Second Wind: Shows That Deserve Another Life (Final Edition)
Christmas is upon us, and I promised I wouldn’t take five months to write the next article (we’re getting close to the end of the fifth month), so let’s crank out this final installment of Second Wind. This is a compilation of shows that have aired on Toonami in the past, and I frankly would be glad if they never returned to the block in its current incarnation.
A matter of months after Toonami returned to the airwaves and the crew started their Tumblr, they were flooded with requests to bring back Zatch Bell. Surprisingly, it was in the top three requests for a while!
Zatch Bell itself wasn’t a bad show, and if anyone out there still believes this show should make a comeback, it’s time to face the reality of the situation: This show does not fit Adult Swim. We’ve seen borderline cases of shonen in the past like Inuyasha, DBZ, YYH, and yes, even One Piece where they’re arguably not technically adult shows, yet could work for nearly any age group. This show is not one of those cases. Zatch Bell is a straight-up toy commercial. Period. It fits the mold of fighting monster shows like Pokémon, Digimon, or the very recent Yo-Kai Watch. If Vortexx was still around, this show would’ve fit that block like a glove and could have been a potential killer app. Likewise, if Disney and Nicktoons didn’t have terrible scheduling and weren’t dodgy with the action/anime properties they occasionally pick up, I could see this show being a hit on their networks. Zatch Bell is meant to appeal to kids; a toyetic series would stick out like the sorest of thumbs on Adult Swim.
Unfortunately, Viz no longer owns the rights to the series. The rights to the series (which are now DVD only, so TV broadcasts are not an option) have been transferred to Cinedigm, and the English dub remains unfinished.
Groove Adventure Rave was one of the worst shows Toonami had aired. The animation was terrible, the unfunny gags would later be upstaged (and done better) by Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, and the clichéd story was never finished. However, those criticisms pale in comparison to the main problem, which can be summarized in three words: No. Uncut. Release.
Tokyopop announced this series for Toonami back in 2002, and after making us wait two long, grueling years for the eventual broadcast, what do they have to show for it? A hack dub with even more incompetent editing than 4Kids. Worse yet, this was the ONLY version they made available. Did you want a sub, or at least an unedited dub? Sorry, you’re out of luck. It’s a miracle that Syfy was even willing to swoop in and pick up the rights shortly after Toonami’s cancellation. It’s been aired enough, now let it remain in obscurity where it belongs.
This might seem like an odd addition to this list, but the franchise has had its history on Toonami, so I’m including it regardless. The Transformers franchise already has a few knocks against it. The most recent incarnation of the franchise is currently airing on Cartoon Network, and Hasbro is holding the rights to the other shows on other networks like Discovery Family and, oddly, Machinima. There’s also the point I made earlier that toyetic shows wouldn’t work on Adult Swim. Unfortunately, the worst offender of the franchise is Toonami’s history, which turned out to be an unpleasant experience. We’ve had to endure the awful Unicron Trilogy, and the only good show to air on CN, Transformers Animated, was relegated to Jetstream. If the Transformers franchise and Toonami had worked better in the past, I would have been forgiving and probably not have included it on this list. Unfortunately, instead of peanut butter and jam, we got tuna.
Finally, I’ve been saving the biggest one for last…
No single franchise frustrates me more on a personal level. The harem genre is a largely mediocre cesspool in the anime medium, and the Tenchi franchise codified many of the genre’s worst aspects. The main character is flat and uninteresting, yet he can somehow attract every female in the galaxy. It doesn’t matter if the girls are way out of his age range or if it’s an incestuous relationship, because it’s conveniently okay! Ugh… Also, our bland protagonist is somehow gifted with all the amazing powers of the universe (even when he doesn’t deserve them) and he shares some unique origin story with all of the girls because…contrived writing.
The Tenchi franchise, no matter which incarnation you’re watching (even the more well-received ones like War on Geminar), is essentially a Mary Sue Battle Royale, and it’s not fun to watch. The girls have no motivation beyond wanting to get into the main character’s pants (and making sure the others don’t). None of the characters (heroes, villains, side characters…) have any sort of depth and the incest subtext is downright creepy. Not only is the Tenchi franchise outright bad in general, but its popularity had a negative impact on the anime industry; it opened the floodgates for samey romantic comedies with lack of creativity that wound up becoming a mainstay since its initial publication over 20 years ago. Aside from picking up the disastrous GXP (which is minor compared to everything else I mentioned here), I dislike what this franchise represents, and I’d rather it not return to Toonami in any form.
Well, that concludes my look back at the Toonami shows of yesteryear. It was a fun couple of years writing this series of articles for Toonami Fan. Would I continue writing about other things relating to the block? We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess…
[Image credit: cow41087]