CRTC approves Gintama, World Trigger, more as Canadian content; DHX set to co-produce new Mega Man cartoon

My actual reaction to what you're going to read below.

My actual reaction to what you’re going to read below.

Long time readers of the blog should be aware of the concept of Cancon quotas – a mandate by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that requires all Canadian television broadcasters to devote a certain percentage of their schedule to locally produced content. It’s a protectionist measure meant to encourage industry and prevent Canada from just being the US, but colder. The quotas have almost certainly benefited the Canadian anime fandom, as simply recording a show’s audio track in Canada qualifies the production as partial Cancon. This gives anime a leg up on other foreign shows. Due to a number of factors, Canadian anime dubs are far less common than they once were. But things might be starting to look up.

To keep broadcasters honest, the CRTC requires programs wishing to count as Canadian content to be sent for approval. As a result of that, the CRTC keeps a publicly accessible database of content that is certified Canadian. This year has seen some interesting anime additions that haven’t aired on Canadian TV.

Kicking things off on January 6th, the CRTC approved 48 episodes of Cardfight! Vanguard G. The second most recent incarnation of Bushiroad’s anime card franchise was dubbed in Calgary by Blue Water. None of the Cardfight! shows have aired on TV in Canada (or the US, for that matter). You can check out the series on the official Youtube channel. Up next, the CRTC approved 52 episodes of Little Battlers eXperience on January 25th. Level-5’s video game adaptation has been airing in the US on Nicktoons since summer 2014. The significantly edited dub features voices from both the Calgary and Vancouver talent pools. April 27th was the big day, with episodes 65-89 of Future Card Buddyfight being approved by the comission. That makes up the final batch of dubbed episodes, as Bushiroad moved the franchise to sub-only status last fall. 40 episodes of the Calgary-produced dub ran on Teletoon, with its run ending earlier this year to make way for Italian import Dino Froz. Like its sister series, you can check out the entirety of Buddyfight on its Youtube channel. Lastly, we’ve got the first 58 episodes of Tobot, a South Korean CG mecha cartoon … Okay, fine, I know you read the title. The big surprises are the first 58 episodes of World Trigger and the first 51 episodes of Gintama. We already knew World Trigger was being dubbed in Canada, but Gintama is a complete shock. Sentai Filmworks previously held the series and only dubbed the first movie (with a local Texas cast) alongside a handful of sub-only DVD releases of the TV series. Who’s paying for this Canadian dub? Only time will tell.

While getting CRTC approval is done exclusively for television broadcasts, this doesn’t guarantee any of the shows listed above will actually wind up on Canadian television. If you look through that database you’ll find plenty of productions that never got picked up. You’ll find the mythical alternate dub of Dragon Ball Kai, English dubs of NANA, Gundam 00, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Sword of the Stranger, .hack//ROOTs, Power Puff Girls Z and plenty more. It’s enough to make you wonder if the process is automated for all shows from certain production houses, but it’s not. You have to manually submit each show, because if that wasn’t the case, you’d see InuYasha: The Final Act and Kingdom up there. That implies those behind the production figured neither had a shot at a Canadian TV run.

I’m a Gintama fan but I’ve long since given up the hope of an English dub. A Canadian television run was even more of a pipedream. My jaw dropped when I saw it on that site. Gintama isn’t an easy show to dub, so if Ocean manages to knock it out of the park, it’ll be one hell of a welcome back to prominent anime dubbing.

Oh, does anyone know what’s up with World Trigger‘s episode count? 58 episodes is a really unusual amount for a show to have. It ran for 73 in Japan, which is a year and a half run (counting for holidays taking up 5 episodes). I know part of that run was dedicated to an anime-only spinoff series. Are the missing 15 episodes just the non-canon stuff?

Shifting gears onto something blue, DHX has announced their involvement with Dentsu, Capcom and Man of Action’s new Mega Man television series due out in 2017. The Halifax based company will “develop, co-produce, distribute and jointly manage licensing” for the show. With this announcement came our first look and synopsis for the show:MegaMan_rightv

Aimed at kids 6 to 9, as well as their parents who grew up loving the videogames, the animated series will feature exciting new technologies and robots, as well as the introduction of Mega Man’s alter-ego, Aki Light, a normal, upbeat, schoolboy robot. When activated, his skin re-forms – in a flurry of computer code and visual pyrotechnics – into a suit of impenetrable nanocore armor, including the iconic Mega Buster arm cannon and helmet. Beloved characters, like Rush, will return – while new characters, like Mega Mini, will make their debut! The new Mega Man animated series has a target air date of 2017, coincidng with the franchise’s 30th anniversary.

People are taking the new direction about as well as an anime fan on prom night. It’s understandable. The new design looks uninspired and cheap, while the plot synopsis steers Mega Man into being even more of an Astro Boy rip. The inclusion of “Mega Mini” (whose look was revealed by IGN) has fans scratching their heads as well. While Mega Man is certainly no stranger to reinterpretations, this renditon is being born into a different world; a world where Capcom hasn’t released a new non-mobile Mega Man game in years. But it’s important to remember that things can change and just because something sounds bad on paper, doesn’t mean the final product will be bad.

While the press release doesn’t confirm it, it’s hard to think Mega Man won’t wind up on Family CHRGD. I’ve expressed skepticism regarding DHX’s ability to program the channel, but this year they’ve made moves to address that. Alongside Mega Man, they also made a major partnership with DreamWorks. The deal should also see Voltron: Legendary Defender hit the network. That’s a reboot of the 80s anime headed by former Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra crew members, including animation studio Mir. Don’t fret if you want to watch the show alongside the Americans, as it looks like Netflix Canada will still run it day and date with the US on Friday.

Not so fun fact: With DHX’s involvement in the new series, every Mega Man televison production has had some Canadian involvement. The Ruby Spears cartoon, plus the dubs for Mega Man: Battle Netwok and Star Force, were all recorded in Vancouver. Some of the games have also been recorded in Toronto and Calgary. Is Protoman secretly a Canadian patriot? White clothes are hard to keep clean. Update:Greg on Twitter pointed out that Starforce was dubbed in Los Angeles. R.I.P. suave segway.

You know what was also recorded in Vancouver? The English dubs for both the Death Note televison anime and Japanese live action films. It seems the story about bored demons can’t stay away from Hollywood North, as the US live action adaptation of the series is set to start filming in the area on June 22nd. Little is known about the story for the film, but it’ll star Naked Brothers Band‘s (yeah, there was no way I wasn’t bringing that one up) Nat Wolff as Kira, with Margaret Qualley as this rendition’s Misa. Directing duties will be handled by horror veteran Adam Wingard. According to Variety, the film is being produced by Netflix.

This reminds me, what is Viz going to do with the new Japanese Death Note productions? For those unaware, the series saw a live action TV drama set in its own separate universe last summer. There’s also a new live action film set in the same universe as the older ones, called Death Note: Light Up the NEW World (ugh). Is Viz going to license them? Dub the? Viz took the unusual path of dubbing the three prior live action films into English with the same cast as the anime. Will they do the same for the drama and the new movie? I only ask because Viz hasn’t dubbed anything in Canada in years, with new Sailor Moon and Hunter x Hunter work going to LA-based actors despite previous Canadian history. I guess they could just not release the new Death Note stuff, or do them sub-only ….

Apologies on the mega post/delay on reporting some of this. My laptop died two weeks ago and what looked like a cheap charger replacement seems to be a fried motherboard. I had to type this out on my phone and it has been one of the least pleasant writing experiences of my life.

Oh, before I go, Corus put out their fall preview yesterday. Thanks to recent management changs, they now run all the channels previously operated by Shaw. That means their fall highlights press release is an uninteresting mess that doesn’t even mention Cartoon Network or Teletoon at Night. I imagine they’ll put out specific releases later, but meh.

Thanks Greg!

  1. 58 episodes is a really weird number for World Trigger… that’s like right in the middle of the filler arc. It’s not even a place where it makes sense to end it.

    Then I realised… 58 is the number of episodes that aren’t filler.

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