Hey guys, remember back in April when I said that Cartoon Network threw Toonami up on April Fools much to the delight of fans nationwide? What started out as a joke became an internet phenomenon that trended Tweets, Facebook feeds, and cluttered my tumblr dash. Yet the fans also knew that this was a one-time-thing, an April Fool’s joke done (maybe) in bad taste by giving people what they wanted and missed only to take it away for good.
Well, Toonami fans, fret no more, for tonight May 26th at 12:00 AM EST, Toonami is rebooting with two new shows and old-time favorites. But, whether it stays for good is truly dependent on public opinion; fan-campaigns to ensure the continued success/funding of a Toonami block stress that people need to watch it in order to get the “good stuff” on air.
Despite fond childhood memories, why did Toonami close down in the first place? If you take off the rose-colored lenses of Nostalgia for a moment, you realize that Toonami was selling perhaps to the wrong audience with shows airing in earlier blocks ranging from 4:00-11:00 PM, just before Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Of course it had some of the good stuff — DBZ, Sailor Moon, G Gundam, Yu Yu Hakusho, Rurouni Kenshin, Outlaw Star, One Piece — and it also had some of the bad (But still fondly remembered!) stuff — Naruto, Zoids, Rave Master — and it even mixed it up with some American cartoons that fit in with the block’s action-oriented theme, such as Teen Titans on Saturday nights and Ben 10. But, despite the cuts to guns, guts, and gratuitous fan-service, it still was oriented towards “kid shows” or shows that are “passable for kid shows”. After Toonami’s run in the earlier lineup, Adult Swim would then dole out anime for “older” audiences such as Ghost in the Shell, Wolf’s Rain, etc. etc.
In its final line-up when they “killed” the block in 2008, this mentality that Toonami should consist of only “kid oriented shows” was ultimately its downfall; not to say that these shows aren’t popular, and aren’t good, but that stagnant mentality killed ratings, and subsequently the block.
Now with this new reboot of Toonami that is geared more towards what Adult Swim should have done with anime, what can we expect from Toonami in its first few weeks? (Besides the return of our childhood icon, TOM)
According to its current line up, we should expect the following:
- 12:00 AM – Bleach
- 12:30 AM – Deadman Wonderland
- 1:00 AM Casshern Sins
- 1:30 AM Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- 2:00 AM: Ghost in the Shell SAC 2nd GIG
- 2:30 AM: Cowboy Bebop
- 3:00-5:30 AM: Repeat cycle
From the looks of it, the Toonami executives have decided to take a “safe route” when it comes to its relaunch. Yes Bleach might make you gag, and of course they have to add the classic Bebop to jazz it up at the end (Which, by the by, I am going to turn to every Saturday night because it’s Bebop), but it is a pretty solid lineup. A (debatable) popular show, followed by new things (That can either make it sink or swim), followed by another popular series, and then a strong finish with two classics that not many people would complain about is safe because there is something that can appeal to everyone.
My opinion on Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins is quite neutral, although I assume our resident anime experts have a much more informed opinion on the subject (Kaushik, Pluffei, Inverseman, a little help here? TwT), but it is a breath of fresh air onto the lineup and the promise that there will probably be more new things to come.
Of course, ratings are all what it boils down to whether Toonami remains to show more (and better) stuff on the air but for now I think nostalgia and absence (Which makes the heart fonder, dontcha know) will be enough incentive for fans, old and new, to tune in every Saturday night.