anime dead to american tv

I saw a pretty harmless news blurb about how Kids WB isn’t showing any new Pokemon. I don’t really care about Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, or any other show that doesn’t appeal to people over the age of ten. Unfortunately, anime seems to be going out of vogue on American TV, and it’s not just the kiddie shows. Cartoon Network thinks that they can get better ratings running Saved by the Frickin’ Bell on Adult Swim than, oh, Gundam Seed, Paranoia Agent, or Samurai Champloo. I still remember the good old days of anime on American TV, where Adult Swim aired Tenchi and Gundam Wing everynight, TechTV’s Anime Unleased featured Crest of the Stars, Betterman, and Soul Taker. Hell, even MTV showed Heat Guy J, KTEH showed Evangelion and Dirty Pair, International Channel screened Patlabor (with subs), and Fox paraded the farce Foxaflowne.

Nowadays? Fox, MTV, and KTEH no longer air anime (no, I don’t count Sonic X or any other show not available as a subbed, uncut DVD). G4TechTV hasn’t aired any new Anime Unleashed in months, International Channel may go out of business, and Saved by the Bell is on Adult Swim. It’s a grim reality.

(I remember watching Saved by the Bell when I was in high school… umm… do I want to watch it now? No. It’s dated as hell. It’s mundane as hell. It’s got no content worthy of Adult Swim in terms of foul language, crude humor, sex, or violence. I’d rather watch Air Gear and fast-forward to all the Simca scenes.)

The problem is that for anime to latch onto the mainstream, the public needs to be introduced to good, solid anime programming on TV. Most people aren’t going to bother looking for fansubs, learning how to decipher moonspeak raws, or read a blog that happily type lines like, “Natsuki on a bike just feels right, like seeing Shinn with a contorted face, Mai with ramen, Keroro with a Gundam model, Keitaro pulling down Naru’s panties, Chidori slapping Sagara, Kenshin and his reverse blade, Hazuki wearing nekomimi, Nanoha frenching Fate, or Shana with melonpan.” I had a friend who normally isn’t into anime ask me about Samurai Champloo a few months ago because he caught it on CN and was interested. Then I can go on and say stuff like, “Well, if you liked that show, maybe you’ll like Cowboy Bebop too,” and I loaned him my Bebop DVDs. That’s how fans are made. As great as Haruhi is, she’s not bringing in new American mainstream fans. But Fuu has a chance.

Sadly, the greatest new hope for anime in America is Eureka 7, as evidenced by Yahoo blogging about it. Is Eureka 7 a decent show? Yes. Is it a great show? No. I wouldn’t rank it higher than Stand Alone Complex, for one. A problem with E7 is that it starts off slowly, and if the show can’t latch onto an audience quickly at CN, I’m sure they’ll yank it around (like Paranoia Agent). It also doesn’t really break new ground for CN… oh boy, yet another show aimed at 15 year olds designed to sell toy sky surfing robots. Joy!

(I’m also puzzled whey CN is showing Evangelion and making a big deal out of it… everyone who wants to see it already has considering ADV has released like four versions of it on DVD already. Though I must give credit to CN and TCM for running Mizayaki month, though Disney Channel already did this, oh, two years ago. I’m rambling.)

I liked how Anime Unleashed tried to break out of the typical anime stereotypes by airing more niche, but strong, series like Crest of the Stars and Betterman. Sure, they’re not going to sell a lot of toys, but they’re solid shows to build a strong audience with. They did make Anime Unleashed one of the three more popular programs on TechTV (X-Play and Screen Savers being the other two). The series are also a bit different than standard anime shown on American TV, i.e. either the kiddie stuff or the mindless shonen stuff. Crest and SAC were nice breaks from the norm. I have a few suggestions:

(I’m not going to count shows like GSD and Bleach which seem to be destined for CN in the next year or so.)


  • Rahxephon. Great music. Great animation. Mindfuck plot that has been described as “Eva Lite.” Giant robots. Can’t miss on Adult Swim or Anime Unleashed.
  • Full Metal Panic. I still can’t believe that Scryed made it onto American TV before Sagara, Chidori, and Tess’s ass. Action? Humor? Giant, markable robots? What’s not to love?
  • Black Lagoon. When I watch this series, one thing that runs in my mind is that CN should have taken up Levi and co. as a project over IPGX. Seriously? We’re taking the gay looking racing robots over the hawt chix0r packing serious heat? Our predominately male audience won’t like hawt chix0r?
  • Keroro Gunso. No explaination necessary.
  • The Big O III. Second worst decision ever at CN was to can this series. The worst? A.C. Slater.


  • Rozen Maiden. Completely out of character for CN, but I think Rozen Maiden is far superior to Gash Bell, and if you’re putting on a show about dolls, why not air the superior one desu? (Sadly, it’s not licensed, and I can’t imagine any gaijin seiyuu even coming close to Rie Tanaka’s Hall of Fame effort on Suigintou.)
  • Mai Hime. I think the show’s built for something like CN. Though I wonder how’d it hold up to American censorship with all the raping going on. If they cut out Shizuru and Natsuki like what they did to Outlaw Star‘s fanservice episodes, it’s just not worth it. Though if they show Hime in its entirity, maybe “Shizuru’ed” will make it into wikipedia someday. I can dream.
  • Samurai 7. I’d put it under “safe” except it’s (1) Gonzo, (2) features gay samurai, and (3) butches Kawasura’s work to the point that he’s not just rolling in his grave, he’s having a seizure there. Otherwise, it’s a show that has mainstream appeal, plus the word “samurai” in its name, which seems to be a plus. (As ADV explained they named Kenshin OVAs “Samurai X” since “Samurai” sells better than “Kenshin.” God bless America.)
  • 12 Kingdoms. Something epic that would fit well with Anime Unleashed. Probably a bit slow for CN.

“Home Frickin’ Run”

  • Azumanga. If it can survive on American TV, well, that’s a home run considering that aside from Tenchi, no comedy has really made it on American TV. So why not try the Evangelion of schoolgirl comedies?
  • School Rumble. I think it has Tenchi-like potential in the US if given a chance. Though some of the jokes are probably waaaay too cultural, like those kappa lines, but it has about 50x better chance than Pani Poni Dash. If I heard “gurugurumaru” while flipping channels, would I stop and watch? Certainty. Unless if the Pistons were playing.
  • Kanon. Has any h-game turned anime been show on American TV yet? I’d give Kanon the nod over Fate/Stay Night just because they’d censor the already pathetic levels of fanservice out of F/SN.
  • Haruhi. What were you expecting here? Mahoraba? Haruhi would be a grand slam.

Never in a Million Years

  • Full Moon wo Sagashite. Shoujo? Has any non-kiddie shoujo anime ever made it onto American TV? Sorry, but that’s the sad reality of it.

Hopefully, the networks will come to their senses and realize that being “safe” won’t necessary bring in new audience. Sometimes, they need to take a chance (like CN did with Tenchi) to score a hit that can bring in mainstream fans. Considering that the library of anime is vast and many genres remain untapped, there’s a lot of possibilities to choose from.

34 Responses to “anime dead to american tv”

  1. I actually thought it will be a very brave decision to try to air some shoujo anime. It will be a fight to break mainstream view that anime are for guys. I read on an article that a lot of manga titles that are currently really popular are actually the ones aimed at girls. This is probably because they’re a market that has been largely ignored. That’s why the growth of the market for shoujo manga has been incredible. That’s the way it is with anime’s that are shown here too. I’m thinking if they can successfully tap into the market potential, they’ll get a major hit. It would be a major fight though. The hardest thing would be to make the public to start thinking that there’s actually some good anime for girls. To do this they need some good shows that could attract female audiences and have more general appeal. I’m thinking shows like mahoraba, honey clover, …don’t know what else right now(too tired).

    This is the article I read(the comment is on the 7th paragraph):,00.html

  2. Ever since I became dependant on subs, I have completely lost touch of what is going on on TV. Do you guys get Animax over there in the US?

  3. Since when has it been a good idea to promote anime as some sort of fad? I still remember my CCG days when this upstart game called Pokemon had cards going for hundreds of dollars, now a days they struggle to give them away.

    I am unsure of the nuances of negotiating rights to bring anime to the states but Sailor Moon was axed because the Japanese were demanding too much money for a licensing agreement. Add to the fact that dub voice actors are generally low grade and have little range, the only voice actor I can recall is Luke Skywalker err…Mark Hamill who Joker is awe inspiring.

    Another issue is the time slot you are fighting for, it really says something about this country when more people vote for American Idol than the elections of 2000 and 2004. For some inexplicablke reason American networks are more willing to run crap such as Hannity and what’s his name and various pundits who act like spoiled children (if only the constitution exempted parasites from the Bill of Rights). As much as I hate to say it Desperate Housewives will probably attract more males than any anime.

    I am very much glad to see that FOX has stopped buchering anime, and may heaven stike them down for arrogance and immorality. I fail to see why thei FOX related development is a bad thing other than the probability that they’ll hold the licensing agreement and will never give it up until hell freezes over or when the War on Islamofacism ends (God willing the latter wille end in my lifetime).

    There is still hope in the form of an aspiring network IA (ImaginAsian TV) has put out subbed ans dubbed versions of 12 Kingdoms, Figure 17, Space Pirate Mito, Patlabor, and even some olde anime flicks. Still the IA is small and doesn’t have the empire of the much hated FOX.

    Strangely enough I saw of all things Shounen Jump at the Travis AFB PX, now if only VIZ were more particular about the stuff they translate. I also saw Galaxy Angel among other titles that I fail to recall. Even the PS games section has a bunch of anime related titles (Gundam games) though no Shakugan no Shana game. I also caught one guy in the barracks playing super robot wars. At leas teh miltary is trying to learn how to keep the Otaku soldiery happy.

  4. Animax is an Asian channel so probably not.

    You forgot to mention that the Evangelion of kiddie shoujo has already been shown and it was butchered to death. That was Cardcaptor Sakura which some stupid marketing idiot thought was too “girly” and thus male-ified into Cardcaptors that among other things made Li a main character.

  5. Bloody hell zero, I wanted to put that awful memory of butchered CCS behind me.

    Just becuase a bunch of marketing hacks gave in to their fears and decided to coddle homophobes everywhere. All because some pretenders, hacks, and retards think that watching yuri or yayoi can transmit homosexuality via diffusion. All the while they can’t decide is AIDS can ge given through tears.

  6. Oh it is? I guess having almost perfectly subbed (with a dub option too) anime 24 hours a day for less than the cost of a pack of McDonald fries is an Asian privilege then.

    It was introduced a couple of years back and it was like rain in the Sahara.

    But our cable TV has only that few channels compared to your hundreds, so it’s a tradeoff.

  7. Some more thoughts:
    – I think Fruit Basket, NANA, Kaleidostar and Princess Nine are some other good choices. Both Fruit Basket and NANA has their manga counterpart and are pretty popular. Haven’t watched Princess Tutu, but I heard it was pretty good. glass mask, hana yori dango
    – just crossed my mind. Censorship might be a problem too, since anime often present some issues that mainstream US don’t like to discuss. In fact that’s probably why a lot of animes shown on TV are the ones aimed at kids. It’s easier to just avoid the whole censorship thing than deal with it.

  8. Didn’t really thought of promoting anime as some kind of fad. Just some suggestion to show some anime that might be more palatable to the general audience. FOX is pretty much a lost cause(or it might not have been one in the 1st place). What about cartoon network, though. I didn’t thought that idea has so much against it.

    I agree that CCS fiasco is really bad, though.

  9. Urusei Yatsura
    Ah! My Goddess
    Maison Ikkoku
    Ruroni Kenshin
    Crest/Banner of the stars

    If they would show only those Anime shows in the US, I’d be in heaven.

  10. FYI: International Channel also showed “TM!R” uncensored with subtitles. ^_^

    The biggest obstical anime has in the U.S. is the perception that all cartoons are for little kids (“Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” aside). Thus, when an anime isn’t all kiddy, there’s great shock. When CN aired “FLCL,” there was a big controversy including some news coverage because some people found it so offensive. After all, a cartoon shouldn’t be like that. They shouldn’t be dark, erotic, dramatic, deep, thoughtful, or anything else. The violence or sexual overtones won’t ever make it to American TV. Even though a cable channel could show it all uncensored, the outcries would most likely keep them from it.

    Also, there’s the old Japanese culture thing. “Keroro Gunsou” has a lot of Japanese jokes and I think a lot of it would go over folks head. Ditto “Azumanga Daioh.” BUT, I’m all for a REAL anime channel being made that would have anime (in English and in Japanese with ANB-approved subtitles), but also educational shows about Japan and Japanese culture, documentaries on locations in Japan that are featured in anime, and maybe some of those wacky Japanese reality game shows).

  11. Samurai 7 IS already on American TV.

    (FMP is so perfect for American TV that I had always just assumed that it had aired on some channel already)

  12. I wish I could see Macross, the Movie ” Love, Remember ” and Laputa in a movie theater. I have a feeling that people in Hollywood would be very displeased if some of Anime blockbusters from 80s gets shown in USA.

  13. I also wish that real quality Korean Manga gets translated into English. I have only seen names of third or fourth rated Korean Manwhaga here. Did you know that Mamoru Nagano probably borrowed his drawing style from Korean Manwhaga, Hwang, Mina, when he started drawing Five Star Stories? Although Koreans don’t have much anime to boost of, even with full open market to Japanese manga, Korean manga is still holds the majority in Korean market due to its own high quality.

  14. Shoujo on American TV? Real shoujo on American TV? I’m all for it. More roses, fewer speed lines!

  15. The perception that anime is cartoons thusly is for kids is the main reason why it will have a helluva time getting any sort of footing in America.

    Hell, Hayao Miyazaki’s movies BOMB in America. That’s how stupid the mainstream is about these things and it’s something that’s not gonna change easily if at all.

  16. Yeah, same goes for me too. I’m more connected to my PC functioning as my TV rather than using my TV as…a TV….wait…something’s odd…

    I surprise even myself sometimes when I actually watch some actual TV. I’m like…’Wow, so this is what real TV’s like, I’d almost forgotten!’

  17. I don’t get cable and my TV is there just for VHS and DVD.

  18. One last point: If sufficient number of people spends sufficient amount of money on Anime and related stuff, major Broadcasters in USA will start acquiring license and subbing Japanese Anime like crazy. That is what happened in Korea at the start of 21st century. If quality of anime improves from what we have now, it only be question of when we will hit that critical number. If the quality does not improve, even people like us might turn to other things in life.

  19. I somewhat disagree. With On Demand there is a very large library of anime to watch at any one time. I have anime selects from Comcast, a large selection of promotional material and actual episodes. From there Anime Network has a nice collection they offer and even Adult Swim has series they show. A problem Anime has, ultimately, is that it isn’t episodic enough. They can’t go against prime time TV so people will not always be able to catch an episode. Look at Adult Swim, most of the popular shows you can watch an episode and not really miss out on a lot. However, many animes you miss an episode and you miss plot. Unless it is something like Naruto or Bleach were people purposely want to catch every episode and it is at a good time, they won’t be able to keep the ratings up.

  20. Apologies if someone already pointed this out (I did a quick search/find but didn’t come up with anything): Saved by the Bell was only on Adult Swim for a week, as a gimmick. It’s not permanent, thank god. (Unless I missed a crucial announcement..?) Don’t ask me why they did it. I despise the show and avoided AS for a solid week. :P

  21. in case anyone doesn’t know:

    rahxephon – has already aired on anime unleashed

    samurai 7 – airing on IFC right now in the U.S.

    trigun – airing right now on Adult Swim

  22. Hmm I recall reading last year that CN (i’m pretty sure it was them) weren’t particularly interested in any properties that didn’t have a male protagonist in the lead. Apparently teens don’t want to watch chix0rs fighting, because it confuses them and they wonder why they’re not baking cookies.

    I don’t know how true that holds now, but it could explain why you don’t ever see Show X ever turning up on a network

  23. From the forums

    Joined: 19 Sep 2005
    Posts: 18
    Location: Canada

    hehehe, hey guys. was watching the OC last nite on Fox, and was amused as hell to see the producers of the show bring in two korean guys. one of the korean guys was named ‘Big Korea’ and was supposedly a huge KPop star from Korea. anyway, Seth (one of the main characters) first saw him all dressed up and said “he looks like the guy from Fullmetal Alchemist”

    If The freakin’ OC will reference anime, it can’t be that dead. The OC is the most expensive show on TV for commercials because its audience (middle and upper-middle class teens) is so coveted by advertisers.

  24. Jason…


    That’s taking some guts there. There’s only a few people willing to see Kanon in the States, and probably a few more worldwide(Other than Japan). Me included.

    …Wait, AN AMERICAN SHOW CLEARLY MADE FOR FLEECING THE MASSES REFERENCING FMA? Let me check to see if pigs are flying first.
    …Nope, must’ve been Haruhi messing with reality.

  25. I don’think that anime is the only thing that is dying on American TV but also all of American TV is going to pot. I just think that is the trend of TV now and it just so happens that anime is suffering from the same trend. I see this tend happening mainly because people have better things to do with their time and they are turning to other types of entertainment, namely video games, movies and the internet. Today is just a sad day for TV and anime just happens to suffer along with it.

  26. hmm but the boxoffice is down as well.. so it must just be games and internet pron.

    Or it could be reality tv taking the audience from everything. Those shows refuse to die.

  27. Air and Kanon was a huge hit in Korea, both for the game and the anime. I suspect there are legions of people waiting to see how Kanon will be remade in Korea. Wait, isn’t the sub-contractor working on Kanon a Korean company? If so, expect to see fansubs up and flowing in Korea 1-2 hours after the broadcast.

  28. Crayotic Rockwell, when I was referring to movies I was actually talking about DVDs. People would rather spend their evenings watching DVDs, playing video games, or playing on the internet rather than watch TV.

  29. You know the big reason might be something we’ve all overlooked, Torrents, Direct Connect, other P2P services, basically allow pretty much everyone to download anything they want, within reason, when I want to watch something now, I either get it off DC++ or via a torrent, as a result my trips to the movies, video store or even the time i spend in front of the TV has dropped considerably.

  30. You can’t stop the flow of information without DIRE CONSEQUENCE to human lives. This is not a joke as we saw what happens where ever there was/is fundamentalist or dictatorial regime. I am certain that industry will adapt to the new reality of internet traffic of entertainments and come up with new ways of generating attention and revenue. A good option for anime companies and broadcasters would be to actually post the files themselves. The catch to the free files would be that it would contain many advertisement that might pop up at unimportant part of screen or short ones between scenes, but I think I can accept it, in return for legality, quality, and availability. Many broadcasters in Korea already allow downloading of any of their shows. You have to pay small fee ( 10 cents to $ 5 , depending on the show and station ) for some of the high quality downloads, but many do so, and broadcasters are making some money instead of none if they didn’t allow this. Consider it cheap pay-per-view. I also believe they have made contracts with many file sharing sites to allow them to provide the files in return for some money and publicity. Once anime companies adjust and money flows, things can get better.

  31. I have a TV in my room. The remote is tied to my bed. I have not turned it on in over a year because the quality of American TV has gone to hell.

    Dubs ruin anime. We all know it, none of us can deny it. There may be a few exceptions. I’ve only recently begun watching anime. I’m not near as informed or experienced (Wrong word choice, but you get the idea) as some of you people. To date, I have watched approximately 15 series altogether. It doesn’t take much to realize that you can get away with worse things with real people than just seeing it done with anime. One of the other comments referenced the uproar following FLCL. Personally, I didn’t even find it that bad. Compare FLCL to some of the crap you can find on TV. There shouldn’t be a comparison. Terminator you find on TV. Much more violent; much more vulgar. I think you get the point.

    I was at our local MtG/Video Game store last week. Anime got brought up somehow. Somebody said they should turn Magic into an anime. I pointed out that I watched anime and an anime would turn the general anti YGH attitude towards Magic. So the guy next to me, who I would place at about 25-30, was looking through a stack of YGH cards asking about the prices and such. He looked at me and said, “You watch Japanese anime? What a dork.”

    This was a 25 year old guy looking through a stack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Quite frankly, I’m not sure the average American who might watch anime should it come to US deserves watching master pieces such as Air. Then there are all the masses of people who would complain that they had to read subs.

    Looking back, my post wasn’t really coherant but I hope somebody gets what I’m trying to say ^_^

  32. [quote] Then there are all the masses of people who would complain that they had to read subs. [/quote]

    uh, because they can’t read?

    Seriously, there is a series that is perfectly safe, not needing any censor, while not requiring much knowledge of Japanese Culture as well: ARIA. Most of its jokes are easily translatable, and it is hard to classify as boy style or girl. It is a series that is safe enough to be rated G, but it is good enough to change the general perception of Anime. Since it is episodic like sit-coms, you don’t need to follow the plots, and I am sure decent voice actors can be found to duplicate the mood, or even create a new one that still fits, for the cisual element of the show is very flexible. Since it is about Venice, there are things Americans might recognize faster than Japanese as well. Now the $ 64,000 question is will it get good enough rating? With good time slot and little advertisement, I believe it could with cute girls ( for boys ) and good scenery ( for girls ), provided that we create loud enough buzz about it. Anyone know when the dubbed version of it comes out in th States?

  33. They also aired Ruroni Kenshin for a while on CN as well. They did Bebop a few years back too, which IMO had a pretty good dub. They go wrong when they decide to play WBified crap all the time instead of good stuff. When G4 plays Read or Die, that’s a good thing–we need more of that.

    I remember back when they first did Robotech like 8 years ago. They have this habit of playing the first part of a series and then stopping. Or, as with DBZ, playing the same episodes over and over again until the series finally ended. If the networks consistently offered new shows on schedule, all the way through, the viewers they do have would be a lot happier.

  34. The Big O III…? Am I missing something here, or am I just stupid?

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