Second Wind: Shows That Deserve Another Life (Part 3)
I thought I’d wait for a few episodes of Blue Exorcist to air on Toonami before I started my next entry in this series. But then something unexpected happened, which prompted me to switch gears: Toonami has lost the rights to InuYasha and is replacing it with Sym-Bionic Titan. That got me thinking – what happened to the mech shows on Toonami? They were pretty prominent when the block returned in 2012, then they just quietly vanished over time. I’m sure mech shows will inevitably make their comeback as licenses change hands, but there’s one series in particular that Toonami and Adult Swim fans alike have been wanting to make its triumphant return for years:
#3: Big O (Season 1, at least)
Toonami’s April Fool test-run would be the first and last time season one of Big O would air on Toonami/Adult Swim, despite the second season running non-stop for nearly a decade. It would be one of the last hurrahs (aside from Eureka 7) for a classic Bandai property before the company disappeared into the ether. A year would pass, and anime fans rejoiced as Sunrise announced that several of Bandai’s franchises would be returning to the U.S. through other distributors (see the previous article for info on that), and hopes were raised even higher that Big O was one of the listed potential titles. Then came the crushing blow.
Both seasons of Big O were licensed to Sentai Filmworks.
Yes, Sentai Filmworks – the successor to ADV Films, the company that has received minimal promotion on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim for unknown reasons. Jason DeMarco himself has denied that there’s any “bad blood” between the two companies, yet the lack of acquisitions over the years gives the feeling of a seriously strained relationship. I’m still trying to understand the thought process of Sentai wanting to license this series. Did they do this to mock us? Did they pick up the show with a “carrot on a stick” mentality to lure Toonami into opening new possibilities with the company? Or did they simply do it because it was a popular show and they wanted to make good money off of it? In any case, it feels rather deliberate.
Although we should be thankful Adult Swim holds the broadcast rights to the second season permanently and can air it whenever they want, the fact remains that it was overplayed on Adult Swim Action. In comparison, the first season feels like a breath of fresh air. In my opinion, the first season is also the better of the two halves – the second season was more convoluted and philosophical than it needed to be. The first season seemed more focused, using the premise of Paradigm City as more of a backdrop for the tone of the show (solving small-time mysteries) than a full-blown conspiracy going in too many directions to make any sort of sense.
Even though Toonami’s chances of reacquiring the first season are as slim as they were when Bandai closed its doors, we can at least take solace in the fact that it’s no longer in licensing limbo and we can buy the season on DVD again later this year. That said, it would certainly be nice if Toonami can make the extra effort to get this season back in the air. Heck, maybe they could also get an HD remaster of season two from Sentai while they’re at it. Considering how tight funding is, though, that might be overreaching.
Up next, number four!
[Image credit: cow41087]