Wasn't it weird when Cartoon Network-era Toonami aired adult Seinen anime?

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TheMisterManGuy

Well-Known Member
Prior to the creation and eventual expansion of Adult Swim, Toonami was Cartoon Network's primary outlet for anime. Airing in three flavors, the main weekday afternoon block, a slightly edgier "Midnight Run", and a short-lived "Rising Sun" variant on Saturday mornings. Much like today, Toonami in its original version was known for popularizing long battle Shonen anime for young males from Dragon Ball Z, to Yu Yu Hakusho, and even Sailor Moon in the case of Shojo. But around the early-2000s, several shows came along on Toonami that did seem a bit too adult. Outlaw Star, The Big O were Seinen, meaning they were aimed at adult males. Tenchi Muyo! was arguably an edgier Shonen, teetering on Seinen, and some of the later Gundam series that they aired were increasingly more violent (0080 had to be a Midnight Run exclusive due to its violence). I think there was even a lost Y7-edit of Cowboy Bebop at one point.

Looking back on it now, it was surreal to see 3 very adult series broadcasted in daytime time slots when children could be watching. Granted they were cut, edited, and cleaned up for broadcast, but I can only imagine how much hell the producers of Toonami at the time were facing with how much they needed to change, not helped by Cartoon Network's inconsistent standards for the block at the time. I think the creation of Adult Swim was necessary for Toonami to find a new footing, along with its move to Saturday nights, as its later years doubled down on long running Shonen anime. Rave Master, Zatch Bell, Naruto, MAR, One Piece, Prince of Tennis, Bobobo, while most of the more adult stuff went to Adult Swim. Speaking of which, I always felt InyuYasha and Bleach were way too tame for Adult Swim at the time given their long-running shonen nature. A few blood/violence and nudity cuts and they certainly would've worked on Toonami, especially in Bleach's case.
 
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SourSweetGone

Horde scientist
1. What's a Senien?

2. I mean given it was pre Adult-Swim and Toonami did have a "Midnight Run" block not really.

3. Random but Honestly I just miss being able to watch Sailor Moon on A U.S. TV network, its butts that DBS gets to air on TV but Sailor Moon Crystal is stuck online on Hulu.
 

PapaGreg

Open bar knock yourself out
Yeah it always weirded me out that Toonami had the adult Outlaw Star and Adult Swim had the Shonen Yu Yu Hakusho
 

TheMisterManGuy

Well-Known Member
To be fair, Outlaw Star did eventually end up on Adult Swim, and Yu Yu Hakusho was shuffled over to Toonami, so it balances out.
 
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Light Lucario

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
I didn't see these shows on classic Toonami, but after watching Outlaw Star, I am amazed that they could edit it down to fit on Cartoon Network and the show is still held in high regards. They had to alter so much, but it didn't seem to affect the reception of Outlaw Star.
 

Daikun

Long Live the Fighter!
Staff member
Moderator
I didn't see these shows on classic Toonami, but after watching Outlaw Star, I am amazed that they could edit it down to fit on Cartoon Network and the show is still held in high regards. They had to alter so much, but it didn't seem to affect the reception of Outlaw Star.
The show received popularity on the network mainly for its first run--the censors sort of fell asleep on the wheel. Mild blood and profanity slipped through (they got as far as "son of a *****" uncensored at one point during afternoon hours), and this was several months before Adult Swim existed, so it was a pretty big deal at the time.

I think there was even a lost Y7-edit of Cowboy Bebop at one point.
There was not.
 

wonderfly

Is this the future?!?
Staff member
Administrator
It's a simple as "Adult Swim didn't exist yet and they were figuring things out along the way".

"Outlaw Star" started airing in January 2001. "The Big O" started airing in April 2001. Adult Swim didn't launch until September 2001. I think I remember preferring to watch both of those series in the "Midnight Run" broadcast, over the afternoon broadcast (because they FELT more appropriate airing late at night).

Add "Gundam 08th MS Team" as another one from that year that was shocking in afternoon television (it aired in July 2001). I think the September 11th attacks also served as a jolt for realigning the block (the "Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket" mini-series aired as a "Midnight Run exclusive" in November 2001 - they kept it far away from weekday afternoons, by that point).

"Midnight Run" in 2000 and 2001 was the prototype for Adult Swim Action in 2002.
 
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ZZenigundam

Member
I suppose you're talking about the early 2000s era Toonami with Outlaw Star, Blue Sub No. 6, MSG The 08th MS Team, and the like being on weekday Toonami. I honestly didn't really pick up on Toonami editing until I was introduced to Adult Swim Action through their marathons of Yu Yu Hakusho and Cowboy Bebop, and that's when I became cognizant that Toonami's shows were being heavily edited for kids because that was the first time I saw any cursing or excessive blood on Cartoon Network.
Before then, it never really dawned on me because all of the Toonami shows from before that era were very tame and children's cartoons. And ironically now all they play is shonen...
 

Gold Guy

Two is always better than one
Staff member
Moderator
I don't recall it feeling weird at the time, but in hindsight, we didn't know how fortunate we were. The idea of shows like Outlaw Star, Tenchi Muyo, or even Rurouni Kenshin or YuYu Hakusho airing on any kind of kids channel now is laughable.
 

SpaceCowboy

Well-Known Member
It was amazing how Toonami was able to re-tailor these shows to Y7. They must have had a large budget to painstakingly reanimate a lot of stuff and bring back in the same voice actors for redubbing. It wouldn't have been possible to air Tenchi Muyo by just cutting footage.
 

SpaceCowboy

Well-Known Member
It's kind of funny when you consider that...

Outlaw Star - Y7
The Big O - Y7
The Looney Tunes Show - PG
Outlaw Star and Big O ran in a totally different era from The Looney Tunes Show, before PG shows were generally allowed on the channel. The two anime premiered around 2000 or 2001, while The Looney Tunes Show premiered a decade later.
 
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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
The Looney Tunes Show did NOT deserve a PG rating. It was Y7 on its worst day. It just happened to debut in an era where CN was rating all of their shows PG.
 

TnAdct1

Ravioli, Ravioli
It's a simple as "Adult Swim didn't exist yet and they were figuring things out along the way".
Definitely agree on this.

The early 2000's was definitely a period where networks were trying to figure out how to capitalize on the anime boom after Sailor Moon and DBZ finally found an audience via Toonami and shows like Pokemon and Digimon were among big Saturday morning titles. As such, while William Street had a good idea of the types of show that would appeal to American viewers, there's still the problem that:

1. Standards are much different between Japan and America;
2. Some of the more interesting titles that appealed to them were geared more towards adults.
 
Now I'm starting to imagine what would happen if Goblin Slayer aired on Toonami. The chances of that happening are pretty low since its content could put AS under fire (even if you could get away with showing it with a TV-MA+ rating), but it's interesting to think about.
 

TheVileOne

Peace Loving Shinobi
Reporter
Not that I need Goblin Slayer on Adult Swim or anything.

Back in the aughts, Adult Swim showed Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex uncensored including a really gross, brutal sequence with a serial killer cutting the skin off women's upper torsos. You don't see the act, but you see his victims after the act.

It should simply be aired with a content warning since audiences are really hyper-sensitive these days and will seemingly confuse depiction of an abhorrent act with endorsement or approval of said act. Except when it's on Game of Thrones, then it's award winning TV.
 

Light Lucario

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Let's not turn this thread into yet another attempt to defend Goblin Slayer and belittle those who dislike it in the process. That discussion has already caused enough trouble for one day and it's off-topic with this thread anyway.
 

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