Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Saban's other properties 'back in the day.'

We all know the live-action franchises Saban had in the 1990's like VR Troopers, Beetleborgs, Mystic Knights of Tira Nog, and Ninja Turtles; but he also adapted Anime like Hello Kitty, Samurai Pizza Cats, Dragonball Z, Little Mermaid, X-Men, and Digimon. There were several other collaborations like Camp Candy, Ulysses 31, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, and The Mysterious Cities of Gold. Samurai Pizza Cats, Dragonball Z, Eagle Riders and Masked Rider reruns were part of a syndicated block called something like "Saban Hour" or "Saban Block" from 1996-1997. (Does anyone know?)

 Samurai Pizza Cats
The series first aired in Japan from February 1990 to 1991, containing a total of 54 episodes. Saban introduced the show to western audiences in 1996 and held the license to the series until 2002. The theme song for the English dub differs from the origina. In keeping with the parodic nature of the show, the lyrics of the new theme song make a number of references to American pop culture. For example, the lyrics "they've got more fur than any turtle ever had" imply that the Samurai Pizza Cats are better than the Ninja Turtles, while the lyrics "they're stronger than old cheese, tougher than dirt" refer to an advertising slogan once used for the cleaner Ajax. 
The theme song also contains the line "As soon as someone finds the script, we might begin the show", which can be interpreted as a reference to the lack of transcripts. Michael Airington under the name of "Googie Gomez", one of the show's writers, sang the theme song. According to Andy Thomas, Airington had a few drinks before the recording session for the song started, and as a result, accidentally repeated some of the lyrics (i.e., "this cat gets down down with a love hang over"). As of 2012, Discotek Media currently holds the license to the series. It aired on weekdays and weekends for the Saban block.

The promo had the kids and background images similar to the Saban Block commercial bumpers/eye catchers.

 Saban's Eagle Riders
The original Anime series, produced in 1972, was eponymously named Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman and is most well known to the English-speaking world as the adaptation titled Battle of the Planets. There was a 1980s English-language adaptation called G-Force: Guardians of Space. The two sequel series, Gatchaman II and Gatchaman Fighter were combined into one and translated as Eagle Riders in 1996, with yet more changes to audio and character names.
The rights to the English language version of Eagle Riders is owned by Saban Entertainment. All 65 episodes aired in Australia, but in the United States only 13 episodes were aired. Both series were heavily edited when it came to the adaptation process, with controversial elements removed, as well as the entire soundtrack being replaced. As with previous English adaptations of Gatchaman, character names and terms were also changed in the localization. This was also part of the Saban block, airing on weekends. The 1991 Super Sentai Jetman was a homage to Gatchaman.

Dragonball Z
They contracted Saban Entertainment to help finance and distribute the 1989-1996  Anime series to television, Pioneer Entertainment to handle home video distribution, Ocean Productions to dub the anime, and Shuki Levy to compose an alternate musical score. This dub of Dragon Ball Z was heavily edited for content, as well as length; reducing the first 67 episodes into 53. The series premiered in the U.S. on September 13, 1996, in first-run syndication to broadcast networks, but was cancelled after two seasons due to low ratings. This along with Masked Rider reruns was part of the syndicated Saban block.
Gregg Bullock (Lt. Stone) and some kids announce Dragonball Z for bumpers/eye catchers.

Saban's Masked Rider
This was part of the syndicated Saban block. The Saban block only lasted Fall 1996 to September of  1997.

Saban and Marvel produced the 1992 animated series X-Men. Soon after, ABC Family and Toon Disney began airing reruns, due to Disney's buyout of all Saban Entertainment programs.

The first Digimon television series, which began airing on March 7, 1999 in Japan on Fuji TV and Kids Station and on August 14, 1999 in the United States on Fox Kids dubbed by Saban Entertainment for the North American English version. It was dubbed by Saban Entertainment (later Sensation Animation), and was initially broadcasted through Fox Network's Fox Kids and Fox Family. The first four series were collectively retitled Digimon: Digital Monsters. Some scenes from the original version were omitted from the Saban dub, or were modified, in order to comply with Fox's Standards and practices which considered several scenes to be inappropriate for the target age group. After Disney acquired Saban during the third series, the first three series moved to the cable network ABC Family, while the fourth (Frontier) premiered on UPN. 
This was due to a deal between Disney and UPN which concluded with Digimon Frontier. Frontier was syndicated on ABC Family shortly after that. Digimon continues to run in syndication on the new channel after Toon Disney, Disney XD. Digimon Data Squad had started to air on Disney XD. Digimon is no longer on Disney XD's website nor Bandai's, leaving an unknown future of Digimon in America. 

 Saban's Adventures of the Little Mermaid
 Adventures of the Little Mermaid (人魚姫 マリーナの冒険?) is an animated series produced by Fuji Television in the 1991. This 26-episode TV series was originally a Japanese/French co-production created by Jean Chalopin and directed by Takehiro Miyano. The title of the series in Japan was Ningyo Hime Marina no Boken (The Adventures of Mermaid Princess Marina), and the series was broadcast on Japan's Fuji TV network from February to July 1991.
 It also added a new ingredient to the story: a magic potion given to the prince with which he could use to breathe underwater and be with Marina. Released in America for Saturday-morning and weekday afternoon syndication by Saban Entertainment in the summer of 1991, the series wasn't nearly as popular as Disney's version and faded quickly. This was all before Power Rangers.


Evan said...

Did Saban also hold the rights to the original Dragonball? I remember waking up at like 5-6 am on saturdays to catch it on Fox but it didn't run very long.

Lavender Ranger said...

Saban had it for 2 years or so, when it was canceled, he lost the rights. Cartoon Network showed the repeats a few years later and it got popular so Pioneer got the rights and continued dubbing it.

As for Fox, it didn't air on Fox but was syndicated, maybe they aired it on the same local channel as Fox in your area. Dragonball Z is currently airing on CW.

lionel_B said...

For me, Samurai Pizza Cats and Dragon Ball Z are among the best anime in the world

Dessa said...

Interesting note, quite a few years ago, as part of the "Fox Kids" Saturday morning lineup, they did a special airing of the pilot episode of MMPR. Of note, there were some different actors (IIRC), and instead of starting at the juice bar, it started at a bowling alley. At said bowling alley, a TV was playing Samurai Pizza Cats.

(for this special, they also used clips from Zyuranger for commercial bumps. All I remember now is "Rita" and her crew singing and dancing in Japanese, which I can only assume must've been from the ending)