While some of the news that Toonami announced were predicted, it doesn’t change the wave of momentum the block now has. The question of what Toonami plans to do as we reach the Buu saga in Dragon Ball Z Kai (DBZ Kai) is now over. In fact a lot of other questions such as will the block move back to 11:30 p.m. after the holidays is answered, as well as what shows will be added to the lineup starting next year. One of the most iconic franchise will continue to dominate the block as fans get ready for 2017.
— IGN (@IGN) December 7, 2016
Starting Jan. 7, Toonami will move back to 11:30 p.m. premiering an English dub of Dragon Ball Super. It was IGN that broke the news with FUNimation and Toonami quickly confirming the story afterward. This is big news as not only Toonami will be airing a half an hour early, but showcasing the next installment in the Dragon Ball franchise. Fans have been anticipating the news of this arrival, especially after the rumor that began with Sean Schemmel (English voice of Goku) reportedly telling fans at a convention in Pittsburgh that Dragon Ball Super was coming to television. That claim was accurate, and Toonami will now reap the rewards of fans tuning in to check out why Dragon Ball Super has been popular among fans.
Now some might recall how in a recent editorial, I believed it might have been a better idea for another station/channel to pick up Dragon Ball Super to show to a wider audience, or at a more convenient time. Toonami stayed one step ahead of any doubts with the block reclaiming the 8 p.m. time slot airing Dragon Ball Super at that time! I was completely blindsided as I wasn’t sure Toonami would air something that early again. That’s a perfect way to get more viewers to tune into Adult Swim and Toonami. What’s even better about that is according to Jason DeMarco, they will premiere Dragon Ball Super at 8 p.m. with it replaying at 11:30 p.m. It’s an excellent idea to give fans more of a reason to view Adult Swim at 8 p.m., meaning that if you are unable to catch at that time you have a chance to see it again at 11:30 p.m. (followed by the other shows Toonami has to offer).
Now once the news broke about Dragon Ball Super, I wasn’t sure if that meant Toonami would just skip over the Buu arc in DBZ Kai. At first, fans were saddened by the prospect that they wouldn’t have a chance to watch it. However, Toonami quickly announced that starting at midnight Toonami will continue to air DBZ Kai and will broadcast the Buu arc. So we can now end the “cat and mouse” game about how the Buu arc hasn’t officially been announced and now can be discussed that it has happened. It will air, and will continue at the same time DBZ Kai has been airing on the block
So fans will now get a double-dose of Dragon Ball starting in Jan. which will probably yield some of the best results when it comes to ratings. I have a feeling that both Toonami and FUNimation will advertise these announcements heavily, to help grab as many viewers as they can. Dragon Ball has such a stranglehold on animation fans in the U.S. The fact that an all-new series will now be airing here is all the more reason to sell to bring more eyes on T.V. Lately, I’ve felt that T.V. numbers as a whole have been dropping (look at the NFL’s ratings dropping). And while I don’t think the viewership will look drastically different, it’ll be high enough to keep people from losing their minds about the block’s future. Maybe the premiere weekend will look great, but I’m not holding my breath for something ridiculous.
MORE DRAGON BALL NEWS! The rest of Kai is coming to Toonami! 💙 https://t.co/xJrHqsri1A
— Monica Rial (@Rialisms) December 7, 2016
Now we can add that Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 (Gundam Unicorn) will also join the block on Jan. 7, making me believe that Toonami was purposefully trying to have three premieres at one time. This might be the main reason why Toonami decided to double up on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (JJBA), as well as why they had a regular schedule on Thanksgiving. It’s a smart move to add many new things to block at the same time. It gives off the feeling that the first Saturday is an event on television. All of these new things will bring fans to Toonami especially with the nostalgia factor of more Dragon Ball and Gundam. I can only imagine how excited regular Toonami fans, as well as casual anime fans, will be with Dragon Ball Super (as well as everything else) beginning on Toonami.
Throw in JJBA, Hunter x Hunter, One Piece, and Naruto Shippuden (Shippuden), and Toonami will be airing six long-running series on the block. The only rotating slot would be where Gundam Unicorn is (which might have been turned into the Gundam slot considering I predict Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Season Two might make an appearance there). With all of those long-runners, it might make rerunning a series a harder decision to continue. By eliminating reruns, Toonami can add more shows to their lineup at a more frequent pace. After One-Punch Man ends, maybe Toonami could then add a shorter series new to the block to give it more turnaround? After all, DeMarco did post a poll on Twitter on what fans would like his team to look into to air (choices being Lupin the Third Part Four, Tokyo Ghoul, and Mob Psycho 100). I think this news will be the end of reruns, which is sad considering I enjoyed that if fans missed episodes of a big series, Toonami gave them a chance to see it again (keep things cheaper too).
Now this could also mean that if you want to catch up on a series, you’ll have to do it on the Toonami stream, which gives that service more importance overall. This could help Toonami become even stronger in the long run.
Jan 7 at 8pm – DB Super
Jan 7 at midnight – DB Kai Buu
— Christopher Sabat (@JustChrisSabat) December 7, 2016
Now once a few questions are answered, more will inevitably come up. Questions like at what time will the new season of Samurai Jack air? Could it be that Toonami might move up again to start at 11 p.m.? What will they plan for their 20th anniversary? Will there be an Attack on Titan Season Two world premiere? How can they do any of that with the tiny (perceived) space? All are valid questions, but we just don’t have the answers right now. What fans can do is get excited that Toonami will air THREE new things at one time, with it culminating with the biggest acquisition to date. Make no mistake; this is huge and one of the best things Toonami could do for fans of anime. Toonami will once again begin earlier, which could begin the thought of them starting earlier in the future. They will now double-dip not only with DBZ Kai and Dragon Ball Super but also airing Super twice in one night! Toonami is all in with “the greatest action cartoon” on the planet, and who could blame them? With all of this new that Toonami is brining, it makes me think the block is turning into its “perfect” form.
C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. His power level might have risen a bit after all the news Toonami has announced, but he’ll revert back to normal in a couple of minutes. Feel free to talk all things Toonami with C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris