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Escaflowne on Fox

Jerry Chu of Bandai Entertainment has informed Justin Sevakis that some unfortunate cuts will be made to the Escaflowne TV series on Fox. The first episode will be cut entirely, and some musical changes will be made within the series.

As we all know WB Kids recently acquired and began airing Card Captor Sakura under the new moniker Cardcaptors. In the goal of capturing the attention of boys and girls (but mostly boys it would seem) WB purchased a series which was produced to appeal exclusively to girls and had it heavily edited to appeal more to boys. The fans of Card Captor Sakura say that Nelvana (The company that modified CCS for Fox) absolutely mangled the series and the numbers tell a very interesting story; while Cardcaptors is doing quite well with the boys and has picked up a bit of a following with the girls it just isn't that big of a hit with the girls. Some people in the past have called the existence of Shoujou and Shonen Anime in Japan sexist, these people really need to take a better look at American animation. In case you don't know; Shoujou is Anime and Manga for girls and Shonen is for boys, and while we don't have names to differentiate between the two here in North America the difference most definitely does exist. My Little Pony is American Shoujou and G.I. Joe is American Shonen. Who in their right mind would buy My Little Pony in hopes of gathering a male audience?

Well, Escaflowne isn't Shoujou, the series is the kind of mecha filled action fest that boys love, but it does have a few elements throughout the series that appeal to girls. So why is Fox cutting the first episode? The reason given is that the first episode of Escaflowne is significantly slower moving than the rest of the series and appeals more to a female following than the rest of the series.

So let's see, both networks, WB Kids and Fox have stated that they would like to increase their female audience, both networks acquire an Anime that appeals to girls (to varying degrees mind you) and both networks decide to make the series less appealing to girls. Does this really make sense?

What would make sense would be if Fox ran two separate advertising campaigns for Escaflowne. The first advertising campaign would focus on the aspects of Escaflowne which will appeal to a female audience, these adds would be run during shows that already have a strong female audience. The second advertising campaign would of course focus on the action and cool mecha that boys love and would be run before, during and after other shows that are popular with boys.

The last step would be for Fox to combine the first two episodes into a double length special introduction episode, female viewers would be captured during the first half of the episode. The boys, who will watch the entire episode anxiously awaiting the action the adds had promised, would become captivated during the second half of the episode (which is in truth the second episode).

Of course even if the executives at Fox were to read this it is now way too late for them to make any changes to the program, not that they would even consider doing so because of the recommendation of some Anime nut.

The other big, bad change being made to Escaflowne is the replacement of the opening and ending sequences. Both sequences are gone from the Fox TV version, the breathtaking original opening “Yakusoku Wa Iranai” is being replaced with a more conventional opening featuring shots from the actual episodes and synthesized music.

Now you might ask, “What Else? The first episode has been chopped, Yakusoku Wa Iranai is gone, how much more damage can they do?” Well, this is where the good news comes in. While there are a few more changes to be made Bandai has assured fans that no plotlines, no names, and none of the music within the episodes has been changed. In fact, Bandai stood up for Escaflowne on this last point, Fox wanted to change the music but Bandai refused. The remaining changes involve minor editing to bring Escaflowne into compliance with local standards, most notably the removal of blood from the series; People will still die, they just won't bleed.

With the current airing of Gundam Wing, Bandai and Fox have already shown us that they know how to properly air Anime in North America. Despite the near imbecilic removal of the first episode and the unfortunate removal of Yakusoku Wa Iranai fans should remain optimistic about the upcoming broadcast of Escaflowne.

Escaflowne will air on Fox Kids on Saturday mornings at 9 AM as of August 19th
YTV will be Airing Escaflowne starting Monday September 4th at 7:30 PM.

Christopher Macdonald
Editor in Chief

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