Is ‘Mega Man’ the Next ‘Pokemon’?

Apr 14, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Although the Kids’ WB has trailed Nickelodeon in all ratings for kids 2 to 11, the AOL Time Warner kid block has in recent years premiered two runaway hits, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! The network is looking to next season’s anime adventure Mega Man: NT Warrior to be its next big success.
Mega ManMega Man, which is currently popular in Japan, is a high-tech cyber-adventure that will mesh the worlds of Internet and television and just perhaps strongly appeal to kids, who often would prefer surfing the Web to watching the tube.
Based on a popular comic book series set in the not-so-distant future, Mega Man is the blue-suited superhero alter-ego of fifth-grader Lan, who possesses virus-detection and -deletion abilities. He lives in the town of ACDC during the Cyber Revolution. This is during a year (generically referred to as 200X) when virtually all technology is linked to a central computer system. Residents of ACDC interface with this network using their personal NetNavis (short for Internet Navigators) via their PETs, or portable terminals, a sort of PalmPilot. It is in this computer world that Mega Man, with his powerful computer upgrades, does his crime fighting against hackers trying to sabotage society. Lan and his friends plug in different power chips to change their gadgetry and defense capabilities.
“The high-tech world is a world kids can identify with,” said John Easum, VP of ShoPro Entertainment, San Francisco, the U.S. producers of Mega Man, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! “This theme has never been in an animated show. We think children in the U.S. will really embrace this series.”
“Mega Man is another phenomenal property from ShoPro,” said John Hardman, senior VP-programming for the Kids’ WB. “It leans toward a Pokemon in that it has broad appeal. It will bring in kids of all ages. And it has girl characters that will bring in more girl viewers.”
WB President and Chief Operating Officer Jed Petrick said the goal of its new shows such as Mega Man is to decrease the gap between its networks and Nickelodeon. “Nickelodeon has been, `We own the lion’s share,’ but this fall the AOL Time Warner Kids properties are putting forward its most strategically scheduled offerings yet. The goal is to bring Nickelodeon down a notch or two.”