Animax SA dies, and gets replaced with a nice big WTF?!?!

As some of you probably already know by now, I’m actually on hiatus due to exams that, unfortunately, don’t want to write themselves, but I figured that some news is too good (read: worth discussing, not good in a good way) to leave alone until I finish.

If you’re looking for ways to watch more anime, worry not. I’ve posted an update over here that might help you out :)

So finally, it’s official. Animax South Africa is dead. As of 31 October 2010, almost exactly 3 years after it offered a brief glimmer of hope for anime fans in South Africa, DStv channel 126 will no longer exist. Multichoice has, instead, in what has to be the blindest moment in corporate history (that I’m personally aware of – I’m sure there are worse cases) decided to replace it with another channel that will also be operated by Sony.


About time it gets going …

Before all the past naysayers hop up and down and celebrate their prophetic powers, I needed to take the time to highlight the kind of epic denseness that corporates in the modern world are becoming renowned for.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty here. MultiChoice spokesperson Marietjie Groenewald stated that any channels forming part of the DStv bouquet have pre-agreed performance levels they need to maintain, and that these performance levels are determined by various factors – customer ratings and enjoyment, max level of repeats and general rate of new programs added per month. That makes sense.

According to MultiChoice, Animax seems to “have performed poorly.”  In fact, Groenewald went as far as to say, and I quote, “The reason why Animax is going off air is because the Japanese anime genre that was featured on the channel did not attract the broad viewing audience that MultiChoice had targeted.”

Kenny vs Spenny

Kenny vs Spenny. Stupid as it looks? Yes!!!

Let’s examine this statement for clarity (and level of denseness). Approximately 50% of the shows that were recently playing on Animax were western reality TV shows, including such “gems” as Kenny vs Spenny and neXt (see this post for a more comprehensive listing), with roughly 50% of actual anime time happening sometime between midnight and 6am. Not exactly the time most of us would be watching. Another 30%-odd would be aired between 8am and 1pm. Wait, what? Don’t most of us have school/work roughly thereabouts? At least in my world. Maybe in Sony-land things work differently. Or they were running on Tokyo-time – difficult to comprehend since the channel was operated by Sony UK.

The anime that was actually being shown, consisted of a raft of re-runs with terminally confusing timetables. Shows like .hack//Sign, .hack//Legend of the Twilight, Wolf’s Rain, Eureka Seven – to name a few – had been airing on repeat for nearly three years now. And there were very few A-list shows on that list, with nothing new.

So even where Animax was nearly getting it right, they were making a royal mess of things.

So, to summarise, the channel wasn’t being operated to optimally target its core target audience.

To summarise the summary – it was a bloody cock-up from day one.

To summarise the summary of the summary – you were pissing off the very people you were supposed to be pleasing.*

The execs of whatever planet in whatever universe they were sitting and smoking their socks in must’ve thought South Africa had never seen or experience anime, and would therefore accept any kind of drivel pushed our way, compelling us to worship them, drooling in ecstasy. Maybe someone should give them a call and highlight the existence of the internet – and by extension online shopping. I think my personal collection is worth more that the entire list of shows Animax has been airing since 2007.

Regardless, it doesn’t end there. Not content with subtly insulting our collective intelligence, MultiChoice has decided to rub it in a little. MultiChoice said that “Channel 126 will be reserved for a new channel from Sony Pictures Television which will launch in February 2011. The new channel will retain some of the very popular live action and reality-based programmes that were popular on Animax. In order to appeal to a broader audience, the new channel will focus on action-oriented movies, game shows, series and reality programmes.”

So, basically, they’re going to take everything that made the channel fail horribly, put it on a new channel, and push it out to a broader audience. By this I can assume that they are specifically going to air it in jails and mental institutions, and anywhere where the antics of previously mentioned Kenny and Spenny may be considered – and I say this with considerable venom – mildly amusing.

Seriously – get with the picture. I can, off the top of my head, name about 50 people (myself included) who could do a better job of running a channel for anime fans. MultiChoice has displayed a gigantic amount of ignorance on what anime actually is (with referrals to such channels as Disney and Cartoon Network). Don’t interface with your market much, do you?

But frankly – I find it easier just to buy my anime these days, and for those who find buying anime unaffordable, there are a number of sites which offer anime streaming (legally even) – I’ll do a future post with some options that fans may want to consider. But also, anime fans in South Africa need to consider what they can do to achieve a broader level of visibility for the genre, since we, as a country, seem to be stepping backwards a bit – this year’s rAge Expo being a case in point – virtually no anime-related presence at all, apart from a few small traders and the cosplay event.

Everybody starts small – and at this point, even Ireland is beating us!!

PS I included an image of Kenny vs Spenny in this post. This bothers me at a very deep and personal level, but it had to be done. I’m taking one for the team.

*The summary method was borrowed from Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I liked it … I copied it :p

Posted in General.

I'm a dedicated anime junkie, avid gamer and terminally excited Vocaloid fan. I'm permanently trying to find that point at which a human being can officially overdose on anime - haven't gotten there yet.

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  1. Well seeing as how Vampires sparkle and Werewolves are now either in human form or giant wolf and not a combination of the two like they should be… I’d say Sony are just trying to please the spongebob generation.

    Personally, I’m “glad” anime is “dying” down a bit. When things get over marketed people tend to loose sight of what it was all about. They don’t see good shows… they see a way to make money… I pray that Otaku will one day be revived, but that won’t be anytime soon. Not unless they stop with the new hentai anime’s. (YES HENTAI! You didn’t need big breasts popping out of clothes everywhere in great anime’s of old. It was suggestive and glimpses were given…)

    Animax was good at the start but, like you said here, was ruined by idiots. Animax died when it got infected with Sony Reality TV.

  2. I say amen to all of the above, especially Mew’s comment.

    The news is ‘good’, to me at least. For too long now has Animax simply embarrassed itself and anyone caught watching it, like some big, awkward elephant wearing a tutu and claiming to be Spike Spiegel. Even if it keeps screening the same drivel at least the name will change and spare anime fans everwhere for being associated with it.

  3. In reply to Mew’s statement – unfortunately Animax’s situation isn’t reflective – or related to the situation of the anime industry at the moment.

    Yes, he has a point – we’re being overwhelmed by fan-service at the moment – you’re very likely to see it being commented on in most of the newer shows I’ll be reviewing … eventually. But what is hurting – this is my personal theory – is the recession. Anime in any form is a luxury, and luxuries are the first thing to go when pockets get tight. It’s a pretty well known fact that the anime industry is dipping badly – and the creators are now are turning to what is easy to market. Unfortunately the demand is there, and it’s not going to go away, any time soon. The old addage – sex sells – comes to mind.

    Hopefully a recovery will come – and we’ll see more shows of substance being churned out. Just looking at the list that was released now in October doesn’t give us much hope (I’m still holding thumbs for Oreimo), but titles like Shiki were apparently genuinely worth watching – and Dance in the Vampire Bund is another series I can recommend whole-heartedly. If you like drama and emotion – well, you’ve seen me raving about Clannad and Kanon, and the ARIA series is an excellent slice-of-life series.

  4. My brother, who is surprisingly quite a big anime fan, always complained that most of the programming on the Animax channel was western stuff anyway, and that was the most popular programming.

    I guess it makes sense in the end.

  5. This is sad for me how can animax go just like that.In the most shameful and embarasing way possible people from the uk think we just animals and think we accept whatever that comes to us.And unlike some of you it was animax that made me fall in love with animax until the channel fucked itself up and i hated for fucking the reputation of anime

  6. The problem with animax is that it is controlled by Sony UK… With that said it might be worth mentioning that the general UK population LOVES “die antwoord”. I think that explains everything with regards to the level of quality the UK deem sufficient. And the scary thing is that popular believe associate us in SA with the UK which is about as far from the truth as it could ever be. It is unfortunate that MC didn’t review the SLA with Sony regarding Animax and fought for more up to date Anime releases or even more episodes of the popular series. Instead they left Sony UK to drag the integrity of the channel down untill it degraded to the condition it is in now. Animax did gain 2 or 3 new series over the past year but they axed at least 10 other series in the process

  7. I’m sad and happy at the same time. I always had hope that animax was going to change their way and stop killing anime but it turns out that they are caning the channel and replacing it with a new channel but that to is a lie they are still going to be playing the same boring stuf but under a new name. But I’m going to try and get people on my side so we can get top tv to play anime for us I mean what is multi choice thinking. I say down with dstv f**k multi choice

  8. That is definitely an idea worth looking into Shasha – however, we as an anime community will have to prove to TopTV that it will be worth their while. I’ll try and swing an e-mail their way this week and see what we can do to convince them :)

  9. when they showed something i liked, i watched

    Black Lagoon being a show i absolutely loved.

    and i fully agree, the channels true decline started once scrap like k vs sp and that banzuke crap started airing, I don’t want to see hordes of people making their names ass.

    sad yes, but hopefully something will come up again.

  10. What lulu said sparked a memory. In .hack//Liminality there is a scene where a screen shows all the cases of the coma associated with ‘The World,’ (.hack fans will know what I’m on about.) and all over the world there are little dots, but none whatsoever throughout the whole of Africa (SA included.) Granted that series is a bit old, but it reminded me that there are many people in the world who think of South Africa as pretty much an uncivilized country (or at least ‘progress-challenged’). That memory was driven home when I was recently asked in an online game, and I quote: “Do you even have internet in South Africa?”

    Anyway that’s enough of an anecdote.

    About the channel: we all knew it was going to happen sooner or later… At least now I can mention the word ‘Anime’ at school without drawing a few crude comments about my taste from the less informed individuals.

    They really screwed up didn’t they?

  11. Next time someone makes a comment about internet in Africa (I get it sometimes, although I’m sure the comments are tongue in cheek) – tell them we use smoke signals and that we get uber latency when there’s a stiff breeze.

    It’s a joke that goes down pretty well with most of my foreign mates :)

  12. a Week before 31 Oct 2010 we finaly got ourselves DSTV. Oh how overjoyed I was, all these years of just local TV channels (SABC, *spit*) and Mnet will finaly be behind me and a pandora’s box of ‘more’ entertaining channels will await. As I quickly browsed through a few channels I came apon one channel I’ve always adored… Discovery Channel.

    But this joy was short lived as to my horror I discovered an ad playing portraying that Animax would close down within the week. At first I thought this was a crude joke played by Multi-choice but as the reality sunked in, it left me more-or-less pissed-off. I felt betrayed, it felt like Multi-choiceQuite kicked me in groin and did a victory dance. >:(

    Such a long wait ended up in despair since Animax was one of the channels I’ve wished to watch after hearing countless tales of how good and bad it was.

    With this shocking news it seems that Anime in SA has dropped through the toilet and into the sewage pipes. Makes me wonder what the future will hold for us SA Otakus.

  13. and channels like africa magic 1 and 2 and magic world LOL only have to have 1 viewer to stay on cause no ones watching that shit this is a huge diss from dstv to japenese culture if they think people want to watch a bunch of with a cellphone making rubbish instead of evengalion and kenny vs spenny then they are wrong damn you Marietjie Groenewald.

    Sorry Jonathan – slight edit there – I need to keep the comments somewhat clean, and can’t allow racist terms to be used – Shadowfox

  14. Totally thought your article was awesome! Had me rolling around at my desk (and it was a wonderful break from the studying).

    As the chair for TUKS’ anime and manga society, the anime thing was totally RUINED with Animax! One of my predecessor’s actually wrote to Multichoice when the channel was first introduced because we were shocked about what they screened. It’s shocking to see how many people actually lost interest in anime because of the bad dubs and western shows.

    Ironically, my boyfriend and his flatmates were watching some game show on Animax a few days before it died, and I was highly disappointed (since I’m one of those that refused to watch the channel, but didn’t get a choice on this particular day). But, perhaps it’s a good thing.

    As for your comment about rAge, I have this to say: were you at ICON? Or UPCON? There was a whole anime section/screening/cosplay/fanart, the works. There was even a maid café. Why, because my society was asked to join in. Yes, rAge is a larger convention and in its own league, but to get a stand, we would have to be invited. We’re a small society (because of the lack of interest) so we didn’t have the funds to run a stand on our own, even though we really really really wanted to. And no one asked us to help out except the Magic: The Gathering people because they wanted us to cosplay to attract attention. We tried, but we just couldn’t set something up…

  15. Happy to hear you enjoyed the article – a comment like that always makes me feel it was worth it.

    Regarding ICON/UPCON, sadly I couldn’t make it – I’m based in Cape Town, and getting away is easier said than done – especially as hectic as my schedule gets sometimes.

    That being said, I’d love to attend one (maybe I can make a plan next year) – and it would be great to see some genuine passion in action :)

  16. It’s amazing how blind or Impervious some people can truely be, this whole animax thing makes me feel bitter and some what angry. They didn’t have to air all the latest anime but some decent anime maybe even throw in sonme old stuff like DBZ which would have definately brought in some viewers. Personally i think we need to review, the fact that why could we as South Africans host our own animax, or atleast have had a country like Japan be our broadcaster (hope i’m making sense). Seriously how is the uk associated with anime???

    Concluding my statement I would like to say we need to gain more independance a South Africa and be liberal why couldn’t we have voting polls or something. To atleast have had a say as to what they aired on animax, that would have been the liberal choice. Im dissapointed…

  17. i love anime get me to orgonise the playlist ill make animax work i was very disapointed wen animax went off and waz xeited wen sony max came on …. bt werz the anime …………….. im tierd of downloading anime do u no how much cap it uses

  18. I must say I agree with you. It was nice to have seen wolf’s rain again but to be honest the repeats were so confusing I could not tell which episode fitted where!!! I am collecting anime myself so far I have the full seasons of basilisk, full metal alchemist, naruto and naruto shippuden – all this in less than a month. I am working on getting bleach up until the episodes being aired today. I have a contact who can help me and what makes this awesome is that even though I don’t have it yet I can still watch it on the internet (thank you GOD for the beautiful internet). anyways keep articles such as these running. It so made my day

  19. Here is how I see it:
    Animax started off well but after about two or three months all the shows it was broadcasting started repeating this in turn made them lose viewers so what do they do? Instead of getting new Anime like any normal smart logical person would do the retarded monkey in charge of the channel decides that its the Animes fault and starts putting in Reality Shows which draws in new viewers but there is only so much stupid people who finds fake reality tv (for those of you still in the dark Kenny vs Spenny is about as real as Pamela Anderson boobs) entertaining so what do the big wigs of Animax do? They decide to add more reality tv and gameshow and place the Anime in slots most of the still loyal Anime viewers couldn’t watch but the best part was that the new Anime they managed to put on the air near the end of its life was some of the best Anime ever made yet it showed at 1am to 5am time slots making it impossible for most to watch

    To sum it up the only reason Animax failed was because it was run by a pack of idiots that wouldn’t be able to find there own asses with a map and gps

    All I can say is watch Sony Max fail then Marietjie Groenewald and all of the other people at multichoice can see the big failing point of Animax was the same thing that is busy killing Sony Max

  20. If Sony Max fails, how about if they re-launch Animax Mobile and Animax On Demand. The main reasony why Animax Latin America stopped was not because of the lack of viewers but was because of the fact that Western programming ate much of its airtime up, which greatly angered viewers of Animax Latin America, much like in Animax Africa. So Sony renamed it to Sony Spin. Regardless, Sony Spin still airs anime but at now at nighttime, much like Adult Swim in the US. Heck, there even going to air new anime series like FMA Brotherhood and Nodame Cantabile.  Besides why would Animax Africa be even controlled by Sony UK. The UK doesn’t even have Animax (or at least Sony is planning to bring it to the UK and Sony Entertainment Television is available there now). I’m even starting a petition to have Sony bring Animax, AXN, and Sony Entertainment Television to the US on DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T U-Verse, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FiOS TV.

  21. I’m guessing here, but South Africa probably falls within Sony UK’s region of operations – it happens with a lot of digital franchises – since the overall active market in Africa is so small we usually just get lumped in with Europe or the UK, whichever one applies.

    Your petition sounds like an interesting idea – let me know when you get it up and I’ll tweet it out and put it up on our FB page as well :)

    (no bets on whether it’s going to work though – Sony isn’t particularly awesome at listening to their customer base :p)

  22. Well, it will take me a while to get my online petition up and running. For about the Animax USA channel, I want anime that airs on that channel to air in the North American English dub as opposed to Animax on their own  (example: FMA Brotherhood airing on Animax USA will air with the dub done by Funimation Entertainment as opposed to Animax on their own). No offense, but Animax Asia English dubs are rather poor compared to the North American dub, but sound funny at best. The dubbing is done by Red Angel Media. Animax USA would possibly be on channel 310 on DirecTV USA to replace a GSN Game Lounge slot, which has replaced G4TV since November 2010. AXN USA will also possibly be on Channel 243 on DirecTV USA to replace an informercial channel slot. Sony Entertainment Television USA will be on Channel 263 on DirecTV USA as a completely new channel slot. Besides, I’m not supposed to share my information with anyone else since I don’t know who you are. If I do so, maybe I might spread the petition across the internet.

  23. You’re right about saying that Sony Max just basically took all the shitty reality shows that made Animax SA fail and just putt it into their lineup. I don’t even like reality shows period. I mean what the where they thinking. Instead of putting in new anime to replace anime that had its re-runs (a maximum being 2-3), they just put in reality shows in hopes to get more viewers, but thet makes the channel have less viewers than more.

  24. Yeah … I wasn’t expecting Sony Max to amount to anything much at all. I know a few guys tried to contact them about the line-up (with difficulty, since they didn’t exactly go out of their way to provide contact channels on their site), and either got the generic “we’ll get back to you” message, or no response at all.

    It’s below my radar anyways – online streaming sites like Crunchyroll have been helping to fill the gap to some degree. And of course there’s the freedom to watch when you feel like it :)

  25. If youll add DirectTV to that list of providers I will sign that petition…because I WANNA RECORD ANIME ON MY TiVO!!!

  26. You know what, there was actually some pretty epic shit on Animax while it ran. I became obsessed with Black Lagoon when I found it. This, however, was one example of the idiocy of the guys running this show in South Africa. Even this show is pretty popular where its distributed, it aired at like 3am in the fucking morning. Not only that, but they fail to show any new seasons of anything. Everything on there was the same, damn thing over and over. Repeating all the time. I’ve done my research, and I know there was more on offer than they were showing us. Common sense dictates that as soon as the new season comes out, you advertise said new season and then broadcast it. This was not done.

    Actually, even if they had a really good reason for not airing these new seasons, they could have at least broadcasted all round anime, instead of all that American shit. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy Next and some of those game shows, but could they at least open their eyes and broadcast actual anime. There are thousands of the goddamn things out there. They didn’t even try to put A-list shows on here. I know a lot about animes like One Piece and Naruto, an dI know they’re fairly popular. You’d think the idiots would think “Wow, look at this vast array of popular shows. We can make a killing out of this.” But, as usual, those in the television industry have brains the size of ants.

    This is why I have lost faith in the television industry. 

  27. i agree with shadow fox, the bastards coulda done way better. animax for me was sort of an introduction to animax. it was something new and exciting for alot of people. it was anime that was more age relative, not that old stuff we grew up with and then grew out of. it was interesting to finally see proper anime. yes BLACKoNi the shows were repeated way to often.fishwickdayne black lagoon was da shit and there were a few more to, lyk bleach (which i watched religeously no matter the time,altough difficult) and crono crusade, hellsing, trinity blood hack//legend etc, there are so many more they coulda showed. im pissed i havent gotten to see all episodes of bleach, i see theres even different series’s and movies. the timing was always terrible. wen bleach went off, dstv became a bore… n kenny vs spenny still shows unfortunately as i see, so does that stupid unbeatable banzuki or whatever what shit!

  28. please bring back animax to SA lots of kids liked NARUTO,BLEACH,.HAK LEGEND OF THE TWILIGHT,NAJICA and other anime please im one of the people who liked animax all i have is watching it on my computer please bring it back PLEASE!!!!! (sob)

  29. bring it back some of the channels are fucking boring us kids and some grown ups loved the tales of these animated heroes please bring it back

  30. This article couldn’t be more accurate. It’d be nice if animax is brought back, except this time it should actually properly be dedicated to anime.

  31. Please I mis animax I was a big fan of wolf rain and bleach and then dstv took it away so please I am asking nice please please bring animax back:-(

  32. And the jackass idiots way could they not replace 112 know there are no manga shows in sa and cn, disney, disneyXD and nickeloden are alod of crap I wish that someone else could take over and bring animax back

  33. Dstv is so boring now how can you target something for some few month people take time to adjust you know that….bring it back it’s worth it

  34. I really liked watching all the shows and was very upset when they discontinued the shows i watched anime from morning to evening so boo to multichoice

  35. I get all the criticism about the channel , but for me im greatfull to animax becuause it helped me faĺl in love with anime by indroducing me to eureka 7

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