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Toonami 2012: A Comeback Review

As many of you may know, Toonami aired on May 26th. This was a triumphant return to [adult swim] after their April Fools prank this year. There was a long running hashtag going around on Twitter wanting the return of Toonami. If you do not know what Toonami is here is the rundown. Toonami is an animation block containing action-packed anime. The host is Tom voiced by Steve Blum. It originated in March 1997 and ended on September 2008. People, like myself, grew up with Toonami and was the introduction to anime such as Cowboy Bebop and Tenchi Muyo. With the changing times Toonami eventually fizzled out and ran the course. On May 26th, 2012 Toonami was brought back from the dead. [adult swim] issued a statement saying if people wanted Toonami back they would have to tweet #BringBackToonami. After nearly two months, their website was updated saying #ToonamiisBackBitches. This started an uproar within the community. I watched Toonami and as a long time fan of Tom I nearly brought a tear to my eye seeing that robot again on television.


So you may be wondering to yourself, “Why is this guy talking about Toonami?” Well, considering Koku Gamer is a Videogame/Anime/Manga review site I may as well review Toonami as a whole. How will I go about this? I will review the lineup of Toonami that aired on May 26th, talking about each of the shows and their relevance to the programming block.


The first show to air on the new Toonami was Bleach. I know the significance of Bleach. Oh wait, for a second there I thought it was the cleaning product. Bleach is a show about a 15 year old boy who has demon powers. The show gained massive popularity in the states and you can now purchase your Bleach products at Hot Topic. Once a brand hits Hot Topic it is the bottom of the barrel to make money. Bleach is still running, but not running strong. Yes there are still new episodes but the show is riddled with filler that is not relevant to the series. After talking with Bleach fans it seems that the important story arcs have long been finished and any new episodes are just wringing out the fans for money.


Needless to say, I watched this episode of Bleach (this would be my third time attempting to watch it) and I hated it. The show is a very standard anime with extravagant fight scenes. I have seen it all before. Dragonball and Dragonball Z did it first and those shows have run their course. The episode was boring and predictable. “Golly gee this guy sure is strong! Oh wait, after I get my ass beat I see how to beat him!” I can’t really see how this show has caught on. It has bad writing, mediocre animation and atrocious voice acting. Now before you hipsters comment on my voice acting joke I will state that I am an American and I speak the English language. I do not care if the Japanese voice actors sound better or not. Maybe if you spent less time reading the subtitles and more time watching the show you would see how bad it is. So first off Toonami disappointed me with their opener. Bleach is everywhere and I do not want it plaguing one of my favorite television blocks.


Next up was Deadman Wonderland. I have never heard of this show at all. I try to think of myself as someone who keeps a diverse group of friends and none of them have mentioned this show. I was interested. The animation was above average and the voice acting was diverse. The main character had a rough time getting used to though. That is what happens when you are going through puberty. As I am watching the show I get the vibe that it is a dark show with “suggestive themes”. This show is violent nonetheless and I get the impression it was heavily edited so the FCC could retain their eye virginity.


Deadman Wonderland is about a boy who is possessed by a demonic force and unwillingly commits a crime. In a twisted form of justice he is placed on Death Row. In this show, when you are put on Death Row you wear a collar that will kill you unless you eat special candy that prevents the machine from doing what it does. To earn more candy than you are given when you are first admitted is you risk your life to the entertainment of others. If your life is put in danger and you live, you get candy. The main character is a push over and he is beaten time and time again for his heroics. The show gets pretty graphic as you see this child get kicked on the ground time and time again even though he is pleading for help and for them to stop. The demonic force inside of him has a “Give a fuck” limit and when it reaches the “IDGAF’ stage it breaks loose and gives said character superpowers. The show kept me interested and I could see myself tuning in to watch the show on Toonami. It may be a kid with demon powers at least he isn’t a total airhead like Ichigo. While I enjoyed the show, it seems a bit too violent for Toonami. However, I feel like the show should be kept.


Next up was Casshern Sins. Casshern Sins is about the Robot Hunter Casshern and he knows nothing but to kill the robots that are plaguing the planet. The show is filled with action and would be incredibly graphic if he was disemboweling robots. His story is filled with broken memories and violence. He does not want to be the face of death and destruction but he must protect himself and those who need it. Casshern Sins has good animation. The fight scenes are top notch given the somewhat low budget quality of the art style. There are a few arcs of the Casshern franchise and Sins is one of the more recent ones. The series never kicked off too much here in the states. The show even got a well done live action film over in Japan. When I was watching Casshern Sins I got a bit of Gundam out of it. I have no idea why. I do not have much to make fun of or complain about Casshern Sins. It fits very well on Toonami.






After Casshern Sins was Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. While the show is not particularly old, it is not that new. It follows the story of an alchemist and his brother. Some shit went down and the soul of Edward’s (Main character) brother becomes trapped in a large metallic suit. His body is powerful and deals serious damage when backed into a corner. I fail to see what makes this show any good. From the episode shown you don’t see what the repercussions are for his brother being in the suit. It fails to grab any interest. For the sake of giving it a try I watched the first episode of Brotherhood yesterday and I was bored to death. It is the show that pretty much made Vic Mignona’s career and it is a shame. I can see why it is on Toonami, I just don’t agree with it.






Following FMA:B was Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG. I am fond of the Ghost in the Shell series. The gritty mystery/cop/military thriller set in a dystopian cyberpunk city is a welcome change to many animated shows. Ghost in the Shell fits late night television. The only issue with Ghost in the Shell is you cannot get into it when you haven’t started from the beginning. In many cases if you miss an episode you have no clue what is going on. That is a really big downer especially for people who can’t stay up until 2am every night to catch the latest episode. I guess the airing episode wasn’t a good choice either. Mainly because it didn’t start from the beginning of the series, so you are left with people making actions that no one knows the reasons to.






Last but not least, the final show of Toonami was Cowboy Bebop. I discovered the space cowboy action thriller on Toonami long ago. It was great to see it on TV as a scheduled program again. Sure the series is a bit old and it has only one season with 26 episodes but every person should at least see Cowboy Bebop at least once if you are going to get into anime. Cowboy Bebop deserves to be on Toonami. You don’t tear down a sculpture because it is old. You keep it there as a monument to remember the past.


Well that was the lineup of the reinstated Toonami. So what do you think? Quite frankly, Bleach and FMA:B ruined the lineup. The shows are bad and overplayed. You can catch them on standard [adult swim] and they just over-saturate the market. While I am an old fashioned kind of guy I will not object to having newer anime on Toonami. The reason why these shows were chosen is for legal and budgetary reasons. [adult swim] did not have the funding to make DBZ or Tenchi Muyo to the lineup. The rights of the shows are also buried underneath a large amount of paperwork. With Bandai and Funimation getting on the defensive about online pirating, they won’t hand out their licensing like they used to.


I would want to see some of my favorite shows like Tenchi or Dragonball back on television, their time as passed. There was a large scale of discussion happening on Facebook and Twitter. Commenting on shows that should have been included and shows that should not have been. The biggest arugment was newer animes like Bleach and Naruto should be on Toonami, while older shows like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell should be taken off due to their age. The best way to deal with this, is to have Toonami retreat and be left in the history books. It died out in the 2008 and made a triumphant comeback (thanks to the fans) in 2012. That is a feat worthy of bragging about.


Toonami is a staple in my childhood as well as many other people. Tom’s personality was the same, he even did a video game review. I couldn’t help but be lost in nostalgia when experiencing Toonami once again. It was nice, but with the anime available now, things are just not the way they used to be. With that said, I thought Toonami’s return was fantastic, but Toonami should stay in limbo and return to our memories. Some things are just too good to revive.


Leave A Reply
  1. Shinji Akari says
    December 15, 2013, 11:03 PM

    Although myself as a person who does not lik Bleach for comparison reasons, I must agree. Even though some may say the anime is bland. You are correct. I did not lik how the story was heading but in the first season it is solid and gives the creators a base to make a fitting story. I may not like it as a favorite, but they still have my respect for creating something at least starting to watch in the first place.

  2. My Balls Hurt says
    November 18, 2012, 12:37 AM

    I don’t think that you can really judge Bleach off of 1 episode. Your friends that watch Bleach must not read Bleach. Bleach on that day still hadn’t finished one of its most important arcs. You just happened to watch it on its shitty filler episode.

  3. Theguywhogivesafuck says
    June 19, 2012, 3:04 PM

    There are so many mistakes in this review that i was forced to write a comment. First of all i do agree with what you said about bleach, I also find most of its animation lacking and undetailed, but then again, the episode they showed on that night was nothing but filler. Bleach would be amazing if it’s filler arcs never happened, because believe it or not, the canon story arcs and fight scenes are exceptional, including the animation. Second Deadman wonderland, you stated
    “Deadman Wonderland is about a boy who is possessed by a demonic force and unwillingly commits a crime.” that is not correct. He was never possessed by anything. The person he calls “the red guy” randomly appeared out of his school’s window and murdered all of his classmates, including his friends, it was never him. This show is extremely popular in japan and i can see why they chose to put it in toonami, you could say its toonami’s “MVP” right now. The story is filled with intrigue and mystique, and it keeps you reeled in, the animation is beautiful, and since its only 12 episodes long it’ll allow toonami to replace it with something new after it is done. Now, Casshern sins, it never was that much popular here in the states, besides us who collect and watch anime. I think that this show won’t do well in Toonami. If you are new to the series and haven’t watched the prequel OVAS (like most people who watch toonami) you won’t get what’s going on. The story will get confusing and it has a tendency to get boring and drag out, they must have gotten the license for it pretty cheaply, and that’s good considering the low budget Toonami was given. Now, the thing i disagreed with you about this review the most was your comment on FMA:B. That anime is considered a masterpiece and one of the best anime ever made. One obviously won’t get whats going on from watching the episode that was shown that one night, since it was pretty far ahead. Also the first episode is nothing but a “foreshadowing”, not a real first episode. The real “first” episode is episode 2, thats the one that explains everything from how Ed and his brother learned alchemy as kids, to how Ed lost his arm and leg and Al’s soul being sealed in an armor suit. FMA is full of originality and is nothing less than epic. The characters are amazingly well written and are full of development, something most anime nowadays lack throughoutly. Now lastly GITS and Cowboy Bepop, where to start. I think both are great classic titles that deserve to be called classics, and in cowboy’s case a masterpiece, but they have been shown over and over and over again so many times that it makes me not want to watch it again. Toonami should bring more new shows, and give viewers a reason to stay watching after 2am.

    • Zach M. says
      June 19, 2012, 9:25 PM

      I also stated on a few occasions on how I was not paying very much attention to both Brotherhood and Deadman Wonderland. Therefore my thoughts on their premises can very much be wrong.


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