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There’s a discussion that comes up when talking about Toonami. With the block’s announcement of their latest acquisition (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures) many folks are starting to wonder if Toonami will then drop a series to keep the lineup fresher. It’s something that should be in the back of fans’ minds because it can happen at any time. It isn’t just because there will be a ton of long-running shows on the block, but it also should be considered IF a show isn’t performing well. However, given how consistent (or better) Toonami’s ratings have been the past couple of years, will dropping a series actually happen?

Some fans enjoy more turnaround of shows, feeling it keeps Toonami fresher and more engaging.  Adding JoJo will limit the space for new shows if everything else stays the same. While I find this a strength overall, it will be important to keep a close eye on how the block performs (ratings and social media) over the long haul. So what might happen if a show (or shows) aren’t performing as well as expected? The idea of dropping a show has been floated around before, and is viewed as an easy answer to that very problem. While that may sound outlandish, Jason DeMarco has stated that if a show isn’t performing well, Toonami would drop it to preserve the block (this topic was brought up back when Hunter x Hunter was acquired). So it certainly isn’t crazy to think that it could happen at some time in the future.

Toonami losing a series is nothing new, as it’s happened a few times in its long history. Shows like Zatch BellCyborg 009, and Gundam SEED are some examples of series that did not finish airing solely on Toonami (with some not ending in the U.S.). It isn’t fun, especially when there are high hopes that a series will do well. So it’s not as if it couldn’t happen now, and can be seen as a real possibility (even with how well the block has been doing). As of now, I  don’t see it happening, at least not with Hunter x Hunter or eventually JoJo. In fact, I see breaks between seasons of JoJo (after season two), which should quell the talk of too many long-runners joining Toonami. Both have been requested to air, and it would certainly be silly for fans to beg DeMarco that much to air either of them only to drop them halfway through. Toonami has always been committed to showing as much of a series that is available to their fans.

Now that Hunter x Hunter and JJBA are locked into the lineup, what other series would Toonami potentially drop? If one show “had to go,” the consensus is that it would be either Naruto Shippuden or One Piece. Those two shows don’t need extra exposure compared to the newer series that are on. I don’t think that the fact that those two shows are on Toonami is the reason people fell in love with either franchise. While the block is airing episodes that have never been on television before, fans of these franchises are already up to date with the anime, thanks to Crunchyroll and FUNimation.com. I believe that One Piece and Shippuden are in the lineup now to attract older fans who have fond memories of the series, or simply to keep their fan bases happy that they are getting television exposure in the West. Some fans will recommend that the block drop one of these series, but I don’t see why Toonami should drop either of them.

Naruto is one of the most popular franchises to come out of Japan. It’s very successful, and fans all over the world love the “hyper active knuckleheaded ninja” who strives to save his friend and his village. Filler episodes aside, the story of Naruto (manga) was a very enjoyable shōnen adventure. There are so many characters fans became attached to, watching to see how the story played out. I remember when Naruto first hit the scene, and anime fans could not get enough of it. It featured a little bit of everything people enjoyed, with action, humor, and love. As for One Piece, it’s the biggest franchise in Japan, and a lot of people hope it will never end. While it has taken some hits traveling to the West, it’s still very popular worldwide to this day. The anime series is getting close to 800 episodes, and the manga is the world record holder for most printed comic series by one author. The lore of One Piece grabs a hold of you, not letting go, as you are taken on an incredible journey to find the legendary treasure with the main hero Monkey D. Luffy. In other words, both series have a large fan base that could leave instead of tuning into Adult Swim’s airwaves.

I understand the point of view that neither one of those shows need Toonami to be relevant (both are part of the fan-created “Big Three” with Bleach). However, why would Toonami want to potentially lose a ton of those fans by dropping either series? Do I think there would be a huge drop off if either one is gone? Not at all, I think the number would stay consistent no matter what show airs at that time. Believe it or not, I think that most fans who watch Toonami are fans of the block as a whole more than just one show. It’s the only block that airs anime and great action cartoons for the demographic of older teens to young adults. For it to continue, fans need to watch every Saturday. So even if the block isn’t showing everything you (fans) might want, they still show up to support it. Toonami was canceled once, and no one wants that to occur again.

Of course, as it gets later in the night, I don’t think ratings are as big of an indicator as to how well a show is performing as you might think. So while some might point at how low the ratings are for Shippuden and One Piece, I think they are missing the bigger picture, that no show wows anyone with over a 0.8 18/49 rating (unless it’s a big sporting event that won’t end). If One Piece or Shippuden happened to be replaced by another series to try to liven things up, I think it would have approximately the same viewing numbers as before. Which, to me, would make dropping either series irrelevant, since no real change would happen. If it were guaranteed that Toonami would receive more viewers after losing either show, then I’d be all for it, but I  doubt that would be the case.

When thinking about Toonami’s lineup, I think what they have now is just fine. I don’t think the best move would be to drop either one of those franchises, especially with how much fans would be displeased by it. They both receive acceptable ratings every Saturday for their time slot and bring in their faithful fans to Toonami. The two do not look to be going anywhere, so asking Toonami to drop either might seem reckless at this moment. If the ratings were consistently lower for a long period of time, then that would be a justifiable reason to consider dropping the series. Right now I find the topic of losing a series more of an overreaction to a “low” day in ratings.

C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. He hopes that Toonami will be able to play out every show that airs on the block for the foreseeable future. Feel free to follow C.J and discuss all things Toonami on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris

7 COMMENTS

  1. Ratings in the case do matter even with it getting late in the night. Consistently in the ratings recap ratings fall off a cliff after One Piece, meaning there is a good portion of the overall nights audience lost by Naruto. Every other show prior tends to keep most of its lead-in audience. Naruto is the only big drop. Hell I think even in the twitter trends it doesn’t get nearly the traction as the others.

  2. TL;DR: Jman, please STFU about wanting One Piece removed just because it gets the lowest ratings of the premieres and you personally don’t like it.

    Oh, and it’s “hyperactive knucklehead ninja”, unless you used “hyperbolic” instead on purpose.

  3. I doubt any ongoing show is going to be dropped to fit in JJBA. In fact, the only show that will be dropping would be Parasyte, since the rerun will end around the time JJBA is set to premiere in October. This may also mean the end of reruns for a while until one of the other shows finishes their run and then becomes the new rerun, or another new or old show replaces that in the lineup.

  4. I wouldn’t be surprised if they dropped Shippuden after the Pain Arc and One Piece after Marineford. Both arcs are the point of the anime. What I really think is going to happen is that they are going to take a hiatus for JoJo and HxH when they are still dubbing episodes for short shows, then come back for more arcs for longer shows.

  5. I really wish they wouldn’t drop One Piece. It is THE best story I have ever seen in any manga, and it’s THE most popular shonen in Japan. It’s SAD that the anime doesn’t do the manga justice because of its snail-ish pacing. Now I would be HAPPY if they dropped Shippuden instead.

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