Remember when anime aired on Sci-Fi? (aka "It's been 20 years since the Sci-Fi Channel launched adul

  • We have upgraded to Xenforo 2. We've decided to open the forums back up while we configure the theme and plugins. Thanks for your patience.

Latest News

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,369
Ratings
831 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#1
20 years ago..."adult" anime premiered for the first time on American TV. Yes, we previously had "Robotech" and Voltron in the 80's, but anime was growing in popularity, and in either 1993 or 1994 (can anyone confirm the exact date?), the Sci-Fi channel did a "Sci-Fi Channel's Global Showcase", which aired 3 anime movies: Lensman, Robot Carnival, and Vampire Hunter D.

Here's the intro for the Lensman:


And here's the intro's for Robot Carnival and Vampire Hunter D:

SciFi Channel Adventures In Japanese Animation - YouTube

1996 Sci-Fi channel- Global showcase (Vampire hunter D) intro - YouTube

One video claims it was 1993, the other says 1994. The Vampire Hunter D one claims it was '96, but that's not right. I remember a friend loaning me a VHS tape with the Vampire Hunter D movie on it, it was a recording of this broadcast, and I watched that in the Spring of '94 (it was one of the first anime I ever watched. I was hooked!)...and since that was a VHS recording, I want to say my friend originally recorded it when it first aired in early '94 or in the Fall/Winter of '93.

Anyway, the Sci-Fi channel in 1995 or 1996 aired "Akira", here's the promo for that, which I also distinctly remember, and they started having yearly anime festivals, which I remember watching from 1995 to 1997...

But that was in the evening hours...beyond that, the Sci-Fi channel also aired anime every Saturday morning, starting in 1995. It was called "Saturday Anime" (catch the promo here!), and as a Saturday morning program, I think it ran until 1999 or 2000. And it was awesome!

So does anyone remember watching these? What do you think about 20 years passing since Sci-Fi brought adult anime to cable?!?
 
Last edited:

Dub C

Just a animation lovin' dude
Jun 24, 2006
1,276
36
US
#2
The one thing I vividly remember from Sci-Fi back in the day was one Saturday Morning catching Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture. I simply knew the series as "the Street Fighter knock-off" back then and I also remembered it because Mai was blurred many times throughout the film because of her wardrobe malfunctions, lol. I should also note that I saw it at the Grandma's/Cousin's house since my family didn't have cable, so I don't have much other memories of 90s Sci-Fi beyond that.
 

defunctzombie

1992 not 2002
Staff member
Moderator
Jul 9, 2008
14,855
Ratings
399 1
63
Dream Land
www.defunctzombie.net
#3
Dude, I still remember a promo on Cartoon Network (of all channels) for a marathon of Robot Carnival, Vampire Hunter D, and Twilight of the Cockroaches. I can't remember the time they were supposed to have aired, but it had to be late at night. No idea how chopped up they were (Vampire Hunter D has a fair amount of nudity after all), but it was still a big deal that they were on TV.

Man, I miss the 90s.
 

Silverstar

Rock the Dragon
Jun 4, 2007
29,284
Ratings
367
63
49
Cartoonland
#4
It's truly sad what Sci-Fi Channel has become, aka SyFy. I've only ever been an extremely casual viewer of anime, but Sci-Fi was my first exposure to Robot Carnival, Vampire Hunter D, Project A-Ko, Tenchi Muyo! (via Tenchi Muyo in Love) and my only exposure to Usurei Yatsura (sp?). Sci-Fi used to be one my go-to stations for good sci-fi shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000 (I didn't have Comedy Central when MST3K aired there), The Twilight Zone, Farscape and the like, now it's just another bad movie-of-the-week and reality show junkyard.
 

MDawg

Nerfariously planning
Aug 26, 2001
16,561
Ratings
807 4
83
36
Not of your damn business
www.zimed.net
#5
Dude, I still remember a promo on Cartoon Network (of all channels) for a marathon of Robot Carnival, Vampire Hunter D, and Twilight of the Cockroaches. I can't remember the time they were supposed to have aired, but it had to be late at night. No idea how chopped up they were (Vampire Hunter D has a fair amount of nudity after all), but it was still a big deal that they were on TV.

Man, I miss the 90s.
Yes, It was aired at midnight way before Toonami or Adult Swim would do such a thing.


I missed out on seeing it despite having CN. Cable box was in use by family or something and the VCR couldn't record it for some reason or another. Apparently it was all really edited to tone things down. Don't ever expect to see Twilight of the Cockroaches in the US legally again either. It's been long out of print since Streamline had it and no one would likely be willing to spend the money required to pick it up. I imagine the live-action element probably muddles things up more contractually as well. Japan is weird about those things.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Rhaynebow

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2013
2,248
Ratings
343 1
63
24
New York
#6
Sci-fi was where I first watched MONSTER and Now and Then, Here and There, arguably two of the greatest anime no one has ever heard of. In fact, they also played Rave Master, Descendants of Darkness and Gundam 00, all anime that I had either finished or partially finished during my middle school, high school days. REAL memories.
 

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,369
Ratings
831 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#7
I seem to recall they had yearly anime festivals (a weekend devoted to anime), from 1994 to 1998. The Vampire Hunter D, Robot Carnival, and Lensman trio could be considered the first anime festival - I think they aired one each night over a weekend. Still can't remember if it was '93 or '94 though. Does anyone have a complete list of what anime they showed at each weekend festival each year? I remember Armitage the Third airing for the 1997 festival...and that's about it.

defunctzombie said:
Dude, I still remember a promo on Cartoon Network (of all channels) for a marathon of Robot Carnival, Vampire Hunter D, and Twilight of the Cockroaches. I can't remember the time they were supposed to have aired, but it had to be late at night. No idea how chopped up they were (Vampire Hunter D has a fair amount of nudity after all), but it was still a big deal that they were on TV.

Man, I miss the 90s.
Yeah, I somehow never caught wind of Cartoon Network airing that. I've heard about it though, and believe that it was in 1995...I'm pretty sure the Sci-Fi channel predated CN's airing of it by a year or two.

Silverstar said:
It's truly sad what Sci-Fi Channel has become, aka SyFy. I've only ever been an extremely casual viewer of anime, but Sci-Fi was my first exposure to Robot Carnival, Vampire Hunter D, Project A-Ko, Tenchi Muyo! (via Tenchi Muyo in Love) and my only exposure to Usurei Yatsura (sp?). Sci-Fi used to be one my go-to stations for good sci-fi shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000 (I didn't have Comedy Central when MST3K aired there), The Twilight Zone, Farscape and the like, now it's just another bad movie-of-the-week and reality show junkyard.
Hey, that got me to thinking: Around 1999 or 2000, is it correct that Mystery Science Theater 3000 replaced "Saturday Anime" on the Saturday morning broadcast? And reruns of MST3K ran 1999/2000 till January 2004. I loved both (MST3K and Saturday Anime) but it strikes me that around the time one disappeared, the other started airing on Saturday mornings...
 

MDawg

Nerfariously planning
Aug 26, 2001
16,561
Ratings
807 4
83
36
Not of your damn business
www.zimed.net
#8
The anime festivals were spread out over a week each August I believe. A different movie each weeknight. I can't remember the full list, but Robot Carnival and Lensman both aired that first year. Tenchi Muyo in Love and Project A-Ko were in year two I think.

Stuff like EYES of Mars and Lily CAT aired as well and I think they even had Demon City Shinjuku. They also had Eight-man After and one more A-ko movie and the OVAs for it.

Unrelated, but did anyone's local channels have a syndicated anime movie show on Saturday nights? This would have been maybe a few years into the Festivals. My local aired it after ECW Wrestling each weekend. They had stuff like 3x3 Eyes and Megazone 23. I want to say Barefoot Gen as well (unless that aired on SciFi).
 

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,369
Ratings
831 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#9
Here's an ad for the "Third Annual" Sci-Fi Channel Anime festival.


What year was this? I'm thinking it was 1995, which would mean the 1st Anime festival (with Vampire Hunter D, Lensman, and Robot Carnival) happened in 1993. Another reason why I say 1995 was because the "Saturday Anime" programming block started in the Fall of 1995, and some of the anime that premiered in that "Third Annual" Anime festival in August 1995 would later all be part of the line-up on "Saturday Anime". I missed the festival that year, but I want to say that "Saturday Anime" started in October or November of 1995 (and I distinctly remember watching a lot of those movies shown in the Fall/Winter of that year). I was fresh out of high school, living in my own apartment...good times.

So let's see, in that advertisement, I see "LilyCAT", "Demon City Shinjuku", "Project Ako", "8 Man After", and "Casshan"...any others that I'm overlooking?

Matt Hazuda said:
Tenchi Muyo in Love and Project A-Ko were in year two I think.
I don't think "Tenchi Muyo" was year two. According to Wikipedia, Tenchi Muyo In Love first aired August 26th, 1996. The link says it aired as part of "Saturday Anime", but maybe that was part of the anime festival that year? (with it being August and all)...
 
Last edited:

Gatomon41

Tactical Easter Action
Apr 3, 2005
20,763
Ratings
235
63
34
Deo confidimus, Sic me Deus adiuvet
twitter.com
#10
Saturday Anime was amazing back in the 90's. Until that point, the only anime I've seen was Sailor Moon and Voltron. Then I got to see Project A-ko, Galaxy Express 999, Venus Wars, Tenchi Muyo In Love, and so forth. I never knew cartoons could be so aimed for an older audience. Alas, I never got to see Anime Week due to camping trips, but I had more interesting adventures on those.

Granted, in retrospect a good chunk of these movies were not very good. Really, only Galaxy Express 999 was the one anime I saw that had any real merit.
 

SpaceCowboy

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2002
4,411
Ratings
87 2
48
USA
Visit site
#11
Unrelated, but did anyone's local channels have a syndicated anime movie show on Saturday nights? This would have been maybe a few years into the Festivals. My local aired it after ECW Wrestling each weekend. They had stuff like 3x3 Eyes and Megazone 23. I want to say Barefoot Gen as well (unless that aired on SciFi).
That would be Network One, an obscure satellite network which had a deal with Streamline Pictures in the mid-1990s. They leased out blocks of time to small OTA stations in some markets.
 

MDawg

Nerfariously planning
Aug 26, 2001
16,561
Ratings
807 4
83
36
Not of your damn business
www.zimed.net
#12
That would be Network One, an obscure satellite network which had a deal with Streamline Pictures in the mid-1990s. They leased out blocks of time to small OTA stations in some markets.
You're the first person ever to have a good response to this question in numerous times I've asked about it(just not on this site). I'm gonna say this sounds extremely likely to be what it was. Thanks!
 

Shawn Hopkins

TZ Member of the Year 2013
Mar 13, 2002
29,444
36
Winner's Circle
#14
I remember those, but I caught Robot Carnival, Vampire Hunter D, Twilight of the Cockroaches and some of the others first on TBS in around 93. Those are how I got into anime with the knowledge that it was anime, of course I watched lots of dubbed Japanese cartoons like G-Force and Voltron before that. It inspired me to track down Frederick Schodt's book Manga! Manga! We didn't have the Sci-Fi Channel at home. Didn't get it until after 2000. But I watched Akira and some others on Scif-Fi at college.
 

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,369
Ratings
831 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#15
I remember those, but I caught Robot Carnival, Vampire Hunter D, Twilight of the Cockroaches and some of the others first on TBS in around 93. Those are how I got into anime with the knowledge that it was anime, of course I watched lots of dubbed Japanese cartoons like G-Force and Voltron before that. It inspired me to track down Frederick Schodt's book Manga! Manga! We didn't have the Sci-Fi Channel at home. Didn't get it until after 2000. But I watched Akira and some others on Scif-Fi at college.
I've heard about the Cartoon Network "Night of the Vampire Robots" before now, but you're the first person I've heard to say TBS aired anime in the early 90's (or in the 90's at all, for that matter).

A quick internet search turned up this link, which says TBS aired Vampire Hunter D, Robot Carnival, and "Heavy Metal" one night in 1993. Cool, I never knew this till now! What were you doing watching TBS? All of my 90's memories revolve around Cartoon Network and the Sci-Fi channel. ;)
 

MDawg

Nerfariously planning
Aug 26, 2001
16,561
Ratings
807 4
83
36
Not of your damn business
www.zimed.net
#16
I think the first time I saw Heavy Metal was on TNT. The Turner family was apparently a lot more incestuous back then what with all the sharing going on between the channels unlike now. I had no idea Cockroaches aired outside of CN though. Just seems like an odd thing to pick up in general. I'll have to watch it at some point considering no one is ever going to legally release it here ever again.
 

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,369
Ratings
831 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#17
Still trying to track down what was shown at each of those anime festivals in the 90's (sorry, this has become like a treasure hunt for me).

Wikipedia has a complete list of anime which aired on Sci-Fi, but that includes the 2000's (the Ani-Monday block on Sci-Fi).

So I did some further digging and stumbled across this little time capsule of a website! I love discovering old websites like this (reminds me of my old Geocities webpage), and if you click here, you can see it's not been updated since May 1998. Anyway, that article lists the following anime as having aired on the Sci-Fi channel (as of 1998):

Akira
Armitage III
Casshan: Robot Hunter
Demon City Shinjuku
Dominion Tank Police
8Man After
E.Y.E.S. of Mars
Gall Force: Eternal Story
Green Legend Ran
IRIA (Zeiram the Animation)
LilyC.A.T.
Odin: Photon Space Sailor Starlight
Project Ako
Project Ako vs. Battles 1 and 2
Record of the Lodoss War
Robot Carnival
Roujin Z
Tenchi Muyo In Love
Vampire Hunter D
Venus Wars

By 1998, they had probably had 5 anime festival weeks...I bet "Venus Wars" and "Dominion Tank Police" aired during the 2nd Anime festival (those were early 90's releases). I bet that the original "Project Ako" aired during the 2nd anime festival as well (and that those were the sequel "Project Ako"s shown in that clip for the "Third Annual" festival above.) I know Armitage III and "Green Legend Ran" aired during the '97 anime festival (that's one I distinctly remember).

Did they still have an anime festival in August of 1998 (and August of 1999? I really think they pulled the plug on anime festivals and on "Saturday Anime" by 1999)...
 

Shawn Hopkins

TZ Member of the Year 2013
Mar 13, 2002
29,444
36
Winner's Circle
#18
I've heard about the Cartoon Network "Night of the Vampire Robots" before now, but you're the first person I've heard to say TBS aired anime in the early 90's (or in the 90's at all, for that matter).

A quick internet search turned up this link, which says TBS aired Vampire Hunter D, Robot Carnival, and "Heavy Metal" one night in 1993. Cool, I never knew this till now! What were you doing watching TBS? All of my 90's memories revolve around Cartoon Network and the Sci-Fi channel. ;)
Like I said, we didn't have those. We didn't even have Fox. Our backwater cable company, Telemedia, refused to carry them.
 

GWOtaku

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Reporter
Feb 21, 2003
36,838
Ratings
750 6
83
36
Arlington, VA
wiki.toonzone.net
#20
What's the point of having two threads about the SAME DANG THING?
They aren't, it is not your place to openly call out thread ideas, and even if it somehow were this tone is inappropriate. Consider this a notice to please desist henceforth.
__________________

Wonderfly is officially my hero, because I've been trying to remember everything that ran on Scifi in the mornings of the 1990s for years. Whooo. This channel was how I discovered Lodoss War and got wowed by it, which I think also had the side effect of helping me remember that certain Rankin-Bass productions existed (The Hobbit, Flight of Dragons). Casshan and 8Man pretty dramatically pushed the boundaries of what I thought was possible with animation way back then (also damn, 8Man After was so violent that's the one thing about it that lingers in my memories). Alas, I can't remember ever seeing Roujin Z, which includes a script written by none other than Katsuhiro Otomo himself (Akira, Memories). Lots of regrets there. I keep hoping Discotek will get its hands on that one eventually.

Robot Carnival is by far the most awesome anime that has never had better than a VHS release here in the United States. The action-oriented shorts, Star Light Angel and Deprive, are the ones I enjoy the most, but it's all really good. Close runner ups for me go to Presence and Franken's Gears, which is entirely about a crazy scientist trying to bring a Frankenstein-esque robot to life. Most of it lacks dialogue, meaning that it's all "show, don't tell" stuff. And they do it well! Take any chance that comes along to see this thing.

That was a time where I couldn't have told you what "anime" actually meant, but I knew that what they were showing was really something. Good times.

I remember those, but I caught Robot Carnival, Vampire Hunter D, Twilight of the Cockroaches and some of the others first on TBS in around 93. Those are how I got into anime with the knowledge that it was anime, of course I watched lots of dubbed Japanese cartoons like G-Force and Voltron before that. It inspired me to track down Frederick Schodt's book Manga! Manga! We didn't have the Sci-Fi Channel at home. Didn't get it until after 2000. But I watched Akira and some others on Scif-Fi at college.
Good stuff. If you enjoyed Manga Manga!, Schodt's book Dreamland Japan is a newer and expanded take on the stuff he talks about in there. The two go very well together, I find.