Metaverse, NFT, cinema and anime: what is their relationship?

Metaverses are now a reality in our time. However, these virtual universes have already existed in films and anime before becoming what they are.

What link presents metaverse, NFT, cine and anime?

Science fiction in cinema becomes reality

Metaverses are not a recent invention. The first time the vocabulary appeared dates back to 1992, in the novel The Virtual Samurai by Neal Stephenson. His interpretation already evoked the existence of a virtual world generated by a computer. The cinema has also worked on its own version of the metaverse, but always keeping the basic concepts.

The metaverse is a digital world where we can interact. This can be a reproduction of the real world or be purely fictitious. Access to this universe requires a computer interface. This can be classic or specific, such as VR headsets, glasses, etc. A large number of people can access this space simultaneously. The latter persists over time and evolves in real time, permanently.

Movies and anime to understand the metaverse

Novels, movies, and anime have been working our imaginations on what the metaverse would be like for years. Classified in science fiction or Sci-Fi, the works dealing with the virtual world have been numerous. We have compiled a small list of movies or anime to better understand the metaverse.

Ready Player One (2018)

This Steven Spielberg film sends us to the year 2045, where people are connecting to OASIS. It is a virtual world where everyone can win or lose everything through challenges thanks to their avatar. The feature film mainly highlights video games and geek culture, where different worlds meet.

Matrix Trilogy (1999)

Matrix, the trilogy, is probably one of the essential references when we talk about the world generated by a computer or a digital entity. The three opuses tell the fight between humans and machines in the Matrix (a virtual universe) or on the devastated Earth.

Free Guy (2021)

Free Guy reveals both the incredible world of online games and the possible point of view of NPCs (Non-Player Person) through the protagonist played by Ryan Reynolds. In this comedy-action, Guy realizes his nature as an NPC and finds himself in a situation where he must save his world from the creators of the game.

Tron (1982)

This American science fiction deals with the computer world and reveals the existence of diving in the virtual world. The latter is managed by an AI. Tron: Legacy will greatly contribute to the recognition of the opus released in 1982. The first part was indeed mixed when it was released.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Wreck-it Ralph for the original title, this animated film is an adventure comedy featuring video game characters leaving their respective worlds. Ralph’s role is to be the villain while he dreams of being a hero.

Summer Wars (2009)

Summer Wars is a Seinen-like anime. Besides the romance side, the film unveils a virtual world where people can connect and interact, even perform mini-games or watch and fight battles between their avatars. An AI then threatens this universe and it is up to the protagonists to try to stop it in the digital world.

NFTs, a new source of financing

Metaverses such as we have today are part of the building blocks of Web3 along with NFTs. Non-fungible tokens and the Blockchain are indeed the components of the new version of the web.

Cryptocurrencies and NFTs have recently become so popular that studios are interested in these new technologies. It is indeed an alternative as a source of funding for film and anime projects. This is all the more interesting for independent feature films, because studios have a preference for franchises that are already successful.

Cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens are both based on Blockchain. This makes it possible to authenticate the holder of the currency, without risk of falsification. Unlike digital currency, NFTs cannot be copied or replaced. The latter then most often apply as titles of ownership of digital works or collectibles. Some companies also offer new experiences for token owners for their marketing.

When the movie comes out Matrix Resurrections (2021), Warner Bros issued 100,000 NFTs on the platform Nifty’s in 2021. The next film by Martin Scorsese, A Wing and a Prayer will be the first to be fully funded by the non-fungible tokens. Niels Juul, the producer, wants to sell 10,000 tokens to get a budget of $8-10 million. On the French side, the production company DCF (Diversity of French Cinema) has started fundraising for Klapcoin, its own cryptocurrency. Led by Sarah Lelouch and Joël Girod, the project aims to raise between 2 and 8 million euros.

Metaverse and NFT innovations

Streaming platforms have been largely competing with cinema for a while. Of course, we still have the theatrical releases of the films, but some producers choose to launch their feature film directly in streaming on digital media. The presence of video-on-demand subscriptions reduces the rate of attendance at cinemas, as well as revenues. The metaverse and NFTs then appear as new tools to meet the challenge.

The metaverse is based on Blockchain and spatial computing (3D, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality) to exist. These elements are part of the web3 components. The movie industry has already come up with an experience that invites play Fortnite at the Cannes Film Festival. Players were able to discover the Croisette through their screens and interact with the decor, such as climbing the steps or lying on a deckchair. This new way of broadcasting is only possible thanks to the virtual world.

Chez Disney+, series pre-production The Mandalorian marks the rapprochement between the decentralized technology of metaverses and cinema. Disney has also invested in the creation of its own digital universe. In South Korea, Zepeto has already launched its first movie theater in the metaverse.

Anime-Inspired NFTs

Anime also have their place in cinemas. The latest feature film One Piece Film : Red counts 967,734 admissions on September 21, 2022 for France. Manga and Japanese animations also have a link with NFTs, cryptocurrency and metaverses, like theAnime Metaverse or Kawaiiverse.

A good number of non-fungible tokens are also inspired by the manga universe. Among them we have the collection Shonen Junks developed by James Lin, the co-founder of Crunchyroll. Azuki NFT and its 10,000 avatars are also popular on secondary marketplaces. Karafuru, Lives of Asuna, Killer GF or NFT Breakdown are examples. The latter is inspired by the name of the skill Haki of Kings in One Piece.


The metaverse has a strong connection to the film, manga and anime industry. Besides the different interpretations in movies, the virtual world is becoming another way to deliver content. As for NFTs and cryptocurrency, these can serve as an alternative to traditional financing to produce feature films.

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