Odds & Ends: Spin Master co-produces Zo Zo Zombie, DHX renames itself to WildBrain, Shinemon’s time to … shine


Spin Master collaborates with ShoPro on Zo Zo Zombie
WildBrain is the new, old name for DHX Media
Cardfight!! Vanguard, Bakugan dubs continue with new seasons

Spin Master collaborates with ShoPro on Zo Zo Zombie

Kidscreen is reporting that Toronto’s Spin Master Entertainment is working with ShoPro on an animated adaptation of Yasunari Nagatoshi’s Zo Zo Zombie manga series. Serialized between 2012 and 2018 in CoroCoro Comic, the children’s comedy follows a little zombie boy who gets into all sorts of trouble. Yen Press began publishing the manga in English last September.

According to Kidscreen, the anime adaptation consists of 100 x 3-minute episodes that’ll launch sometime this fall across digital platforms, including Amazon Prime. Spin Master’s Jennifer Dodge says this gave the creative staff the flexibility of working without the constraints of broadcast standards and practises. Though, the option of building it into a linear or SVOD show isn’t off the table. She described it as “the strangest thing we’ve done in the history of our entertainment group” and says it’s primarily aimed at boys aged 8-10.

ShoPro previously created two web-shots based on Zo Zo Zombie that were streamed on the CoroCoro YouTube channel in Japan. Animated by Ascension, the duo debuted in March 2017. It’s not entirely clear who will be behind the Spin Master productions, though there are some clues. The image Kidscreen used (above) is in the same style as the Ascension shorts. More telling is that Toronto screenwriter Miles Smith was credited for the second Japanese short.

The digital-first strategy is an increasingly common way for Spin Master to launch new things. The company has previously released two separate Hatchimals animated web-series and rolled out the first batch of Dragamonz episodes on Amazon Prime Video last week. The Bakugan creators are using the latter platform for the U.S. debut of last year’s Teletoon original Super Dinosaur.

WildBrain is the new, old name for DHX Media

Canadian production house DHX Media will now be known as WildBrain. The name change was announced last week during the company’s fourth-quarter financial results presentation.

“Rebranding as WildBrain embraces our commitment to creativity, imagination and innovation, and our 360° approach to brand management. For many years, our WildBrain group has been at the leading edge of the digital media business. As that landscape continues to rapidly evolve, now is time to unify all the parts of our Company under both the name and entrepreneurial culture that WildBrain represents,” says CEO Eric Ellenbogen.

The WildBrain name has quite the history, though little of it with what we commonly associate with DHX. It originates from the American animation studio WildBrain Entertainment. Best known for producing the live-action preschool hit Yo Gabba Gabba!, DHX acquired the company in 2010. Sometime after, they were renamed to DHX Studios Los Angeles before ultimately getting shuttered earlier this decade. In 2016, DHX revived the brand for a new YouTube network based out of the United Kingdom. The group is responsible for some truly amazing original web cartoons and those weird stretched/cropped and upscaled uploads of old animated series tagged with “cartoons for kids.” Responsible for billions of views, it is DHX’s fastest-growing segment.

With the entire company now going as WildBrain, the YouTube business has been renamed to WildBrain Spark. No change is expected to hit the Family television channels in Canada.

It’s an interesting time for the company formerly known as DHX. They just introduced a new CEO after continued financial difficulties forced a change (they posted another loss in the filing the name change announcement was made). We’re on the cusp of a major launch for them, as the first of their new long-form Peanuts content, Snoopy in Space, will launch alongside Apple TV+ on November 1st. Animated in Vancouver, the show stars a cast of Toronto child actors, with Rob Tinkler as Woodstock and Terry McGurrin voicing Snoopy.

Cardfight!! Vanguard, Bakugan dubs continue with new seasons

Last Friday, Bushiroad launched the English dub for the latest entry in the long-running Cardfight!! Vanguard anime franchise. This time, it’s a prequel starring shop keeper Shinemon Nitta in his younger days. Like every entry in the series, the newest episodes are dubbed at Blue Water Studios using a cast from Calgary and Edmonton.

Shinemon Arc sees Scott Roberts do some heavy double duty. He’s been voicing the titular character since his debut in the original 2011 series and has also been the dub’s voice director since 2016/2017’s Cardfight!! Vanguard G NEXT. New dubbed episodes are streamed about a month after their initial Japanese broadcast. Bushiroad uploads both versions onto their YouTube channel every weekend.

In other Canadian dub news, Bakugan: Battle Planet’s first season recently wrapped recording. Production on season 2, Bakugan: Armored Alliance, has just started in Toronto. The first 26 episodes of season 1 were recently added to Netflix in a number of markets, including Canada.

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