Monsuno: The future of anime?

Monsuno

Orange and blue, it's everywhere.

Some may question why so much of what I cover can be classified as useless kids junk. Honestly, if I didn’t cover it, I wouldn’t have much to talk about. More importantly, no one else really covers this kind of news. That’s a shame. Shows like Beyblade, and Bakugan are the gateway titles of today, and they get a bad rap because of that (some of it is warranted though). I don’t want some kid Googling his favourite show and finding only negative things about it, discouraging him from ever exploring anime fully. The sucess of these shows can only lead to good things. These shows can only succeed if they’re someone out there to say they exist.

Monsuno is toy company Jakk Pacific’s attempt at replicating the success of things like Bakugan, Beyblade, and Transformers. They want to create a brand solely with smart marketing. Smart marketing includes things like an animated series. Jakk’s doing that. Together with DCI-LA (Dentsu’s new North American label attempted to create programs Americans would like after the failed attempt to import their own productions with Geneon) they’re creating Monsuno, a 52 episode series targeted at boys 6-11 launching in late 2011 to early 2012 (Broadcasters are up in the air at the moment). Like always, it’s a series about a bunch of kids who find some magical plot device, and things to sell, of course you can’t forget about the token evil organization trying to take over the world!

Okay, I admit, my description there is pretty negative. But it’s to be expected, the series doesn’t seem to be overly original. If Beyblade and Bakugan are the Digimon and Pokemon of yesterday, then it appears Monsuno will be their Monster Rancher (I hope for a new Medabots one day). I do suspect Monsuno will be magnitudes larger than Monster Rancher, Jakk’s got many business partners with the property, Freemantle Media (the Got Talent people) are distributing it worldwide, and along with Jakk’s toyline, Topps will be creating a card game for the series. Given that we’ve lived through those days of Pokemon and Digimon, I can say we might be on the cusp of another anime boom. With all these kids buying stuff while watching shows, they’ll grow up, and those same channels providing them with a commercial product should provide them more. I say should because I can’t say they will.

Advertisements

ReBoot finally gets a DVD release

Shout! Factory, and Rain Maker Entertainment announced last night that they have plans in place for the first computer animated television series to finally hit DVD. The series co-created by Gavin Blair at Vancouver based Mainframe Entertainment (Creators of Beasties/Beast Wars, and Shadow Raiders/War Planet among other things, eventually bought by Rainmaker) in 1994 for YTV became a fairly large hit with considerable merchandise being produce, and broadcasts worldwide (a notable one being the censored ABC broadcast in the US). The series spawned four seasons, and two TV movies before a lack of funding ended the show with a cliff hanger. That didn’t stop the show from becoming a fixture of Canadian television, airing to this very day (on Teletoon Retro). However, rights issues, and weird releases left fans without a proper home video release of the series. There were plans to create spinoff shows, but nothing outside of that webcomic (which you can read at Reboot.com) ever really materialized. Sure, there is that movie that’s been in development for ages…

Anyways, Shout! has the rights to distribute the series on DVD, and on digital store fronts (so expect to see it on things like the PlayStation Network video store, or Netflix). Given this is Shout!, I do hope they’ll include a stack load of extras, and commentaries. Although, I’m not sure I’ll have to hope, as the press release states the first release will be of a complete series collectors box (who wants to bet it’ll be in the shape of a game cube?), and that’s usually a good indicator of a stacked release, if their $100+ sets of Transformers, and GI Joe are anything to go by. For those who don’t want to drop $100+ for all of ReBoot at once next year (you should!), I’d expect Shout! to break up the complete series release into single season sets. That is, assuming the show doesn’t tank entirely with the initial release. Those expecting Blu-Ray shouldn’t. Shout! is a smaller scale company who doesn’t really do Blu-Ray. Not to mention the fact that ReBoot was rendered in standard definition, so unless someone digs up 16 year old computers with the shows files in tact, and re-renders everything in HD, a Blu-Ray release wouldn’t provide a huge increase in picture quality.

I’ll get to the Metajets Teletoon news eventually…

Beyblade: Metal Masters, Bakugan: Mechtanium Surge, Oh My!

I'm part of that 83% only on Saturdays, but that don't make me a dateless Saturday night Bionixer. Yeah, I remember.

Nelvana announced its MIPCOM lineup, and let it slip that they are producing a new season of Bakugan, this one entitled Mechtanium Surge, and the second season of the Beyblade reboot, Metal Masters. Bakugan: Mechtanium Surge is the fourth season of the Bakugan franchise, following the original, New Vestroia, and the currently airing Gundalian Invaders. Each season, except the first, have aired in North America before airing in Japan. Beyblade: Metal Masters was known in Japan as Metal Fight Beyblade: Explosion, and premiered on TV Tokyo earlier this year. It continues the story of Beyblade: Metal Fusion (or Metal Fight Beyblade in Japan), with Ginga and friends encountering new friends, and of course new enemies. A Metal Fight Beyblade film premiered late last month in Japan. At their MIPCOM booth, they’ll also be showing off a new Franklin CGI series, now Nelvana only needs to bring back Rupert in CGI to take the soul out of all the characters of theirs I grew up with.

Secondly, Corus Entertainment had its Investor Day today, and I’ll tell you this much. If you dislike YTV’s Family Channel esque approach in recent years, don’t expect that to change. Viewer ship in all key demos are up on the channel, and Corus commands a crazy amount of the kid demos. They did finally confirm that YTV’s HD feed will launch in 2011.

Also just some random bits, Corus optioned the rights to Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network, with the intention to launch it in early 2011. The network premieres in the US in January. No word on what’s up with The Anime Channel, so I guess I can safely say that they’ll let the license to that expire, and that Bionix wasn’t killed as a marketing ploy (this “theory” never actually made sense). Nelvana also gave the go ahead to a bunch of new live action productions, including Life With Boys, Mr. Young, and a new Hardy Boys…

While keeping the Nelvana ruining nostalgia going on, the Rock & Rule Blu-Ray (which may or may not only include the American cut of the film) has been pushed back into late October.

Source
Source

Thanks to Mohji for pointing out the Beyblade and Bakugan news in the forum.

Power Rangers Predicament

First I’d like to start off this post with an apology. In an earlier message this week, I reported that YTV would be pre-empting the broadcasts of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, and Three Delivery this past Saturday. As a viewer, I can confirm this didn’t happen. Both shows aired new episodes, and the previously mentioned The Next Star marathon that I announced would pre-empt those shows, in fact aired at 2PM. I’m sorry if this has caused anyone to skip out on those two shows. I was simply following a press release issued by YTV, and parent company Corus Entertainment. It was likely a typo, but it would’ve been awesome if someone on programming felt it would be in bad taste to pre-empt some of the only timeslots on the channel devoted to animated action, with reruns of the show that helped destroy all teenage oriented animation on the channel. But meh.

In related news, Three Delivery and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds will be pre-empted for two weeks. Commenter Mohji noted that in addition to next Saturday’s Beyblade Metal Fusion marathon, the following Saturday will have a Pokemon marathon. No real surprise with Beyblade, as that holds the recognition of having the largest premiere of an animated series in YTV’s history, and desperately needs help to catch up to the American broadcast (which as of this writing, is 14 episodes ahead). Pokemon? Not so much. There isn’t a major game to tie-in to, and the episodes YTV will be airing are repeats.

Power Rangers Samurai

Red Ranger's helmet looks like a Kamen Rider, and the Blue Ranger's helmet kind of looks like a marijuana leaf...

Now on the actual story that’ll get me all those hits from Google, Power Rangers: Samurai (tremendously original and unique title). PR: S is the newest iteration of Power Rangers currently filming in New Zealand based on a very Japanese Sentai Shinkenger series from a year or two back. The series is so Japanese, that there’s kanji on their helmets… What makes this series incredibly different from the previous 9 or so seasons of Power Rangers is the producer. Earlier this year Saban Brands bought the Power Rangers brand away from Disney. Nostalgic people will know that Haim Saban’s previous company, Saban Entertainment actually brought Power Rangers to world. Haim later sold Saban Entertainment and its properties to Disney for a stack of money. A huge stack.

Rumors say Disney had wanted to get rid of Power Rangers for some time, and was limiting its audience on purpose as an attempt to make it seem they had to sell the brand due to poor ratings, not the fact that they would never totally own the franchise (Japan’s Toei supplies the Sentai footage for Power Rangers, and owns part of the brand). You can see this in the fact Disney dropped the franchise from its boy oriented channel, and placed it entirely on the ABC Kids block, in a timeslot that most network affiliates ignored. The cheapening and desire to sell was no more evident when Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2010 launched in January. MMPR 2K10 is simply a slightly remastered version of the original 1993 series except with Adam West Batman style captions for punches, kicks, jokes, and transitions. It was super cheap.

To combat this change, PR: Samurai will air on Nickelodeon in the US in early 2011. The first season will consist of 20 episodes, with an option for a 20 episode second season, and a movie (the last time a tokusatsu series said they were going to have a movie made before the series even aired, we got Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight, and we know how that turned out). Nick in the US is banking on the franchise doing well, as they’ve committed Nicktoons Network to become the hub for over 700 episodes of the previous Power Rangers iterations before the launch of Samurai. It’s all part of them trying to target the boys market with action series (see Nicktoons acquiring broadcast rights to DragonBall Kai, buying the Ninja Turtles franchise, etc.).

Now Power Rangers has had an interesting life on Canadian TV. The franchise was always available to those who had cable, as most companies carried a Fox affiliate, or an ABC affiliate so you could always get the US broadcast. In terms of Canadian broadcast, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was initially picked up by YTV. When I say initially, I mean it. The series only had a 13 episode order by YTV, and nothing more was ever purchased. This wasn’t because the series performed poorly, it’s because the series received complaints from parents, and YTV was issued a formal complaint by a TV regulator (although this regulator doesn’t actually have any control on YTV), and they complied. After this the series was picked up by Global TV and ran a few seasons until Disney purchased Saban. From that point forward all Power Rangers series aired on Family Channel (because they love Disney more than Edward loves Bella), but because it’s a show aimed at boys, it was almost always shafted at 5 or 6AM on weekends.

Given that Power Rangers: Samurai isn’t a Disney production, it’s safe to assume that Family won’t be airing this one. But just because it is airing on Nickelodeon doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a Nickelodeon production (similar to DragonBall Kai on Nicktoons, it’s a third party show). If it is a Nickelodeon production, it would almost be guaranteed to at least air on Nickelodeon Canada, although that’s a fate almost as pleasant as airing at 5AM on Family Channel. If Samurai does well on Nickelodeon in the US, I can see YTV breaking a long, long tradition and having the show air on the channel (since we all know they’ll air anything from Nick that more than 3 people watch). Although, I’m not sure where they’d put the show given the whole shift to co-viewing, and how a show about teenagers with attitude would work with that.

Speaking of teenagers with attitude, as a celebration, and a tool of anticipation for Samurai, the official Power Rangers website at PowerRangers.com is streaming a new un-Adam West-ified episode of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Right now you can see Tommy be a dick, and steal the show from its real leader, hurray!

Lastly, I’ve also launched a Twitter feed, simply follow I Miss Bionix.

My Life Me resurfaces as “3 et Moi” on a Teletoon, and Disney Channel Asia

Me Myself and Me

Not to be confused with the Sarah Polley, and Scott Speedman film, My Life Without Me

My Life Me, a series that was one of the first blog entries I posted on this site has finally surfaced (the fact it was one of my first blog entries is more important than the fact the series had character designs by the creator of Dramacon). The series was scheduled for a Fall 2010 debut from its distributor, but co-producer Teletoon did not mention it at all in its schedule, or highlights for the fall season. I think I know why, I was looking at the wrong Teletoon, the English Teletoon.

My Life Me is actually airing on the French version of Teletoon, and premiered there earlier this month under the name “3 et Moi” (3 and Me). Still no word on what’s up with the English version on the Teletoon I watch…

But that English version is airing on the Asian version of the Disney Channel, and has been since late August. Here’s a tv spot in English.

The Hub, or how Hasbro wants every kid in America to experience the joys of 22 Minute toy commercials

My Little Pony, My Little Pony, something something My Little Pony, My Little Pony!

Ok, the title leans a bit more on the side of the sensational, rather than the rational. As the channel’s lineup isn’t entirely toy commercials, and the title implies being a toy commercial is bad, which it isn’t.

For those not in the know, The Hub is a new television channel set to launch on October 10, 2010 (10.10.10 – I hope it ends up better than the Dreamcast’s launch of 9.9.99) in the United States. The channel is a joint collaboration between the recently formed Hasbro Entertainment (who’s seemingly employing stacks of staff from Sony’s animation divisions of years gone by), and Discovery Communications. When the channel launches this October it will be replacing Discovery Kids, and aim itself at a family demograpic. Alongside acquired programming such as Deltora Quest, and returning series from Discovery Kids, the channel will be the home to new incarnations of several Hasbro brands, including GI Joe, My Little Pony, and Transformers (Hasbro also recently filed paperwork for Jem and the Holograms stuff…).

So that raises a question, who, if anyone is going to air this stuff in Canada? Well, it can’t be Discovery Kids Canada, as Corus Entertainment killed that channel off to replace it with Nickelodeon Canada. That leaves the safe bets known as YTV, and Teletoon. I’d imagine those two will pick up the Hasbro Entertainment shows shortly after their US broadcast. Assuming The Hub lives past a first year of programming, I can see Corus Entertainment using the YTV Pow! license from the CRTC to launch a Canadian equivalent, although they might take issue with the fact YTV has been retrofitted to serve as a family channel…

Beyblade news, Three Delivery gets the shaft Plus so Much More!

BMF

Jenga Haganeeehh

Note: All times listed below are EST.

On October 2 at 12PM, YTV will be airing four new episodes of Beyblade Metal Fusion as an attempt to celebrate something I’ll dub, “Bey-Day“, where kids all across the nation are encouraged to run tournaments and have fun. Just to put some context on how far behind YTV is with this show, Metal Fusion episode 13 “L Drago Awakens” airs this weekend on YTV. On Cartoon Network in the US, this weekend will see the premiere of Episode 25, and 26. Australia’s broadcast of the show also hit episode 26 this week. Guess when they premiered the show? Well, Cartoon Network premiered it on June 26, and the Australian CN premiered on August 2. When did YTV premiere Metal Fusion? May 15. YTV helps pay for the show which sister company Nelvana creates. Wow.

In other Beyblade Metal Fusion news, the DVD release of the series will be handled by Canada’s Vivendi Entertainment (they will also be handling the Video on Demand distribution). Vivendi has previously released Canada only versions of Spider Riders, and Bakugan. They also serve as Funimation Entertainment’s Canadian distributor. However, unlike Bakugan, and Spider Riders which both had alternate American releases (in the case of Spider Riders, later cancelled), it seems Vivendi’s 51 episode spanning 7 DVD releases will be sold across North America. While this DVD release doesn’t include a Japanese audio track, it does include the English, French, and Spanish dubs.

If that recent news of 4Kids officially picking up the 10th Anniversary Yu-Gi-Oh! movie, and planning on giving it a limited 3D theatrical run, TV broadcast, and DVD release makes you want to get your game on, I have bad news for you. In an attempt to boost ratings for the Bionix killer, The Next Star, YTV will be airing a marathon of this seasons episodes starting at 1PM on September 25. This is great for Three Delivery, a show which YTV seems to not care about (No ads, not mentioned as a fall pickup, not mentioned on the site, etc.) will have only aired in its original Saturday 1:30PM timeslot twice, before being pre-empted by The Next Star, and Beyblade Metal Fusion marathons. It really makes me think that this show was produced for a block that died a long time ago.

Also, if you’re one of the 5 people who watch the CBC Saturday morning block to see such amazing content like Magi-Nation, and GTG, you probably noticed a change. In an attempt to assimilate the children’s programming into the general network, the Saturday morning block is simply known as “CBC”. No “The Outlet” (although this branding still lives for shorts aired between shows), “The Void”, or “The X”.

Toonzaki.com, 4Kids’ webportal for anime also launched today. As previously announced, it’s US only at this point, but expected to launch in other territories in the fourth quarter. I’ll just say that them using Hulu streams is not a good sign.

Lastly, it seems Nelvana will be producing a live action series with the creators of Hannah Montana, That’s So Raven, and other Disney/Family Channel faves for a new YTV series called Life with Boys. Dat co-viewing strategy…