Some fans were worried about what Toonami’s latest show announcement would be, and would go to social media to voice their doubts. The preconceptions like, get ready for the FUNimation block on Adult Swim. Or there’s no way a long-running series will be acquired with Dragon Ball Z KaiOne Piece, and Naruto Shippuden already in the lineup. Or one of my favorites, dubbing companies seem to be more interested in streaming websites than they are in Toonami. Well, all of those beliefs should now be shattered, as it was announced on Toonami Preflight that Hunter x Hunter (the 2011 version) will be joining the lineup on April 16 at 1 a.m. Oh, how sweet it is, as one of the more popular shonen titles will be making an English dub premiere on the action block. It certainly was an interesting choice, given the type of constraints placed on Toonami by its fans. Instead, the action block is going for gold, cashing in on an immensely popular series.

I think what’s fascinating about this selection is that now there will be four long-running series on the block. That will give Toonami some lineup stability, which can be good and bad at the same time. Good because of how highly regarded this show is. It should continually grab viewers (especially since it’s an English dub premiere). Having a long-running series that will last close to three years, if it becomes popular, will allow the block to make more drastic choices when it comes to replacing other series. So the fact that Hunter x Hunter will be around for a while (148 episodes), gives the early part of the block an anchor that can solidify the lineup. However, it could go south if fans get tired of watching it. If that does happen, Jason DeMarco did state on his ask.fm page Toonami could potentially drop the series (which is something to be wary of when adding a new show). I don’t think Hunter x Hunter will have to worry about not catching on, but if it doesn’t, Toonami can just place it lower in the lineup or eventually drop it. After all it could give fans three long-running series back-to-back-to-back, making things feel a bit odd or stale (IF it’s not popular).

Of course, some might worry about the overall flexibility that’s lost when adding a series with over 100 episodes. That leaves 12:30 a.m. (Dimension W) and 1:30 a.m. (Samurai Champloo) as the only two time slots that will be active for the foreseeable future (you could also throw in the 3 a.m. Parasyte reruns, but I’m mostly focusing on time slots that premiere new content). That is something that many Toonami fans love, i.e., short turnover of new shows. So Hunter x Hunter does block the constant excitement of predicting what new series will join the lineup. Again, that’s not a horrible thing, but it does dull the experience of new surprises coming to the block. However, since Toonami did add a long-running show, I think this leaves the door open for more 12-episode series (I’m looking at you One-Punch Man), which would increase series turnover, since Toonami has been mostly looking at 24-episode shows.

I have written before about the pros and cons of adding short vs. long series, and they are still true now (mostly how fans might be bored with the lineup staying very consistent). Maybe this means in the future the Samurai Jack revival could gain the 11:30 p.m. slot, giving Toonami a four-hour block. Maybe they’ll do away with rerunning previous shows at 3 a.m. (which I hope not, because I like that if you missed a series you have a second chance to see it). Adding Hunter x Hunter isn’t perfect when it comes to how the block is broken up–if you are a fan of rapid turnover–but if the show is good, why should it matter? Toonami just needs to continue to give fans the best shows that they can grab. If the best show is a long-running series or a short-running series, so be it. As long as we are all entertained, Toonami wins.

It’s fortunate that Toonami was able to secure the broadcast rights to Hunter X Hunter despite Viz Media having other potential options. Some fans were worried about Toonami only having access to FUNimation’s library, and this latest acquisition (if not Hunter x Hunter) would give FUNimation five out of Toonami’s seven slots. Now those fans won’t have to worry, as Hunter x Hunter should be around for a long time. While it didn’t bother me if the block became FUNimation heavy, I understand the desire for more variety when it comes to dubbing companies. They all do the best job they can, and deserve time on Toonami, as exposure there could result in more revenue.

So what’s the big deal about Hunter x Hunter? Why is this show as popular as it is? The manga has been on and off since 1998, but the story itself has been able to grab a large following. We follow the main protagonist, Gon, as he becomes a hunter, continuing in his father’s footsteps, as he searches to find him. The story mainly focuses on Gon’s trials and adventures in what turns into a magical journey. We also get to observe other characters’ stories, including  Kurapika (my favorite), Leorio, and Killua, and the four form a unique bond as they go through terrible ordeals. There’s a ton of action, intense drama, and a lot of bloodshed. Many times my jaw dropped, and it captivated my attention to where I couldn’t’ stop watching until it ended. Many fans were satisfied with how the anime ended, but readers of the manga were treated to a terribly long hiatus (which is the norm with Hunter x Hunter). Now it looks as if the story will get back up on April 18 (coincidence, huh?), giving fans in the States a double-whammy.

This dub premiere should be taken very seriously. Unlike other long-running shows, fans weren’t treated to an English dub before it aired on Toonami. With One PieceShippuden, and even DBZ Kai, fans had a chance to watch an English dub, which takes the shine away when an earlier episode reaches Toonami’s airwaves. For Hunter x Hunter, each episode will be a whole new experience, something some fans might not be familiar with. I’ve seen many comments online from people excited to check this series out and find out why it’s as popular as it is. This premiere will grab more eyes and more fans for the franchise.

So rejoice Toonami fans! Getting almost three years of Hunter x Hunter on the block will not disappoint you. I’ve seen a small 15-second dubbed clip, and the voices sound pretty spot on (there’s also a promo on YouTube floating around). This series has been lauded by many fans, and it’s about time Hunter x Hunter gains more traction here in the U.S.

C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. He’s ecstatic that Hunter x Hunter will be joining the block this month. Are you a fan of the series? Feel free to talk anything about hunters with him on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris