Saudi Arabia wants to control Nintendo and Japanese animation?

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has his eyes on Japan and the cultural works that come out of it.

Pop culture and video games are growing markets, and theSaudi Arabia intends to make a name for itself in these growing industries. Mohammed ben Salamane, Crown Prince of the country, is known for his passion for these areas. He regularly uses his fortune to invest in the works that are dear to him. Also, these sums of money injected here and there also intervene within the framework of the plan Saudi Vision 2023, set up by the prince and the government in 2016 to restore the image of the country internationally. By diversifying its economy and its investments, Saudi Arabia will no longer be seen as a country living solely on its oil.

Since video games are taking an ever greater place in our daily lives, the government sees them as a wise way to continue to grow rich while benefiting global entertainment: nothing like a good reputation. It is up to everyone to consider the political importance of these actions, but financially, they form a big boost for the beneficiaries concerned. A help so substantial that it will even revive a long-dead anime.

From gold to Grendizer

Who would have thought that the riches of Saudi Arabia could bring a pop culture icon back from the dead? Yet it is very true, Grendizer (UFO Robo Grendizer of its Japanese name) will be entitled to a new animated series for the first time since 1977. This “Project G” was announced in August 2022, and today we learn of the involvement of Mohammed bin Salman in its production. After France, Saudi Arabia is probably the second most fond country of this cult anime. It is one of the rare works to not have undergone any censorship there, and has since made regular appearances on TV and in conventions dedicated to Japanese animation.

It is therefore not surprising to see the prince decide to relaunch this work which is so important for its citizens. For the moment, the project remains discreet, but promises to be grandiose thanks to this funding. The partnership signed between the Japanese companies and Saudi Arabia plans to repopularize the license and create a real movement. It remains to be seen if the character can still prove himself in 2023. In France in any case, the success of nostalgia is no longer proven since the graphic novel by Xavier Dorison published last year is a huge success.

The mustachioed plumber in top form

Nintendo also enters the equation with an increase in the capital of Saudi Arabia within the company. The country entered this capital in May 2022 at 5.01%. This investment must have borne fruit since today, this stake has now reached 6.07%. Some may already be worried about the country’s ambitions and influence over the Kyoto firm. The country has not expressed its desire to take control of Nintendo, nothing to worry about. Moreover, it is not the only studio that Saudi Arabia finances.

In 2021, Activision-Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Take-Two were also involved. Even if these actions show a certain offensive on the part of the Saudi government in order to assert themselves on the industry, these only benefit the teams for the moment. We will have to wait for the situation to evolve before seeing if it takes a completely different turn. Before ringing the alarm bell, it is worth noting the positive development of the video game industry, which is enough to convince governments to come to its aid.

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