March doesn’t solely belong to sports fans, at least, that was proven after the first round of Toonami Madness. A whopping total of 9,926 votes were cast, with many fans making sure their voices were heard. Sixteen shows were victorious, and now decisions are going to get tougher from here on in. So it’s time to look back at what occurred during the first round, as well as breaking down what fans will see in round two.

The Cartoon Network Toonami Bracket blowouts

While the Adult Swim Toonami bracket had a couple of mismatches, generally polls came within 10 percent of each other (51/49-59/41). The Cartoon Network Toonami bracket only had two polls that were close. The rest were huge blowouts, which includes Yu Yu Hakusho winning by the largest margin against Zoids: Chaotic Century (85/15). Not wanting to be shown up as well, Gundam Wing demolished Cyborg 009 (78/22) and Dragon Ball upset G Gundam with an enormous vote differential (73/27). Add in Sailor Moon’s (70/30) win and the four largest victories happened in this bracket. So the question is, why were the matchups in this bracket more lopsided than the other?

There are two conclusions we could draw from this, one being that the selection committee should have reevaluated the breakdown of this particular bracket, and switch around the seeding of shows or look at other series. I’m willing to think that the selection committee should and will look over the choices they made when the tournament is over as part of a self-evaluation process. However, no selection committee will get everything just right, whether it be in sports or Toonami Madness. So that leaves me to believe that the second option was more likely. The other option being that these particular fan bases were more enthusiastic about voting (especially Yu Yu Hakusho fans) than others. Due to the series that Yu Yu Hakusho, Gundam Wing, and Dragon Ball drew, it made the choice easy for many fans. Plus a few of these series are have become relevant again. VIZ Media has been redubbing the iconic Sailor Moon series, and Rightstuf should be releasing Gundam Wing at some point this year or next. These shows have been immensely popular even as time moves on, so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that they’d dominate with their first-round wins.

Where were the upsets?

One thing that is synonymous with the NCAA March Madness tournament is first round upsets. It’s usually the time when they are more likely to happen, with the sheer volume of games that occur (32 games in two days). So with 32 shows vying for one spot, I thought there’d be a few upsets in Toonami Madness. Fans are passionate about their favorite shows, and in the Adult Swim Toonami bracket, I felt that some of the lower seeded shows would pull off something amazing. Sadly, only two shows were able to pull off an upset: Dragon Ball and Samurai Jack. To be fair, I only predicted three upsets myself, but there were a few chances for more of them to happen.

Kill la Kill held a lead on Space Dandy for most of the 24 hour voting period. I thought that Toonami Madness would result in a 12 seed defeating a five seed, just like in the NCAA tournament. During the last few hours, Space Dandy was able to make a comeback and win (53/47), thwarting any dream of life fibers continuing. InuYasha was also very close to upsetting Hellsing Ultimate (51/49), essentially becoming the coin flip I expected (even though I predicted Inuyasha winning). The most compelling matchup was between Bleach vs. Naruto Shippuden, with Bleach winning by the slimmest of margins (51/49). Some might have had a problem with how low Shippuden’s seed was, but its current performance on the action block was the main reason for its slide. Obviously, Shippuden is a well-known and beloved series so this matchup could have gone either way. It just so happened that Bleach was able to pull through, probably because people miss the anime.

American Action Cartoons were undefeated

Something that is tracked during the NCAA March Madness tournament is how many schools in each conference are represented in the tournament, suggesting which conference is the strongest in the eyes of the selection committee. So Darrell and I considered anime and American Action Cartoons to be two separate “conferences” when we selected shows for Toonami Madness. Anime is to Toonami like the SEC is for college football. As I’m sure people could tell, anime was well-represented in Toonami Madness. Toonami will always be known as a gateway for Western fans to view anime. That doesn’t mean that Toonami is only known for anime, as they have a long history of showing American animated cartoons as well. So while only two series from the U.S. was represented, both Samurai Jack and Megas XLR moved on to the second round. That should prove that both types of cartoons are welcomed to the block by fans, as they were able to take down memorable Toonami veterans (IGPX and Tenchi Muyo). Will they have the same success in round two? Only time will tell.

With all of that said, it’s time to look at the updated brackets and predict how the second round will play out.


Round Two Adult Swim Toonami Bracket: 

One Seed: Dragon Ball Z Kai
Eight Seed: One Piece

Both shows underperformed in their first round matchups. I expected both to grab at least 60 percent of the votes from fans, but neither show did. That could mean that the shows they faced were more popular than I gave them credit for (Ghost in the Shell and Sword Art Online). Plus, both Dragon Ball Z Kai and One Piece have just as many detractors as they do supporters, so that could have played a part as well. As for who I predict will win this matchup, it’ll be tough for One Piece to take down the Dragon Ball Z giant. Sometimes fans have asked Toonami to replace One Piece with another long-running series (which could hurt how One Piece performs in Toonami Madness). Although since One Piece’s Thriller Bark arc is being played now, I’m sure that sentiment has changed. However, I do expect DBZ Kai to move forward: it was viewed as the odds-on favorite to win by many of us here at Toonami Faithful. It will be very close, but I just can’t see any show taking down DBZ Kai just yet.

Prediction: Dragon Ball Z Kai wins by two percent.
The case for One Piece: Toonami started airing the Thriller Bark arc, legacy of the show

Four Seed: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Five Seed: Space Dandy

Just like the series, Dandy survived it’s matchup in a crazy way. Kill la Kill lead the polls longer than Space Dandy did, which I found surprising. Space Dandy was a world premiere dub that was able to air on Toonami, which makes the broadcast of this series even more important to Toonami’s overall history. The fact that so many fans enjoyed Space Dandy’s humor means that the series is a serious threat to win any round it is in (only because I find making comedy a lot more difficult to succeed in). However, I believe Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood will come out on top, despite how depressing the series can be. Fullmetal Alchemist is one the most favorable franchises in anime history, and the fact that it has two shows should provide fans with an idea of how popular it is. Plus Brotherhood is widely considered the better Fullmetal Alchemist series, so it’ll be tough to knock out. If Space Dandy does win it will be a monster upset.

Prediction: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood wins by at least 60 percent 
The case for Space Dandy: “Booty, booty, booty.”

Two Seed: Cowboy Bebop
Seven Seed: Hellsing Ultimate

Hellsing Ultimate was barely able to move on after Inuyasha made a late charge at the end. This should mean that Hellsing Ultimate doesn’t have a prayer to beat Cowboy Bebop in the second round. Cowboy Bebop was able to have the largest margin of victory in the Adult Swim Toonami bracket, although it wasn’t as high as I expected (67/33). It’s a timeless classic that has been shown on Toonami on multiple runs, unlike Hellsing Ultimate, proving just how beloved this series is. Cowboy Bebop fans shouldn’t be discouraged with its matchup in round two.

Prediction: Cowboy Bebop wins decisively
The case for Hellsing Ultimate: None

Three Seed: Bleach
Six Seed: Attack on Titan

Bleach narrowly escaped a huge upset bid by Naruto Shippuden. To me, that means that Bleach is in trouble, especially with the show it’s facing off against now. Attack on Titan (as well as One-Punch Man and Tokyo Ghoul), has been praised as one of the main reasons that manga has gained a surge in sales in the U.S. While the manga wasn’t a huge factor when it came to seeding, it’s definitely impossible to ignore in this matchup. Both series are ongoing, and both have left their mark in U.S. anime/manga history. I would argue that Bleach has been more popular in the U.S over Naruto and One Piece, but the overall demand for Attack on Titan has been staggering. Both have a huge legacy angle and will make it a tough decision for some. I look at Attack on Titan to complete an upset here, mostly because it’s a lot newer compared to Bleach. While fans wait for either show to start a new season, one is a lot more plausible to happen than the other.

Prediction: Attack on Titan upsets Bleach by a lot.
The case for Bleach: It’s one of the most recognizable anime franchises ever. 


One Seed: Sailor Moon
Nine Seed: Dragon Ball

While Sailor Moon was able to dominate (70/30) against Rave Master, I still thought that it was closer than it should have been. Then again, Rave Master did defy the odds, winning a poll in an earlier round. So will Sailor Moon have a harder time beating Dragon Ball? Anything this franchise (Dragon Ball) touches seem to turn to gold, so this could turn out the same. Both of these franchises are legends in their own right, so it might be tough for Sailor Moon to continue, even though it was the top seed in this bracket. I’ll stay with Sailor Moon because this franchise was huge back when it first aired, and still is to this day. Dragon Ball has fallen out of the public eye compared to its counterpart (Dragon Ball Z), so that’s why I pick Sailor Moon.

Prediction: Sailor Moon survives into round three.
The case for Dragon Ball: Still beloved by fans and does have the name Dragon Ball.

Four Seed: Gundam Wing
Five Seed: Outlaw Star

What’s Toonami known for? Besides giving fans action cartoons, it’s giant robots. We have that with Gundam Wing and shouldn’t count out Outlaw Star (although their robots are just spaceships with grappler arms). Space is the place for Toonami, and both these series are no exception. What Gundam Wing has in its favor is the fact that it’s a Gundam series. Nevertheless, I’m picking Outlaw Star to move on to the next round. Outlaw Star seems to be more popular among Toonami fans than Gundam Wing. Some fans might claim that Gundam Wing wasn’t the best series for the Gundam franchise. While I’m not here to say which Gundam series is better, I do have a feeling that this could work against Gundam Wing since Outlaw Star only itself to be compared to. The fact that there have been so many Gundam series might dilute the product altogether, making some believe that Gundam Wing shouldn’t move on. Since Gundam Wing isn’t everyone’s favorite Gundam series, that might make fans vote the other way keeping Wing out of the tournament. That’s why I believe that Outlaw Star will come out on top.

Prediction: Outlaw Star upsets Gundam Wing
The case for Gundam Wing: Being a Gundam series could sway fans of Gundam to vote for it. 

Two Seed: Yu Yu Hakusho
Seven Seed: Megas XLR

I could have predicted that Yu Yu Hakusho would destroy Zoids in their first round matchup, and when I say destroy I mean obliterate. The admiration this franchise has earned to this day makes it a serious threat to reach the finals (that’s at least what Toonami Faithful Podcast host Sketch believes, and I have to agree). That dominating win just proves to me that Yu Yu Hakusho fans are ready and able to show how much they love this franchise, no matter the adversary. What will make this even more impressive is that I think it’ll win big against another series that many fans have a special affection for (Megas XLR). Digging giant robots can only go so far, expect another big win for Yu Yu Hakusho.

Prediction: Yu Yu Hakusho continues its dominance and wins big.
The case for Megas XLR: Chicks do in fact dig giant robots and was a fun series to watch. 

Three Seed: Rurouni Kenshin
Ten Seed: Samurai Jack

A samurai vs. samurai matchup, which couldn’t be any more perfect. Samurai Jack was able to complete a dominating upset against Tenchi Muyo, and I expect the same thing to happen here. Samurai Jack is in right now thanks to its revival. The intrigue and questions surrounding when it will air on Toonami will bring this show straight to the forefront of fans’ minds. Rurouni Kenshin has a remarkable legacy, with how much it was a fan-favorite during its Cartoon Network run. However, that’s all Rurouni Kenshin has when fans discuss about its popularity. There isn’t any news about Rurouni Kenshin being revived or more episodes being made. There have been movies and OVA’s of Rurouni Kenshin but nothing that has been earth-shattering like a Samurai Jack revival has become.

Prediction: Samurai Jack upset Rurouni Kenshin. 
Case for Rurouni Kenshin: Considered one of the top-4 most popular anime to air on Cartoon Network’s Toonami.

The matchups are going to get a lot tougher as we head into the Sweet Sixteen of Toonami Madness. Fans will have to make some hard decisions as soon as the polls are opened. While there weren’t any monumental upsets in the first round, I do expect that to change in the second round. Plus, more news stories might be dropped, which can drive the public’s interest in any matchup. Hopefully, the matches will be closer than what we saw in the first round, which would make things more dramatic in the end. After all, becoming the King of Toonami shouldn’t come easy for any of the titles still alive.

Adult Swim Toonami bracket will start on Thursday, and the Cartoon Network Toonami bracket will start on Friday.

C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. He’s pumped to see how the second round goes for Toonami Madness. Don’t forget to vote! Feel free to follow C.J on Twitter for all your Toonami Madness related questions and thoughts @SeaJayMaffris