Saturday, September 12, 2009

Disney Ninjas

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, the sequel anime TV series adaptation of the shonen manga series NARUTO, will be shown on Disney's Disney XD channel.

This is significant for a few reasons:

-- It confirms that Cartoon Network, which ran imported episodes of the original NARUTO series (presumably to pretty good ratings, because the show was popular in the U.S.) is continuing to divest itself of licensed anime (and animation in general, for that matter).

-- Along with Disney's purchase of Marvel, it shows Disney's quest to rope in preteen and teenage boys, since Disney has secured its audience of little girls (with the Princess and Tinkerbell franchises) and preteen-teen girls (with the Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers enterprises).

-- It raises the question of whether Disney will slice and dice this show just as Naruto does with his opponents. This is a violent series where people get killed, maimed, and dealt physical and psychic injury. The question remains whether it will fit into Disney XD's "programming for kids age 6-14, hyper-targeting boys . . . ." (Of course, uncut episodes of the series are currently available on-line, legally, for free; and licensor Viz will also release the episodes on DVD. So the unedited stuff will be obtainable regardless.)

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