Beyond Entertainment partners with Custom Nuts to build animation slate

Beyond's Melinda Wearne and Custom Nuts' Silas Hickey.

Beyond Entertainment has struck a slate development deal with the Tokyo-based animation and creative studio Custom Nuts.

The co-production venture, to be called Beyond Custom Nuts, will launch three projects to the international market at Kidscreen later this month: Jock and Sunny, Shape & Shapers and Classical Chaos. More projects are expected to be unveiled later this year.

Jock and Sunny is a 52 x 7 anime hybrid sci-fi slapstick comedy, aimed at kids but with potential for co-viewing. It follows the titular characters as they are stranded in a fantasy sci-fi version of Tokyo and must survive shady odd jobs, the local rock scene and deportation if they’re ever going to build awesome new lives.

Shape & Shapers is a 26 x 11 factual slapstick anime aimed at a 13+ audience, inspired series about surfing, subculture, and the evolution of the modern surfboard. 
Finally, Classical Chaos is a mix of 26 x 11-minute episodes and feature-length specials. It is curated collection of kid-relatable animated classic literary adaptations, combining the aesthetics of anime and golden-era vaudevillian cartoons.  

Beyond scripted development and production executive Melinda Wearne drove the deal.

Custom Nuts was co-founded in 2019 by Silas Hickey, a former APAC regional head of development and original production at Cartoon Network, and Matthew Howison. The company was established to combine the best of Japanese anime and Western cartoons into a new kind of hybrid animated entertainment. In addition to its headquarters in Tokyo, it also has offices in Hong Kong and Los Angeles. 

“This new co-production venture combines Beyond’s strength in scripted storytelling and its international reach, with the unique creative talents of the Custom Nuts team to present an exciting opportunity for us both,” Wearne said.

“Our partner’s knowledge of, and expertise in, both anime and western cartoon narratives gives it a unique edge and together we are well placed to create and deliver truly global entertainment.” 

Hickey said Beyond Custom Nuts would “solve complex transnational conundrums” and build upon the company’s vision to combine anime and Western cartoon storytelling.

“Beyond’s scale and expertise will help us to accelerate the time from script to screen without compromising on quality – or our creative vision – and will allow us jointly to retain more control and ownership over our IP as we take it out to the market. We have exciting times ahead,” he said.