Top 5 anime series that should’ve aired in Canada but didn’t

I’m not going to lie, it was actually a bit difficult to figure out five series that haven’t aired in Canada, that could make an impact. While there is a lot that didn’t air in Canada, most of it didn’t get picked up because it wasn’t notable, or didn’t catch a following in the US. There are a tonne of series that didn’t get the exposure they deserved because of their venues, which will be the topic of a future list.

Note: Recent series have not been listed as there is still a chance they could pull through, and land a broadcaster up here. If by next year, none land a Canadian broadcaster, a new list will be made.

5. Rurouni Kenshin

Kenshin's got that pretty samurai swag.

The long running samurai epic that captivated audiences in the US was one of the few Media Blasters titles to get a TV run, well, not in Canada that is.

Why didn’t anyone pick this up?

I kind of hinted to this in the description, Media Blasters doesn’t often get series on TV, so I’d imagine trying to do a Canadian TV deal would be difficult (in actuality, none of their licensed series have aired on Canadian TV). The Los Angeles dub may have hurt it (as a good chunk of anime aired in Canada, is dubbed in Canada), I’d imagine Media Blasters inexperience, and edited, but not localized TV version of the show played a bigger role.

4. YuYu Hakusho

"I'll get you Urameshi!!"

Before Funimation had Fullmetal Alchemist, YuYu Hakusho was their other cash cow that helped transfer viewers from Dragon Ball onto something else on [AdultSwim].

Why didn’t anyone pick this up?

At the time, YTV was only airing localized series, and early YuYu Hakusho by Funimation didn’t fit this bill. The Texas dub, and the fact it was indeed picked up by Funimation (a company that rumours shown a falling out with YTV over tape delays on Dragon Ball Z, which culminated in the alternate dubs of later Z/GT/ and DB being aired, finally ending when Bionix aired Fullmetal Alchemist, and Case Closed) really didn’t help. I guess YTV felt content with Knights of the Zodiac as a transfer show…

3. Sgt. Frog

Not Hypno-Toad I'm afraid

Sgt. Frog is an insanely popular gag-manga that was later adapted into an even more popular anime series. The series features humour in the styling of Sponge Bob Square Pants, made it a much easier sell to North American audiences than, say, BoBoBoBoBoBoBo. Canada wasn’t the only country to pass on airing the Frog, as the series has yet to find a mainstream broadcaster in the US, and is in risk of not having an ongoing dub.

Why didn’t anyone pick this up?

Like every other show I’ll list on here, I can’t give you the true reason why these shows didn’t get picked up, I can only give you somewhat educated speculation.

For Frog, the series is long, spanning over 330 episodes, and ongoing, it would’ve been a big commitment for a broadcaster to handle (for a Canadian broadcaster, it would require a lot of commitment, as the show never had a Canadian dub for any sort of incentive), given that they wouldn’t be earning much if anything from the series huge merchandise line, had it proven successful. Given comedic anime’s lack of success in the US, it would’ve been a risky pick up. Secondly, the series was initially licensed by ADV and reportedly pitched incredibly hard to US networks. ADV hasn’t had a property air in Canada, and when their rights to the series were transferred to Funimation, their hard push may have soured the bed with broadcasters with the series. While we don’t know if ADV pushed for the series up here, word may have traveled, shooting down any potential Funimation had with the series. Funimation’s dub also didn’t help the cause. They spiced up the script a bit in order to catch a slightly older audience than what was initially targeted in Japan, that nearly destroys the entire thing the show had going for it.

2. Neon Genesis Evangelion

No one likes Shinji

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the few anime series that holds mainstream critical acclaim, and has been a proven cash cow for all the parties involved. But a popular broadcast on [AdultSwim] in the US wasn’t enough to get this emo mecha saga on the air in Canada.

Why didn’t anyone pick this up?

When the series was picked up by [AdultSwim], it was well after a failed edited run on a special edition of Toonami. At the time of the AS broadcast, Bionix, the only real venue for the show at the time, was only a year old, and had a full slate of programming largely at the hands of both Bandai Entertainment, and Viz Media. Neither party had anything to do with Evangelion, the series was actually picked up by ADV, a company who I just previously mentioned never was able to get a show on the air in Canada. ADV’s token Texas dub, and the show’s age probably didn’t help either. Though, some may argue the show’s content made it unlikely to air in Canada.

1. Mobile Suit Gundam 00

The one that got away...

Sunrise’s newest attempt at selling their Gundam franchise to the people of today would sure be guaranteed a broadcast in Canada after the incredibly successful runs of both Gundam SEED, and Gundam SEED Destiny, especially since it has a Canadian dub, right? RIGHT? Wrong. Despite airing in the United States on the SciFi network, Gundam 00 has yet to lift off in the great north, and likely won’t. Setsuna and friends are grounded.

Why didn’t anyone pick this up?

At the time of 00`s premiere in the US, the only network that could air the show, YTV, was in the process of dismantling their older youth animation block, Bionix, by dumping it on Saturday nights. This change occurred as the channel was shifting into fulfilling their Co-View strategy (a broadcast term in which lineups are created that appeal to both children and their families, it gets more eyes on the screen at once, giving the channel more efficient advertising venues than to have a Pampers commercial on at 9PM in a show that targets 14 year olds), after a change in the higher ups at Corus Entertainment`s children`s division. To make matters worse, to get the show on SciFi in the US, Bandai Entertainment had to sell partial rights to the show to Manga Entertainment. Manga Entertainment has never dealt with YTV, and in fact, Manga Entertainment`s parent company, Starz Media, has an exclusive relationship with the Canadian premium television package of Superchannel stations, which meant if it was going to air anywhere, it was going to air on Superchannel, a venue that only a fraction of the country gets. Oddly, as time went by, Gundam 00 is one of the few notable series from Manga`s Ani-Monday block to not get picked up by Superchannel, coupled that with the fact Manga Entertainment`s website and Youtube channel don`t stream Gundam 00 as they did Gurren Lagann lends to the idea that maybe Bandai didn`t sell off Gundam 00 to them. Conspiracy theorists use this, along with the fact that Bandai`s own stream of Gundam 00 was geo-locked against Canada (this has since changed, and the dub is viewable on The Anime Channel’s Youtube Page), as a sign that they did sell, or at least tried to sell Gundam 00 to someone up here. With the series having finished airing in the US more than a year ago, it`s unlikely that any broadcaster who could have the rights would use them now.

Edit: Thanks to Mohji for pointing out that the Gundam 00 Youtube streams were no longer geoblocked.

    • Mohji
    • November 27th, 2010

    The Gundam 00 streams are no longer blocked in Canada:

    Sure makes me wonder why they were blocked in the first place though…

    • Dormin
    • November 29th, 2010

    Maybe Gundam00 is being held back till the Gundam 00 movie is dubbed and they can air the whole thing at once?

    • That’s highly unlikely. SEED was huge and YTV never bothered with the compilation movies or the extended cut Final Plus episodes.

  1. Too bad, I really like YuYu Hakusho. Well, there is always the DVDs.

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