Turning Mecard scheduled for Teletoon run

Various online schedules (including the channel’s own) are indicating Teletoon will premiere the South Korean-Japanese animated series Turning Mecard on May 28, 2017. Its first episode, “A Mysterious New Kid,” is set for 2PM, with episode 2, “A Guest From Another World,” listed for the following Sunday at the same time. Zap2it and TVPassport also have an encore run on Cartoon Network Canada set to begin on June 4th at 9:30AM.

While I just called Turning Mecard a South Korean-Japanese production, it’s a little more complicated than that. All of the business partners involved appear to be Korean. Heewon Entertainment provides the animation. KBS is the lead broadcast partner. Choirock designs the toys and Sono Kong distributes them. It’s some of the show’s creative staff that hail from Japan. Most notably, Atsushi Maekawa, who wrote for Bakugan, Digimon, Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon and a whole lot more, is Mecard’s lead writer and is also credited as the creator of the franchise. Other Japanese crew include a bunch of Bakugan’s other writers, as well as Yasuo Kageyama and Takaaki Ishiyama, the latter of whom served as one of the directors on Spider Riders.

Kids are loving it in South Korea, with the first 52 episode season spawning an ongoing followup, Turning Mecard W, a theatrical movie called The Revival of Black Mirror, some very original mobile games, and a whole host of merch that isn’t directly tied to the show. The main toyline is centred around toy cars that roll onto metal cards to trigger a spring loaded transformation to engage in battle. The series first began airing on KBS2 in February 2015.

Turning Mecard enables kids to discover a new world through magical transformation, building friendship and fighting for good. Jason, our protagonist, is an energetic grade schooler who loves the mystical minicars he hears so much about. One day, he meets Evan, a real living minicar that transforms into a creature called Mecanimal. Mecanimals are from a different world called Triforce. The Mecanimals have special powers they use to battle each other. Jason and Evan bond and realise they both need one another to find missing family members. Their quest takes them on an amazing adventure where they meet other Mecard Warriors, discover new Mecanimals with incredible powers and learn to defy evil in order to protect the world.

Join Jason on his journey with the Mecanimals through different worlds and dimensions as he searches for long-lost family, testing his loyalty, leadership and inner compass of right and wrong.

You can see why I mentioned Bakugan a few times. Much like how that brand’s success propelled Toronto’s Spin Master into a global toy powerhouse, Turning Mecard has brought major attention to Sono Kong and Choirock. Last fall, Mattel made a significant investment in both companies with the aim of strengthening their South Korean business, as well as to become the global partner for Turning Mecard. Their Mattel Creations branch is handling the show’s international expansion. Not too shabby for a Korean toyco whose most notable prior media franchise was one of the more shameless Beyblade ripoffs.*

Canada appears to be Mecard’s first stop outside of South Korea. Unfortunately, Mattel hasn’t started advertising the brand so I don’t know where the English dub was produced. One thing I do know is that the main character’s name seems to have been changed from Chan to Jason. While the former appears in Mattel released press materials from earlier this year, the latter name is mentioned multiple times in the episode summaries shared by TVPassport and Zap2it.

Funny thing. July marks the 10th anniversary of Bakugan’s debut outside of Japan, on Teletoon. I have to wonder how Spin Master will react to Mecard with their Bakugan reboot.

UPDATE (05/26/2017): Teletoon has, surprisingly, launched their Turning Mecard mini-site, officially confirming the show’s Sunday premiere, as well as some of the localized names.

tobot sales sheetRemember Tobot? No? Well, it’s another South Korean robot cartoon, but this time a fully CG animated series. It’s from the director of 4Kids time slot filler fave, Cubix, and like Turning Mecard, was a huge hit in its domestic market back when it originally debuted in 2010.

The show caught my attention last year when I spotted it in the CRTC listings that leaked the Gintama and World Trigger English dubs. I quickly found an English dub on the toy company’s Youtube channel and figured I was just late to the party. Then I clicked the video … and uh, that’s clearly not a North American dub. Sure enough, there are two separate English Tobot productions: an uncut one allegedly recorded in the Philippines by Beginnings at Twenty Plus for broadcast in South East Asia (notably, OKTO in Singapore) and Ocean’s westernized version. The latter has yet to surface in North America, even though CRTC listings indicate the company has dubbed all 102 episodes. However, it has surfaced in some European markets, including as a source for local dubs. Like many of their recent productions, Tobot features actors from both Calgary and Vancouver.

Here are a few clips from Ocean’s dub:

Yes, this show was sponsored by Kia Motors. No, that was not a joke.

Happy Victoria Day!

Thanks, Greg, Baekshi, and Yasumi.
All times listed in Eastern.

*Sono Kong acted as the official toy distributor for Beyblade and other Takara Tomy properties in South Korea for over 20 years. In that market, the brand was renamed to Top Blade. When Beyblade went on hiatus in Asia after the conclusion of Zero-G/Shogun Steel, Sono Kong launched a new line of spinning tops called Top Plate. Unlike Beywheelz/Beywarriors: Beyraiderz/Beywarriors: Cyborg, Takara Tomy was not involved with this production. That’s despite both the Top Plate show and toys being nearly identical to their franchise. Unsurprisingly, the Japanese toy giant found a different partner (Young Toys, the makers of Tobot) to bring Beyblade Burst to South Korea last year.


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