Second Wind: Shows That Deserve Another Life (Part 1)
[We’re happy to have Graham (better known as Daikun) from Toonami Infolink contributing an article series. Enjoy!]
When Toonami returned to the airwaves on May 26, 2012, the last thing I expected was for the revived block to bring back the shows that made Toonami a household name a decade earlier. I figured they would diversify the lineup with a few American cartoons – as Sym-Bionic Titan, ThunderCats, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars would indicate – in order to distance their new identity from being just a continuation of Adult Swim Action with Toonami bumpers. Primarily, I guessed they would be showing mainly new, adult-oriented anime due to the new demographic they’d have to cater to.
I didn’t expect Toonami to actually go out of their way and reacquire shows from their former life.
Okay, One Piece seemed like a given considering the show’s sordid history here in the States that needed to be rectified, but Naruto? IGPX? And now Samurai Jack? To me, the return of the old greats was my biggest surprise of 2013 and I hope they continue this trend in the future. As we head into a new year, with prospects seeming brighter (and content standards looser) for this new Toonami, I’ll be creating a series of articles with my personal list of shows that I feel would be great for a comeback.
Before I begin, I’m laying down two ground rules:
1. No shows that air exclusively on Adult Swim Action. Sorry, but you won’t be seeing shows like Trigun or Samurai Champloo on this list. Remember, this is a list of shows that are returning to Toonami, and they can’t exactly return if they never aired there in the first place.
2. No shows where the rights are expired or in limbo. This means I won’t be putting Megas XLR, Genndy’s Clone Wars, Sailor Moon, etc. on this list. Having to ask for these shows when they’re clearly unattainable would be unrealistic, and it would make the list too long, anyway.
And those are the rules. Now, let’s talk about the big fish that everyone wants…
#0: Dragon Ball Z
Anything but that! I’ve explained over a year ago in the Toon Zone forum why I don’t want DBZ back on Toonami, so I’ll keep this brief. It has aired way too much (on and off Toonami), both back when it was airing new episodes and long after it was finished. The same goes for Kai, which is essentially the same show and has aired on TWO networks! The show has been around for so long that you probably already own the entire series multiple times on DVD and Blu-Ray through FUNi’s continuously rehashed Dragon Box sets. It’s also a waste of Toonami space – it spans nearly 300 episodes and would take years to go through. That time could be better spent on other shows that really deserve the exposure.
But even though I don’t want the series to air again, I wouldn’t be opposed to them airing the movies. There were quite a few that Toonami skipped over in their previous incarnation. I would also be fine if they aired the original Dragonball, or – heck – even GT. Yes, I know that Nicktoons currently has it, but there’s always the chance that they could lose the license like Disney recently did with Shippuden.
In a few weeks, Toonami will be bringing its most popular samurai back to the lineup, so let’s start off the list by nominating another samurai who deserves a reprise.
#1: Rurouni Kenshin
This show is an interesting case that I’ll have to put it in the “maybe” category. Now, the first thing you’re probably thinking is, “doesn’t this violate your second criteria?” Yes, you make a good observation. Media Blasters lost the rights to the series in early 2012. (Just before Toonami came back, too. Ouch!) However, Media Blasters wasn’t the only licensee to that series, so yes, Toonami can bring it back. There’s a bit of a catch, though, which is why I’m saying “maybe” to this series instead of a definite “yes”.
The Toonami Faithful Podcast has explained the situation (fast forward to 1:20:05) regarding the rights to Kenshin‘s license in the United States, which I’ll briefly summarize here. Kenshin was actually dubbed more than once, and Media Blasters’ version is the second dub of the series. The first was made by Sony. When they were planning to distribute Kenshin to the United States, Media Blasters took a look at their dub and offered to make a much better one. That superior version aired on Toonami. While Media Blasters’ license eventually expired, Sony (as a series producer) still holds the rights to the series today.
The Media Blasters dub is sadly out of print, but you can still view both dubs online for a comparison. The dub you all know and love can be viewed on Crunchyroll (you need a premium account to watch it), while the Sony dub is available on Hulu. So Toonami can theoretically bring Kenshin back uncut (!!!) – including the 30+ unaired episodes from its previous run – but it comes at the cost of having to listen to an inferior dub. Would fans be willing to accept these conditions?
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There’s one possible silver lining to this situation: Sony owns Aniplex, which Toonami is establishing a relationship with thanks to the success of Sword Art Online and the upcoming Blue Exorcist. Maybe, one day, Sony can hand Rurouni Kenshin off to its subsidiary and commission a new dub.
Next time, another pick! Watch this space!
[Image credit: cow41087]