I honestly didn’t think fans would still be waiting for Sentai Filmworks to return to Toonami. I’m kind of shocked, knowing how much the company enjoyed having a title or two on the block. With both parties enjoying success when they work together, I’m surprised they haven’t worked together more frequently. It’s not like Sentai Filmworks doesn’t have a ton of shows for Toonami to consider (that they can pitch). And I’m sure many fans would be excited to see a Sentai Filmworks dub, considering they are not as accessible as a series from FUNimation or VIZ Media usually seem to be. With a ton of newly dubbed series getting released for home media, I think Toonami might need to look at Sentai Filmworks’ catalog soon.
— Sentai Filmworks (@SentaiFilmworks) May 8, 2017
It has been a while since Sentai Filmworks was on the block. You’d have to go back to daylight savings time when Toonami decided to surprise everyone with a movie for the extra time they acquired (Children who Chase Lost Voices). Before then fans were treated to the “Sentai Hour” with Parayste the Maxim (which got a chance to rerun at 3 a.m.) and Akame ga Kill, with Parasyte the Maxim quickly becoming a favorite amongst fans. Even with how divided fans are about Akame ga Kill, Sentai Filmworks helps Toonami attract viewers to their block thanks to their shows (that isn’t the only reason, but you get my point). At the time I’m writing this article, it’s been a while since the company has had a chance to shine again. I believe that Sentai Filmworks deserves another show on the block.
— Sentai Filmworks (@SentaiFilmworks) October 3, 2016
It isn’t as if Sentai Filmworks doesn’t have the kind of library that Toonami fans would be interested in. They have a ton of action, adventure, and fantasy series that I think many fans would enjoy. Series such as Chaika Coffin Princess, Log Horizon, No Game No Life, Black Bullet, GATE, Ushio and Tora, Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, and Beyond the Boundary just to name a few. Most, if not all, of these shows would be excellent additions to the block. They all provide fans with the type of drama, action, and fanservice that many would enjoy. With all of these shows at both Toonami and Sentai Filmworks’ disposal, why haven’t we seen one air on the block yet?
Just like I’ve said, with My Hero Academia not getting the biggest push from fans, it’s the same with Sentai Filmworks titles. There are so many anime titles produced each season (it’s a staggering amount), that some can get lost in the shuffle. Adult Swim themselves can only keep track of so many. It may seem easy to someone like myself and others, but Toonami is a lot busier than any of us are. That’s why they rely on fan suggestions for shows, especially if a ton of people request the same show over and over. Toonami keeps an eye on social media as well, to see what’s the big title of the season (or maybe every other season), but not many Sentai Filmworks shows are getting a huge buzz on social media. Maybe they did a couple of years ago (with series like GATE and Ushio and Tora), but since it takes Sentai Filmworks a little longer to dub a show than other companies the immediacy of seeing the dub that fans have become accustomed to isn’t met. Do I think Toonami will solely look at “SimulDubs” in the future? No, but with these Sentai Filmworks shows, I’m getting the feeling that it was out of sight, out of mind for fans and possibly Toonami.
However, many fans aren’t able to see Sentai Filmworks’ dubs (especially their newer ones), which is another good reason to get another one of their series on Toonami. Even if the dub of a series is 1-2 year’s old, I still find merit in adding those series on the block. The fact that many viewers haven’t seen it can give Toonami a fresher look for fans (which turns up the excitement). For anime fans, a subscription to The Anime Network (which is Sentai Filmworks’ streaming website) is seldom talked about, which makes me wonder if not many fans have an account. With all the subscription costs from multiple streaming sites, it does force fans to make difficult decisions on which ones to have. I do think The Anime Network is a casualty of that thinking, which is why I think a lot of Sentai Filmworks shows do lose traction, not getting a large push from fans.
For a little while, Sentai Filmworks wasn’t acquiring the rights to as many shows as they used to (until this recent season). There were a couple of titles here and there (one being Flip Flappers, which is an entirely fantastic series), but they weren’t adding as many as other companies. However, they still were producing dubs of some of their earlier titles, like GATE, Ushio and Tora, and Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon. So it wasn’t as if newly dubbed series weren’t going to be produced. But with Sentai Filmworks apparently not picking up as many series as fans are used to, some were worried that they wouldn’t make more dubs for the future.
So what does Sentai Filmworks do to try and counteract what’s been going on around them? For starters, a lot of their dubs for their “Dubs are Coming” slogan are about to be released on home media. Now if you have the disposable income to pick up some of these excellent titles, then you are all set to see some fun, newly dubbed anime. However, not everyone has the luxury to do that. So I completely agree that the three series I mentioned earlier should be looked at by Sentai Filmworks and fans as reasonable and excellent choices for Toonami to consider down the road. It would give them a ton more exposure, and give fans a chance to see a dub that many might normally not be privy to. As I have stated before, I’m thankful for the shows that aren’t as accessible (or cheap) that Toonami has aired. If it wasn’t for Toonami, English dubs like Blue Exorcist and Kill la Kill would’ve been missed (at least by me). That’s why I think Toonami should look at Sentai Filmworks more often to air dubs that won’t be seen by a huge audience beforehand.
When it comes to licensing new series, it looks as if Sentai Filmworks picked up quite a few for simulcasting this season. They have some exciting action/sci-fi series such as Sword Oratoria: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side, The Grimoire of Zero, Atom the Beginning, and Armed Girl Machiavellism. These are four shows I’m keeping my eye on this season as possible new shows that could work on Toonami (as of writing this article). The only problem is that not many anime fans have been able to see them due to them being broadcast on Amazon’s Anime Strike. The audience for these series has been limited by the double pay wall (a total of $160 a year) that is needed to watch anything on Anime Strike. This move could be interpreted as a way for Sentai Filmworks to gain licenses of simulcasts and bid against the partnership of Crunchyroll and FUNimation. After all, Amazon has deep pockets, and can easily throw money around if they want. I’m sure Amazon trusts those at Sentai Filmworks to pick up titles that will be worthwhile. But with how limited the audience can be from this new streaming service, few of these series might get a push to air on Toonami, if at all.
— Sentai Filmworks (@SentaiFilmworks) May 8, 2017
It also depends on whether Sentai Filmworks plans to dub their shows exclusively for Anime Strike (we won’t know for a while since this season is not even halfway over). Often when it comes to dubbing a series, streaming numbers are used as a barometer to determine if a series is popular enough to dub. I don’t think that’s the only way to decide, but it might hold more weight than I realize. A lot of these shows on Anime Strike won’t get the number of views they would have if it were streamed somewhere else (at least that’d be my guess). If Sentai Filmworks does decide to dub more of the shows they picked up and air on Anime Strike, then my fears about the streaming service will be slightly quelled. It would be interesting to see Toonami play these dubs in the future, considering how few people have been able to see it. Again, it adds intrigue as to what this show even is. I think that would mean that Sentai Filmworks would have to make some calls and work something out for Toonami to play them, because I doubt that any show that streams on Anime Strike will get a massive push.
This is where I believe fans are at with Sentai Filmworks getting a series to air on Toonami. There have been a ton of other series speculated to air on the block, with some of those being logical and requested by fans. It doesn’t feel like that many of Sentai Filmworks shows have been asked for, at least enough for Toonami to take seriously. So if you want more Sentai Filmworks shows to air on the block (like I do), I’d suggest going to Toonami’s Facebook and Tumblr page and suggest them! Start coordinating a push on social media, so large, that even Toonami notices.
*Was there a show you think I missed? Suggest your favorite Sentai Filmworks show in the comment section.
C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. He would love a return from Sentai Filmworks. Feel free to discuss all things Sentai Filmworks and Toonami with him on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris