Nickelodeon, the exceedingly popular set of cable channels for kids, has kept its preeminent position in the U.S. market without actually running any modern anime series, although certain popular Nick offerings such as Avatar: The Last Airbender are heavily influenced by anime.  Now it has finally signed agreements with Japanese studios that will result in the appearance of real anime series on the Nickelodeon channels.  


Nickelodeon has announced a deal with the Domo Production Committee to co-develop and produce 26 two-minute episodes of a series featuring the popular Domo-Kun character (the mascot of NHK, Japan's leading broadcaster).  The American cable giant has also inked a pact with Polygon Pictures, a leading Japanese 3-D animation house to co-develop a new animated series based on Ira Ishida's manga, Akihabara@Deep.


Domo-Kun, who has been NHK's mascot since 1998, is a cultural phenomenon in Japan.  Domo is a strange creature born from an egg who lives in an underground cave with a wise old rabbit.  Domo and his friends watch way too much television, listen to a lot of rock 'n roll, and when he is nervous or in a bad mood, he breaks wind -- an activity which has endeared him to Japanese kids and tweens. 


Domo is probably best known outside Japan for his unauthorized appearance in a faux public service announcement that intones 'Every time you masturbate...God kills a kitten.'  Needless to say this phony PSA is quite out of character with Domo's image in Japan.


Ira Ishida's Akihabara@Deep is an edgy, fast-paced cyber-detective comedy/drama set in Akihabara, the electronics district (and otaku heaven) of Tokyo.  The property has already been made into a 'dorama' (Japanese TV drama) series starring heatthrob Kazama Shunsuke.


Ishida also wrote a manga based on the popular dorama, Ikebukuro West Gate Park, which Digital Manga has published here in the U.S.


Nickelodeon's Akihabara@Deep anime co-production with Polygon Pictures should skew toward an older demographic than the Domo-Kun shorts.