Among the exciting news for Toonami, there was one thing that created a stir within the community. The newest schedule was released, and the beloved series My Hero Academia will end the block at 3:30 a.m. In an instant, My Hero Academia goes from kicking off Toonami to finishing, which leads to some confusion. Some expressed anger, wondering why a great show could fall as hard as it did, while others wonder if the series wasn’t performing well. We also have more radical theories, speculation that Adult Swim and FUNimation aren’t on good terms, or that Toonami won’t be able to air season four when it debuts. We’ll never know what went into this decision, but depending on how much people bombarded Adult Swim (like they did with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), things could revert. However, is it that terrible to have My Hero Academia end the block?
Well that’s a surprise pic.twitter.com/buCz5qMCY4
— Sketch (@Sketch1984) June 27, 2019
I think something fans should be mindful of is that My Hero Academia was already a phenomenon before it aired on Toonami. Unlike other series that could use a Toonami run to boost its standing in the U.S., My Hero Academia sports a rabid fan base that came from the streaming audience. It’s a remarkable accomplishment for both FUNimation and Crunchyroll. They created a culture from streaming that’s equivalent to what Toonami does on Saturday nights. I don’t associate My Hero Academia with Toonami that much. I get nostalgic whenever I see the series’ simulcast (or simuldub) on Saturday mornings to start my day. Since the break between the third and fourth season, I’ve missed the series, despite it “rerunning” on Adult Swim. But therein lies the big difference. Unlike other series that used Toonami to build its brand, My Hero Academia already came established and didn’t give me the same feeling on Toonami as it does when I stream it. And I’m starting to think that this also true for the majority.
Before My Hero Academia joined Toonami, I think a lot of fans already watched the show. It became too big to ignore, and I have a feeling that due to the long wait for the series to air on television, people became impatient and streamed it. I can’t blame them, because as soon as it was airing in Japan, I jumped on the bandwagon and have been a huge fan ever since. Sadly, Toonami wasn’t able to get My Hero Academia as soon as many fans would have wanted to help capitalize on that boom from the second season on. And that’s not squarely on Toonami, either. Maybe they wanted to wait to make sure this series was popular for a year, or perhaps Hulu blocked My Hero Academia from airing on Adult Swim. Whatever the case may be, Toonami was late to the party, and ultimately I think that’s why it hasn’t taken off as well as Adult Swim would have liked.
I don’t think the My Hero Academia crowd is as loyal to the series as fans of Dragon Ball and Naruto are. This series has been given an excellent opportunity to start the iconic block (on multiple occasions), but it wasn’t bringing in the large crowds that was expected. Due to its brand being built through the streaming audience, I think that’s how a lot of people prefer to watch it. It’s a shame, but it’s hard not to believe that with this recent change. Per Jason DeMarco’s Twitter, he explained how this decision came from above and assumed that not enough people watching could be the case for the move. Much like One Piece, the expense of My Hero Academia could be causing the block to lose money to air it. I’m not saying My Hero Academia doesn’t retain the Toonami audience well, because I think it did fine. But the cost of getting it would require that it does better than fine. That wasn’t happening, and so Adult Swim has decided to move it later.
Last I’ll say on this: if you have a problem with MHA being last beyond “well I don’t really watch it on Toonami but HOW COULD THEY AIR IT LAST!,” please make your feelings known (politely) by comment on the Toonami FB, or my ask, or emailing AS. Change can happen!
— LORD DEATH DEMARCO (@Clarknova1) June 28, 2019
“But don’t you tell us that the ratings don’t matter as much? If so, why would performance be an issue now?” It’s true; traditional ratings aren’t the end-all be-all like they once were. The entertainment spectrum has changed drastically, and there are a myriad of ways to see if a series is doing well or not. However, the traditional numbers aren’t meaningless, either. As those who have done this far longer than I have can tell you, traditional ratings are one piece of a large pie. So I gather that My Hero Academia wasn’t pulling its weight from every angle that Adult Swim looks at (not JUST the traditional ratings). And if other series were doing the same or worse, they probably wouldn’t be moved, due to the cost potentially being cheaper than My Hero Academia.
Another theory crawling out is that FUNimation and Adult Swim are at odds for whatever reason. Many cite how FUNimation hasn’t been promoting their shows on the block (most notably Attack on Titan). So this is a way for Toonami to get back at FUNimation. I’m not saying that the two sides are best friends, but haven’t we been down this road before? First, it was Aniplex and Toonami not getting along. Then it was Sentai Filmworks and Adult Swim who aren’t keen on working together. Now it’s FUNimation’s turn to be in the crosshairs of fan theories, since they don’t know what’s going on. Plus, how is moving a series later an insult? My Hero Academia is still airing and wasn’t dropped mid-season. These two sides have been working together for a long time, and I don’t think that’s going to change simply because of what’s going on with My Hero Academia.
I ask that you do whatever you can to appeal to whoever decided MHA should move all the way to the back, to consider moving it to midnight, 1am, or even 2am instead. Give it one more chance while the schedu… — I’ll certainly keep the request in mind.👍🏼 https://t.co/lNSGIQNBqs
— LORD DEATH DEMARCO (@Clarknova1) June 28, 2019
The new schedule does make me wonder if season four will join the block once it has been dubbed. Do FUNimationNow and Hulu have a deal where Toonami will have to wait a bit before they can air the newest season? With the hype surrounding the latest season, I doubt Toonami would want to air it that late. Could Toonami be working proactively with an eventual departure? That way, the hole that My Hero Academia leaves won’t be as noticeable. It hasn’t lost its popularity, considering how much fans are losing it for the premiere of season four at Anime Expo. The event was so popular that the convention had to hard cap the audience and implemented a wristband lottery in order to get in. And let’s not forget how well the film performed at the box office. Depending on how the rights were negotiated, this could be a way for Toonami to ease the transition from a My Hero Academia-less lineup.
My Hero Academia is still one of the biggest anime series despite this recent schedule change. It’s cultivated a massive following in large part to the marketing and streaming both FUNimation and Crunchyroll have done. Sadly, that doesn’t directly help Toonami, as it will air episodes that many people have already seen. Adult Swim wasn’t able to jump on the series when it was blowing up. And Toonami wasn’t able to have this series connect with their audience as well as they thought. Throw in how expensive it probably is and this move becomes a necessity. But I’m not mad; I have no issues with My Hero Academia ending the block because, for a closer, I find this series to be a perfect way to end any night. It’s creating a huge wave of popularity, just not as much airing on Toonami.
I can’t even be salty about My Hero Academia moving to finish the block. It doesn’t need to be successful on Toonami to get more seasons and fan fare. It’s fine. The streaming audience it built will keep it alive.
Plus, whatever happened to saving the best for last? pic.twitter.com/XSIfmOhzXu
— CJ Maffris (@SeaJayMaffris) June 27, 2019
C.J Maffris is the senior staff writer at Toonamifaithful.com. Feel free to follow C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris