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Crunchyroll: A giant leap for Anime

June 25, 2021

An anime character’s dream came true when a 10cm plastic figurine of Senku, a character in the anime series Dr. Stone, was launched 35,032 metres into space from a field in Sheffield.

Masterminded by Crunchyroll, the world’s biggest anime brand in collaboration with manga publishers Kazé, the replica of Senku, a teen genius who uses science to survive after the Earth is petrified, ventured into near space with the help of a hydrogen filled weather balloon.

The figurine’s epic journey was conducted by Sheffield based company Sent Into Space, which was founded in 2010 when two students studying Mechanical Engineering attempted to take photographs from space.

The launch took place near Sent Into Space’s HQ at Parkway Rise in Sheffield. Senku lifted off at 8am and landed three hours later, 70km away just outside Hotham in East Yorkshire.

At the peak of his journey, more than 35km above the earth, the temperature was -65°C and the pressure was so extreme that the hydrogen balloon went from the size of your arm, to that of a two-storey house. At that point, it burst and Senku began his descent.

Initially, he hurtled down to earth at speeds of up to 150mph, but on re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere, the parachute took effect.

“He descended at a gentle walking pace as he touched down,” explains Sent Into Space’s Business Development Executive Alex Keen. “Senku was taped securely onto a pedestal, and landed intact.”

Senku was equipped with two GPS tracking devices and two cameras which filmed the entire journey and captured him in the inky blackness above the earth’s shimmering blue atmosphere alongside the Crunchyroll and Kazé logos.

“Sending Senku into space was a challenge and the final result is several months of work between our French and American teams and our partners in Japan. All this to tell you to watch Dr.Stone on Crunchyroll and on DVD and Blu-ray at Kazé,” says Crunchyroll’s Social Media Manager Bastien Guetta.

When he reached near space, Senku said: “This is exhilarating. Senku here. Thanks to you guys, my figure made it into space. You all get 10 billion points. Hopefully we can eat some ramen and wash it down with cola. Listen up, the anime is currently on Crunchyroll and don’t forget the Blu-Rays and DVDs from Kazé. Anyway, guess you guys are gonna have to wait while this thing comes back down to Earth.”

Riichirô Inagaki who wrote the manga script of Dr.Stone hinted to the show’s fans: “Although Senku hasn’t gone into space within the story of the Stone World, this may be him getting a preview in advance.”

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