Kiba (meaning “fang”) is an anime that began broadcasting in Japan in 2006. It was a story about a boy named Zed who is transported to a nature-world with magical shards. Zed learns he is a “Shard-caster” and must develop his powers to fight evil. Like many anime of its kind, the Kiba cartoon was a tie-in to a collectible card game (CCG). Like a lot of CCG-anime, Upper Deck was a significant sponsor, paying millions to Aniplex for a 30% stake in the show and merchandising rights outside of Japan (namely, the USA). Aniplex is a Japanese corporation that is a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment. Aniplex handles all the music for Sony games, helps promote anime franchises, and so on. Upper Deck is a Nevada corporation.
Kiba was intentionally designed for adult audiences with major characters dying and other mature aspects. A creator explicitly stated it was not meant to curry favor with the standard demographic for CCG-anime which was an interesting approach. In addition, Kiba does not seem to have taken off, running only one season. It has no metacritic score.
Yet, as of 2008, Aniplex was still owed approximately $4MM from Upper Deck. Upper Deck said that the flouting of the target demographic for USA CCG-based anime made Kiba difficult to promote in America and refused to pay. Aniplex sued in federal court in Nevada (where Upper Deck is incorporated) to recover in April 2008. Upper Deck sued back, as is typical in many breach of contract cases, alleging among other things that Aniplex did not own the copyright to Kiba and numerous affirmative defenses, as is standard.
Fast forward to September 2011 when the case finally went to trial. It is September 26, 2011, Day 11 of the jury trial and things do not look like are going well for the defense. (See September 26, 2011 minutes here.” Some of Upper Deck’s counterclaims were thrown out. All of Aniplex’s expert testimony was allowed despite Upper Deck’s efforts to exclude the testimony, including cumulative impact testimony. It doesn’t look great for the Defendant, so Upper Deck settles with Aniplex for $3.95MM the next day and agrees to pay Aniplex in full by November 29, 2011. When the deadline passed without payment, Aniplex went to Court to get Judgment entered against Upper Deck for that amount on November 30, 2011.
That is the latest news on Kiba.