Cartoon Network, Production I.G. Launch New Toonami Venture

Last Friday, Tokyo Anime Fair attendees were able to take a sneak peek of IGPX, a new series co-produced by Cartoon Network and Production I.G. in Japan. Using both traditional and CG animation, the new action-adventures series is set to premiere in the highly rated Toonami block (#1 with boys 9-14 and 12-17 for 2005 to date) this fall.

The show, which blends the quality and style of animé with Western storytelling, will be the first instance of a U.S. cable network working directly with a Japanese animation studio to create an original series.

“Toonami brought Japanese animation to a new generation of fans in the U.S., showcasing popular animé series like Dragonball Z, The Big O and Yu Yu Hakusho,” says Jim Samples, CN’s executive VP and general manager. “Now, Toonami is the first to team up with one of the most respected and well-known animation studios in Japan, Production I.G., with a new approach on production, setting the stage for future co-productions.”

Production I.G. is well known internationally for producing titles such as Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL and the animé sequences in Kill Bill Vol.1.

IGPX takes place in the year 2048, in which the Immortal Grand Prix has become the world’s most popular sport. In this high-octane match, two teams of three Mechs, high-tech fighting machines driven by humans, race at speeds greater than 350 mph. Team Satomi, a crew of amateur pilots, has just won a minor-league championship, vaulting them into the sport’s highest level, the IG-1. Now, the untested rookies of Team Satomi must overcome impossible odds and beat the world’s most skilled and ruthless pilots in the planet’s biggest event.

“I have never been involved in anything in the past where I wished for everyone to watch it so badly," says the show’s director, Mitsuru Hongo. "We are all trying very hard to make this the most entertaining animation ever. We will let the audience make the judgment on how different this is from anything else. The story gets more interesting as the season progresses, so I hope everyone stays tuned in to watch more IGPX!”

Bandai Entertainment, a long-time partner with Cartoon Network and its effort to bring Japanese animation to U.S. audiences, will serve as the licensing partner for IGPX.