Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Saban is a dubbing company known for importing and adapting several Japanese series to North American and international markets for syndication, including both animation and live action shows. Two famous franchises are Power Rangers and Digimon.
Early in its life, Saban was a non-union company, meaning that many of its union-member actors operated under pseudonyms. In the mid-90's, after much bad press regarding payment and treatment of actors, the company went union. Several original animated series were produced for Marvel Comics, and the company's dubbed products began to rapidly increase as the anime boom began. Through a merger with US Fox Children's Entertainment in 1996, Fox Kids was born.
Predictably, such adaptations often receive strong criticism from fans of the original material. Although censorship for violent content is considered a neccesary albeit semi-tolerated evil, many consider it excessive for harmless scenes. Other complaints about dialogue revisions in the script which are modified in attempts to make them more 'punchy', simpler, or humorous, with the implication they rarely succeed at doing so. Nevertheless, viewed with an unbiased eye, of the assorted companies producing dubs specifically for television, Saban was probably top of the pile.
In October 2001, the group was sold to Disney, and concurrently, Fox Kids was replaced with the Fox Box (now known as 4Kids TV), featuring a line of shows from 4Kids Entertainment. Disney gained ownership of all Saban's products, and began to air many of them on ABC Family in a programming block dubbed JETIX. The European Fox Kids channel continued to run under that name until the beginning of 2005, when it was also rebranded as "Jetix", as is the former Fox Kids channel in Latin America.
Meanwhile, the fates of the company's two most popular shows were somewhat ignominious. The entire production of Power Rangers was shut down, and moved to New Zealand for reasons of cost. The resultant series, Power Rangers Ninja Storm and Power Rangers Dino Thunderaired on ABC Family in the USA and on the various Jetix channels around the world. Meanwhile Digimon's fourth season was produced and voiced by the same crew (under the banner of Sensation Animation , but farmed out to UPN as part of a deal between them and Disney for the 2002-2003 programming year. On this less-than-accesible channel, the show was subjected to a shifting timeslot and a saturation of re-runs that hurt it considerably. With its conclusion, and the breaking of the UPN/Disney deal, Digimon joined its brother and sister shows on ABC Family.
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