SpongeBob SquarePants is probably one of the most successful children’s shows of all time. Since it’s appearance on Nickelodeon in 1999, the series is going strong with absolutely no signs of stopping. So it’s no wonder that the show piqued interest enough in the mainstream for it to become an anime as well. But unlike official adaptations, the SpongeBob SquarePants anime series comes from an ardent fan.
SpongeBob SquarePants Is Now A Classic Children’s Show With Universal Appeal
Image via Nickolodeon.
The animated show about a sponge with pants who lives under the sea with a dim-witted starfish best friend is a pretty big deal. The show chronicles SpongeBob’s adventures while working in a fast-food restaurant for a cranky money-hungry boss, along with a grumpy Squid. Now, full disclosure, I’ve watched entirely too many episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and can declare the show a laugh riot.
SpongeBob SquarePants is a show that is very much for children. Its jokes are silly, with outrageous storylines that are really preposterous and complete fantasy. And not in a way that makes sense, but in a very random and all-over-the-place kind of fantasy. Having said that, SpongeBob is still incredibly relatable for a wide range of audiences. It’s because the style of humor and many of SpongeBob’s jokes are very much for an audience that is not children. Many episodes feature storylines about time travel, superhero spoofs, satire, and hilarious everyday situations. The immensely popular show has twelve seasons and over 250 episodes to its name, with two feature films and another on the way. So a SpongeBob SquarePants anime series only makes sense.
The Evolution Of The Spongebob SquarePants Anime Series
Creating anime versions of highly popular franchises is not a new thing. Fans from all over the world take the biggest shows or movies from pop-culture history and give them anime twists. That’s how the SpongeBob SquarePants anime series also began. An independent animator, and fan of the show, NARMAK, created multiple opening credits for SpongeBob in anime format. The videos went viral causing NARMAK to actually make an entire episode of SpongeBob SquarePants in anime! After a highly successful trailer, episode 1 of the SpongeBob SquarePants anime series launched on his YouTube channel.
The episode features SpongeBob embarking on a mission to get back Mr. Krabb’s secret formula. The episode has countless homages to the anime medium and looks very fitting within that style of animation. It’s bloody, action-packed, incredibly serious and looks incredible. There are even multiple characters from the original series that appear in their anime iteration. However, while the internet loved it, the SpongeBob SquarePants anime series was short-lived.
SpongeBob SquarePants Anime Series Removed By YouTube
My SpongeBob anime Episode 1 was taken down from YouTube. They tell me it was because I violated their "child safety policy." It was marked as not for children.
— NARMAK (@NARMAK13) August 1, 2020
Given that the entire work of the SpongeBob anime is technically fan-made, it is not on YouTube anymore. However, copyrights aren’t the reason behind the removal. In a Tweet, NARMAK outlines the reasons given by YouTube for the episode’s removal. Apparently, the video violated YouTube’s policy for content aimed at children, even though NARMAK explicitly marked the video as not being for kids. I can only assume that YouTube’s logic could be that given SpongeBob’s immense popularity as a children’s show, this version could still attract children despite the disclaimers and ratings. However, YouTube still has many other parody and anime versions of other kids’ properties. So removing the SpongeBob SquarePants anime is still kind of a mystery.
As of this writing, there is no update on the situation, while NARMAK has repeatedly requested YouTube to clarify their reasons for removing the video. Until then, I doubt that there will be additional episodes of the SpongeBob SquarePants anime series. However, #SaveSpongeBobAnime is currently trending on Twitter, so hopefully it becomes a movement like #ReleaseTheSnyderCut with the same level of success.
Did you get a chance to see the SpongeBob SquarePants anime before its removal? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.