SD Gundam, the most recent anime series to debut this fall on the Toonami block of the Cartoon Network, posted a 29% increase in viewers over the same time period last year. SD Gundam is one of the most recent series in the long-running mecha-heavy anime franchise. Though known as 'Superior Defender' Gundam in the U.S., the 'SD' really refers to 'super-deformed,' the term the Japanese use to distinguish the often humorous squished down versions of anime or manga characters. The plucky little robots from SD Gundam are out to prove that 'size doesn't matter,' and their ratings indicate that, at least initially, they may be right. The new series posted a 42% growth in ratings for kids 6-11, while overall ratings for kids from 2-11 grew by 29%--indicating that show is hitting its target demo with an especially strong performance among school age children.
If SD Gundam ratings remain high, Bandai should be able to exploit the property with a series of very cool SD Gundam figures (see 'Bandai Adds Two Series Of Gundam Toys'). While the SD Gundam property skews younger than the other series in the long-running franchise, it will likely be joined in 2004 by the most recent Gundam series, Gundam Seed, which is currently one of the top-rated anime series in Japan. Del Rey is planning on publishing the first volume of Gundam Seed manga in the spring of 2004 (see 'First Two Del Rey Manga Titles Announced'), and the Gundam Seed anime series won't be far behind.