The year of 2016 might be remembered as one of the best years in anime. There have been a lot of amazing and popular shows that aired this year, with hits in all genres. 2017 will have some huge shoes to fill. So with the fall season coming to a close, writers and guests here at Toonami Faithful and the Toonami Faithful Podcast wanted to give you our picks for shows that could potentially air on Toonami. Now we don’t believe that any of these shows will turn up shortly, but think that these shows should be on a list for future references.
We excluded Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans Season Two as well as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Diamond is Unbreakable due to how Toonami is currently airing the first season of JoJo and wrapped up season one of Iron-Blooded Orphans. We all agreed that both should make their way to the block when a dub is available.
This season was more challenging to find shows that I could see feasibly air on the block. There wasn’t many classic action series that were airing this season. They were great shows abound, but they only had action sprinkled in. So while many of our picks aren’t the most conventional ones (as you’ll see), I think we all agree that there’s at least a small chance of any of these shows being picked up by Toonami. Still, I might consider most of these choices as “stretch” picks more than anything.
Izetta: the Last Witch
There was some hype involving Izetta: the Last Witch as it was set to premiere this season. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I was merely given the synopsis as provided by Crunchyroll that, “it’s 1940 and Europe is in the throes of war. Germania has threatened to invade a small neighboring country, putting their princess in danger. But in the midst of it all, a mysterious power awakens. The last witch has come to the aid of the princess, combining magic and weaponry to take on enemies.” It interested me and decided to give it a shot, and it knocked the ball right out of the park. It’s the art and visuals that gave off a similar look to Sword Art Online (a Toonami veteran) which was able to keep me interested initially. If the art and animation blow me away, I’ll stick with a series (as Izetta: the last Witch has done this season). Which was something many others took notice as early as the first episode of the series. The artwork provided is both striking and fun, with all that was done to make this series truly feel authentic from this time. Scenes showing Izetta’s triumphs in battle were black and white (as if you are watching a documentary), as well as the black and white photos used in newsprint. It’s those little things that make it a treat this season and a show I feel should be considered as a top-10 series of the year.
There's no fighting per se but Takeuchi's already doing great as Izetta's Action AD, both animating & correcting. Thorough cloth animation! pic.twitter.com/vEFGH24S1Z
— kViN (@Yuyucow) October 1, 2016
The action provided in this series makes me believe that it would be a welcomed series by Toonami fans. The battles in this series have been wonderfully animated, and it’s been fun to watch when the fights are front and center. Normally I’m not overly excited seeing vehicles, weapons, etc. used in a World War II setting. However, the explosions and flying battles between Izetta’s broom with aircraft and tanks became high drama that I usually crave when watching a series.
Plus there’s even an espionage element adding to the classic explosions that add excitement to the series. After all the setting is war, so without any spy vs. spy craft, this series would lose some appeal. It was reminiscent of Joker Game (loosely) with how the spy game worked in earlier times. Betraying alleys to keep a secret, sneaking into country borders by unconventional means, Izetta: The Last Witch gave it all to keep the drama going as the war continued.
Sadly the series does slow down in the middle (putting it mildly), and there is a bit of fan service which are the big knocks I have against the series. I don’t normally have a problem with fan service in anime, but I felt as if Izetta: the Last Witch did not need to shove that in viewers face purposefully. It diminished the overall product, but I still feel confident that many anime fans would find this series refreshing if it aired on Toonami. I was able to look past its faults due to the enjoyment this series has provided.
*FUNimation licensed the series and has produced a simuldub of this series*
He has a specific brand of meticulous but still exaggerated chara animation. I'm assuming Ryo Araki helped him with the climax, good stuff. pic.twitter.com/6OsAVsxFPM
— kViN (@Yuyucow) October 1, 2016
Magical Girl Raising Project:
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THIS SELECTION
What’s surprising about this selection is that even though I had a hunch, it would turn into a darker series (which feels cliche considering the trend of magical girls series), it still became a favorite of mine to watch during the fall season. While Magical Girl Raising Project has the cliche tragic deaths and regret of becoming a magical girl, this series upped the brutality more than it’s predecessors in Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Madoka Magica) and Yuki Yuna is a Hero ever did. The series begins with a popular new cell phone game about magical girls. This app then turns its players (that are compatible) into magical girls. The chosen ones perform good deeds to earn candies (the reward points) and propel the goodwill associated with magical girls though out the land. However, it seems that the world cannot sustain all the magical girls that have been chosen (according to the ringleader Fav) and are forced to battle one another to weed out the large group. Now some believe that it’s just a contest to acquire more candy than the other magical girls, but it later turns into a horrific bloodbath.
That last sentence is why I’ll throw my vote to Magical Girl Raising Project getting a chance to air on the block. It would give fans that magical girls story that appeals to both male and female viewers, with the same action that I’d expect in Drifters (a series to be talked about later). Again it seems that Magical Girl Raising Project follows the trend that was set by Madoka Magica, so some might feel that the possibility of becoming the first magical girls series to air on Adult Swim’s Toonami upsetting. However, it breaks the mold due to a boy transforming into a magical girl (not something you see every day)! To me, I found this exceedingly pleasing to show that girls AND boys can appreciate magical girls (both as heroes and aspire to become one). It was an added twist that didn’t feel like a gimmick and made me curious as to how this new development would play out.
— Amy Johnson (@ThatAmyJay) December 6, 2016
The action wasn’t as fluid as I’d like in a series, as some action scenes felt stiff. Some of the deaths were disappointed. Plus some of the deaths were a bit fishy to me (with things feeling like they were rushed). This became even more frustrating considering that there is a small chance that more episodes could air. But having said all that, I think that Magical Girl Raising Project did enough to prove to me as a worthy choice for Toonami to look at in the future.
Since the exit of KILL la KILL and Michiko & Hatchin, Toonami has slumped back into being too much of a boys club. I am always on the look-out for action/adventure series with female leads that could feasibly work on Toonami. In Flip Flappers, I’ve found that and so much more. The basic premise is a quiet girl named Cocona is thrust into a dimension of enchantment when she meets another girl named Papika. The peculiar and spirited Papika wants Cocona to join her on some adventures to gather gems and isn’t taking no for an answer. Gradually Cocona comes around and reluctantly indulges Papika and the two of them are transported to a dimension where seemingly anything can happen. The ability to change up visual style, setting and tone every episode reminds me of some of the best aspects of Space Dandy. The different scenarios allow for the series to dip into many genres with scenes and settings reminiscent to Fist of the North Star, Dragon Ball Z, Mad Max, Pretty Cure, KILL la KILL, super robot series and Japanese horror films.
— Bobduh (@B0bduh) December 23, 2016
It is a real melting pot of creativity for the majority of these quests but eventually an overarching story comes into the play. As they go on their one-off adventures, we gradually learn more about Cocona, Papika, the organization they work with and another organization that is also trying to gather the gems. There are plenty of twists and turns and moments that would probably make a great deal more sense on a second viewing. On the surface, Flip Flappers feels like it could be a children’s show but it takes pages from the Madoka Magica book of subverting your expectations (that is another show that still should get a shot on Toonami one of these days). The series has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks and hopefully will receive a dub. It would add some much-needed variety to the weekly shounen onslaught that Toonami has become.
To say Keijo!!!!!!!! Isn’t a conventional pick for Toonami would be an understatement. Sports anime on Toonami have been few and far between, and both The Prince of Tennis and IGPX were ratings flops in the CN days. They’ve never even tried a competitive fighting series and they really ought to. My first recommendation would be Hajime no Ippo aka Fighting Spirit if someone ever rescues that dub. That said, there’s not that many dubbed sports anime available to air in general and that has got to deter the Toonami crew from even considering more sports anime. So that brings me to Keijo!!!!!!!!, a high-octane, bust, and butt focused sports anime that has already received an excellent dub from FUNimation and has more than enough action in twelve episodes to put some of the shounen fighting anime on Toonami to shame.
That comparison should not be too much of a surprise, given the series does run in Shounen Sunday and is a contemporary to several series that have graced Toonami. In Keijo!!!!!!!!, the bust and butt are used for battles to stay on a floating platform are intense and way over the top. Within just a few episodes you’ll witness power battles that must be seen to be believed, and it only gets crazier from there. You would be amazed to know all the techniques that can be executed using only a girl’s breasts and butt. Quite honestly, the fights have so much going on that there isn’t time to naval gaze. The series certainly has fan service, and some of the signature techniques are on the risqué side but the majority of the time the spectacle is more mind boggling or hilarious than titillating. At its core, Keijo!!!!!!!! is about athletes giving each battle their best. Most of the combatants are out to prove something to somebody. It has all the elements of those sports stories people love about underdogs rising to a challenge and those emotional moments about hearts and minds being changed through a competitive sport.
— Funimation (@FUNimation) November 10, 2016
This ridiculous series does not lack heart, though the story does feel shallow. The anime adaptation glosses over and practically omits the backstory of the main girl Nozomi Kamanashi. She was a gymnast who witnessed some keijo battles and heard you could make bank competing, so she changed fields. That’s right; she’s exploiting her assets for money, and when she arrives at the keijo training academy, she practically shouts it from the rooftop. Eventually, it is clear that she loves the sport and isn’t just in it for the money, but the point still stands. I somewhat admire the character’s honesty, but I could see how that among other things would rub people the wrong way. Many would claim the series displays everything that is wrong with anime and I imagine it’s presence on Toonami would turn some heads. In fact, the series has already been noticed by Adult Swim. They more or less trashed it in a bump, so they will probably never consider airing it but it is at least on their radar, and you can’t honestly say that about most Japanese cartoons with no prior ties to Toonami or Adult Swim. Nonetheless, it has more than enough action to qualify; there’s nothing that would need editing and the salt from the haters would be so delicious. Can you imagine the bumpers and promo? They would be all kinds of epic.
Bungo Stray Dogs:
When it comes to shows that may be worthy of having Toonami to look at for possible acquisitions, Bungo Stray Dogs comes to mind immediately. This show is about individuals who have unique supernatural abilities and are used for different purposes depending on whom they work for. Mainly what you will see are characters who are either carrying out jobs for the Port Mafia (the bad guys), which range from assassinations, drugs, extortion and so forth. But this show mainly follows the everyday activities of the “Armed Detective Agency” (the good guys) as they clash with the Port Mafia. While fighting the Port Mafia is a huge part of the series the Armed Detective Agency also carry out other jobs like solving mysteries.
Now being a librarian of 11.5 years and having read books by authors from around the world the characters names are those of well-known authors (Osamu Dazai, Agatha Christie, Doppo Kunikida, etc.). So for those who majored in English Literature, this could be a series for you. Edgar Allen Poe and our main protagonist is named after Atsushi Nakajima who wrote only one book Light, Wind, and Dreams which is based on the life of Robert Louis Stevenson and controversial stories about Micronesia. Atsushi is an 18-year-old with the ability Beast Beneath the Moon; it gives him tremendous strength and rapid generation though he’s a bit of a goof because he lacks self-confidence with the help of Dazai and the rest of the Armed Detective Agency he will eventually realize his real power. Bungo Stray Dogs has tons of action that were riveting and decent character development that make you feel for the characters in this series. However, the pacing can be shifty, and there are moments of levity that are needed to take away from this show being too serious (it wasn’t a negative, but it certainly can feel out of place at times). So despite some things that might go over viewers heads (if they aren’t paying attention) I think Bungo Stray Dogs would do surprisingly well on Toonami and should be viewed as a potential pick up in the future.
FEATURE: Creative Spotlight: Takuya Igarashi, director of Bungo Stray Dogs
— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) December 19, 2016
My second pick for anime that should be on Toonami is the action-packed series, Drifters. What first made me think of Drifters is how the creator is Kouta Hirano, the man who gave us Hellsing (which is one of the goriest anime that was an inspiration to what bloodshed and carnage should be). What we have with Drifters something that is near and dear to my heart because it is a chanbara anime but the art style is similar to Hellsing in certain aspects, but it still has its identity. The main protagonist is Shimazu Toyohisa who was fighting in the Battle of Sekigahara and became critically wounded in this battle. Toyohisa finds himself in a strange corridor where a strange man with glasses sends him to another world and he is found by Oda Nobunaga and Nasu no Yoichi. The three end up teaming up to do what they please and later find out that they are being recruited to fight against a despicable army. In this world where our heroes were transported to, they are called Drifters are seemingly on the side of justice. On the other hand, other warriors have nothing but hate in their hearts who are called Ends. The Ends want to destroy the world while the Drifters seem to be intent on protecting the world with the Octobrist (a group of mages who want to save this world).
One of the things I love about this show is the fact that the bloodshed is present and not toned downed. I tend to enjoy gory anime, and the action does not disappoint (there’s one scene in particular where Toyohisa beats an enemy’s face in). There is a little bit of fanservice, but honestly, that is a second thought when dealing with all the gruesome deaths in this series. If this were a social studies class, then Drifters would be my dream because the way that the historical figures are brought to life in this show is incredible. Oda is pretty much a sadistic pervert who is a shrewd strategist, Yoichi is pretty much the cocky pretty boy who comes through in the clutch, and Toyohisa is the brave and charismatic leader who can inspire everyone around him. Not to be outdone, some of the Ends are interesting such as Joan of Arc who wants to burn the world down, Ivan Rasputin cunning and manipulating and the mysterious Black King who leads the Ends and he is hell bent on destroying the world. But what this comes down to is a show that lives up to the same expectations that Kouta Hirano executed with Hellsing. If this show makes it on Toonami, we’ll have a gem that everyone will enjoy from beginning to end, especially with a second season being announced recently and FUNimation producing a simuldub now.
— Peter Fobian (@PeterFobian) December 22, 2016
Those are the shows we felt warranted a selection from us here at Toonami Faithful. I think it’s safe to say that none of these shows look to be joining the block in the immediate future, but Toonami fans should check them out while they can (if they can). Of course, there could be series we might have missed, if so, feel free to comment or tweet at anyone of us on Twitter. Now we are locked a loaded as we get set to watch what will hopefully become another solid year of anime in 2017.
C.J is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com and watches a lot of simulcast shows. Feel free to discuss your favorites of the fall season with him on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris