrain Spark offers a highly curated, brand-safe environment for kids that IP partners know they can trust. With the rise of YouTube and YouTube Kids, where kids have a lot of liberty to decide for themselves what they’re watching, that dynamic is more important and direct than ever. A child who chooses to watch our show regularly is more invested than one who watches more passively, and that passion for the characters and brand will directly impact engagement with the toy offering. Inversely, a kid who loves the toys and discovers the content will be excited to watch and will become more invested in the brand as a whole as they immerse themselves deeper. This relationship will only grow in importance as more and more kids watch through YouTube, YouTube Kids and other AVOD/SVOD platforms. What plans has WildBrain Spark got to continue developing the animated YouTube series, will you continue to build on the current roll-out? We’ll be building on the momentum of the Akedo content roll out and continuing to support the toy performance as much as possible, as further products lines are released and the toys keep evolving. Thanks, Ryan, for taking the time to chat with us this month. Autumn/Winter 2021 | toy news | 21

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