'The People's Toonami Site'

Author: Andrew

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February 22nd: The Top 5 Shows Toonami Saved

[Ed. - Following his article on the shows Toonami failed, Sketch presents a top-five list of the series that Toonami single-handedly saved from oblivion. Here we go!]

#5 - Sailor Moon

sailor moon castYou might say this is the first show Toonami breathed new life into. Like many Toonami shows back in the day, it came fresh from syndication and - while it was huge in Japan and growing in Canada - it was not a major action franchise in the US. I wont lie; the dub was awful and it should be remembered as awful, but the quality of the show managed to creep past all the unnecessary changes and modifications DiC made for the English dub. The real reason why I feel Toonami saved this show is not in regards to popularity (though it became more noticeable once it joined Toonami), but in how it allowed the series to continue beyond where DiC left off. First, Toonami aired episodes that had only aired in Canada - and they managed to hype those pretty well, but the icing on the cake was when Toonami continued the show with a new dub. Once again, the dub was terrible...but not as bad as the DiC dub in some ways. Toonami made Sailor Moon "cool" to American youth, and while they even said the show was "for the ladies", they managed to attract a strong audience of young men to this quirky girl-super-hero romance. Sadly, Sailor Moon remains incomplete in the US despite the continuation thanks to Toonami, but that's more of a Toei problem than a Toonami one.

#4 - ReBoot

reboot castReBoot began its life in the US on ABC's Saturday morning block, and eventually it moved to syndication to air a lesser-known season. Overall it was a blip on the radar but I suppose it had its fans. Toonami brought it in as their first all-3D animated series and the promos are still great entertainment today. Like with Sailor Moon, the series was able to continue and gain popularity through airing on Toonami along side Dragonball Z, Ronin Warriors, etc. Eventually they played the obscure syndicated season to a broader audience, and I am particularly grateful for that. However, what Toonami did for ReBoot climaxed with the premiere of fourth season. Although the series was successful in Canada, the fourth season would not have been possible without the performance it had on Toonami. Toonami helped ReBoot go out with a bang, and that same fandom that grew out of ReBoot's days on Toonami seem to have become the starting point for a modern ReBoot revival. Hopefully Toonami will be able to enjoy the fruits of the seeds they sowed years ago.

#3 - The Big O

the big o megadeusIf you were not aware of it yet, you should know that The Big O was not very successful during its initial run in Japan. The Sunrise-animated giant robot series would not have gotten its second season if Toonami hadn't taken a chance on it. I am aware that Sean and Jason "dig giant robots", but this series was still quite a gamble given that it was not an established hit like many of Toonami's anime pick-ups over the years. Cartoon Network co-produced the second half of The Big O because it managed to garner the attention of the older viewers watching The Midnight Run. I guess it is a bit of a shallow victory for Toonami, as Adult Swim got to air the sequel (and has also taken the rights to the series away for good), but Toonami was the key to The Big O's extended lifespan. Now if we could just get that third season...

#2 - Dragonball Z

dragonball zAs with Sailor Moon and ReBoot, DBZ was picked up coming from syndication. Toonami was the first place I ever saw more than a moment of Dragonball Z, and the way they promoted it gave me chills. DBZ's syndicated days were not long-lived and the anime juggernaut was looking to fizzle out like so many other syndicated shows. But along came Toonami, offering it a place to strut its stuff. With only 52 episodes to run and a really lousy cliff-hanger at the end of the batch, it seemed like DBZ was nothing but lost potential. Toonami stuck with it and eventually the ratings rose high enough for a continuation to be made. FUNimation, along with Toonami, made Dragonball Z the top-selling phenomenon that has yet to be beaten by any of its Shonen Jump descendants. When Z-Day promised never-before-seen episodes at long last, we were all ecstatic. But that was only the beginning. Many seasons aired after that and Dragonball Z secured a place for itself as Toonami's top performer of all time; the flagship franchise became the image of Toonami to the public. When the public demanded more, Toonami gave them more (perhaps too much at times), and eventually it became the longest-running series on the block. Toonami took a nobody and made it a somebody that every animation fan recognizes. It's a Cinderella story that will probably never be duplicated, unless it's by the following series...

#1 - One Piece

Toonami picked up One Piece about a half a year after the 4Kids dub began on Saturday mornings. What would have been an awesome pick-up before 4Kids murdered the show was now seen as a terrible decision. But even now it was hard to blame Toonami for airing the series, as they had been eyeing One Piece long before 4Kids obtained the license and had their way with it. It seemed almost nostalgic how Toonami managed to make a terrible dub look really watchable. You might call it false advertising, but Toonami has always had a knack for making bad shows look good and One Piece was no exception. The ratings for the series on 4Kids were awful and dropping fast, but the ratings on Toonami were quite good and eventually Toonami became the sole home of One Piece on US television.

For a while that was not a good thing, because the dub simply was not worth Toonami's time, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel and fans of One Piece have Toonami to thank for it. Much like Dragonball Z before it, Toonami and FUNimation have given One Piece a new life, a new dub, and a brighter future. The ratings have improved since FUNimation's One Piece replaced 4Kid's version, and now the series is genuinely funny and action packed - just as it always should have been. If Toonami had not stuck with One Piece during those harder times, then this new dub would not have even been feasable. 4Kids rarely gives up any series, and Toei does not take failures well. Toonami kept One Piece afloat when every company involved in the franchise's release in the US seemed to be ready to let it go belly up, and for that I am grateful. One Piece has a real shot in the US now and I have my favorite animation venue to thank for it.


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