Last year I came up with a list of ten shows that I wanted to see air on Toonami in 2015. Two of those series actually did air. I’m hoping I can improve upon that this time around by limiting myself to mostly recent shows that are not fifty or more episodes in length. I am also not retreading any series on the previous list so while I still would love to see Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hunter x Hunter, Tiger & Bunny, Psycho-Pass and Gundam Unicorn air on Toonami, they will not be discussed further here. This is also a list of series that I have either greatly enjoyed myself or come highly recommend by trusted associates. I can’t get around to watching all the anime out there after all and I do occasionally like to see something on Toonami before watching it anywhere else. Allow me to preface that these are not necessarily the shows that stand the best chance of airing on Toonami. Tokyo Ghoul, Seraph of the End, Noragami, Assassination Classroom, Magi, Log Horizon and Rin-ne all have a decent shot at airing on Toonami based on popularity and other factors but they are not among the shows that I am most interested in seeing on Toonami. If you can forgive my bias in that regard, we should be able to get along just fine while I discuss this list shows that I want to see air on Toonami this year.
Attack on Titan Season 2
Getting the dub of the second season of Attack on Titan on the air shortly after the Japanese broadcast would be a slam dunk for Toonami and that is actually feasible for this year if they are already working on a deal for it. However, there is next to no information available for the upcoming animated continuation of Attack on Titan so there’s actually no guarantee it will even air this year in Japan. On a similar thread, getting a broadcast dub of My Hero Academia would be excellent from everything I’ve heard about it. I’m not discussing that one at length because I know next to nothing about it. You can consider it an honorable mention. I’ve been keeping up with the manga for Attack on Titan and I’m honestly not sure how much they’ll try to adapt into the second season. The series is unlikely to conclude in 24-25 more episodes so the next season finale cliffhanger could be considerably more brutal than the first. It will either make the audience crave more or collectively bash their heads against the wall.
Book of Bantorra
This may seem like an unconventional pick but from what I’ve seen, the series has plenty of action and the characters have interesting powers at their disposal. The concept of armed librarians is intriguing as is the concept of people turning into stone books that tell their lives after their death. There’s a great deal of intrigue and a whole lot of violence. I almost hesitate to make this comparison but it feels like a more mature Akame ga Kill in some respects. It has some colorful characters lead by a stoic female badass, some underlying politics and the fights can get quite brutal. It does not change tone on a dime though, and that’s a relief. Book of Bantorra is an older series from Sentai Filmworks that could be in consideration for a lower profile premiere a bit later in the block. I’d have to imagine it would be plenty affordable at this point but it is probably the most obscure title on this list and as such I have doubts that the Toonami crew has even heard of it.
Toonami has not had a mecha series on since Gurren Lagann left the block early in 2015 and I for one am itching to see one air soon. Last year I watched Comet Lucifer and initially felt it was Toonami material but was rather soured by the ending. From what I hear of Aldnoah Zero, the ending pretty much ruins the series. All hope is not lost though, because Sentai Filmworks dubbed Majestic Prince and it should be readily available to air. In the series, a group genetically enhanced humans who are lousy at team work pilot a new kind of mobile battle suit which’s effectiveness is linked to the pilot’s survival instincts. This group of misfits ends up at the center of humanity’s struggle against an alien invasion. Admittedly, it’s not that original sounding on paper but I have been told it it’s a worth a watch. Long time Toonami viewers are sure to notice the character designs are from the same artist as those from Gundam SEED.
Is it Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?
Do not let the title put you off, this show is terrific. In a world where the gods live among us and have their own factions known as familia, Bell is the sole member of the goddess Hestia’s familia. He is saved from a Minotaur by a beautiful swordswoman and is instantly smitten with her. Bell’s adoration of the swordswoman pushes him to become stronger. He starts growing in strength at an alarming rate due to a special ability that causes his growth to be influenced by his feelings. Hestia doesn’t exactly like the fact that his growth has increased so much because of someone other than her but she still does her best to help him along the way. Eventually their little familia grows. There are a lot of amusing character interactions and thrilling dungeon crawls. Other than Toonami’s tendency not to air many 12 episode shows and the rather obnoxious title, I would say this should be a no-brainer for the block. It has the fantasy adventure and RPG elements of Sword Art Online without many of the elements that bog down that series. I hope they see beyond the laughable title and give it a shot. It aired early in 2015 so Sentai Filmworks is very likely to dub it this year.
Ushio & Tora
Reviving classic franchises has been in vogue lately. Ushio & Tora goes way back to the point that you will see similarities to several other series that have aired on Toonami and question which series inspired by which. Ushio unleashes a powerful tiger-like monster named Tora and is granted power of his own in the form of the Beast Spear. Together they defeat many mythological foes. Because these characters remain at odd throughout the story, hijinks are inevitable. It is solid shounen action adventure without hundreds of episodes to tackle. 26 episodes have aired at 13 more are on the way. Sentai Filmworks picked up the series and are likely to dub it this year.
Sword and sorcery meets modern military when defense force first lieutenant Itami finds himself exploring the mythical world beyond the gate which appeared in Japan one fateful day. Itami and his small troop from the Japanese Self-Defense Force are tasked with retaliating for the attack that took place in Japan. They form alliances with some of the local factions and soon add an elf, a young mage and a rather sadistic goddess to their entourage. There is a bit of a harem element going on that makes for some amusing moments but it does not become too intrusive. The series also likes to have fun with the fact that Itami happens to be an otaku who really only works out of necessity but also can’t stand to see harm come to innocent bystanders. 12 episodes aired over the summer and 12 more are currently airing. Sentai Filmworks is fairly likely to dub the series this year but the second season may not be ready until 2017 based on the fact that it only started airing in January.
FUNimation is dipping their toes into the production side of anime with this brand new cyber-punk series. A broadcast dub was previously announced with the release date to be determined which leads people to suspect a Toonami broadcast may be announced very soon. What we have here is a sci-fi serial not too unlike Ghost in the Shell with a dash of attitude reminiscent of Outlaw Star. In a future where nearly everything uses coils to extract energy from the limitless source dimension W, Collectors hunt down and retrieve illegal coils. One of these collectors is Kyoma, a guy who happens to despise modern technology. On one of his missions he meets a highly advance android girl named Mira whose father was the founder of the organization New Tesla. His dying wish to her was to retrieve illegal coils. Kyoma and Mira form a reluctant partnership despite Kyoma’s hatred of coils. Each episode has our odd couple on another mission to retrieve illegal coils. With every story, more is revealed about the world and what coils are capable of doing. It would be no small risk to air this series before it finishes airing in Japan but Toonami and FUNimation have the kind of partnership that could allow for it to happen. If nothing else it is a show that can potentially do well with the Toonami audience, so if they do miss the opportunity to premiere the dub on Toonami, it’s not out of the question for the show to air on the block later on.
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Brought to you by the creator of Trigun, Blood Blockade Battlefront features super powered beings, exciting adventures, intriguing world building and a healthy dose of insanity. The jazzy soundtrack evokes Baccano and Cowboy Bebop while the creature- filled city is roughly a more down to earth Space Dandy or Futurama. Leonardo Watch, keeper of the all-seeing eyes, has stumbled upon the crime fighting organization Libra. After being accepted into the group, Leo goes on missions with other members of Libra, mostly a lazy narcissistic bum named Zapp. Eventually Leo meets a girl named White and her twin brother Black and finds himself caught up in quite an ordeal but most of the episodes involve Leo and other members of the Libra dealing with whatever situation arises. Despite that, some episodes don’t involve Leo much at all, allowing other characters to get highlighted. The underlying story can feel a bit convoluted but overall it is a fun show that should appeal to a broad audience. B^3 was one of FUNimation’s broadcast dubs in spring of 2015. Toonami won’t get a dub premiere out of it but could potentially air it before the home video release. Whether they show it now or later, I hope they do air it. I would hate to see them pass on such a great series.
Lupin the Third: Part 4
After years out of the limelight in America, Lupin the Third has come back in a big way. The latest TV series is already being dubbed while it is still airing in Japan. Richard Epcar is back directing and the beloved cast of from dub that aired on Adult Swim is returning. What can possibly make that better? A Toonami broadcast of course! The Toonami crew, do happen to be Lupin fans, so I am sure they are looking into it already. They wanted to play the spin-off series centering on Fujiko but it was much too problematic to edit for air. This series on the other hand, is plenty tame enough to run without edits. Toonami could use another comedic adventure show in the roster and Lupin is perfect for that. I see it having the potential to do better now than the previous series did on Adult Swim given that Lupin is a more widely appreciated franchise here now than it was back then.
Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
The response to this latest incarnation of Gundam has been quite positive and a dub is planned for an early 2016 release. The story has a ragtag group of space orphans ditching their previous employers on Mars and forming their own faction, Tekkadan. They quickly realize there are a lot of problems that come from branching out on their own and have to build some strategic alliances while evading the attacks of the Earth military organization Gjallarhorn, who are pursing them for harboring a spear-head of the Martian independence movement, Princess Kudelia Aina Bernstein. In order to grant Kudelia safe passage they rely on Mikazuki Augus to defend them against Gjallarhorn’s forces with the Gundam Barbatos. The series takes Gundam back to its roots by depicting the horrors of war through the eyes of young soldiers. Gundam returning to US television would be a phenomenal event and Toonami is absolutely the best place to show it. I certainly hope Sunrise and Turner can come to an agreement to air it this year.
You knew the current “savior of anime” would not be left out of this discussion but pretenses aside, One-Punch Man has some of the best animated action sequences that I have seen in recent years. The series is directed by Shingo Natsume, the series director for Space Dandy. Given that, you know the comedy chops are on-point. The series is riddled with satire of super hero comics in a manner that feels familiar but also quite different and refreshing. Saitama decided one day to become a hero for fun and proceeded to train every day for three years until he became the strongest being in the known universe. Now his life has become dull and mundane because fights are no longer a challenge. He meets a cyborg named Genos who asks to become his disciple. Saitama does not really get why but decides to roll with it. Genos informs Saitama of the hero organization and the two of them enlist. It is at this point that Saitama meets advisories that he cannot defeat with one punch… bureaucracy and public perception. Saitama dealing with everyday annoyances can hit close to home for underemployed adults trying to make it on their own and there are a plethora of quirky super heroes he meets as he attempts to rise in the ranks. The animation is stunning, the action is phenomenal and it’s ridiculously charming throughout. Given its growing popularity there’s no doubt that One-Punch Man would do well for Toonami and while this list is not exactly ordered by preference, it is the show I most want to see on Toonami this year.
That’s my list. I hope it wasn’t all just as expected. Do you agree with my picks? Do you have some picks of your own? Feel free to sound off in the comment section below.
Major props go out to @K1NG_IC3 for all of the visuals made for this editorial.