This week, a bunch of questions about Blu-rays! How's that Macross Plus blu-ray box from Japan? How's that crowdsourcing thing going? And why are the episodes divided up so strangely?
The Click May 6th - May 12th
by Brian Hanson, May 6th 2006
Just for variety's sake, I'll put the typical caveats right here in the beginning this week; all dates and times are tentative, and all times listed are eastern. Certain networks, such as Toon Disney I believe, don't even have a pacific coast feed, so adjust the times accordingly. Otherwise, the only result will be immense sadness.
Before I add pithy comments to everything that's being aired this week, I wanted to revisit an oft-asked question way back in February of two-thousand-odd-five. Shortly after it was revealed that the ninja antics of Naruto were to be aired across households country-wide, the internet was abuzz with one burning, momentous, salient question: will Naruto be the next Dragon Ball Z?
Looking at recent TV ratings and brisk DVD and manga sales, the answer is a definite "probably." Walk into any bookstore and you'll witness people of various shapes, sizes, genders, and Hot Topic-related garb clutching for every last Naruto volume on the manga shelves. Nielsen's Videoscan has the edited DVDs clocked not far behind Hayao Miyazaki's award-winning home video behemoths in units sold. Last but not least, Naruto ranks not only as the highest-rated anime on the Cartoon Network, it's not at all far behind from becoming their highest-rated show, period. And when it comes to core demographics, which as I've mentioned are really what the soulless reploids known as advertisers and network executives truly look at, Naruto is an unabashed, runaway hit. Remember the "Naruto-thon" that aired a couple of weeks ago? When various TV industry trade websites tracked the Top 30 programs for "tweens" aged 9-14 that week, Naruto ranked number 17 with 940,000 viewers. For reference, Nickelodeon's anime-inspired action series Avatar came as high as number 25.
So this is all good news. And for those of you elitist snobs who worry about the "mainstream audiences" sullying the good name of your oh-so-precious ninja anime series, I say to you: get over it. It is my own firm belief that the anime industry, such as it were, needs another hit series in DBZ's vein. Thanks to Naruto, other shows in Cartoon Network's anime stable have benefited greatly; One Piece was saved from a dismal fate on a low-rated, syndicated Saturday morning timeslot, and offbeat shows like Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo have been given a fighting chance in the ever-worsening war for the eyes of TV viewers everywhere. In all honesty, I can't think of another anime up to such a task. When I've had to explain the series to various people over the years, I've likened it to Harry Potter - in the sense that it is, essentially, a "kids' property," but with enough depth and dark overtones to keep older audiences just as enthralled as the wee ones.
Now all that I ask is for those in charge of Naruto's broadcast not to squander such an opportunity. Back when Dragon Ball Z became the after-school TV staple of nearly every kid in the country, Cartoon Network through their Toonami block used that audience to try out bold new experiments, such as new seasons of Sailor Moon, older-skewing fare like Tenchi Muyo! and Outlaw Star, and as a proving ground for the US introduction to all things Gundam. Speaking of which, Gundam could sure use another chance. Or hey, Gaogaigar was just licensed, that would be incredibly awesome to see on TV, plausibility be damned.
With that out of my system, on to this week's shows!
Black Magic M-66
Monday May 8 9:00pm
"Is this a joke?" you say. "No sir!" I say. "Of course it is," you say. "This is an ancient, direct-to-video 'feature' that was released in the US almost 15 years ago. And it's on a network you can only find on certain expanded cable or satellite networks in specific areas!"
And you'd be right. But, such an anime relic finding its way onto US TV is something so odd, so curious, that I can't help but watch. And, tell other people to watch. For the uninitiated, this little 50-minute diversion is Ghost in the Shell author Masamune Shirow's sole foray into directing animation. Story? Kind of, but not really. Two humanoid robots in that distinct Shirow style go berserk on their kooky inventor and seem hell bent, Terminator-style, on killing his daughter. In the mix is an intrepid reporter and her clueless cameraman out for a big scoop. Intermittently, there are lots of explosions. Watch it for the top-notch late-80's, early-90's animation and the hilariously outmoded dub, first produced by the long-defunct L.A. Hero eons ago.
Moving along to less hilariously outdated entertainment...
-Saturday May 6 10:00pm - Episode 27 "Luck Let a Wiggin' See... How Nice a Hanky Can Be!"
I can summarize this week's Bo-bobo episode in two words: Wackiness ensues!
-Friday May 12 10:30pm - Episode 6 "Tragic Valentine"
In another stunningly convenient example of Conan's penchant for "locked door" murder cases, Conan and Rachel are invited to a saccharine-sweet Valentine's day party until the host is poisoned by bitterness and loneliness, but mostly poison.
-Friday May 12 9:00pm - Episode 13 "Older Sister"
Rosette and her Magdalene Order posse head out to San Francisco in search for Joshua, until it seems apparent that they were led into a sinister trap. No word on if this god-fearing party will head over to San Francisco's, erm, "saucier" districts.
Duel Masters 2.0
-Saturday May 6 7:00pm - Episode 9 "Cheatery"
Various secondary characters with names like Johnny Coolburns, Benny Haha, and Your Mama vie for the chance to "duel" the protagonist in the semi-finals of what I assume is some kind of "duel"-ing tournament.
-Sunday May 7 12:00am - Episode 4 "Watermelon" (Repeats Sun May 7 3:00am)
The Gekkostate, along with their newly-minted member, Renton, find themselves in a bit of a money pinch, leading Renton into a smuggling gig over a dangerous military base.
-Friday May 12 10:00pm - Episode 11 "The Other Brothers Elric, Part 1" (Repeats Sat May 13 1:00am)
Ed and Al find themselves victims of their own popularity when another pair of troubled, orphaned siblings steals their identities in order to further their late father's research.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG
-Sunday May 7 12:30am - Episode 23 "Martial Law" (Repeats Sun May 7 3:30am)
The downtrodden Dejima refugees declare their independence, and the government, rife with fear of a nuclear strike by the refugees, declares Martial Law. Section 9, in the middle of this terse standoff, proposes a desperate plan to the Prime Minister while doing their best to maintain order. Batou's fortune cookie, which promised "luck and happiness" throughout the week, turns out to be a lie.
-Wednesday May 10 12:30am - Episode 145 "Bizarre Guards at the Border of the Afterlife!" (Repeats Wed May 10 4:00am)
Inuyasha and Co. battle their way through the numerous demonic guards that patrol the "Border of the Afterlife" on their way to visit Inuyasha's father's tomb. Personally, I have to battle my way through several cacti, various littered drug paraphernalia, and two junked cars to visit the burial stump of my childhood pet parakeet.
-Friday May 12 9:00pm - Episode 140 "Eternal Love, the Naginata of Kenkon" (Repeats Sat May 13 2:30am)
Hoshiyomi, as the jilted lover, plans to eradicate the stinking mass that is humanity using the Naginata of Kenkon. Once again, I find myself empathizing with people who find Japanese anime "confusing" because I have no idea what to make of the phrase "Naginata of Kenkon." If I keep thinking about it, I worry that it will swim around in my brain and slowly destroy it. So let's move on.
-Saturday May 6 9:00pm - Episode 32 "Sakura Blossoms!"
With Lee, Naruto, and Sasuke seemingly down for the count, Sakura decides to challenge the Sound Ninjas all on her own. Also, (SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!!!) something happens to her hair.
-Friday May 12 8:00pm - Episode 35 "The Scroll's Secret: No Peeking Allowed" (Repeats Sat May 13 2:00am)
With time running out and the group becoming ever more desperate, Naruto and Sakura attempt to forge a fake scroll. However, a helpful chap named Kabuto stops them, and agrees to aid the two in finding an honest, real scroll. But, (SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!!!) is everything exactly what it seems? Watch to find out!
-Saturday May 6 9:30pm - Episode 66 "The Sand Trap"
As Luffy's intrepid pirate crew makes their way through the treacherous desert, they conveniently encounter a rabble of sand-roaming pirates and their sand-sailing pirate ship. Sand, sand, and more sand.
-Saturday May 6 10:00pm - Episode 408 "Hooked on Onix"
Pokemon gets knocked down to only one half-hour this week, featuring an episode where Ash and his friends are taken captive by "King Onix." The characters are so traumatized by this incident, their voices change and crack in order to sound uncannily like the new, Pokemon USA-hired voice actors. Miraculous!
(Independent Film Channel)
-Saturday May 6 10:30pm - Episode 6 "The Fool" (Repeats Sun May 7 1:30am, Mon May 8 4:30pm, Wed May 10 5:05am, Thu May 11 11:30pm, Fri May 12 2:30am)
In response to what I wrote when I highlighted Samurai 7's premiere, I asked "why on earth didn't Adult Swim get this series???" Frankly, it seems, Adult Swim really wanted it, but IFC flat-out put in a higher bid. Alas.
Anyway, this week, a member of the Imperial Envoy is found murdered and the Samurai are being pinned as the suspects. The Emperor then orders the Samurai captured, dead or alive. Can they survive? You can find out, by watching it.
-Saturday May 6 10:00am - Episode 78 "So Long Sonic"
Is this the series finale? Or the season finale? Nobody knows. Regardless, this is the last Sonic X for a while, possibly ever, so enjoy. Or, uh, don't. Whatever.
-Saturday May 6 8:00am - Episode 24 "Hero Takes a Fall"
Thankfully it seems that Viewtiful Joe will at least make it to 26 episodes, before being yanked in order to make more room for "Loonatics Unleashed!" and a new animated series where Tom & Jerry are interstellar pirates who time-travel back to important periods of history, and also battle each other with a hot new collectible card game available at Target.
-Saturday May 6 11:30am - Episode 219 "In the Name of the Pharaoh"
Yugi and his friends, using the combined powers of self-confidence, friendship, good nutrition, and various other tacked-on lessons and morals, helps the forgetful Pharaoh remember his name.
-Friday May 12 6:00pm - Episode 34 "The Fear Factor"
Jaden, during a visit to a hot spring for some rest, relaxation, and TV-Y7 rated hanky-panky, is unwillingly sucked into, surprise, another card duel where there's more than just winning or losing at stake. Don't these kids play any other games? Stratego? Backgammon? Roshambo?
-Friday May 12 8:30pm - Episode 33 "The Joining of the Three"
The three shards of the mysterious mirror are joined together in a TV-Y7 rated pagan ritual, and it's up to Zatch and Kiyo to stop the villainous doctor from unleashing chaos upon the world.
Kai Doh Maru
Wednesday May 10 4:50am
This is a really cool-looking OAV, similar in style to Manga's other brisk, fine-tuned Production I.G release, Blood The Last Vampire. But, is it worth staying up until 4:50 in the morning? Not really. This is where TiVo really pulls its weight.
The rest is all reruns, and I'll see you all next week! Please?
-Sat May 6 7:30am - Episode 14 "That's What Friends Are For" (R Sat May 6 2:00pm)
-Tue May 9 3:30pm - Episode 11 "Monkey Business"
-Thu May 11 3:30pm - Episode 12 "Invasion of the B-Dasnatchers"
-Fri May 12 6:00am - Episode 18 "The Karat Question"
-Mon May 8 9:30pm - Episode 67 "Team Psykick's New Recruit" (R Tue May 9 2:30am)
-Tue May 9 9:30pm - Episode 68 "Hilary's Bey-B-Que" (R Wed May 10 2:30am)
-Wed May 10 9:30pm - Episode 69 "When Friends Become Foes" (R Thu May 11 2:30am)
-Thu May 11 9:30pm - Episode 70 "Their Own Private Battles" (R Fri May 12 2:30am)
-Fri May 12 9:30pm - Episode 71 "The Power Half Hour" (R Sat May 13 2:30am)
-Sat May 6 5:30am - Episode 133 "Runaway Diachi"
-Sat May 6 1:00pm - Episode 9 "Showdown in Hong Kong"
-Tue May 9 5:30am - Episode 134 "Beyblade Idol"
-Wed May 10 5:30am - Episode 135 "Out of Their Leagues"
-Thu May 11 5:30am - Episode 136 "The Mysterious Mystel"
-Fri May 12 5:30am - Episode 137 "Pros and Ex-Cons"
-Sat May 6 5:30am - Episode 12 "Holy Night" (R Mon May 8 12:10am, Fri May 12 12:10am)
-Sun May 7 1:30am - Episode 18 "Speak Like a Child" (R Sun May 7 4:30am)
-Fri May 12 12:30am - Episode 13 "Jupiter Jazz, Part 2" (R Fri May 12 4:00am)
-Sat May 6 2:30pm - Episode 6 "Operation Grand Prix"
-Sat May 6 7:00am - Episode TBA
-Sun May 7 7:00am - Episode TBA
-Sat May 6 9:00pm - Episode 178 "Sockit Takuya" (R Sun May 7 2:00am)
-Sun May 7 9:00pm - Episode 179 "Alone but Never Alone" (R Mon May 8 2:00am)
-Tue May 9 7:30pm - Episode 166 "A Hunka Hunka Burning Greymon" (R Wed May 10 12:30am)
-Tue May 9 10:00pm - Episode 30 "Almost Home Free" (R Wed May 10 3:00am)
-Wed May 10 7:30pm - Episode 167 "Fear and Loathing in Los Arbol" (R Thu May 11 12:30am)
-Wed May 10 10:00pm - Episode 31 "The Eighth Digivice" (R Thu May 11 3:00am)
-Thu May 11 7:30pm - Episode 168 "Better an Egg Than an Egg Shell" (R Fri May 12 12:30am)
-Thu May 11 10:00pm - Episode 32 "Gatomon Comes Calling" (R Fri May 12 3:00am)
Dragon Ball Z
-Sat May 6 7:30pm - Episode 93 "The Heavens Tremble"
-Sat May 6 11:30pm - Episode 7 "Night of the Chimera's Cry" (R Sun May 7 2:30am)
-Tue May 9 12:30am - Episode 38 "With the River's Flow" (R Tue May 9 4:00am)
G.I. Joe Sigma Six
-Sat May 6 10:30am - Episode 8 "Vacation"
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
-Sat May 6 12:00am - Episode 7 "Idolator"
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG
-Thu May 11 12:30am - Episode 9 "Ambivalence" (R Thu May 11 4:00am)
-Fri May 12 9:30pm - Episode 36 "In the Name of Justice" (R Sat May 13 1:30am)
-Sat May 6 11:00pm - Episode 134 "The Woman Who Loved Sesshomaru, Part 2" (R Sun May 7 2:00am)
-Sat May 6 7:00am - Episode 15 "Patina Goes to Kindergarten"
-Sat May 6 7:30am - Episode 16 "Gone Fishin'"
Mew Mew Power
-Sun May 7 7:30am - Episode 5 "Gymewstics"
-Sat May 6 12:00am - Episode 30 "The Sharingan Revived: Dragon-Flame Jutsu!"
-Sat May 6 8:30pm - Episode 31 "Bushy Brow's Pledge: Undying Love and Protection!"
Neon Genesis Evangelion
-Tue May 9 1:00am - Episode 1 "Angel Attack" (R Tue May 9 4:30am)
-Wed May 10 1:00am - Episode 2 "The Beast" (R Wed May 10 4:30am)
-Thu May 11 1:00am - Episode 3 "A Transfer - The Phone That Never Rings" (R Thu May 11 4:30am)
-Fri May 12 1:00am - Episode 4 "Hedgehog's Dilemma; Rain, Escape and Afterwards" (R Fri May 12 4:30am)
-Mon May 8 10:00pm - Episode 24 "Pearl Jam"
-Tue May 9 10:00pm - Episode 25 "Stranded"
-Wed May 10 10:00pm - Episode 26 "Here We Go A Ghin"
-Thu May 11 10:00pm - Episode 27 "Blitz Krieg"
-Sat May 6 4:00am - Episode 18 "Zolo's Pledge"
-Sat May 6 12:00pm - Episode 394 "Rhapsody in Drew"
-Tue May 9 5:00am - Episode 349 "A Fan With a Plan"
-Wed May 10 5:00am - Episode 350 "Cruisn' for a Losin'"
-Thu May 11 5:00am - Episode 351 "Pearls Are a Spoink's Best Friend"
-Fri May 12 5:00am - Episode 352 "That's Just Swellow"
-Sat May 6 5:00am - Episode 17 "Putting the Air Back in Aerodactyl"
-Sun May 7 1:00am - Episode 1 "Tempestuous Temperaments" (R Sun May 7 4:00am)
Street Fighter II V
-Sat May 6 4:00pm - Episode TBA (R Sun May 7 1:00am, 6:00am)
-Sat May 6 4:30pm - Episode TBA (R Sun May 7 1:30am, 6:30am)
-Sun May 7 4:00pm - Episode TBA (R Mon May 8 1:00am, 6:00am)
-Sun May 7 4:30pm - Episode TBA (R Mon May 8 1:30am, 6:30am)
-Mon May 8 4:00pm - Episode TBA (R Tue May 9 1:00am, 6:00am)
-Mon May 8 4:30pm - Episode TBA (R Tue May 9 1:30am, 6:30am)
-Tue May 9 4:00pm - Episode TBA (R Wed May 10 1:00am, 6:00am)
-Tue May 9 4:30pm - Episode TBA (R Wed May 10 1:30am, 6:30am)
-Wed May 10 4:00pm - Episode TBA (R Thu May 11 1:00am, 6:00am)
-Wed May 10 4:30pm - Episode TBA (R Thu May 11 1:30am, 6:30am)
-Thu May 11 4:00pm - Episode TBA (R Fri May 12 1:00am, 6:00am)
-Thu May 11 4:30pm - Episode TBA (R Fri May 12 1:30am, 6:30am)
-Fri May 12 4:00pm - Episode TBA (R Sat May 13 1:00am, 6:00am)
-Fri May 12 4:30pm - Episode TBA (R Sat May 13 1:30am, 6:30am)
-Mon May 8 6:00am - Episode 5 "Space"
-Tue May 9 6:00am - Episode 6 "Rush"
-Wed May 10 6:00am - Episode 7 "Speed"
-Thu May 11 6:00am - Episode 8 "Collapse"
-Sat May 6 1:30pm - Episode TBA
-Fri May 12 7:00pm - Episode TBA
-Tue May 9 1:30am - Episode 11 "Escape From Pain" (R Tue May 9 5:00am)
-Wed May 10 1:30am - Episode 12 "Diablo" (R Wed May 10 5:00am)
-Thu May 11 1:30am - Episode 13 "Vash the Stampede" (R Thu May 11 5:00am)
-Fri May 12 1:30am - Episode 14 "Little Arcadia" (R Fri May 12 5:00am)
-Sat May 6 12:00am - Episode 21 "Second Stage: Reality"
-Sat May 6 12:30am - Episode 22 "Second Stage: Embrace Everything"
-Sat May 6 1:00am - Episode 23 "Second Stage: Easy Come, Easy Go"
-Sat May 6 1:30am - Episode 24 "Second Stage: Paradise"
-Wed May 10 12:00am - Episode 25 "Second Stage: Secret"
-Wed May 10 12:30am - Episode 26 "Second Stage: Trust"
-Sat May 6 4:30am - Episode 143 "One for the Road"
-Sat May 6 8:00am - Episode 211 "Village of Vengeance, Part 3"
-Tue May 9 4:30am - Episode 144 "Looking Back and Moving Ahead"
-Wed May 10 4:30am - Episode 145 "A New Evil, Part 1"
-Thu May 11 4:30am - Episode 146 "A New Evil, Part 2"
-Fri May 12 4:30am - Episode 147 "Legend of the Dragons"
-Mon May 8 5:00pm - Episode 10 "Tag Team Trial, Part 1"
-Tue May 9 5:00pm - Episode 11 "Tag Team Trial, Part 2"
-Wed May 10 5:00pm - Episode 12 "Formula for Success"
-Thu May 11 5:00pm - Episode 13 "Monkey See, Monkey Duel"
-Fri May 12 5:00pm - Episode 14 "A Spirit Summoned"
-Mon May 8 4:30pm - Episode 25 "Apollo, the Free Traveler, Part 2"
-Tue May 9 4:30pm - Episode 26 "A Day With Zatch"
-Wed May 10 4:30pm - Episode 27 "Danny Boy"
-Thu May 11 4:30pm - Episode 28 "Tia and Megumi's Excellent Adventure"
-Fri May 12 4:30pm - Episode 29 "Amusement Park Battle"
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