MomoCon’s Silver Lining
[Special contributor Graham (a.k.a. Daikun) from Toonami Infolink takes a break from his ‘Second Wind’ series.]
Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for this site, hasn’t it? Sorry for the long delay, but Toonami has gone through quite a metamorphosis the past few months. No, this isn’t the final part of Second Wind (I’ll get to it soon, don’t worry), but the changes this past year have been so swift and shocking that I was just too surprised to come up with anything.
The big downer was Toonami’s massive shrinkage to three-and-a-half hours in February. It kinda sucks since there’s fewer shows and it slows down the block’s rotation, but according to an interview with Toonami Faithful, JDM and the crew are relieved to lose the backend of the block. Doing bumpers for a six-and-a-half hour block was too much work for them, especially when the schedule had to keep changing every few weeks due to them abruptly losing the rights to several of their shows (Batman, Clone Wars, Sym-Bionic, you’ll all be missed).
Now with a shorter block, they only have to worry about one re-running show at a time, preventing schedule bloat and keeping things fresh. The ratings have also improved since the block shrank, bringing premiering shows back into the million+ viewership (or at least close to it) week after week. The super-late hours never really did all that well, anyway, so this is for the best. It’s also really cool to see DBZ Kai airing outside of Toonami – spearheading Adult Swim’s earliest primetime slot, no less!
The other big shocker was their announcements at MomoCon. FUNimation, which has been dominant on Toonami since the revival (and has been good friends with CN/AS since the ’90s), has surprisingly scaled back this year. The only new show they’re offering – unless a surprise announcement pops up in the coming months (although it’s doubtful, since there’s less room for shows now) – is Michiko & Hatchin. Even before the convention, the shows that have premiered so far this year have been, surprisingly, not from the licensing giant. Shows like the highly requested fan-favorite Kill la Kill and the second season of Sword Art Online have more than made up for the block’s severe reduction in hours.
In another shocking twist, Toonami could have picked up more Viz or Aniplex shows to replace their current ones, which were both running low on their episode counts. Instead, they dropped the giant bombshell: Sentai Filmworks finally adorns the screens of the Absolution! Akame ga Kill joins the block on August 8th! This could have been the only show Toonami would pick up to merely test the waters of a partnership, but instead, one month later (on the day I’m writing this article), Toonami has proved that Sentai is here for keeps – they picked up TWO shows from Sentai! Parasyte -the maxim- also premieres in the Fall! The #4 spot on Sketch’s wish list has come true! This also opens the possibility of the first season of Big O actually making a triumphant return to the block. (See my old article on the subject.)
Finally, I don’t like to gloat, but… You’re wrong, Mackenzie. Combine this with the premiere of The Intruder II (finally) and an official Toonami app coming soon to mobile devices, 2015 is one heck of a year for Toonami. Despite our setbacks, Toonami has remained strong for the first half, and the quality is going to ramp up for the remaining six months. I couldn’t be anymore excited than I was during the explosive year of 2014.
Okay, I just needed to get all this off my chest. Next time, the final Second Wind for real. Don’t worry, I won’t take another five months.