The big premier of Parasyte occurred during last Saturday’s Toonami broadcast, and the numbers was something to be desired. I thought that since a new show was premiering, with a surprise dub cast, that many eyes would be glued to the T.V. on Toonami. Parasyte is a show that has grabbed a nice following in the U.S. after the manga’s revival last year. Many fans were begging to know all kinds of info on the show, especially if it would get dubbed or air on Toonami. Now that our questions have been answered, it was time for Toonami to reap the reward from the attention created. However, that didn’t seem to have happened.
Let me be clear to state that these numbers aren’t exact, as nothing can be perfectly quantified when it comes to viewers. However, this has to be a little troubling to see when a show premieres early in the lineup. I thought that Parasyte would be able to get over a million when it came to the ratings, but it was just a little bit short. Discounting movies that premiered on Toonami, eight other shows had a bigger audience when they first aired on the action block. What’s troubling is that the last time a new show didn’t reach over a million viewers, was when Sword Art Online rejoined Toonami for it’s second season (992,000). That can be attributed to the amount of “hate” the show receives, but I certainly don’t think Parasyte could have that kind of back lash, when there aren’t many fans who knew about the franchise.
It just bothers me that this show had a low premier at 1 a.m. (excluding movies). That time slot is usually a decent one that garners a lot of people viewing. Just looking at how well Michiko & Hatchin performed (over a million viewers), I certainly thought that Parasyte would also garner more buzz. It seemed like it did considering the trends on Twitter. Parasyte had more people tweet about it than any other show (only #Toonami had more tweets). It was the number one trend in both the East Coast and West Coast of the U.S., and even had a character trend as well (Migi). It clearly was popular (over 6,000 tweets) so it’s puzzling on why the show didn’t reach over a million viewers. Could this have something to do with the old stigma on Sentai Filmworks productions? Not necessary, but I won’t rule out any reason as to why Parasyte under performed (viewing wise).
Now this doesn’t mean the “sky is falling” or everything is awful. Other shows have started off slow when they were on Toonami. DBZ Kai of all shows had less views than Parayste did on it’s opening weekend (946,000). And this is the same show that received over 2 million viewers this year. InuYasha: The Final Act also started off slow when it premiered on Toonami (881,000), and this show has a huge following in the U.S (not to mention that it premiered at 2 a.m.). So possibly this could mean that Parasyte needs some time to gain momentum, which I believe it can do. It’s an old franchise that has just been reintroduced to the world, so gaining fans will take some patiences.
Now comes to the biggest road block as to why the viewing numbers were low all the way around. College football is back and can have games end around 1:30-2 a.m. For those who do not follow College Football, it’s really a big deal with the general public (especially when looking into the views that it can acquire). With West Coast games ending around halfway through the entire Toonami block (in the East Coast), that could potentially block a lot of viewers from switching to Toonami. It would be the same kind of hurdle if anime was being shown on Monday night. It would have to deal with Monday Night Football and Monday Night Raw. With the college football season back in full swing, Toonami will have to deal with other programs “stealing” viewers from their target demographic. (SNL also started up a new season, but I don’t think it had much affect on the action block viewer rating).
So that’s how I look at the numbers and break it down from last Saturday. While having close to a million views is positive, I definitely felt like the numbers should have been higher for Parasyte. It will be tough for Toonami to try and break attention away from college football during this season. However, depending on how good (or how bad) the game is going, it will be interesting to see how many viewers these anime shows can get to switch to the action block. I will also be keeping track at the numbers that Akame ga Kill and Michiko & Hatchin had last Saturday as well, which were lower too. However, there is no need to panic since Toonami’s lineup is looking strong. It’s just a matter of time when the rest of the world catches up.
C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com, and will continue to break down the viewing and trending numbers as much as he can. Feel free to talk about anime with him on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris