Tokyo Pig

Aug 16th 2002
ABC Family caught everyone by surprise a few months ago by announcing that they'd snatched up the license to a little known series called Tokyo Pig, set to air on September 14th. They had intended to dub and broadcast the series on their ABC Family (formerly Fox Family) channel. The project is the first entry in Miramax Television's kids programming slate, and it looks like they're hopping on the anime bandwagon like everyone else. This is Miramax, though, and Tokyo Pig is certainly a unique entry into the current stable of children's dubbed anime shows airing on television.

The story follows the adventures of Spencer, a hapless boy, and his magic pig named Sunny. At school, Spencer is issued a diary, to write about his day. Instead of writing about his mundane life, Spencer starts writing wild fantasies about what he wishes would happen. Lo and behold, the diary is gifted with some magical power, and the stuff he writes comes to life. Eventually, Spencer writes about a million pigs flying through the sky, and in his scramble to erase what damage he's done, one of them gets left behind. This is Sunny Pig, and the show follows his crazy adventures with Sunny.

All in all, Tokyo Pig is a pretty typical children's anime show. The art style is somewhat unorthodox, although it looks like a cross between Crayon Shin-chan and Doraemon. The Sunny Pig character is certainly marketable enough, and if the show catches on, merchandise will be showing up soon enough. It's a strange move for Miramax Television and ABC, however; Tokyo Pig is not a very “typical” sort of anime show one would see on TV aimed at children, however. There's no collectible card game or action figure series based on it, and it wasn't created to sell toys in Japan. That having been said, it's not like the show has any educational properties or is any more valid for children than something like Yu-Gi-Oh!, or Dragon Ball.

The show has something of a warped sense of humor and moves at a lightning quick pace. The jokes can get a bit tiresome from time to time, and the dub job is basically what we've come to expect from television series for children at this point. The whole thing seems fairly rushed, with the characters speaking in run-on sentences, struggling to get the lines out before mouths stop moving. It's hard to tell if the entire thing was done on a razor-thin budget, or by people new to the dubbing process. Either way, children will probably get a lot of entertainment out of Tokyo Pig. It may not have quite the hook that Yu-Gi-Oh! has, but it does have that kind of charm that children might flock to. Adult anime fans… actually, anyone over the age of 10 or so.. need not apply.

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