FUNimation, the company that brought Dragon Ball Z to the States, is planning to take another anime property on a similar path to success, with TV exposure on the Cartoon Network, DVDs, and soon toy and CCG licensees.
The Yu-Yu Hakusho anime series is moving from a late night run on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim to the prime last spot on the network's afternoon Toonami block (see 'Yu-Yu Moves to Toonami'), where DBZ, the prime ratings mover of the block, will act as the lead-in. With its delinquent-turned-hero protagonist, Yu-Yu is rougher and tougher than any other Toonami series, and should appeal to the legions of DBZ fans, who are getting older and looking for animation that reflects more of a teenage sensibility.
In addition to FUNimation, which adapts the Yu-Yu anime episodes for the American market and releases DVDs and videos, other companies are starting to get on board. Jakks Pacific, which recently acquired the license to create DBZ toys (see 'Jakks Lands Dragon Ball License'), has signed on as the master toy licensee for Yu-Yu Hakusho. Score, which created the popular DBZ CCG, is set to do the same thing for Yu-Yu. Will lightning strike twice? Stay tuned.