The write-in round has concluded, and the brackets are fully loaded. It was quite a surprise to see Rave Master pull off an upset on ThunderCats and Bobobo-bo
Round One Adult Swim Toonami Bracket:
One Seed: Dragon Ball Z Kai
Sixteen Seed: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
This match-up looks to be very one-sided, considering how well DBZ Kai has performed on the action block since it premiered. It’s been Adult Swim Toonami’s most successful and consistent show ever, having the largest viewing numbers to date (2 million total viewers). It did receive some help from a couple of movie debuts, but this series has been a great start to the block’s lineup ever since Toonami gained its broadcast rights. Many anime fans remember watching DBZ when they were younger, so the nostalgia factor is at play here. Ghost in the Shell is a well-known series, but it will not stand a chance against the titan that is DBZ Kai. I expect an easy win for Goku and the “Z Warriors,” even though I think Ghost in the Shell is a great series to watch.
Prediction: Dragon Ball Z Kai wins in a landslide.
The case for Ghost in the Shell: Well, there is a live-action movie being produced, so it is popular.
Eight Seed: One Piece
Nine Seed: Sword Art Online
It feels like both of these series can separate a group of anime fans quick. While One Piece will not be able to outrun its past from its previous 4Kidz dub, it has remained a staple on Toonami (albeit at 2 a.m.). It is one of the most successful franchises, with over 700 episodes in total (and over 400 dubbed). However, while there are those that will argue about One Piece, I don’t think any anime can divide the anime community more than Sword Art Online. It has major flaws that drives some fans insane, and leaves them wondering why this show is as popular as it is. Others look past the flaws of every character to allow the animation and soundtrack to take them on a joyful journey. This match-up could be a toss up, but I think One Piece will win because I believe there are less One Piece haters on Twitter than Sword Art Online.
Prediction: One Piece wins with over 65 percent of the vote.
The case for Sword Art Online: Recognizable franchise, and a show everyone has an opinion on.
Four Seed: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Thirteen Seed: Gurren Lagann
It’s been a rocky year for Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood because FUNimation has lost the rights to this show. A franchise that has been called a gateway into anime has become harder for newer fans to watch. But that doesn’t mean it’s ranking should suffer in Toonami Madness. Brotherhood was part of Toonami when it was revived in 2012. That’s pretty tough to go up against, even for a show as beloved as Gurren Lagann. Gurren Lagann is viewed as one of the best (if not the best) mecha anime any fan could find, and it certainly had an impact in the world when it first premiered from Japan. The legacy and contingent of fans strongly believe in this show and consider it inspirational, making this match-up a little tougher to call. I would be shocked to see Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood have a first-round exit, but Gurren Lagann was an outstanding show.
Prediction: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood wins a close match.
The case for Gurren Lagann: Best mecha anime series available, and has one of the best dynamic characters in Kamina.
Five Seed: Space Dandy
Twelve Seed: Kill la Kill
This match-up is the hardest for me to analyze. It’s not because I’m unsure who will win, because Space Dandy has a special place in many Toonami fans hearts (as well as anime fans in general). But Dandy is going up against a huge favorite of mine, Kill la Kill. It feels unfair for Ryoko, Mako, and the rest of the students at Honnouji Academy. Both series had some hysterical moments that resonated with me and made each show highly enjoyable. I also loved the character designs in Kill la Kill, as well as the phenomenal voice acting in that series. Finally, the action in Kill la Kill was some of the best stuff I’ve seen. However, not even life-fibers will be enough to take down Dandy and his crew. It was a world premiere dub that lead to FUNimation making broadcast dubs. It was comedy gold, and a wild adventure that should be seen again and again.
Prediction: Space Dandy wins by over 70 percent of the votes.
The case for Kill la Kill: Don’t lose your way! The main characters are very popular.
Two Seed: Cowboy Bebop
Fifteen Seed: Soul Eater
While not a one seed in this tournament, Cowboy Bebop is a serious threat to win Toonami Madness. It is considered one of the best anime series ever, and it will take a huge upset to knock out this show. This match-up is a worst case scenario for Soul Eater, which is a fun series in its own right. I enjoyed the concept of people turning into weapons and loved how capable Maka was as a lead character. Not to mention that the silliness between Soul and Black Star became a fun dynamic to watch. However, you can stack every positive thing about Soul Eater, and still have it fall short against Cowboy Bebop.
Prediction: Cowboy Bebop wins by the largest margin in its bracket.
The case for Soul Eater: None
Seven Seed: Hellsing Ultimate
Eleven Seed: Inuyasha
Full disclosure, I’m not the hugest fan of Hellsing Ultimate. To be fair, I did find Ultimate to be better than the original series. I will go out on a limb and pick an upset with this match-up (and it is not because of my biases). Many fans love Alucard (for good reasons), but I believe the legacy and nostalgia of Inuyasha will win out in the end. While the original series dragged on (like Dragon Ball Z), I have a feeling that many still think of this show fondly. It certainly feels like Inuyasha doesn’t receive the respect the series deserves, probably because of its pacing when compared to the original series. But with Toonami airing The Final Act, fans were treated to an ending they were anticipating for a long time. I do think that Toonami airing that final series will have an effect on the voting for this match-up.
Prediction: Inuyasha upsets Hellsing Ultimate.
The case for Hellsing Ultimate: The characters are well-known, and the show has some superb action.
Three Seed: Bleach
Fourteen Seed: Naruto Shippuden
This battle will not go away, and no, this wasn’t planned. The argument over which show is better between Bleach and Naruto has gone on since both hit it big in the U.S. for as long as I can remember. Overall I do believe Naruto is more popular worldwide, but Bleach’s anime series has felt better received by fans stateside. Plus, right now, Shippuden has been leaving a horrible taste in my mouth (as well as other fans) with the filler episodes currently on Toonami. Now that’s something that has plagued both series, but given how popular Bleach is, and how Toonami broadcasts it earlier than Naruto or Shippuden, it’s understandable that Bleach was ranked higher. Going away isn’t the worst thing for a show, as it could become more popular now that it’s away (In Bleach’s case). I expect Bleach to win because it has been missed, but it will be a close one. (One of the “big three” will be eliminated in the first-round).
Prediction: Bleach wins by the slimmest of margins.
The case for Naruto Shippuden: Its manga popularity could easily override any disdain fans have over the anime.
Six Seed: Attack on Titan
Ten Seed: Akame ga Kill
Akame ga Kill just ended, which allowed it to be in the Toonami Madness tournament. It won’t last long. Attack on Titan has become huge in the anime world, becoming a series that anime fans show to non-fans (possibly making them fans). It’s got blood, gore, Three Dimensional Maneuver gear, and huge monsters called titans. It’s a series that has inspired many to cosplay as if they are part of that world. The hype for season two has also helped the fandom grow larger and larger. I don’t like to count out Akame ga Kill, because of how well it premiered (best premiere Saturday ever). In fact, the show performed well for Toonami overall. But because it steered away from its source material this series wasn’t fully accepted as one of the best shows on Toonami (as well as having an anti-climactic ending). Expect a solid win by Attack on Titan.
Prediction: Attack on Titan wins easily.
The case for Akame ga Kill: The female characters were easy on the eyes, and had the best Saturday debut of any Toonami show on Adult Swim.
Round One Cartoon Network Toonami Bracket:
One Seed: Sailor Moon
Sixteen Seed: Rave Master
There is no way that the dub of Rave Master will beat Sailor Moon. I thoroughly enjoyed Rave Master (the manga), especially after I found out that Hiro Mashima is also the author of Fairy Tail. I liked the characters and the adventure that Rave Master took fans on. But this is Sailor Moon we are talking about. This franchise is one of the most recognizable animes ever. Fans still talk about the series, considering that VIZ Media redubbed the original show. It’s a cultural icon in the U.S. and should move on to the second round with no problems.
Prediction: Sailor Moon wins by the most votes of any match-up.
The Case for Rave Master: None
Eight Seed: G Gundam
Nine Seed: Dragon Ball
Wait, isn’t Dragon Ball Z Kai already in this challenge? How does Dragon Ball make it in as well? The answer is because of how long Dragon Ball was on Toonami. It’s also a different story than DBZ Kai, so we felt it deserved a slot in Toonami Madness. Dragon Ball is the prequel series that gave fans one of the best heroes in anime (Goku). While not as action-packed as DBZ was, this show was very enjoyable for those getting home from school. G Gundam certainly shouldn’t feel forgotten either, as it was my favorite Gundam series to watch on Toonami. Say what you will about the overall dub, I enjoyed it and certainly loved to hear Shining Finger over and over. But I will go with Dragon Ball in this match-up only because I enjoyed watching that more than G Gundam. This pairing will be a close contest by my estimation.
Prediction: Dragon Ball upsets G Gundam.
The case for G Gundam: A fondly remembered Gundam series.
Four Seed: Gundam Wing
Thirteen Seed: Cyborg 009
Speaking of Gundam series, this one (Gundam Wing) is widely considered the most popular of the franchise. And it faces off against Cyborg 009. I liked the story in Cyborg 009, as well as the main character’s voice actor (Joshua Seth). The story fed into the whole organizational conspiracy to create war by using homeless or forgotten children and remodeling them into weapons. It was fresh, and a series that sucked me in due to the mysteries that would arise. Still, it is going up against a Gundam series, and the most popular one. Gundams is one of the most recognizable words in an anime fan’s vocabulary. There is nothing Cyborg 009 can do against the giant mobile suits in Gundam Wing.
Prediction: Gundam Wing wins by more than 30 percent.
The case for Cyborg 009: The overall legacy of the franchise.
Five Seed: Outlaw Star
Twelve Seed: Big O
Nothing against Big O, but Outlaw Star should handle this match-up easily. Gene Starwind has been embraced by the Toonami faithful, as well as the entire show in general. The space odyssey genre is popular among anime fans, and Outlaw Star is no exception. I loved the spaceship battles with grappler arms since I never saw anything like that before. The characters in Outlaw Star were also enjoyable to watch, including Jim Hawkins, Melfina, and Hilda. Big O’s popularity in the U.S helped it get a second season created (which was co-produced by Cartoon Network), but I think Outlaw Star will be just fine in the first round, despite the fact that Big O had some pretty awesome robot battles.
Prediction: Outlaw Star dominates the polls.
The case for Big O: Sweet robot battles, and a cool central character.
Two Seed: Yu Yu Hakusho
Fifteen Seed: Zoids: Chaotic Century
Yusuke Urameshi helped solidify the anti-hero role that so many fans love. He wasn’t your smiling protagonist that you see in One Piece or Naruto. Yusuke was pissed off all the time, and fans loved him for that. He had to save the world, and that’s not something that is easy or fun. It’s stressful and causes a lot of headaches. Plus Yusuke getting stronger the more he was beaten up really resonated with me and that’s why I enjoyed this show. The four main characters of Yu Yu Hakusho all have their fans, which is why I think it should win easily against Zoids: Chaotic Century, which was a fascinating show. Chaotic Century was an interesting war story, which gave it a solid case for joining Toonami Madness. Plus the Liger that Van Flyheight used was my favorite Zoid to see fighting. However, expect Yu Yu Hakusho to dominate this match-up.
Prediction: Yu Yu Hakusho wins by a large margin.
The case for Zoids: Chaotic Century: The robot battles in this show were a lot better than I thought they’d be.
Seven Seed: Megas XLR
Eleven Seed: IGPX
Chicks dig giant robots, and that’s evident with IGPX and Megas XLR making it into Toonami Madness. IGPX was the first series to be called a Toonami Original. It was a huge first for the block and something that I wish had more payout than what it initially had. While the show is fondly remembered, I don’t think it became as famous as Toonami would have hoped for, considering how much work was put into making it. It’s still a fine series, but I believe that will be the case yet again when IGPX faces Megas XLR. I found this show enjoyable due to the humor as well as the sweet battles. This show accurately depicted what it would be like if any of us found a giant robot. Many fans would make the controls work like a video game and do silly things with said robot.
Prediction: Megas XLR wins because chicks dig it!
The case for IGPX: First Toonami Original, Discotek just released the series for consumers.
Three Seed: Rurouni Kenshin
Fourteen Seed: Zatch Bell
Back when Toonami was a weekday programming block, I was glued to my television for Rurouni Kenshin. It was the show I wanted to see the most, and I’m not alone with that sentiment. Rurouni Kenshin has become one of the most popular titles discussed in anime. The overall story of Rurouni Kenshin is what drew fans in: a man-slaying samurai who has given up killing, yet old foes of his past keep coming out from the shadows. This disturbs the peaceful life he wants to have. It was a compelling drama for fans at the time! Sure Zatch Bell was a fun series to watch, especially with the concept of dolls fighting high-octane spell battles, but nothing beats watching a samurai fight.
Prediction: Rurouni Kenshin wins by more than 10 percent.
The case for Zatch Bell: Underrated show that aired on Cartoon Network’s Toonami.
Six Seed: Tenchi Muyo
Ten Seed: Samurai Jack
One series popularized harem anime (and maybe pioneered the genre), and one is beloved by fans in the U.S. Samurai Jack vs. Tenchi Muyo feels like a toss up. While I could see either show moving on, I have a feeling that the revival of Samurai Jack will put that show over the top. Plus Tenchi Muyo didn’t exactly have the greatest succeeding series, which damaged its overall view in some fans’ minds. I thought it was surprising how popular Tenchi Muyo became on Toonami; I’m not surprised that Samurai Jack was popular, which is why I’m thinking upset.
Prediction: Samurai Jack upsets Tenchi Muyo.
The case for Tenchi Muyo: Popularized the trend of harem anime.
Those are just my predictions of what will happen, but ultimately it’s you who decides who wins each match-up. Keep an eye on the Twitter profile @ToonamiNews, using the hashtag #ToonamiMadness. Voting will begin on Thursday for the Adult Swim bracket, and Friday for the Cartoon Network bracket. The first round is usually known for a lot of upsets, so let’s see which shows can pull off something special. Otherwise enjoy the game, and keep an eye on the polls.
C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. He’s pumped for Toonami Madness, and hope you are too. Feel free to talk about with him on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris