Could an after-school Toonami work today?

Latest News & Videos

TheMisterManGuy

Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2014
1,215
-1
63
The current late night version of Toonami at the moment, is geared towards Adult Swim's Core audience of college-aged males 18-24. Before that though, Toonami was Cartoon Network's premiere after-school brand. Unlike other after school cartoon programs, Toonami skewed primarily towards a slightly older audience of kids. Mainly boys between the ages of 9 and 14. Featuring edgy shonen anime that boys this age like such as Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, the Gundam franchise, Cyborg 009, and Naruto.

For the sake of discussion, let's pretend we don't live in a world where people can stream what they want, whenever they want. Would a weekday afternoon version of Toonami work today, aimed at the same audience it was in its peek years (1999-2003)? Toonami originally moved to Saturday nights due mainly to both declining ratings, and Cartoon Network wanting to focus more on kids aged 7-to-9 during the day, which resulted in the creation of Miguzi as its weekday replacement.

But with a weekday afternoon Toonami, could it still work with modern anime aimed at its original demographic? Most of Toonami's current lineup consists primarily of Shonen, which plays well to the late-elementary to middle school aged audience Toonami primarily catered to at the time, and I think they can work for after-school viewing with a TV-PG rating. CN's content standards had loosened up considerably by the time Toonami was gone, so shows like My Hero Academia and Dragon Ball Super would be fine to show to this audience in TV-PG form.
 

Daikun

Long Live the Fighter!
Staff member
Moderator
Mar 11, 2005
10,888
-1
113
35
California, USA
adultswim.toonzone.net
That ship sailed a long time ago.

If you had been watching Toonami at the tail end of its original weekday run (Fall 2003-Spring 2004), it was bad. The new shows that were coming in were mediocre and the block had become waaaaaaaaaaay more kiddy than usual. SD Gundam? The Kids' WB version of Astro Boy? No thank you. And it was even more reliant than ever on Dragon Ball reruns since DBZ (and later, the OG series) had ended and the block's "edgier" shows had been moved over to SVES.

Things were not looking good for Toonami. If the block wanted to survive, the switch to Saturday was necessary. Let Miguzi take all the kiddy stuff, let Toonami be the bridge between CN and AS. It was a good trade. If Toonami had continued to be on weekdays at that time, the block would have continued to skew to the very young demographic, alienating its core audience and it probably would've been cancelled much sooner than 2008.
 

TheMisterManGuy

Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2014
1,215
-1
63
If you had been watching Toonami at the tail end of its original weekday run (Fall 2003-Spring 2004), it was bad. The new shows that were coming in were mediocre and the block had become waaaaaaaaaaay more kiddy than usual. SD Gundam? The Kids' WB version of Astro Boy? No thank you. And it was even more reliant than ever on Dragon Ball reruns since DBZ (and later, the OG series) had ended and the block's "edgier" shows had been moved over to SVES.

Things were not looking good for Toonami. If the block wanted to survive, the switch to Saturday was necessary. Let Miguzi take all the kiddy stuff, let Toonami be the bridge between CN and AS. It was a good trade. If Toonami had continued to be on weekdays at that time, the block would have continued to skew to the very young demographic, alienating its core audience and it probably would've been cancelled much sooner than 2008.
CN's Action Cartoon Strategy for most of 2003 seemed to be...

Toonami - Late elementary and middle school aged boys (9-14)
SVES - All Ages
Adult Swim - College and perhaps High School aged males (14-24)

I wonder if the numbers for SVES convinced CN that Toonami would work better as a weekend prime-time block than the after-school show it was designed to be, while they tried to re-focus the after-school hours on the younger elementary school audience. It would certainly fit the shift in direction the channel in general was going through at that time, where they doubled down on young kids, and segregated all of their older viewers to their respective brands.
 
Last edited:

TheCartoonRailfan

Riding the Rails
Aug 12, 2019
207
0
16
22
Florida
It would be highly unlikely for the weekday evening Toonami block to come back; a large portion of the content on today's late night Toonami contains a high amount of extreme violence and suggestive dialogue, and the shows can only be censored so much without significantly changing the story. With social media, people are more interested in the new shows and tend to ignore the shows from the 90's and early 2000's.

We also have online streaming, and many anime series are available on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu. Toonami used to have their own streaming service which later ran as part of Adult Swim's streaming website, but the Toonami streaming was discontinued last year.
 

TheMisterManGuy

Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2014
1,215
-1
63
a large portion of the content on today's late night Toonami contains a high amount of extreme violence and suggestive dialogue, and the shows can only be censored so much without significantly changing the story. With social media, people are more interested in the new shows and tend to ignore the shows from the 90's and early 2000's.
Nothing on the current Toonami lineup is anything your typical 12-13 year old couldn't handle with maybe one or two exceptions, and TV-PG would be fine for this audience. Even the weekday era Toonami often pushed the TV-Y7 rating to its limits.

I do agree with the fact that Streaming means this probably wouldn't happen. But as I said in the OP, let's ignore that and imagine a hypothetical scenario where kids still watched TV.
 
Last edited:

Light Lucario

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
May 11, 2007
47,109
-2
113
In a Dream World
Nothing on the current Toonami lineup is anything your typical 12-13 year old couldn't handle with maybe one or two exceptions, and TV-PG would be fine for this audience. Even the weekday era Toonami often pushed the TV-Y7 rating to its limits.
I don't know about that. Even if kids could handle some of the violence in these shows, I don't think that shows like Demon Slayer or Jojo's Bizarre Adventure would fit on an afternoon timeslot without being edited. Even My Hero Academia would have a hard time considering that there is blood in some of the fights and the characters can get seriously injured. Most of those shows currently on the lineup would have to be edited to varying degrees to air in an afternoon slot, which just isn't worthwhile. Toonami pushed the TV-Y7 ratings to its limits before, but that doesn't mean that they could do it again. A lot of has changed from Toonami's golden weekday area to now in terms of the TV landscape.

As nice as a weekday afternoon block sounds, I just don't see it happening. Not only because of the editing issues, but Cartoon Network wouldn't be interested in devoting timeslots to Toonami now anyway. Most of the people who have some nostalgic fondness for the Toonami block or like the shows that are on the block are well passed their target audience age range anyway, so there wouldn't be much of a reason for them to give up slots for teenagers and adults.
 

TheMisterManGuy

Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2014
1,215
-1
63
I don't know about that. Even if kids could handle some of the violence in these shows, I don't think that shows like Demon Slayer or Jojo's Bizarre Adventure would fit on an afternoon timeslot without being edited. Even My Hero Academia would have a hard time considering that there is blood in some of the fights and the characters can get seriously injured. Most of those shows currently on the lineup would have to be edited to varying degrees to air in an afternoon slot, which just isn't worthwhile. Toonami pushed the TV-Y7 ratings to its limits before, but that doesn't mean that they could do it again. A lot of has changed from Toonami's golden weekday area to now in terms of the TV landscape.
There are exceptions obviously. But shows like Dr. Stone, Shippuden, Black Clover, Dragon Ball Super, and My Hero can all work fine using a TV-PG rating and modest edits. Naruto was able to air with a TV-PG for the majority of its run on Cartoon Network with only basic edits, so the same can be true here.

Obviously, you're correct that this wouldn't technically be feasible in the current TV landscape. But if those factors weren't a concern, than I believe a weekday Toonami could do well.
 

Light Lucario

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
May 11, 2007
47,109
-2
113
In a Dream World
There are exceptions obviously. But shows like Dr. Stone, Shippuden, Black Clover, Dragon Ball Super, and My Hero can all work fine using a TV-PG rating and modest edits. Naruto was able to air with a TV-PG for the majority of its run on Cartoon Network with only basic edits, so the same can be true here.
I don't know about the later arcs of Black Clover and I only have minimal knowledge of Shippuden, but I don't think that most of those shows could work with minimal edits. If they don't want shows to mention/show death or show blood, then that would probably be a big issue for most of these series. There are two villains with blood related Quirks in My Hero Academia, Midoriya frequently broke his bones for a good chuck of the series and a hero was impaled through his stomach in the current arc. The violence isn't at an Attack on Titan level, but I don't think it could get around with minimal edits. Same with Shippuden.

Dragon Ball Super could probably go through pretty minimal edits since DBZ Kai aired on Nicktoons. Maybe Dr. Stone as well, although I don't know if the general setup would be too much an issue and death does come up. It's true that Naruto was able to air with a TV-PG rating, but again, a lot has changed for Cartoon Network and TV in general since that happened. Just because they did it over ten years ago doesn't mean that they'd be willing to do it here.

TheMisterManGuy said:
Obviously, you're correct that this wouldn't technically be feasible in the current TV landscape. But if those factors weren't a concern, than I believe a weekday Toonami could do well.
A weekday Toonami lineup doing well and being feasible are two different things though. People still clearly like the idea of Toonami coming back to Cartoon Network proper. The block's golden age was when it was on weekdays after all, but I think that wanting it back there kind ignores or undermines all of the changes that Cartoon Network has gone through. Why would they want to go back to having third party shows on their lineup when they can just play more of their own shows over and over again so that they can get more money out of them?
 

TheMisterManGuy

Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2014
1,215
-1
63
I don't know about the later arcs of Black Clover and I only have minimal knowledge of Shippuden, but I don't think that most of those shows could work with minimal edits. If they don't want shows to mention/show death or show blood, then that would probably be a big issue for most of these series. There are two villains with blood related Quirks in My Hero Academia, Midoriya frequently broke his bones for a good chuck of the series and a hero was impaled through his stomach in the current arc. The violence isn't at an Attack on Titan level, but I don't think it could get around with minimal edits. Same with Shippuden.

Dragon Ball Super could probably go through pretty minimal edits since DBZ Kai aired on Nicktoons. Maybe Dr. Stone as well, although I don't know if the general setup would be too much an issue and death does come up. It's true that Naruto was able to air with a TV-PG rating, but again, a lot has changed for Cartoon Network and TV in general since that happened. Just because they did it over ten years ago doesn't mean that they'd be willing to do it here.
I would probably agree with you, because for this part in particular. CN's target audience is younger and narrower than it was back during Toonami's original run. Not to mention that the target audience of Kids aged 9-14 probably doesn't fly on TV anymore, as that requires getting both teen/young adult advertisers, and older-skewing kids advertisers on board. Advertisers prefer more binary and linear demographics. Either its shows for kids, or shows for teens and adults, not this cobbled together Middle School demographic that's a pain in the ass to sell to. It's also why Nick and Disney Channel shifted their focus to younger skewing shows recently as well.

While I think Toonami can do well with the 9-14, and even the broader 12-24 audience like it was back in the weekday era, actually trying to make it work for advertisers is another story. If CN decides that their modern Toonami is strictly for their core 6-11 audience, then that will bring up all those issues you mentioned earlier. If that's the case, then CN would need to find much younger shows for the elementary school set like Toyetic Kodomo. The problem is that there aren't a lot of Kodomo out there today, and the ones that are out there, are mostly tied up with Disney.
 

Tacomaster

I Actually Like Pizza More
Aug 31, 2018
1,411
-1
38
Right behind you.
Maybe it could go like this:

4:00: Transformers Cyberverse
4:30: Bakugan: Battle Planet
5:00: Dragon Ball Z Kai
5:30: Dragon Ball Super

I tried to use more serious action CN shows and lighter Toonami shows you mentioned as being more kid friendly(e.g. Dragon Ball). This, of course, would change as more anime would be acquired. Maybe Crunchyroll could supply some anime.
 

Terror of Death

Active Member
Aug 1, 2007
2,360
0
38
US
It could but I have a feeling the current heads of programming and standards and practices would be against the idea. After Toonami was cancelled CN strictly aired toyetic anime that skewed young and all the series received less promotion with each passing year. Now the only anime they currently broadcast is the Bakugan reboot. Also, CN's action shows in general have become less violent over the years and focus more heavily on the comedy. The current people in charge probably see most anime as too inappropriate for their viewers, not worth the investment, or just plain unappealing.

But in a scenario where the people in charge today were more like the ones in the early and mid 2000s, a Toonami block could definitely work. Kai and Super would be fine. CN aired the first two seasons of the original DBZ uncut and Kai and Super are considerably more toned down than it. Boruto and Shippuden would also make the cut. Boruto is the most kid friendly of the three series. Shippuden has some moments that are more violent than the original but CN edited Naruto less and less as it went on. Most of the episodes in the second half aired uncut and they even put a disclaimer warning before one of the episodes instead of skipping it. The majority of Shonen Jump series like Black Clover, MHA, and Hunter X Hunter, Dr. Stone would also be fine since the the content in them isn't much different from the above shows.

The hard TV-14 and some of the TV-Ma shows would be a toss up. Stuff like Yu Yu Hakusho, Kenshin, Tenchi, Outlaw Star and Gundam Wing received inconsistent levels of censorship but remained mostly intact. Toonami also aired a lot of those dtv superhero films that got away with a ton of explicit content but that was during its initial move to Saturdays. Fire Force, Food Wars, and Sword Art Online could air if they received similar treatment. A couple of seconds or a minute at most of visual edits and some dialogue replacement for the harsher language.
 

Similar threads