So the Samurai 7 announcement and DeMarco's recent Q&A both opened and closed a lot of possibilities for what might end up airing on Toonami. Older shows are now on the table but certain popular favorites like Outlaw Star, Trigun, and Gundam are off-limits for now. Neon Alley isn't an obstacle to getting Viz shows but prices may be.
One thing is clear: the block is being heavily-driven by DeMarco and Manning's own tastes. Samurai 7 was a show they went after 6 years ago but got outbid on, so any favorites of theirs they didn't or couldn't air in the past (aside from BS&P rejections like Elfen Lied) are on the table. This makes the following all possibilities:
-Magic Knights Rayearth
-Martian Successor Nadesico
-Serial Experiments Lain
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and Saber Marionette J were also at one point or another considered for Toonami, but the former is older than Sailor Moon and the latter has kind of fallen off the face of the Earth, so I don't expect either to air.
Of those, Last Exile seems the closest thing to a sure bet to air. It's probably cheap to pick up, it's got action, it's the same studio as Samurai 7, and there's a sequel series to air after if it's successful. DeMarco's lack of a "not likely"/"not now" response concerning Gurren Lagann makes it seem like a real possibility as well. The other shows listed may be bordering on too old but they each have something going for them: Slayers has newer series they could air, Escaflowne's animation quality for the most part holds up and would also provide both mecha action and girl power for the block, Rayearth would help appease those wanting Sailor Moon back, and both Nadesico and Lain have high-profile rereleases to promote (though Lain's light on action and might not fit the block so well).
For shows that have already been on Toonami, it's sounding like FUNimation's probably easier to work with than Bandai. If any older shows end up coming back, I'd guess either YYH or Tenchi, the former being able to fill their desire for a long-running shonen, the latter having new episodes to premiere. I'd also guess WBA is easier to work with than CN Studios, given that they seem to be taking Thundercats as a serious possibility while describing MEGAS and Jack as unlikely to show up.
Then there's the question of other shows. Is Baccano possible? Darker Than Black? Black Lagoon? There's been rumors of Hellsing coming to the block at some point. As far as newer releases goes, FUNimation has plenty of stuff to chose from, but I can't predict what will get on TV besides the fair certainty/hope Michiko to Hatchin will show up sometime next year. Panty and Stocking seems the biggest question mark, as the show FUNi clearly wants on TV but AS doesn't seem to be biting for whatever reason. Does anyone know if any of the higher-ups at AS actively dislike the show? Are the censorship hurdles too great? Or is it a money issue? What of Madoka Magica? And will Viz be willing to offer anything for a low enough price? Lots of questions.
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I didn't know that they tried to go after Slayers before. I have all of the series on DVD, but seeing one of the series on the block could be kind of cool. I'm not sure if the first series or Revolution/Evolution-R would fit better with the block. Airing Next or Try instead could be pretty cool, but I don't think either one work as well without seeing the first series first, especially in Next's case. It would probably depend on which one is more expensive for them to get. It would be kind of refreshing to have a comedy series on the block and it would have a solid amount of action to make it work for Toonami. I wouldn't mind if they got Escaflowne. I haven't seen it, but I've heard great things about it and I'd like to check it out. I've heard pretty decent things about Magic Knights Rayearth and it would be kind of nice to see a more magical girl series on the block, although I don't know if it would fit with the tone of the block like Madoka could.
It's too bad that Trigun is unlikely to come to the block. I saw the series On Demand last year and I really liked it. I'd like to see Madoka come on the block at some point, although that's probably too expensive for them at the moment. Even though it's way too soon, the new Sailor Moon series on the block could be really cool, but it would depend on the content of the series and if they can afford to get it on the block by then. I can't really think of a lot of older titles from Funimation, aside from the Slayers series, or Viz that could work for the block right now though.
Reading about the general strategy with running the Toonami block, kinda makes me bummed out that the chances of Sengoku Basara, Darker than Black, Birdy the Mighty Decode or Soul Eater being on the block any time soon are unlikely. Though, it kind of makes me wonder how Casshern Sins fit in to the strategy? I can understand Jason thinking it seems like a good show (even though viewer feedback and reviews from a certain someone on an ANN column say otherwise), but... that one is far from old. That only aired in Japan 4 years ago and was just released as a complete series on blu-ray just last year. I'm not sure if it was that the people running the block could afford to air that or what.
Oh wait! What about Heat Guy J?
Lain would make a very nice replacement for Casshern, in my opinion.I think Future Diary could be a good choice, whenever the dubbing on that is done. Le Chevalier D'Eon is also something I'd like to see plucked out of obscurity. Nice to hear that it's about "good" and not "new", but I'd also hope "not overexposed" was also criteria. For example, Gurren Lagann happened was pretty big in anime circles, and I would probably opt for it not to air on Toonami, even though it's good, and it fits. I wish they would lighten up just a bit on the fanservice policy. Tenjho Tenge, Burst Angel, Black Lagoon, and some others would work really well.
Anime Unleashed block which was a bit less obscure than the IFC channel. I cannot recommend Lain for the block's well-being honestly.
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