Jul 27, 2004

An Anime Network Is Born

Today, July 27, the first 24/7/365 all-anime network in the USA, The Anime Network, officially begins its broadcast reign. People (myself included) thought that such a network would ever happen in this country, and the lineup, mostly ADV Films productions, has begun.

Of course, on the heels of the launch, other anime distributors are wondering whether or not they should start their own all-anime networks. Viz made public their plans a few months ago while FUNimation announced their ambitious plans last week. This is good and all, but all parties are going to learn that they have a long road ahead of them.

Anime is popular in this country right now, but it's not as popular as some distributors believe. Middle America still sees animation as a children's media and there are those in the bible belt that sees anime as a tool from a godless land to corrupt the nation's youth (and yet, one of the first anime series many people have seen in my generation was Superbook and Flying House, two shows that chronicled a pair of kids going back in time to biblical times with a robot guide [you can't make this stuff up]). ADV was ambitious in doing the unthinkable in actually creating the first anime channel. They're creating a precedent similar to the one Cartoon Network created when they launched the world's first all-animation channel.

An unwieldly task, that's for sure, but the truth is that The Anime Network will be the litmus test if such a network could work. It's kind of unfair, but hey, you can't be the first without facing obstacles. Funny thing is that FUNimation and Viz are thinking about creating their anime networks because they want a place to showcase their uncut properties, and a few outside acquisitions. That's kind of what The Anime Network is doing now, building their network with their own properties with a few outside shows. That's also how Cartoon Network launched their network.

ADV Films, Viz, and FUNimation all have diverse libraries and all have an idea on what to put in an all-anime network. ADV has implemented their ideas. Viz and FUNimation are planning how to execute their ideas.

You know what I'd like to see happen? I'd like to see ADV's Anime Network execs talk to Viz and FUNimation, kind of like what HBO and MTV did over 13 years ago. Thirteen years ago, HBO and MTV launched all-comedy channels at the same time. HBO launched The Comedy Channel while MTV launched HA! The Comedy Network. Seeing as both networks were serving the same market and same audience with identital programming, they decided to merge their networks into one unique comedy-oriented channel. They called their merged outlet Comedy Central, and the rest is history. This merger actually made sense, unlike the recent G4-TechTV merger which basically became G4 with a few TechTV shows.

I feel that perhaps instead of creating three individual all-anime networks, they should create a superstation, anime from three of the biggest names in the game, uncut for the masses. This is an anime channel I want to see in my lifetime, and I feel that if FUNimation and Viz are serious about their plans to create anime channels, perhaps they should find solace with ADV and merge all of their energies to create a single dominating anime network.

This is an Anime Network I'd like to see. Until then, The Anime Network is something that . . . I'd like to see around here.


Emperor Fred said...

When I heard about Funimation's plans for an anime channel, my first thought was, "What does this mean for Funimation shows on Cartoon Network, like Yu Yu Hakusho or Case Closed" which they specifically mentioned.

Then it came to me - what if Funimation and Cartoon Network teamed up, just like HBO and MTV did back in the daze of olde? The channel could run not only Funimation's full anime library, but also shows owned by CN that get precious little airplay like Lupin the Third, Kikaider, Cyborg 009, or - dare I say - Batman: The Animated Series, Superman, Batman Beyond, and Samurai Jack.

Then that way, it wouldn't have to be pitched to cable operators as *another* anime network, but something different - a digital cable channel devoted to the growing popularity of comic book culture: superheroes, graphic novels, manga and ... uncut anime.

Kind of a long shot, I know. But I think it could really succeed on those grounds, especially with media giant Warner Bros./Turner Cable behind it.

They could even call it... Toonami. (After all, Toonami has been practically synonymous with Funimation's Dragon Ball Z for so long anyway!) Talk about launching a Toonami channel in the US in style! That's what you call televising a revolution.

Anonymous said...

Man I am jealous I live in Columbus, Ohio, the only company that carries The Anime Network is Insight, and I have Time Warner and I have been sending them faxes through the Anime Network site and still no luck. :'(

Cody S. said...

I personally thought they should've waited a tad longer before having an official launch. Or alteast a big party celebrating the official launch...I mean, only a select few in the Midwest are actually having a change to watch the event in the first place.

Unless you're Vince...luck bastard got to fly out there free of charge. I didn't even get one of those "I went to [place] and I all I got was this lousy T-shirt" shirts. =P

Anonymous said...

well lets see the cn/funi is a good idea, wonder if the alience there is stroung enough?
we shall see. I still don't have the anime network in Staten Island New York city, twc but they are stupid and don't do the same things as the rest of the city