Timeslot History: Anime on TBS/MBS (1994-2000)

The second broadcaster I’m going to be covering is actually two companies, albiet closely related ones. Mainichi Broadcasting System is affiliated with, and holds stock in, Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings. The two are not the same company, but I’m lumping them together for the purposes of this article since they shared broadcasts of many of the anime on this list. 毎日放送制作・TBS系列 doesn’t encompass every series on this list, but there’s enough overlap between the two that it’s easier to process the two as one entity.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

Show title [month of first episode airing]

Wonderful 24:40 Monday-Thursday Block (see here for details)

Ping Pong Club (rebroadcast) [September 29, 1997]
Sexy Commando [January 5, 1998]
Agent Aika (OVA rebroadcast, episodes 1-4) [April 6, 1998]
Futari Gurashi [April 27, 1998]
Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku [June 30, 1998]
Momoiro Sisters [August 25, 1998]
Let’s Nupu Nupu [October 6, 1998]
Only You Viva Cabaret Club [November 3, 1998]
Yume de Aetara (TV) [November 30, 1998]
Nippon Ichi Otoko no Tamashii [January 5, 1999]
Iketeru Futari [February 2, 1999]
Petshop of Horrors [March 1, 1999]
You’re Under Arrest (Mini specials) [March 29, 1999]
Nippon Ichi Otoko no Tamashii 2 [May 4, 1999]
Surf-Side High School [May 31, 1999]
Papa to Odorou [July 5, 1999]
Colorful [September 6, 1999]
Ippatsu Kiki Musume [October 5, 1999]
Itsumo Kororo ni Taiyou wo [November 1, 1999]
Di Gi Charat [November 29, 1999]

Saturday 7:30

Monster Farm (season 1) [04-1999]
Monster Farm (season 2) [04-2000]
Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children [10-2000]
Hoshi no Kirby [10-2001]

(Hoshi no Kirby was replaced in October of 2003 by the Live-Action adaptation of Sailor Moon.)

Saturday 17:00

Warau Salesman (rebroadcast) [unable to confirm time]
Shounen Santa no Daibouken [04-1996]
Kiko-chan Smile [10-1996]
Ganbare Goemon [10-1997]
Akihabara Dennou Gumi [04-1998]
Majutsushi Orphen [10-1998]
Power Stone [04-1998]
Majutsushi Orphen Revenge [10-1999]

Saturday 17:30

Yamato Takeru [04-1994]
-Non-anime programming, including Fievel’s American Tails and multiple Ultraman series.-
B’tX [04-1996]
You’re Under Arrest ’96 [10-1996]
Coji-Coji [10-1997]
Mirai Shounen Conan 2 [10-1999]
Sakura Taisen [04-2000]
Tri-Zenon [10-2000]
You’re Under Arrest (season 2) [04-2001]
Groove Adventure Rave [10-2001]
Get Backers [10-2002]
Tantei Gakuen Q (from Tuesday 19:00) [10-2003]

(Tantei Gakuen Q was replaced in April of 2004 by the informational program Channel Rock.)

Saturday 18:00

Ai to Yuuki no Pig Girl Tonde Buurin [09-1994]
Mama wa Poyopoyo Saurus ga Osuki [09-1995]
-Non-anime programming, namely Ultraman Tiger and Ultraman Gaia-
Zoids [09-1999]
Zoids/Zero [01-2001]
Ultraman Cosmos (Tokusatsu) [07-2001]
Gundam Seed [10-2002]
Fullmetal Alchemist [10-2003]
Gundam Seed Destiny [10-2004]
Blood+ [10-2005]
Ghost Slayers Ayakashi Ayashi [10-2006]
Terra e… [04-2007]
Gundam 00 (season 1) [10-2007]

___

Late Night Programs:

Blue Gender (Wednesday 25:55, 1999)
Devilman Lady (Saturday 25:40, 1998)
Fortune Quest L (Saturday 25:35, 1997)
Ginga Hyouryuu Vifam 13 (Saturday 26:05, 1998)
Miami Guns (Saturday 25:45, 2000)
Yoiko (Friday 25:25, 1998)

___

Comments:

-The TBS/MBS family packed their Saturdays tight with original programming. Minus Blue Gender, Yoiko, and the Wonderful animated shorts, it’s all happening there on Saturdays.

-You could almost call that Saturday late-night programming a slot, except the times were irregular and it was very short-lived. Miami Guns was a short blip for an area of the airwaves that wouldn’t be airing anime for a while afterwards.

-The Yoiko broadcast time I’m particularly proud of finding; that and Reign the Conqueror were black boxes as far as their actual airtime went prior to my discovering a new resource that logs anime broadcast back to mid-1999. Finding each new source was pretty fun at that point because the remaining shows had proven pretty hard to figure out. When I’m done with the broadcaster-by-broadcaster breakdowns, I’ll probably rank which timeslots were the most fun to finally figure out.

-The Saturday 18:00 slot may no longer be dedicated to anime, but it has a spiritual successor in the Nichigo slot (Sundays at 17:00, or 5pm), which started the month the former was ended and ran the second seasons of both Gundam 00 and Fullmetal Alchemist. Ratings from 2000-2012 are available, so I did a quick check of how they held up between slots by taking the ratings for the first and final episode:

Saturday 18:00

Zoids [4.9, 6.7] (first available episode used)
Zoids/Zero [6.7, 5.4]
Ultraman Cosmos (Tokusatsu) [5.3, 4.9]
Gundam Seed [6.6, 5.9]
Fullmetal Alchemist [5.9, 6.5]
Gundam Seed Destiny [8.2, 5.4]
Blood+ [5.4, 3.1]
Ghost Slayers Ayakashi Ayashi [3.6, 3.9]
Terra e… [3.1, 3.7]
Gundam 00 (season 1) [5.4, 5.0]

Nichigo

Code Geass R2 [3.0, 3.5]
Gundam 00 (season 2) [4.5, 3.5]
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood [3.8, 3.4]
Sengoku Basara (season 2) [5.3, 2.3]
Star Driver [1.2, 1.8]
Ao no Exorcist [4.1, 3.2]
Gundam AGE [3.6, 1.4]
Magi [3.8, 3.5] (last available episode used)

Ratings seemed to drop off somewhere in the middle of Blood+’s run, which may have been a factor in prompting the network to shift the timeslot back a day. Also, Star Driver kinda stands out there with ratings a factor of two lower than just about everything else in either slot (though the first/last numbers understate its average a tad). The series did fine on video, though, with a ~9k average; it might not have gotten many eyeballs, but it got the right ones, which is what you want to get when you splurge a lesser show’s entire budget to get to prime time.

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