Shorts: That Time Animax Asia Aired Korean Drama

You heard that right. There was a time Animax, a cable channel dedicated to airing Japanese anime, decided one day to air Korean soap operas.

The idea for this short piece up to my mind after reading Red Mendoza’s “what if?” article about Animax Asia’s main rival at the time, Hero TV. I agree to a certain extent that Hero TV could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve been the safe haven for weeaboos who wanted Filipino dubbed anime as opposed to the English dubbed ones Animax Asia was serving and they could’ve expanded into local events coverage and such but we’re not here to dabble on what should’ve been done.

We’re here to dabble on what shouldn’t have been done.

Let’s go back to May. May 3, 2010 to be exact when former Animax Asia Vice President & General Manager Gregory Ho, in his infinite wisdom, decided to fix what wasn’t broken. He added Korean drama on Animax Asia’s weekly lineup.

This seemed to coincide with the channel’s image change from being an anime-oriented channel as it was in the past and since then to an all around channel for the youth, with an emphasis on the East Asian side of the entertainment industry as opposed to the American focused channels of similar nature. In short, Animax is trying to be Jack TV to differentiate itself from Hero.

I almost forgot In The Qube, a 30-minute magazine show about anything youth culture. Mostly non-anime related stuff.

As it turns out, it’s not only the Philippines that gets affected with the change, other Animax branches got affected too.

It seems that Greg Ho’s plans worked in Malaysia because according to OnScreenAsia, the launch struck the sweet spot with Animax’s target youth and young adult audiences driving a far more pronounced ratings growth with average ratings spiking up 950% of the average April 2010 ratings in the 8 – 9pm Monday to Friday timeslot among Astro 15 – 24 viewers.

Surprising that people liked the changed on the outside but as the internet shows, people actually hated that change and I’ll explain why.

Animax dabbling into live action shows isn’t new. In fact, I remembered watching Super Live versions of Music Station in 2006 (so this is the first time Tamori-san appeared on Philippine TV and it would be the last) and they usually air Japanese music videos on Animax Musix but this move in 2010 is really out of the ordinary.

You see, Animax has built it’s reputation for being a channel dedicated to the Japanese side of East Asian entertainment for years since 2004 and so people who are already fans of Animax at the time expected anime, not Korean shows that already aired on free TV years ago. This is like Cartoon Network airing South Park or Net 25 showing that episode of WWE’s Monday Night Raw that aired on August 3, 1998 (which gave us the infamous Val Venis segment, thanks Russo),

The change certainly wasn’t welcomed by Animax’s core audience, the weeaboos. They weren’t already satisfied with Hero’s performance and the fact that free TV isn’t hospitable with anime as it was during the renaissance of anime on local TV spearheaded by TV5, their other sanctuary for anime got invaded by Korean shows that they will never watch.

They then took their frustrations on forums such as Lowyat and PinoyExchange and no amount of Alodia Gosiengfiao can make them go back to watching Animax thanks to this change.

It’s not only that but do you really expect “normies” to watch their K-drama on an anime based channel? Hell no, they wouldn’t be caught dead watching anything related to anime unless they wanted to be branded as a sex offender (this was the early 2010s, shonen anime hasn’t got it’s resurgence yet).

They also can view the same shows on free TV and other cable channels plus the internet is coming on it’s own so why bother going to Animax just to watch We Got Married: Global Edition? They won’t, I promise you.

This is also something that isn’t a flash in the pan, this lasted for years and I mean literally years and that made me stay away from Animax since then. Sure they excised all Korean programming out of their system but I won’t even bother giving them a glance because Hero, at that point, was pushing out a lot of anime that never saw the light of day on free TV like Gintama and Death Note.

So in the end, even if I am an Animax guy through and through, this made Hero TV the winner in the anime cable wars even it went out in a blaze of glory doing so. With this in mind, the lesson here is that there is necessary change and there’s unnecessary change.

This period in Animax Asia’s run proved that there is such a thing as unnecessary change and with unnecessary change comes unnecessary consequences.


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