My general theory is: TPTB for Toonami did an AWESOME job marketing Toonami while that was their only major project. Midnight Run maintained great success but lets face it, not much changed between Toonami and Midnight Run. However, the more Williams Street started extending itself, the more it started to become apparent.
While Williams Street was focused, Toonami seemed unstoppable. It's that whole branching out and refocusing and then allocating powers to other staffers that I feel starts to show through around the 2001 / 2002 mark.
Later, of course, you hit the "CN wants to change its identity" crisis and theres a complete skew in philosophies that, once again, becomes very obvious.
Lets run down the list:
- Gundam Wing was easily the best supported of all the Gundam series
- G Gundam debuted in 2002 after Adult Swim was already launched. This was at the point where we already saw Toonami was over the hump and on the decline. It was obvious they made efforts to support the series but not enough effort to ensure they wanted the series. I tend to think G Gundam did relatively well because it was still supported. I actually do run into an amazing amount of people that think the series was good.
- Gundam Seed felt like an animal that, because of it's censorship, would have been better off on Adult Swim.
In retrospect, you still have to make good decisions about shows you're going after. I don't tend to think either of the last two were good series for Toonami.
But you're litterally right, its the fact that Toonami helped VERY STRONGLY market DBZ by shoving it down our throats. I give Toonami absolute credit for getting me into DBZ. When I saw DBZ was coming to Toonami, I actually almost gaged. I thought it was stupid when it was running in Syndication on Fox. It was merely the fact Toonami hyped up Dragonball Z so much that I decided to give it a whirl.
Toonami did a lot for the series it was supporting. Heck, even Jonny Quest got more attention just because of it being on Toonami. TBS was going to can that series completely.
Think about this from a strategy point of view: Whats the stronger position to be on: A unified, well supported force with good insight of whats going on or on the side of a rag, tag random assortment of people who randomly have a WMD that they dont know how to use? Who would you rather work for: A well organized company that provides you a secured job who promotes you based on your merit but gives you every opportunity to be the best employee you can be or a company run by a raving lunatic who got rich by a stroke of luck and you're constantly in fear for your job.
I think you see where I am going with these examples. DXD and Nicktoons still don't measure up to Toonami because they still don't have those tools in place to cross promote themselves well and the end viewer still feels shaken trying to watch what they want to watch since the schedules aren't consistent. The Hub is been the best grounded block since its release, but since it doesn't have a West and East coast feed, its fighting to keep viewing times reasonable for all US time zones which is causing them to have the net effect of not having shows at optimal times. Cartoon Network is slowly starting to settle down and renormalize, but we just went through a major shake up over there not too long.
Traditionally, a kick ass preview (Toonami's brand of advertising) is ALWAYS more successful then shoving a demo at someone and hoping they play it enough to like it. I believe the same is true about the TV industry too. A very kick ass preview or synposis of the story is likely to bring in viewership more then shoving a gazzilion episodes at people and hope they watch it.