|Headquarters||Miami, United States|
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Picture format||480i - 4:3 (SDTV)|
|Owner||The Hearst Corporation (1996–2005)|
Claxson Interactive Group (1996–2002)
Corus Entertainment (2002–2005)
Sony Pictures Television (2005)
|Launched||November 1, 1996 (Latin America)|
September 15, 1997 (Spain and Portugal)
|Closed||July 1, 2003 (Spain and Portugal)|
July 31, 2005 (Latin America)
Locomotion was a Latin American cable channel dedicated to anime and animated shows targeting primarily an 18–34 audience, broadcasting movies, TV series and shorts. It was launched on November 1, 1996, and was closed down on July 31, 2005. It was also broadcast in Portugal through Cabovisão and TVCabo (now ZON Multimédia), and in Spain by satellite TV provider Vía Digital until 2003 due to administrative reasons with the TV operator.
Initially, Locomotion was a channel dedicated to animation for all ages, broadcasting titles from King Features (which was Hearst's animation division), other acquired shows, and adult animation for an evening block. However, the channel did not want to face competition against the already-established Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, so the channel began removing the children's animation in favour for alternative animation, adult series, and anime by 1998, and by 2000, they began airing more alternative and adult-oriented animation from the US, the United Kingdom and Latin America, as well as anime series.
As the network grew, most of their programming consisted of Japanese animation titles from the likes of ADV Films, Bandai Entertainment, & Geneon and others as well as adult shows like South Park, The Critic, Crapston Villas and Duckman. Locomotion was also dedicated to showing works of experimental animation from all over the world throughout the day on-air and online. They aired experimental programming featuring video jockeys, artists who worked with video as a medium.
The network, whose corporate offices were based in Miami, Florida (though the network was not available in the United States aside from a few cable systems in southern Florida) was a joint venture between the US-based Hearst Corporation, (50%) and Claxson Interactive Group, Inc. (a subsidiary of the Venezuelan-based Cisneros Group) (50%). In May 2002, Cisneros Group sold its shares in the network to Canadian-based Corus Entertainment. The channel was purchased by Sony in 2005 and was later rebranded as Animax.
One of Locomotion's VJ projects was a computer-rendered character known as Loco, produced by "Modern Cartoons". The character, which mostly appeared during commercial breaks, made humorous comments, and did nonsensical things entertaining the viewers. The mascot disappeared as the channel changed its image.
A final, yet brief reference of Loco when Animax replaced Locomotion, which is the part where the special agents sent to save Locomotion, they received a call from "Loco" before he gets killed.
Locomotion's first logo resembled a red head with a "Loco" on its face (the "O"s being in where the eyes are, the "L" being in where the left ear is, and the "C" being in where the nose is) and a "Motion" in its mouth. This was used since the launch of the channel and was phased out in 1999 as the channel began shifting towards alternative and adult animation series, such as South Park, as well as anime series.
Locomotion's second logo retained the head from the previous logo, although colored white and inside a gray circle and lacking the details the previous logo had. The "Locomotion" was shown left of the "circle" in an Italicized font. This was used from 1999 to May 2002.
Locomotion's third logo was the same as the previous logo, but the "circle" now colored (most of the time red and blue) as opposed to gray and the logo was updated. This logo was used since Claxson's sale of their stake in the channel to Corus Entertainment, all the way until the closure of the channel.
A variation of the third logo had the words "Animestation" below the "Locomotion" of the logo since the channel ceased to broadcast in Spain and Portugal. It was used from 2004 until the closure of the channel in 2005.
The programming of this channel was divided in thematic blocks which are:
Locomotion was bought by Sony Pictures Entertainment Latin America in January 2005 from Hearst Corporation and Corus Entertainment. After the acquisition of the network and until its shutdown, the non-anime shows where dropped from their programming in order to focus more on an all anime line-up. The network officially ceased to exist at 11:00 a.m. on July 31 of the same year (however, the broadcast of Locomotion stopped on the night of July 30 and was replaced by a countdown clock). From then on, the network had been transformed into the Latin American branch of Animax.
Of all the programming broadcast previously on Locomotion, only Vandread, Saber Marionette J, Saber Marionette J to X, Soul Hunter, Serial Experiments Lain, The Candidate for Goddess and Earth Girl Arjuna were picked and broadcast by Animax on their early programming. As of February 2006, all those series were off the air. Neon Genesis Evangelion and Super Milk Chan, both which had aired on Locomotion, would also air on Animax, although 3 years after Locomotion's shutdown, and in the case for Evangelion, it got a new Spanish dub.
The non-anime shows produced by MTV Networks and broadcast on Locomotion (like South Park, Ren and Stimpy and Æon Flux) were picked and shown on a weekend animation block by MTV Latin America, but in November 2006, this block was replaced with Animatosis (a Sic 'Em Friday-alike block) and all the shows (with the exception of South Park) were cancelled, and South Park continues to air as of present day, and recently now airs on a localized version of its home network. Bob and Margaret is shown (as of January 2006) on the defunct-but-now-relaunched Latin American version of Adult Swim. The Critic was broadcast on the Latin American version of HBO (albeit in English with Spanish and Portuguese subtitles). Other shows, such as Dr. Katz and Duckman, have not aired on Latin American television since the Locomotion shutdown.
The titles above belong mainly to British and American companies, most of them come from MTV Networks channels (like MTV and Comedy Central) and Channel 4 from Great Britain.
Locomotion also had an hour block called Locotomia where international experimental animations where aired.
The Wallace and Gromit movies and Flatworld were also aired along with other British animated short films.
List of titles Locomotion picked up the rights to air, but couldn't broadcast because of its closure. These titles eventually aired on Animax Latin America:
Locomotion was not only about adult animation and anime. On the last years of being on air, Locomotion seemed to be interest also in Graphic Design and techno music (House and Lounge or Chill-Out).
In the early 2000s, graphic designers began to dabble in web animation to promote their portfolio and collaborate with other artists. Thus it was that Locomotion Channel, during the second half of its on-screen life, sponsored efforts to bring designers and animators together in time-lapse to win experimental animation shorts. This dynamic brought more content onto the screen, giving it an atmosphere of creativity that showed no limits.
A clear example of these experimental animation samples was "Teevey". Teevey was a short animation written and directed by Robert Ramsden, animated with Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) software by Simon Pike, accompanied by the catchy melody composed by Phillip Minss at Yellow Bird Studios. Robert Ramsden designed his character especially at the request of the channel. The protagonist of this drawing is a kind of giant dog that lives in a world far from any logic or meaning.
Thanks to Locomotion, groups like Boeing and Miranda! began their career, today being recognized by MTV.
Locomotion had a 30 min. block, called Fracto, where they featured music and design experiments that could be considered as experimental animation.
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