Gender-shifting superhero may save Hub cartoon channel

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201305290337 Gender shifting superhero may save Hub cartoon channel

Hub, a cable channel for kids owned by Discovery and Hasbro, is hoping its new cartoon “SheZow” can turn the channel’s fortunes around.

Hub has struggled to gain viewers since its debut in 2010, but it’s betting a 12-year-old boy named “Guy” who transforms into a female superhero, complete with a purple skirt and cape, pink gloves and white go-go boots, will change that.

To become a female superhero, Guy uses his magic ring and says the words “You go girl!”


Amazingly, this is not an Onion story, but a plan to boost ratings for the Hub, a joint venture of Hasbro and Discovery Communications (Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, etc.) that mostly broadcasts cartoons. The channel has successes with My Little Pony and Transformers but needs a non-Hasbro hit.

Maybe it will be SheZow. The trailer suggests that the boy-girl dichotomy will be clothed in the basest of stereotypes, but surely the actual show will stand those on its head with a more subtle exploration of gender and identity.

Yeah, right.

Gender switching was the basis of Rumiko Takahashi’s hugely popular Ranma 1/2 manga and anime, about a boy who can change into a girl and back by dousing himself with water of different temperatures. And of course, manga where a youngster must disguise him or herself as the opposite sex is a whole genre to itself. (Link to scanlation site deleted even though no legit site has as good a resource.)

Whether SheZow will continue this tradition or just fall on its face, will soon be revealed. SheZow has been airing in Canada without any obvious adverse effects, and debuts on the Hub on June 1st.

Prediction: based on the number of weird images from deviantART I found while googling for an image of SheZow, it has that demographic nailed.

Comments

  1. Serhend Sirkecioglu says:

    The Hub is Man-Child bait. My little pony, Littlest Pet Shop, and Strawberry Shortcake all have male fandoms. This is no different.

  2. James Davis Nicoll says:

    Charlie Jane Anders mentioned She-Zow so I took a look at it. It’s not gender-swapping as far as I can tell but cross-dressing: the magic ring only has one costume setting and it’s for the version we see above.

  3. Kerry Maxwell says:

    Aquabats and Transformers Prime are the only thing I try to follow on the hub, but I’ll check this out.

  4. Not kawaii enuff-puff puff pass.

  5. I’m going to be that guy:
    Cartoons animated by flash are the visual equivelent to nails on a chalkboard. If the hub is relying on cheap looking garbage then I guess it’s in more trouble than I thought.

  6. Serhend Sirkecioglu says:

    Phil I agree with you, but the Hub solely exists to make half-hour commercials for hasbro toys and do it for a profit. They like to do them cheap and fast and flash is that. there has been animated shows and films that used to great effect Like Foster’s, Secret of Kells, and Sita Sings the Blues. the charm of the hub is the surprisingly good at times or so bad that its good writing or the goofy premises like Shezow. I’ll admit it that I only watch littlest pet shop because they have a Guido Gecko named Vinnie.

  7. And where oh where is Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch, the show that is supposedly coming very soon to the Hub but nobody seems to know anything about?

Trackbacks

  1. […] and “Transformers,” but looking to break out of the toy-based box, they are premiering “SheZow” to an audience of children who will hopefully embrace a gender swapping superhero. […]

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