Thursday, 17 November 2016

Disney XD's got Anime-nia!

It seems like only last year that Disney XD was just a knock-off of Disney Channel for boys. Who could forget their ill-fated broadcast of Naruto Shippuden, where they made the amateur mistake of thinking the show was aimed at kids? They didn't even need to know about the manga; if they heard about Naruto from its Toonami broadcast on Cartoon Network, then they should have known that the initial English broadcast was edited for content, meaning, the show was clearly not intended for children.

Since then, it seems DXD has learned their lesson. They've returned to the anime broadcast scene, but now they're airing shows that are meant for a younger audience. Localization's a bitch, but unlike Dragon Ball Z and One Piece (and Pretty Cure, depending on who you ask), these merchandise-driven shows were meant to be exported as such. Although, after seeing the all the seriously dark stuff left in LBX's localization, it really makes me wonder: What the hell was the original Japanese version like and how the crap did they get away with keeping THAT in the English version?!

This brings us to the two MAJOR additions to Disney XD's portfolio: Beyblade and Pokemon. I get it, you wanna laugh, but the original Beyblade series was a real rags-to-riches sort of show. With spinning tops. And mythical creatures. Now that DXD has rights to every installment of the series, including the new Beyblade Burst series that began airing on Teletoon, it would nice to see that show on TV one more time, even if it doesn't really hold up. Being that Beyblade has aired on an Disney-ABC net before, it would be one heck of a throwback.

But undeniably, the real prize is Pokemon's anime: based on a franchise that's more popular than its ever been 20 years ago. I get it, you wanna groan. So do I. As much as the XY series deserved its warm reception, there's no denying that the show as a whole should have at least hit the reset button after Diamond and Pearl and started over from scratch. Better yet, it should have outright ended with the Advanced Generation. Regardless, now more than ever, not airing the Pokemon anime in America would be a huge mistake for broadcasters.

At this point, with Disney DXD also airing Yo-Kai Watch, they've got the kiddy anime business on lock. But one major franchise still eludes them: Yu-Gi-Oh! Unlike Pokemon, the many Duel Monsters spin-offs have kept the franchise fresh and new on the anime front. And let's face it: card games are way cooler than spinning tops. It was a wise move for Nicktoons to nab Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL and pick up Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, if only to keep it out of the hands of a network that's clearly got their number.

But all in all, it's nice to see this chapter of Disney XD's dark history end on a high note.

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