Two major Marvel franchises that both suffered from recent short-lived TV series are moving to Japan. While X-Men lives on with Twentieth Century Fox's growing film franchise, Blade is suffering from its lead movie star serving prison time. Both however, are preparing for an introduction in Japan as new anime programs.
Animax, a division of Sony dedicated to anime TV shows, is already hitting it big with Iron Man and Wolverine series and is now looking to add two more with Blade and X-Men, both of which were announced at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year. The logos for each series were just released.
The Iron Man and Wolverine programs both spawned out of the successes of the Iron Man and X-Men Origins: Wolverine feature films. With X-Men: First Class on the way, it's no surprise to see Animax prepping a series to tie-in to the release of X-Men: First Class in theaters worldwide come June, 2011.
Blade on the other hand hasn't ever had a shot as a full cartoon series but it did live for a brief period as a live-action series on Spike TV after a trilogy of rated-R films starring Wesley Snipes. That franchise hit a brick wall with Snipes' recent journey behind bars and the third film receiving less than impressive critical acclaim.
The X-Men franchise has endured a much more successful run in theaters and on the small screens, starting with its incredibly successful and popular animated series in the 90s (I'm not counting the Pryde of the X-Men pilot). Aside from defining my childhood, the X-Men animated series also pushed Fox into making a feature film of the mutant superheroes. Professor X's mutants later had a second outing on TV with X-Men: Evolution which lasted four seasons, starting in 2000, followed by the poorly named Wolverine and the X-Men which died last year after one season.
With Japan seeing a growing presence of Marvel cartoons, will the North America market get a new X-Men or Blade series in the new future?
Iron Man is finishing up its first season and Wolverine premieres in January. X-Men and Blade both start in 2011.