A new show is about to join the Toonami lineup, making it an exciting time for fans. It has a “hot stove-type” feeling when Sentai Filmworks gives out a press release that Akame ga Kill is about to wrap up. The series will hit episode 19 of 24, meaning that there is a little over a month before a new show arrives. So obviously, there will be some guessing and questions as to what show will replace the current 12:30 a.m. time slot. For me, the real question should be where will Sentai Filmworks go from here, and will they be providing fans (and the staff at Toonami) with more reliable and worthwhile content? Toonami Faithful Podcast regular Darrel Maddox has hinted about all of the hidden gems Sentai owns, so will Toonami continue to bring fans a Sentai hour in the future?
Does Toonami want to continue to go after titles from Sentai Filmworks? The action block doesn’t have to continue to go that route. There are other dubbing companies out there that can easily fill that slot with a big anime series. However, I certainly hope Sentai Filmworks doesn’t go down the path that Aniplex USA seems to have gone when it comes to Toonami being able to broadcast their titles. Right now for Aniplex, Kill la Kill is their only show on the block, and it’s a rerun of the show. Aniplex USA has some excellent titles that Toonami hasn’t aired, but it looks as if Netflix has the rights to those series (Magi, Fate/Zero). So after Kill la Kill ends, Aniplex might be shut out from Toonami for the time being. I certainly do not want Sentai Filmworks to be shut out as well.
Luckily for Sentai, many believe that 3 a.m. will be taken over by Akame ga Kill. So Sentai would still have at least two shows airing late night if Toonami doesn’t replace the 12:30 a.m. slot with a Sentai title. But I worry about that outcome and the old perception of Sentai that could return if more of Sentai’s shows do not join the action block. Thanks to Akame ga Kill and Parasyte, it seems like Sentai Filmworks is ready to break away from its negative reputation.
I never complain when Toonami can add quality shows as quickly as they did, especially from Sentai Filmworks. I’m just surprised at how fast they were able to air both Akame ga Kill and Parasyte (I didn’t realize how quickly they turned it around to dub). To me, Sentai gave Toonami two of their strongest franchises, leaving me thinking that their next series could be a letdown to fans (more on how Sentai can avoid this later). If Toonami’s next Sentai selection doesn’t pan out, the dubbing company might find themselves in the same position they were in before either show joined the lineup (which wasn’t pretty). It will be very hard to top what they sent to T.O.M and SARA.
Akame ga Kill has become one of the most popular franchises in the anime community these past few years. Not only did it receive a 24 episode season, but the mangas have been selling like hotcakes (consistently topping the New York Times best-selling manga list), and it has a prequel series to go along with it. Some folks do not believe the series deserves any praise (claiming it isn’t good at all). But the success that Akame ga Kill has been able to achieve has been impressive no matter whether you like or dislike the series. The same can said for Parasyte, a show that was “revived” in 2014, getting an anime adaptation. Its popularity grew dramatically thanks to the anime and must have impressed a lot of viewers with how something written in the 90’s can relate to the world now. Plus, the nicely animated fight scenes and solid voice acting makes this series a fan favorite with the Toonami faithful out there.
However, these two shows had an another effect on the audience since they both have been aired, and it’s something that Sentai has to be happy about. The image of them as being a “lesser” dubbing company is slowly disappearing thanks to Parasyte and Akame ga Kill. I recall back when I was first getting to know Sentai Filmworks’ dubs, which a lot of viewers complained about the quality of the dubbing and home products. Now, it looks like some fans might prefer Sentai owning the rights to their favorite shows than some of the bigger companies in the U.S. It seems like every month Sentai is releasing new collector’s edition of their titles, which usually look fantastic. Plus they have some cool little extras in every product that fans love. Which is why I hope that Sentai can continue in this direction and keep any negative thoughts about them at bay.
If Toonami decides to look at Sentai Filmworks for another series, what can they choose? While I know the dubbing company has a large selection of titles, I put Sentai’s strength more with the “Slice of Life,” or mature anime, than the action/adventure genre (which is what Toonami typically looks for). I’m not saying that Sentai doesn’t have any other options for Toonami (in action or adventure), but I certainly put Akame ga Kill and Parasyte ahead of most of the other action/adventure shows that they own the rights to.
So with that said, I decided to look into what Sentai owns and see if any shows can fill the void at 12:30 a.m. (or even 1 a.m., to bump Parasyte to an earlier time). I only looked at shows that have an English dub or have been announced to be dubbed. Sadly that counts out Ushio and Tora, GATE, and Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon (for now) since there aren’t any announcements made about a dub being produced. I think that all would be awesome to watch on the action block, but due to Akame ga Kill ending soon (and two of the series haven’t officially finished airing in Japan), neither of them are added to my short list of Sentai shows. Also, as much as I take episode counts into my decisions about show replacements, I decided to forgo that so I wasn’t limited in my selections. No one but the executives at Toonami and Sentai Filmworks will know what the cost of a 12 episode series would be, so a 12 episode season could still be a solid selection for the future, mostly due to cost (even though I think that a series of 24 episodes is better than 12). So without further ado, these are the shows I think would be great for both Toonami and Sentai’s reputation.
The one show that could quickly take the torch from Akame ga Kill is Log Horizon, which I think would be an excellent replacement. Sure, some might be tired of the whole “trapped in the game” genre that is populating anime series every season. However, this series has been praised more than its counterparts (.hack//Sign, Sword Art Online, and Overlord). It has established itself as something different from SAO and .hack//Sign and isn’t a knockoff of those series. Many enjoy the plotlines of Log Horizon: including the mystery of why players are trapped, building a viable community/government within the game, and if “Elder Tales” is a real place. These storylines are the main reason as to why this franchise seems so attractive. This series gives off a more realistic vibe than other shows in this genre, especially with how the characters are portrayed and how they develop over time. Hearing their backstories about how they lived in the real world was a treat (for me), seeing as how they all thought the real world stunk in comparison to “Elder Tales.” Not to mention it has a full episode count of 25 episodes in season one. So if the first season performs well for Toonami, they can hype the second season once it is available to be viewed (fans have been constantly asking Sentai when the second season will be released).
Another show that I’ve seen a lot of love for is Black Bullet. I’ve shared my thoughts on Twitter about how I thought it was an excellent series, thinking it would be a solid addition to the lineup. Anytime you have the main characters voiced by Chris Patton and Luci Christian I’ll always give it a watch (personally they are my favorite pairing). It also has the action Toonami fans love to see. There are some intense fighting scenes in it that would give viewers a satisfying feeling. The characters design and overall artwork were also a plus, and I think that fans would enjoy seeing how Rentaro and Enju (the main characters) work as a team. I was also intrigued by how Civil Security worked in this anime (think private security firms), and how relied upon they were. This series also touches on a few serious topics as well that will grab the audience “violently” (which I think viewers would welcome). My only issue is that this is a short series. That doesn’t mean it’s bad (quite the contrary), but it could drain Toonami’s funds sooner rather than later. (Again I don’t know how these deals work, this is only speculation.)
My final Sentai series that I’ll recommend is one I just recently finished viewing, Chaika Coffin Princess. I was drawn to this series after it was suggested to me on Twitter, and I think that fans would be ecstatic if Chaika made an appearance on Toonami. She is such an interesting main character (not the only one), especially her unique manner of speech in the series. I’m very eager to figure out her entire backstory. The whole lore of the world that Chaika and her companions live in makes me want to see more (and I’m sure fans would want to as well). I think that it might be difficult to get Chaika Coffin Princess on air, as the second season hasn’t been dubbed yet (although Sentai Filmworks might be waiting to announce it). But it certainly left me hanging after the first 12 episodes, and I wonder how fans would feel if Toonami ended the series at the end of the first season.
There are a few other Sentai shows that I would enjoy seeing on the action block, but I went with the three that I think would be the most well-received (rather than just picking my personal favorites). If we discussed some personal favorites of mine, I think No Game No Life would be an interesting choice to join the lineup (if Toonami went in that direction). I especially enjoyed watching scenes during games that make everything seem more dramatic than they really were (starting off with the very first episode’s poker match). Plus I find the whole “figuring out whose cheating” bit compelling and enjoyable to watch. Also, if you love main characters that are super smart, you’ll love Sora and Shiro. But there are a couple of scenes in this series that would give the censors some issues. Not to mention I don’t think episode six could air at all. Technically, no real nudity is shown, but I can just imagine the outrage that overprotective parents would express.
Hamatora would be another show that I think would work well on Toonami, and it even has 24 episodes (my magic number). I think its pace is a little slow for the kind of action that Toonami fans are used to. It takes a while for the plot to build up, but I think it would be rewarding enough to give it a shot (fans will have to pay attention to everything in this series though). However, the critics reviewed it as a bland show involving people with powers, which is why I don’t think it is popular enough for it to make a run on Toonami. And I’m hesitant about how mystery/crime-solving shows would do on Toonami. It could be a hit as I think Psycho-Pass could be, but it could also falter, like Case Closed did in the U.S. Still, if you enjoy Adam Gibbs rendition of Shinichi Izumi in Parasyte, then you’ll enjoy hearing him as Nice (the lead character). The voice acting alone could be a big reason why Hamatora could be well-received by fans. The show itself has an All-Star voice cast of Toonami favorites. That could go a long way into getting a show on the action block.
Finally, I think one more interesting selection would be Beyond the Boundary. This show is one of the most beautifully animated series I’ve ever watched. Beyond the Boundary looks like every episode was meant for the big screen, with impressively smooth animation. The writing is compelling, funny, and is a great love story to boot. The fact that the series had quite a few battle scenes and amazing choreography during those battles makes me believe it could work on Toonami. I’m not sure if Toonami is willing to try out something different like this, given how well the block has performed these last few months. It could be a huge gamble and one that Toonami might not be ready to take. However, I’m surprised at how well Parasyte has done, and I’d classify that as a psychological and horror anime, instead of just pure action (which are generally the fan favorites). I just think that due to its beauty, Toonami should give it a shot.
There are other shows from other companies that can fit into the block (not just Sentai Filmworks titles). While it would be cool for Toonami to continue the Sentai hour, it’s not as if they are contractually obligated to do so. In fact, if I were to venture a guess on what show I think will replace Akame ga Kill, I’d pick Funimation’s Tokyo Ghoul. Sentai Filmworks has a lot of solid shows to choose from that would be welcome editions to the action block. I think the success of Akame ga Kill and Parasyte prove that Sentai is doing a fantastic job of dubbing anime and should continue to have more and more successful shows grace the block. But where they go from here depends on what Toonami is looking for and which shows they think will enhance the block the most.
C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. He really enjoys the work that Sentai Filmworks put out for fans. Feel free to debate your favorite Sentai shows you wanna see on Toonami with C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris