It started thanks to Akame ga Kill’s english dub premiering on Toonami. Now it looks like Sentai Filmworks will continue to be featured on the action block, with Parasyte joining the lineup this Saturday. After playing second-fiddle to other dubbing companies, Sentai Filmworks looks to grow a strong following. Sentai Filmworks has come a long way to finally being featured on the only station to broadcast anime in the U.S. The shows owned by the dubbing company are getting stronger with a lot of fans enjoying them. That’s great news for Toonami, which will gain more viewers thanks to the shows added.
I wasn’t surprised back when Akame ga Kill was announced to play on Toonami. When the show was broadcasted on Crunchyroll, fans couldn’t get enough of the show. Intrigued, I, myself decided to watch it and was pleasantly surprised how engulfed I became with the action series. It had some pretty spectacular action scenes as well as some humor that had me in stitches. It’s not a stretch to figure out that this show would do well on the action block. Akame ga Kill had the biggest audience of any premiere episode on Toonami ever. In fact Sentai Filmworks didn’t realize this until the great people at Toonamifaithful.com broke it down (a little shameless promoting, but truthful nonetheless). There seems to be a budding culture created from the show, as many cosplayers at least year’s Anime Boston were in Akame ga Kill gear. Now that it’s on Toonami, the show should be a popular choice in many years to come to dress up as at many conventions.
However, it’s not just the anime that’s popular. The manga is receiving just as much buzz and success as the series has overseas. It’s been featured on the New York Times manga best seller’s list multiple times for different volumes (latest example). Plus there’s a prequel series which delves into the past of the main heroine Akame. The franchise offers a lot for their fans and has a lot going for them right now. So that allows Sentai Filmworks (as well as Yen Press) to reap the reward and notoriety. Having a hit show like Akame ga Kill is the foundation the dubbing company needs to help build a solid repertoire of series.
Enter Parayste, which will be invading Toonami this Saturday! The body horror anime was one of the more popular titles Sentai Filmworks owns at the moment (as well as one of the seasonal favorites on Crunchyroll in 2014). Many fans blew up Sentai Filmworks’ social page wondering about a dub, and if the show would make it on Toonami (examples here, here, and here). Now that it is set to enter the Absolution, Sentai Filmworks can look forward to another huge premier event. I’m very interested to see if Parayste can beat out Akame ga Kill’s viewer numbers. I find it unlikely, but it’s fun to see how large an audience “Migi” and the gang can have.
I was actually surprised that Parasyte would be coming to Toonami, due to how horror anime aren’t usually featured. Last time that was the case fans got to watch Hellsing’s gore and violence. However, comparing the two shows is a disservice to the new series. While Parasyte will give you a few jump cuts and typical gore from an anime horror series, this show’s main strength is the psychological fear it brings. A lot of the scenes that make you sweat in this show are the ones where you think someone (or something) is watching and about to get you. There are also scenes in which our main protagonist (Shinichi) has to figure out what’s going on with his world, and the answers he discovers throughout are truly terrifying.
Another aspect that makes the show more interesting are the topics it touches on. A lot of the time I found myself deep in thought, contemplating questions that “Migi” asks in the show. It’s scary as to how philosophical it can get, especially about creation, the human race, and cohabitation. Being able to make viewers cringe and scared is a win, but this show will offer more on an intellectual level that’s rarely seen. And if that’s too much for you there’s a lot of dubstep in the music of the show, and you can never have enough house music! Intellectual questions involving the meaning of life and dubstep music, what a wonderful combination. It’s an amazing asset to gain for the action block.
While you're enjoying a new ep. of #AkameGaKill this Saturday, watch out for the #Parasyte teaser trailer debut! 😉 pic.twitter.com/JYCBs3OwpH
— Sentai (@SentaiFilmworks) September 25, 2015
The best part about Akame ga Kill and Parasyte joining T.O.M and SARA, is that it adds more variety to Toonami, when it comes to dubbing companies. Gone are the days where Funimation and Viz Media took control of the entire lineup. It was a nice change of pace just when Aniplex USA had a few of their shows on the action block. Adding Sentai Filmworks gives Toonami a larger library to look around, and see if any other shows can join the ranks of Dragon Ball Z and Naruto. So now it looks as if Sentai Filmworks will be getting the exposure it’s needed to become a household name.
I also enjoy how Sentai Filmworks decided not to announce who was casted on these shows until they are debuted. It kept intrigue with fans of the show (Akame ga Kill), wondering who would get to voice their favorite characters. The people at Sentai explained how keeping the cast secret till the very last second possibly had a reason why so many eyes were glued to the T.V. Parasyte will get the same treatment as many will want to find out who will voice the lead characters. It’s another smart move made by the company that’s helped change the reputation they once had.
The entire culture of Sentai Filmworks feels like it has been changing, or at least become more apparent to those on the outside looking in. The company seems to be very social and connected with their fans. They are very active on Twitter, and have an “Ask Sentai” segment where they answer questions fans have about home media releases and dub surprises. You also see their Twitter account tweet at voice actors and fans alike with some funny conversions. Those types of interactions seem genuine and fun, which is endearing considering the kind of reputation the dubbing company had before now.
Before now there was a loud minority that would complain a lot about why Sentai Filmworks dubbing was subpar compared to other companies. Forums would be crowded with people dissing the company, with fans saying they’d wish their favorite shows weren’t owned by them. Of course the main complaint were about inconsistent dubs done by Sentai Filmworks. Other fans have complained on how products were packaged, the color of the text in subbed anime, and even upset about a preview some of the shows would have (really looking for any reason to diss the company). Everyone back then always looked highly at how Funimation and Viz Media produced anime for the masses. Last checked, those comments are at least a year old and now it seems that Sentai Filmworks has regained it’s popularity with anime fans.
This will ultimately help out Toonami in the long run. Sentai Filmworks has an abundance of titles that would be perfect for the action block. Shows like Log Horizon, No Game No Life, and Black Bullet could easily be selected to join the lineup in the future. Lately the dubbing company has been picking up licenses for some of the more popular anime titles debuting on Crunchyroll. So that can give Toonami executives some solace knowing that a ton of great titles are owned by Sentai, which could potentially give the action block a lot of good shows for their fans. I personally hope in the future that Sentai can continue to air shows where no one knows who will voice any of the characters, but understand how that won’t always be the case.
So thanks to Sentai Filmworks, Toonami should be getting another huge night of viewers. A brand new show will join the lineup, as well as the mystery of who is involved with the show. Parasyte is a show that will gain a large following being shown on the action block. It’ll be fun, especially since Sentai Filmworks is getting the attention they have rightfully deserved. They’ve been noticed, and for once it wasn’t just by a senpai.
C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. Feel free to follow and debate about anime with C.J @SeaJayMaffris