Founder of Shibuya Productions, Monaco’s own entertainment production company, specialising in video games and animation, Cédric Biscay is a passionate entrepreneur bringing Japan and Monaco closer together. Currently leading several exciting projects, such as promoting the third volume of the manga “Blitz” and creating a brand new interactive game, he spoke to us about his life and love for manga and video games.
His story is one of passion, a life where travel has been key to making his dreams become reality. “Ever since I was little I loved Dragon Ball Z and Olive and Tom,” describes Cédric Biscay, his eyes lighting up, sitting in one of the private lounges in the Monte-Carlo Casino, where several scenes from his latest manga “Blitz” cover the chessboards. “I was brought up on video games and the TV show “Club Dorothée”. I quickly realised that I absolutely had to work in this industry.”
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A young boy from Nice with plans to travel far and wide. Growing up he soon became fascinated by the idea of pursuing his passion in Japan. Not long before turning 18, he took on summer job after summer job, saving up as much money as he could. “In 1997, I went to Japan for the first time,” he recalls, smiling. “I got such a shock over there. The culture, how friendly people are, Tokyo…it’s crazy, I love it!”
France to Japan almost 100 times over
Having had a taste of life over there, Cédric was eager to go back. It was while he was studying law and economics in Northern France that he began to imagine another trip to Japan. Not as a tourist this time, but as a businessman. “I went to the Carrefour supermarket in Antibes to buy a cheap suit… the tie looked more like a bib than anything else,” he laughs. “In my head, I had it all planned out, I would go and meet the presidents of the Japanese animation studios.”
I arrived at the Production I.G studios unable to speak a word of Japanese
Except in Japan, it is not quite as easy as simply showing up. However, this ambitious young man, who last year was supposed to make his 100th trip in 20 years to the country, was undeterred by the strict protocols. “I arrived at the Production I.G studios unable to speak a word of Japanese. In broken English and with many hand gestures, I was finally able to communicate with the receptionist. She told me that it wasn’t possible to meet the president. I decided to stay anyway and wait.”
For seven hours, with no phone, no magazine, no nothing, Cédric Biscay, wearing his baggy suit, waited patiently, before finally catching sight of the man he had been longing to meet. The interaction that ensued was quite surreal, as attempts to overcome the language barrier were made with smiles and sketchy English. However, his efforts were not in vain, as the president asked him to represent the company in the Imagina event in the Grimaldi Forum.” In other words, Japan was coming to Monaco.
Helping IKEA break into the Japanese market
Impressed by such a bold young man, the president of Production I.G soon spread the word about Cédric Biscaye all over Japan. Such news came as the confidence boost for the Nice native, who proceeded to launch his first business in 2002: a consulting agency specialising in everything Japanese, including design, sport, food, and fashion. “We worked with IKEA, to help them set up over there and break into the Japanese market,” explains the consultant, whose knowledge of Japanese still leaves a lot to be desired, only proficient enough for singing songs on karaoke. But he never once dreamed of settling in Japan forever, since what he loves more than anything is the “sun, sea and tennis”, what the French Rivera is most often known for.
When I used to talk about video games and manga, people made it quite clear that this was the place for the Grand Prix and celebrities, not stuff for kids.
In order to bring his love for Japanese culture to the Principality, in 2015 he created Shibuya Productions: Monaco’s own entertainment production company, specialising in video games and animation. “I started to make a bit of a name for myself in Monaco, mainly thanks to the Grimaldi Forum and the Kyoto-Tokyo exhibition: from Samurais to Mangas,” he explains. “But it was hard to imagine going from this to ever creating my own business in Monaco…when I used to talk about video games and manga, people made it quite clear that this was the place for the Grand Prix and celebrities, not stuff for kids. The real decision makers though, they’ve always supported me.”
A video game produced in Monégasque
Six years later and several video games, including SwapTales : Léon ! produced in Monégasque, and animation films have been edited by his company. The Monaco Anime Game International Conferences (MAGIC) also gave his business the chance to bring Yoichi Takahashi, author of the popular manga Captain Tsubasa (Olive and Tom), to Monaco and France for the first time.
For a year now, the Monégasque manga “Blitz”, produced in collaboration with former world champion chess player Garry Kasparov, has been incredibly successful and their work has showcased the Principality on the world’s stage. So what’s next? In the future, he hopes to “produce the film Dragon Ball Z.” Despite not “currently having enough money to do so,” Cédric Biscay assures that if one day he has the funds, he will get straight to production. For him, the sky is the limit!