Second Wind: Shows That Deserve Another Life (Runner-ups)
Up to this point, we’ve seen a list of potential shows that I feel would make a great comeback on the new Toonami block. Now I think it’s just about time we take a look at the shows that I’d rather not see return to Toonami, for one reason or another. Before we get into the total failures, though, I’m going to talk about the runner-ups and honorable mentions. These are the shows where they could probably come back and I think would make a nice addition today, but there are certain stipulations from holding them back. So, without further adieu…
This is the main show that I’ve debating the most since I’ve started these articles. I wasn’t certain whether to include it or not, so I felt that putting it here in the “in-between list” would be the best course of action. On the one hand, this show IS still licensed—S’more Entertainment has been holding onto the rights since day one, so Toonami can potentially bring it back. However, the problem lies with the quality of the show. This series is VERY divisive; either fans enjoy the absurd humor or they find it obnoxious. Personally, I’ve always teetered on the fence about it and I could never find myself leaning either way.
However, another problem only just now recently arose which prompted me to put this in the “no” pile: Toonami recently shrank from midnight-3:30. Toonami is going to need the best ratings it can possibly obtain to survive, and that would mean constantly rotating shows and premieres to keep the block from becoming stale. A rerunning show that would last well over a year wouldn’t be the best course of action to take in this dire situation. Sorry, Bobobo-bo, but it’s not the best of times to put you back on (just yet, anyway).
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002)
Before Space Dandy and even before Megas XLR, the updated remake of He-Man was Toonami’s first world premiere series, and it was glorious! This show fixed many of the issues with the 1980s series — better animation (although, really, topping Filmation isn’t that hard of a feat), more exciting action, less annoying characters, and more development for characters that either got little or no screen time in the original series. (Fun fact: There were a few models from the toyline that never appeared in the ’80s series, but made their debut in this version.) The problem with this show is that the rights are ambiguous. The last time this series has seen the light of day was on Boomerang in 2006. Did Cartoon Network write it off? Does Mattel have the show? Does Mike Young Productions or any of its successors still have the rights? No answer has ever been given, so until that lingering question is resolved, the status of the show remains here as a runner-up.
Duel Masters (Season One)
This may seem like one of the stranger entries to put on this list, but I genuinely enjoyed Duel Masters. I know that there’s practically zero chance of this show returning to Toonami, but I’m putting it here, anyway. In my previous entries, you may recall that I advocated for the shows to return uncut, but for this show, I’m willing to make an exception and actually advocate for the edited version — mainly because it’s the ONLY version worth watching. The gag dub was what elevated this show from a generic Yu-Gi-Oh! clone to a parody of the source material, and they did it over a year BEFORE LittleKuriboh launched the popular Abridged Series meme, so this dub was ahead of its time. However, I’d only advocate the first 22 episodes of the series, since the first season was dubbed by Plastic Cow, who put the most amount of effort into the production. The latter seasons were done by other studios and are less memorable; their efforts were rather half-assed and had weaker voice acting.
By the way, Hasbro still has the rights to this franchise, but they prefer to forget this ever existed. They tried to replace this series with their lame Kaijudo spinoff on the Hub… Oh, wait. That doesn’t exist anymore? Serves ’em right.* :P Anyway, since Discovery Communications snatched away most of their control over the network, Hasbro has been bringing their shows to other venues. The newest Transformers series, which was meant to come to the Hub initially, is now coming to CN this March. Also, a new Duel Masters series (not based on Kaijudo) is premiering in Japan this April, so the time would be right to capitalize on it, even if the age demographic is way off base (although adults might like it, especially Internet dwellers who enjoy Abridged Series and might want to check out the prototype). I know the chances are less than 1%, but if Toonami somehow managed to make a deal to get the first season back, I would be floored.
*It should be noted that I didn’t hate the Hub. I just disliked how Hasbro quickly wasted the young network’s potential after just a few years.
Ooh, boy. I’m going to get a lot of flak for this one… Yes, Mainframe/Rainmaker still owns this show (it’s their creation, after all) and Toonami could probably pick it back up some day and capitalize on the revival that has been rumored for years. Also, Toonami could certainly use some more western shows after their schedule got repeatedly hijacked since September. The reason it’s here is actually because of personal preference: I don’t like ReBoot. Actually, by extension, I don’t care for much anything Mainframe/Rainmaker has made. Their animation has always left a lot to be desired. Yes, I’m aware that they pioneered CGI animation before Toy Story, so they hold a special place in animation history for technical advancement of the medium. The problem is that their animation always, always looks like a tech demo. No matter how much they upgrade their hardware as time progresses, I can barely stand to watch anything they produce.
I also personally find their material to be rather dull or slow-paced. The only thing I’ve liked from Mainframe was their AcceleRacers series of OVAs. I’m well aware that ReBoot has its legions of fans and they’re probably eagerly anticipating the day when the show returns to Toonami, whether it’s the old series or the new incarnation that’s in production, and I’m totally okay with those fans’ wishes. It’s been well over a decade since we’ve seen anything new from the series, and it’s high time Mainframe gave the fans what they’ve been long wanting. If Toonami picks it up, that’s totally fine. I personally just lack the interest, that’s all.
Okay, that’s it for the honorable mentions. Next time, I really let loose on the shows that I don’t want back.
[Image credit: cow41087]