It’s well passed that time again where the staff here at Toonamifaithful.com pick out series that finished up in Japan, that could air on Toonami. Obviously, with how much we enjoy watching anime, we try to find the best action series that make sense for Toonami to air in the future. Lately, it’s felt as if anime has moved away from action considering how few of them aired this past winter season. It wasn’t as bone dry as I first thought it was, but it certainly has felt like a diminishing genre. Of course in the spring, a lot of that changes, but as of now this winter season certainly seemed lacking (for lack or a better word). However, there were still a few series that caught our attention, and we feel could have a shot at making it on the block. It’s difficult for those at Toonami to keep up with a massive amount of anime that is produced, so hopefully, this can be a helpful cheat sheet as to what shows they should keep an eye on in the future.
(Originally C.J had Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga as one of his choices, but with the news of the English dub becoming a Hulu exclusive, that pick was taken off. Sorry for the delay on this article, feel free to blame Sketch).
I was hopeful for a good adaptation of Chain Chronicle when I heard an anime was going to be made. I’ve played the mobile game before and had an enjoyable experience. So when I heard that the mobile game was going to be adapted into an anime (and movie), I was excited. It came with a ton of characters, all who were fun to play as. This left me curious as to how the adaptation would look overall. After watching the series, I did enjoy what it had to offer. It just didn’t grab me as much as Blue Exorcist and other series (which is a bit unfair). It had all the elements that could make it a Toonami show, and one that fans might be interested in seeing considering how popular the mobile game was a while back.
The biggest worry I had was how on earth would Chain Chronicle get to showcase every character. There were a ton (as I recall in the game), and being able to give each character the spotlight is impossible (as this is one the reasons why I don’t think a Fire Emblem anime would work out but I’m aware of the OVA from years ago). Thankfully Chain Chronicle didn’t try to give every character a ton of screen time to make sure everyone’s favorite character felt relevant. We have our primary focus of Yuri and his suppression army, and the adventures of the main heroes. During the series, the army picks up and loses members at different points to keep the group feeling fresh. It was a gentle ebb and flow of characters moving in and out that felt logical. There were a few characters I’d want to see more of, but Chain Chronicle made a valiant effort to show off a lot of their personalities and grab as many as they could. Their efforts didn’t displease me in the slightest.
The real strength of Chain Chronicle for me was the action sequences. They were all very dramatic, and the choreography was good. In fact, I give credit to the CG fights that didn’t look messy or choppy. I put it on the same level as GARO: The Animation as both did an excellent job integrating CG characters with two-dimensional ones. Both the voice acting and music enhanced these fight scenes, especially when hearing Ricco Fajardo yell “seize the light.” For me, it was one of the more impressive casts for a broadcast dub, considering how many were needed for this project.
However, it has a similar issue that Gundam Unicorn has (which is currently airing on Toonami). Since Chain Chronicle was a movie first (with the series being exactly like the film, just with more stopping points), this series has points where the anime just stops to end an episode. Unlike something that was purposely made for television, it can end on an abrupt note that can alter how viewers feel. It wasn’t a huge hindrance in enjoying the series, but be aware the issue does come up. Also, I felt there was a lot of unneeded fan service, especially with Phoena. It wasn’t necessary at all which can detract viewers overall enjoyment.
Everyone thinks Chuta is a weirdo because he is constantly talking to himself but the reality is far more peculiar. Chuta lives with a symbiotic creature that tries to aid him in his everyday life. Chuta’s little friend Dohlu isn’t the only extra-terrestrial around either. All manner of creatures from other worlds live among us but thankfully the officers of the intergalactic police force: ElDlive manage to maintain order. Due to various circumstances, Chuta joins ElDlive at the chagrin of his female classmate Mizuno. Together with the help of Dohlu, they track down alien criminals and help keep the rest of the populace oblivious.
I Initially I wrote ElDlive off as a bit too youthful for Toonami but after watching the entire season it is clear the series would be too much for children’s television here. It’s hardly adult but neither is Dragon Ball Super. ElDlive at the very least has several more content concerns than DBS. There’s quite a bit of perverted humor and the story takes some dark turns as some of Chuta’s history is revealed. The tone feels a bit bipolar but not to the extent that it create mood whiplash. I’d say it abruptly gets more serious after a point but more or less stays there for the rest of the season as the stakes increase.
ElDlive, in many ways, is the comedic space police adventure that I wanted Tenchi Muyo GXP to be and is reminiscent of the quirky sci-fi classic: Men in Black. All manner of scenarios are possible and there is a wealth of alien species to meet. The secondary cast includes a lot of fun and lively characters. I feel a definite weakness is that the overall plot does not accomplish much in twelve episodes. Thankfully the season does not end on a massive cliffhanger but as the manga is still going there are plenty of loose threads hanging. It would be a pretty fun show for Toonami to air but maybe they should wait to see if another season is going to be produced. It is however available dubbed from FUNimation right now so that’s one more thing that helps its prospects for airing on Toonami.
There’s many “normal guy stuck in a fantasy world” anime but none are quite like KonoSuba. The “Always Sunny” of anime makes a point to take the piss out of the whole divisive sub-genre. What if the antisocial shut-in wasn’t some unrivaled badass? What if the Goddess who sent him to the fantasy world was a pathetic wreck? What if the powerful mage was largely useless? What is the brave female knight was a complete masochist? Those are Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin and Darkness in a nut shell. All four of our heroes are the greatest of trash and you will love them for it.
Wherever the gang goes, trouble is sure to follow. Their quest is to eventually kill the dark lord and his minions but in the meantime they just gotta do jobs to keep food on the table. Their luck can bring them great riches and then just as easily leave them in even greater debt. Kazuma is constantly trying to prevent his party from dying from their own lack of common sense or causing more property damage than the dark lord’s minions do. You can’t help but cheer for their occasional success and groan and laugh at their constant failures.
Comedy anime can be a tricky fit for Toonami but I would say KonoSuba has more than enough action to mesh with the typical line-up. Unfortunately it currently has no dub but maybe it will someday. Alex von David (ADR director for KILL la KILL, Sword Art Online, Durarara x2, Blue Exorcist, Erased) would love to get a crack at adapting it. I hope a deity more competent than Aqua can make that a reality.
Twin Star Exorcists:
Crunchyroll had some pretty decent gems this past season, and I chose to write about Twin Star Exorcists, as it could be a great addition to Toonami down the road. We watch as 14-year-old Rokuro Enmado who was once an aspiring exorcist to help humanity live peacefully. However, two years before our story takes place, a tragic event occurs that completely traumatizes Rokuro making him give up on his dream. On a chance encounter after this horrible incident, Rokuro meets Adashino Benio a girl the same age as himself who is said to be a powerful and well-known exorcist from the east. While trying to help Benio get to her destination, they get lost. Eventually, they come into contact with a kegare, and they enter a domain of the kegare called Magano. Rokuro is forced to come to Benio’s aid when she can’t defeat the kegare. Benio is in awe of Rokuro’s power and is more confused on why he has given up becoming an exorcist.
— The Fandom Post (@fandompost) March 3, 2017
Later on, it is revealed that Rokuro and Benio are meant to be the Twin Star Exorcist a husband and wife exorcist duo who would bring forth the Miko (who is the child born to the Twin Stars who would finally end the 1000 year war between the exorcist and kegare). Both Rokuro and Benio are opposed to this but head Exorcist: Arima Tsuchimikado has other plans for the duo and plans to help nurture their relationship to bring forth the savior to the world.
Together with their comrades, Rokuro and Benio fight many battles together becoming stronger, which was one of the better aspects of the series. The fights were very enjoyable, well animated, and surprisingly brutal at points. One of the most intense battles was when the pair struggles against a powerful Basara class kegare (think Arrancar in Bleach) who has a history with Benio. Plus, Rokuro’s first battle between him and the main antagonist was also more bloody than I’d expect from a shounen series.
Hold hands for the new Twin Star Exorcists key art ahead of the new arc!
— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) March 8, 2017
What hurts this series is that nearly half (or more) of the overall series is filler. After the first 22 episodes, we see Rokuro and Benio after a two-year time skip. Filler episodes might not be the best thing to hear, but Twin Star Exorcists did offer some enjoyable arcs (such as the SAE arc or Dragon Spots arc). The fights themselves weren’t too bad either, as even the filler episodes didn’t put me off. For whatever reason, I thought the plot points in the later arcs were interesting and engaging, something that I think fans should experience. Plus some of the villains that came from this arc were great in the sense that you wanted the heroes to beat them. In the end, the reason why I follow simulcasts is not only for my own personal preference in anime, but also to see what would fit as a working cog in the Toonami Machine. I greatly enjoyed this series as a whole and recommend Twin Star Exorcists to anyone who is a fan of shounen anime.
Those were the staff picks from the winter season’s simulcasts, but do you think we missed any? Feel free to send suggestions in the comments section. Plus follow our staff on Twitter @Sketch1984, @OOKAMI_SAMURAI7, and @SeaJayMaffris