Toonami Madness is now in its final stages, with only four shows left. It’s been interesting to see how the voting went, especially when looking at who made it to the final four. We have One Piece, Dragon Ball, Cowboy Bebop, and Yu Yu Hakusho all vying to be the king of Toonami. Who will come out on top? We’ll just have to wait and see when the voting resumes on Thursday. After that, the two winners will face off on Saturday through Sunday. Now let’s break it all down.


You have been watching

It goes without saying that FUNimation has dominated Toonami Madness. It wasn’t that hard, considering how many shows from that company were in the tournament. But what I find fascinating about these shows is that they have all been around for a while. The youngest series of the final four list is One Piece, whose original run began in 1999. Every other series’ original run began earlier than that (Cowboy Bebop 1998, Yu Yu Hakusho 1992, and Dragon Ball 1986). With how old each series is, it shows how strong a hold they have with fans stateside. Dragon Ball was the prequel the to legendary series Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop is considered one of the greatest animes of all time, Yu Yu Hakusho is a huge fan favorite, and One Piece is one of the longest running shows of all. These shows have left an enormous impression on fans and are at a point where they will always win out when it comes to popularity. I’m sure each show has their detractors, but the legacy of these shows far outshine any criticism.

Easiest road

What’s most interesting is how easily Dragon Ball and Cowboy Bebop were able to amass votes. While I’m not surprised about Cowboy Bebop, Dragon Ball’s domination was unexpected. In fact, I thought Sailor Moon would take down Dragon Ball in the second round. But as the tournament has progressed these two shows have had to sweat the least in order to move on (Yu Yu Hakusho would have won that award, but had a close matchup against Samurai Jack). So I’m wondering if this could be a preview of what’s to come. Both old and very famous series should be able to take care of their opponents. I wouldn’t mind seeing a different finals matchup with one of the favorites falling out, but it’ll be a tall order.

Favorite series underperforming

What was your favorite show that didn’t make it to the illustrious final four? There had to have been one that you wished had performed a little better. In my case, I was hoping Outlaw Star made it past Gundam Wing, or even farther. The same could also be said for Rurouni Kenshin. But this is part of the fun of this little bracket challenge: wondering how a show would perform if it weren’t matched up against the series it did face, and hoping next year will be better. I know there are others who were hoping to see their favorite shows making a longer run, like Megas XLR or Kill la Kill. Just like in NCAA March Madness, fans have experienced what a crushing defeat feels like as Toonami Madness reaches its epic climax.

Let’s take a look at the final four and preview what’s going to happen next.



Adult Swim Toonami bracket: Final Four Matchup

Two Seed: Cowboy Bebop
Eight Seed: One Piece

What a magical run for One Piece during this tournament! Not only taking out Dragon Ball Z Kai, but coming out on top against Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is a great feat in its own right (51/49). For whatever reason, One Piece has been able to win the popular vote with each matchup it faces. I do find it a little odd, considering the backlash One Piece receives over its drawn-out story, female character artwork, and repetitiveness. But overall I do enjoy the story more often than not. That said, will this magic continue against Cowboy Bebop? The show hasn’t had any trouble moving forward each round and has looked good doing so. During their last matchup against Attack on Titan, Bebop was able to trounce the popular series (66/34). That shouldn’t be perceived as a simple thing, considering how popular the manga series is and how anxious their fans are for the second season. Both shows have been winners so far, but only one of them can move on, so who will it be?

The case for One Piece is that the franchise has a new movie in the works, which adds intrigue to the series. And One Piece has grabbed the most votes out of any series in this competition. On Twitter, the One Piece fandom seems to be well organized, creating the perfect storm to beat the overall favorite. Will that happen? Only time will tell.

The case for Cowboy Bebop is that its legacy as one of the best series ever is still a huge factor. The story, the music, the animation, all continue to look and feel fabulous. The nostalgia factor also plays a huge role with this series. It’s hard for me to think that fans will vote otherwise.

Prediction: Cowboy Bebop wins by more than ten percentage points.




Cartoon Network Toonami bracket: Final Four Matchup

Two Seed: Yu Yu Hakusho
Nine Seed: Dragon Ball

Two large fan bases are about to get involved in a colossal matchup. I’m ready for a bumpy ride. Both were serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump when they were first published (in manga form). In other words, these two older series know a few things about cultivating popularity. Both have helped their authors create other projects (Dragon Ball Z and Hunter x Hunter) that are super popular. So there are many reasons fans can give as to why they voted for them.

The case for Dragon Ball is that it is part of the overall legacy of the most recognizable title in the U.S. (even more than Cowboy Bebop). It created a series that many would rush home from school to watch back in its heyday. It helped put Toonami on the map and should be looked at as the series that gave the block its golden age. And it featured one of the anime world’s greatest heroes in Goku.

The case for Yu Yu Hakusho is that it made being an anti-hero cool, like Wolverine and Vegeta did. The main crew is not squeaky clean, and it gives the show an interesting dynamic. Yes, other characters have had a dark side/past, but watching a complete jerk was not something I was used to when I was younger. Now it seems that fans want more anti-heroes in comics and anime, and looking at Yusuke and his team really can be viewed as the start of that line of thinking.

Prediction: Dragon Ball upsets Yu Yu Hakusho.

Considering that the voting for the final matchup will occur this weekend, I’ll give my prediction now as to which show will win it all. My matchup in the finals is Dragon Ball vs. Cowboy Bebop, which could very well end up being wrong. But on the off chance that it is right, I believe that Cowboy Bebop will be the eventual champion. With how much that series is loved, I’d be shocked if it didn’t win. So yes, my champion is Cowboy Bebop, but that doesn’t mean it will happen, because it’s all up to the fans.

In the NCAA March Madness tournament, they give banners to the final four teams to remember the accomplishment. I wish I could give banners to the four series that made it this far, even though they’d all go to FUNimation headquarters in Texas. Considering how many votes and fan interaction has experienced during this game, you should expect us to do this again next year. Will it be the same as this year? No. However, to find out you’ll have to wait until March 2017, just like in college basketball.

Happy Toonami Madness 2016!

C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for He hopes you’ve enjoyed the madness involving Toonami and are excited for next year. You can follow C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris