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…

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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…

Kirby Morrow confirms an Ocean Dub of Dragon Ball Kai

Dragon Ball Z Kai

Groupshot of Toei's refreshed version of Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Kai

Man, right when I was getting into Birth By Sleep…

Back in April, Funimation voice actor Sean Schemmel let it out that there is indeed an alternate dub for Dragon Ball Kai in the works. He later went on to say it’s one produced in Canada. Shades of the alternate dubs produced for Canada, and the European market suddenly hit people (as Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT all had alternate Canadian produced dubs). Seems he’s right, as in the September 8th episode of Voiceprint with Trevor Devall and Guests guest Kirby Morrow (Miroku in InuYasha, Goku in the Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z) says the following:

I’d like to mention that a show is coming back… a little-known show called DragonBall Z.

It’s already been released in Texas, they’re recording it in Texas, it’s known, it’s on the Internet. DragonBall Z Kai is being recorded in Texas by the crew in Texas for release only in America, and we’re doing a dub in Canada.

It’s already being recorded in Texas, they’re talking about it and everything else at the cons, but ya’ know, I did well over 100 episodes, three years of recording as the main character, Goku… and a new company has the project, and they think I might not be right for the role. I sound, in their words, “too cool”, to be Goku.

That confirms what Sean initially stated. Sean later went on to say that this alternate dub of Kai will feature edits, a replaced score, as well as some changed sound effects. I just hope the edits aren’t as weird as what’s going on the CW. Although, given that Ocean is credited with video editing on the Nicktoons broadcast in the US, I’m going to assume that’ll be the video the Ocean dub of Kai will get.

While this doesn’t confirm a Canadian network has picked up the show (as it could be a dub produced for Europe and Asia), it does certainly increase the likelihood.

Source

Thanks go to Mohji for pointing this out in the forum, while I was aware of it beforehand, school prevented me from any actual reporting…

Back to save Sora, or Ventus, or Vanitas, or zipper boy.

CBC goes ultra cheap, and the old YTV wheeps all this week…end

This Saturday, after you’ve had a moment of silence to remember that day 9 years ago, watch some cartoons.

smile

In a cheap fashion that only the CBC could pull off, G2G: Got To Go, is their token “one show a year” pick up for their Saturday Morning Block. It’s some March Entertainment (Yam Roll, Chilly Beach, etc.) show that aired in Australia. It’s also about some girl dealing with an advice column. No one’s probably interested in that. I guess they’ll also pick up the second season of Cookie Jar’s Koreanimation Magi-Nation eventually. Although that’s currently not on the table.

It seems CBC may rebrand, or assimilate their older youth block, as the Outlet (“Here’s an outlet for annoying kids to submit their videos!”) seems to have died. I can’t say it was a shame though, as the last time the CBC put some effort into that block was when it was still The Void, and that effort paled in comparison to when it was The X.

The previously mentioned Three Delivery also premieres this Saturday at 1:30PM on YTV. This show is a tad interesting becase of when it was announced, and ended up airing. It was announced years ago as a YTV production. Given the subject matter, the time frame of announcement, and time frame of broadcast, gives me a suspicion this series was meant for bigger things than Saturday premieres. While there is no confirmation for this, and there has been no hint at it, I kind of suspect Three Delivery was meant as either a lead-in to Bionix, or a Bionix original itself. The series seems to be a semi-farce on the shonen genre, ala [adult swim]’s Perfect Hair Forever (although I hope it’s better than that), that wouldn’t really work outside the block. Given that a shifting in programming a Corus happened, and Bionix eventually died, it’s understandable how a YTV original series aired over two years ago in foreign markets before airing here. If my theory that the show was made for Bionix has any weight, it would explain why Corus is currently shunning the show. There is no mention of it on YTV’s website, or any of the programming highlights.

Sidekick continues to air new episodes on YTV, and I must say, I’m enjoying it. It’s nicely animated, and while it wasn’t the Funpak short that won, it was one of my favourites. Kind of cool to see something out of that all these years later.

Anyways, back to Birth By Sleep I go…

What’s wrong with 4Kids?!

Well other than the fact the company has been in a financial hole for years, and had to kill, as well as sell off two of their own original productions (Chaotic, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Toonzai, 4Kids Entertainment’s latest attempt to revitalize Saturday morning network television officially kicks off September 18, and their schedule is all kinds of wack:

CW4Kids

Tecnically this schedule isn't from the 18, but considering 4Kids had a fall preview, and only mentioned these shows, I can't imagine much will change.

Like Cubix, really? I realize that 4Kids could air a 40 minute PSA about Al Kahn telling kids to read each week, and that no one would notice since no one watches that timeslot, but come on. Cubix is a show that has a hard time maintaining its own continuity, and has aged horribly. The CG wasn’t exactly revolutionary when it premiered way back when, and is only hideous now. Might as well run Fighting Foodons for E/I or somethin.

While I understand that Yu-Gi-Oh! and Sonic X still bring in the ratings, despite having been in repeats for years, it’s a bit alarming to see them command such a high profile presence on a relaunched block. Especially when the only shows that’ll actually be premiering is an edited version (and by edited, I mean turning halos into orbs edited) of a series they’ve got second run rights to, and a 22 minute card commercial. You’re going to have to do much more than that to get eye balls on your block, and away from the likes of Cartoon Network, Disney, and Nick. Or for us Canadian peeps, Teletoon, Family, and YTV.

We do know they have more series in the pipeline. They picked up two series no one in the world has heard of earlier this year, in Tai Chi Chasers, a test Toei gave to South Korea, and Penelope, a toddlers series along the lines of Tanma and Friends (I know you remember this series). However, both series are seemingly scheduled for mid season premieres. Those are only two. The company in a conference call said they were in talks to obtain/distribute around 12 properties. While the company does dabble in work outside of entertainment, and showed us this by picking up the rights to a Japanese art exhibit, 2 or even 3 is a lot less than 12. A lot.

Speculation is that they’ve run into a bit of a snag in the contracts side. But this is the same speculation that thinks 4Kids is secretly gaining the television rights for Battle Spirits, Soul Eater, Pretty Cure, and just about everything in between.

My nightmare is that come mid season Dragon Ball Kai will go out of season and into repeats, as well as Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds to be replaced with Tai Chi Chasers, and Penelope. Leaving the block with only 2 shows premiering once again. Great.

In related news, Toonzaki.com, 4Kids uncut animation web portal seemingly will launch on 9/10 if you believe the official site. Now, I don’t know if that means September 10, or September 2010. However, internet detectives have found key words such as One Piece, Naruto, Macross, Pretty Cure, and more in the code. Interesting.

Source
Source #2

TV Update

Toonzai

Ttttttttttooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiii!!

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates recently, but that’s due to a lack of any real news…

Toonzai on the CW4Kids will be having a special fall preview event this Friday at 4PM. It seems the preview event will be hosted by Sonic the hedgehog. Well, remember, it’s for the kids. Hopefully they’ll announce some new shows there, because as it stands the new block is almost entirely repeats outside of Dragon Ball Z Kai, and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds.

I do expect them to announce Tai Chi Chasers, and Penelope to be mid-season shows well before Toonzai formally launches on September 18.

YTV is also finally going to premiere new episodes of Beyblade Metal Fusion this Saturday (12PM) after a long hiatus since late June (they’re kicking it off with an insane amount of Beyblade episodes this week. I don’t know why they pulled the show from airing new episodes for this long, as it wasn’t a production issue. New episodes of the series have been airing in foreign markets for a while now. In fact, Cartoon Network in the US will be in the 30’s before YTV even starts the teens, despite YTV premiering the show more than a month before.

Other than that, nothing much to report on. This week I should finally have the “Crash and Burn” page completed, as well as possibly some Youtube stuffages. Also expect the forum to get a make over soon, as well as a few new touches to the blog. In the mean time, read about me complaining about this year’s FanExpo.

Note: Like always, all times EST.

The Death of the Canadian Dub

Lately the idea of a Canadian voice cast tackling the world of anime hasn’t been all that big. There are a few reasons for that; a strong Canadian dollar, the current anime industry’s economics, and a lack of desire to get a dub to help ensure a show gets a broadcast up here.

Before we go into the why, we need to see how bad it really is. The three main cities in Canada that do the audio production for anime are (in the order of body of work) Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Of those three, the only one confirmed to be working on anime projects is Toronto with Beyblade: Metal Fusion and Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders.

The west coast took the largest of hits. Vancouver’s Ocean Productions (also known as Ocean Group and Ocean Studios) was one of the largest houses that once took most of the work in all of North America. Now, in 2010, the last dub they produced was for Viz, in the shojo title NANA. NANA’s first DVD set was released in September of last year. Ocean currently doesn’t have any announced projects. Previous Ocean dubs include InuYasha, Death Note and Black Lagoon. The Vancouver scene is the home to many acclaimed voice actors such as Brad Swaile and Scott McNiel.

Located in Calgary is Ocean’s sister studio, Blue Water. They’re the lesser used of the two and have historically only been hired to do low budget work. While their output has been cut back, they’re still active. Recent titles include HunterxHunter, Deltora Quest and Pretty Cure. Previous dubs include Zeta Gundam, G Gundam and the alternate English versions of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT.

The Toronto voice acting scene is the least used of the three in Canada. You can list all the titles dubbed in the city on a single sheet of paper. Its claim to anime fame is the dub of Sailor Moon. Toronto is the least hit of the three. In fact, as the other two are losing work the Toronto scene grows. But there’s a saying that goes like this, “You can’t lose what you don’t have”. That saying is pretty accurate for Toronto anime voice work, as very little has been done there outside of the failed Toei USA/Geneon tag team plus some of Nelvana and DiC/Cookie Jar’s backlog. As I mentioned earlier, the only anime work being done in the city is Beyblade, and Bakugan. Which to be fair, is more than what the city was home to a few years back, though it’s important to note that both of those shows are Canada-Japan co-productions.

Now raises the question of why. Well, it all comes down to money: who’s got it, who doesn’t and how much.
The death of anime distributor Geneon Entertainment was a major loss for the Canadian voice acting community. Geneon, along with Viz and Bandai were the only major R1 companies that used Canadian talent. When Geneon, one of the largest anime distributors in North America went down, it shook the entire industry. They were one of the few companies that still dubbed everything they licensed. Their demise was a precursor for events to follow.

With Geneon dead came the realization that the North American anime industry was in a severe decline. Studios began to cut back heavily on the titles they picked up. This is especially true for Bandai Entertainment. Once a major force in the anime industry with a large variety of titles being released annually, to today. Bandai Entertainment is a company who can’t release a series without it being delayed multiple times. They have only a small handful of titles that are ongoing, and of that handful, few are receiving a dub.

Viz is an interesting company. They’ve paid for countless dubs, yet have only partially released them, or have never released them at all (Uncut Blue Dragon and Zoids: Genesis, I’m looking at you). The company has always prided itself as a manga company and never an anime studio, so it wasn’t a leader in quantity of products released. But now things are at an all-time low. Viz’s current lineup of ongoing series consists of just Bleach, Naruto and Pokemon (of which they distribute for Pokemon USA). None of those are dubbed in Canada. They do have InuYasha: The Final Act in the pipeline, which has a Canadian dub.

With the few companies that still outsource audio work (as Funimation and Sentai Filmworks do their voice acting in-house in Texas) releasing such meager amounts of content, price wars were bound to happe, and they did. Bang Zoom Entertainment, located just outside of Los Angeles, California, has reportedly slashed their recording costs by such a large margin that they’re receiving the bulk of the dub work now. That leaves the other big voice acting cities (Vancouver, Calgary and New York) to pick up the scraps. But why can’t Ocean and Blue Water be price competitive? Well, the loonie is preventing that.

Many of the Canadian dubs we’ve seen over the years were only produced because our dollar was so low that it allowed foreign companies to get their work done here cheaper than in the US. However, the loonie has soared due to the US dollar taking a beating, meaning the Canadian studios lost their price advantage. Now with American studios cutting production costs to record lows, there’s simply no real reason to send work up here. Especially since a Canadian dub no longer means a Canadian broadcast.

Ever wonder why Canada got an alternate dub of Dragon Ball, Z and GT? Well, those alternate dubs were all produced in Canada. Being that they were produced in Canada, they counted as Canadian content and would help fill in the CRTC’s mandate of Canadian programming. This would encourage broadcasters to pick up anime with a Canadian dub. Just think about it, what were some of the first older youth oriented anime series to air on YTV? Escaflowne, Gundam Wing, InuYasha and Gundam SEED. Guess where all those shows were dubbed at? Ocean Studios in Vancouver. In fact, most of the anime series YTV has aired over the years had their English audio work done in Canada. The problem is that YTV isn’t biting anymore (I’ll explain why YTV isn’t biting in the future). While I doubt many Canadian dubs were done solely with the intention of getting a Canadian broadcaster interested, it sure didn’t hurt. Getting on a TV channel means more exposure and more exposure means more fans and more DVDs sold.

Despite having written over 1000 words of doom and gloom, it’s not that bad for the actual voice acting talent. While anime work has decreased significantly, there’s been a much greater increase in foreign demand for Canadian animation, as well as an increase in video game work. That said, some of the more prolific Canadian voice actors have either opened an at home studio, or have moved to the US to get more roles. The anime industry in North America is on the cusp of a rebound, and eventually our dollar will go back to its normal power, so this will be a temporary downturn.