I don't think Studio 4°C ever owned the rights to anything Berserk-related, specifically?Doc said:Who currently owns the rights to animate Berserk? And if it's no longer Studio 4°C, does that mean Miura would need to personally sign this off or what?
In fact, the notion of the studio adapting/animating a manga also owning any rights over the specific property is a very common misconception, I find. Of course, exceptions can be found, though it's rarer and rarer of an instance, nowadays.
When it comes to the Golden Age Arc Movies, you never see Studio 4°C mentioned in the copyright credits line (which gets clearly shown on, say, official posters, the dvd boxes etc). Rather, the credits line for the movies reads somewhat like the following: ©Kentarou Miura (Studio Gaga) Hakusensha/Berserk Film Partners.
The author and his studio are a given, as is the case for the publisher. As you can see, the "Berserk Film Partners" also got mentioned among the copyright-holders.
This is a very common instance in the Japanese market, where a production committee often (almost always, actually, in the case of manga adaptations) gets created for the sole purpose of adapting a manga series in some other form (say, an anime, movie or whatever). This is a board which might comprise any of the following: investors, publishers, animation studios, distributors, merchandise manufacturers, etc. Basically anybody who's actually putting on the table the money required to actually acquire the rights from the owners and produce the adaptation itself.
(Matters are usually way more complicated than this as the production committee is usually comprised of subjects owning different kinds of rights over the same IP. So the production committee will usually include the company owning the rights to releasing the OST, the one owning the rights to distribute the home video edition, etc etc etc. But I digress).
If you check the copyright credits line for the new anime project (say on the official website) you'll notice that the "Berserk Film Partners" are mentioned nowhere. The "Berserk Production Committee" is mentioned instead.
Now, this fact alone doesn't say much. Theoretically, this new production committee might be the same people behind the movies, only being mentioned by a different name. I do not personally think that's being the case, here, but that's only me.
Specifically, Studio 4°C might have had a seat in the "Berserk Film Partners", originally. But the fact a different committee is now being mentioned for this project makes me think we're not dealing with yet another movie by the same people who produced the Golden Age Arc. Ofc, Studio 4°C might still be the ones being tasked with delivering the actual adaptation, though it's still very much unclear and will likely be until more info gets released.
I guess I didn't actually answer Doc's question. In all honesty, coming by solid, reliable information about who exactly holds the rights to adapting a manga property into anime form is no easy task. Maybe some Japanese-speaking user will be able to go into the matter with greater detail. But I felt like delving for a moment into a subject which is only discussed on rare occasions.
Also, first post on skullnight by a long-time, Italian Berserk fan, though I've been lurking for quite a while now. Yay for me?