So, if you haven’t heard by now, Naruto, the ninja themed anime about the Nine-tailed fox demon, has been licensed for distribution in North America. This is big news. Naruto is one of the biggest franchises in Japan right now. The manga has been available for quite some time and is very popular, and a sizable fan base of die hards has already been established through the Internet via Bittorrent downloads. Any fool can see the money dripping off of this show. It has the potential to be the next Dragonball Z. But, of course, to the typical elitist anime fan on the Internet, this is not good news. It didn’t take long for the whole “OMG! They’re going to ruin it!” nonsense to start up. Why? Because they’re going to have to make edits to the show’s content in order to conform to broadcast standards. Geeze, aren’t we past this yet? Who cares? Does it really make that much of a difference? Besides, unedited DVDs will come out eventually. I’m sure much of the backlash has to do with people not being able to easily download episodes for free off the Internet anymore. I think that’s disgusting. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. If you’re a fan, then you should pay. It’s only fair.

Personally, I think the bigger story in the world of animation isn’t the international processing of Naruto, but the potential desecration of the Looney Tunes through this new project, Loonatics. They’re taking these classic characters and making them the basis for a completely unrecognizable, edgy, “extreme” sci-fi show out of them. I’m sorry, but no amount of editing to a Japanese show to make it palatable for an English speaking audience can possibly be as bad as pillaging the Looney Tunes, who are cultural icons that have been with us for half a century. But this is Warner Bros. we’re talking about, and they have proven that they are more than willing to ignore or even rewrite their own history in order to force feed the masses what they think should be popular. Then again, it’s too early to condemn the show outright, and it could end up being good. We’ll see. But the people responsible are working inside of an important and legendary universe of characters, and thus have an awful lot to live up to. I hope that they can see and respect that instead of just picking the bones of a franchise they’ve allowed to flounder in a vain attempt at cashing in.



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