Family CHRGD picks up Marvel Anime: Iron Man
Family CHRGD’s website has announced that Marvel Anime: Iron Man will premiere on the channel on Saturday, May 7 at 11:30AM ET. Zap2it lists an encore at 5:30PM that same day. This will be the show’s Canadian television debut. The first part of the Marvel Anime project serves as Family CHRGD’s first taste of Japanese animation (even going back to the Disney XD Canada days). This is also the first older youth oriented anime series to run on mainstream Canadian TV in years.
Here’s a completely misleading teaser for the show that will make you wish it was the show:
Billionaire CEO and engineering genius Tony Stark comes to Japan to build a pollution-free reactor based on his arc reactor technology. While holding a press conference, Stark announces his retirement as Iron Man and the introduction of a new model of Iron Man suit to be piloted by others. Just as Stark conducts a test flight of the new Iron Man suit, a mysterious robotic weapon appears and attacks Stark. This is only the beginning of a series of attacks by a high-tech organization called “Zodiac”, and Tony Stark must suit-up to defeat them.
The Marvel Anime project consists of four television series and two direct-to-video films that were a joint production between Marvel, veteran anime production studio Madhouse, and Sony Pictures. The shows ran in Japan on Animax from October 2010 to September 2011 and adapted Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men and Blade into their own 12-episode series. G4 aired the four in the United States between July 2011 and April 2012. At the time, I speculated that Teletoon would air them in Canada due to an exclusivity agreement for Marvel programming, but it looks like Sony’s involvement in distribution excluded them from that deal. I guess Rogers just couldn’t be bothered to pick them up for G4 Canada.
This is certainly a creative attempt to ride on the coattails of the new
Avengers Captain America movie when the competition owns the rights to all the natural tie-ins. I’m just not sure this is a great match for Family CHRGD. Unlike the latest Japanese Marvel production, the target audience here wasn’t little kids, so that 11:30 AM slot is a bit strange. In a lot of ways Marvel Anime would fit better on Teletoon’s current super hero heavy late night lineup, but oh well.
While the Marvel Anime shows aren’t particularly great, this addition does highlight some of Family CHRGD’s potential. Of DHX’s portfolio of channels, it’s the one they seem least well equipped to program. Sure, they’ve got an extensive library of content from DiC and Cookie Jar (including everyone’s favourite), but much of that is very aged and probably holds little appeal to today’s kids. Couple that with a competitor that has signed deals with pretty much every major US kids production house, and DHX has got to be creative. Part of that means picking up the odds and ends. That’s potentially good news for us, given anime tends to qualify as that. Maybe I’m dreaming big, so let’s just hope Iron Man does well enough for them to pick up the other Marvel Anime shows.
I was going to mention how you could check out the Marvel Anime series on Crackle, but it seems that they’re US-only right now. I can’t tell if that’s because of the Family CHRGD news or just a result of Crackle’s constant program rotation. They do this thing where they temporarily pull content they’ll always have the rights to just to give the impression that there’s new material being added all the time.
Anyway, this does give me an opportunity to talk about Crackle. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s Sony’s free streaming service that mostly consists of library content that isn’t making much money anymore. At their upfronts last week, they announced plans to launch their own free linear streaming anime channel. The video on demand service has been available in Canada for as long as I can remember, but I’m kind of doubtful on their channel feeds. Would they really operate a second feed for Canadian ad buyers? If you watch anything on the VOD service, you’ll be bombarded by the same small pool of ads. That implies they aren’t getting many advertisers in the first place. Plus, the Canadian version of the VOD service is looking pretty anemic and Sony’s recent actions call into question the service’s longevity up here. They’ve sold two of Crackle’s recent original productions to a competing streaming service. That wasn’t a second-run kind of thing either, as both shows were never legally streaming up here outside of Shomi.