Toonami Rant

Fiddling while Hanford burns

So, about this cartoon block on [adult swim]… yeah, for as much as I’ve loved watching it over a span of four years, it’s about time I don’t give anything back.

This fanbase is one of the most annoying I’ve ever seen… and notice the choice of words about that. Of course, being a longtime member of the Unevenedge Message Boards (which descended from the extremely infamous official Adult Swim boards), I’ve seen their love and hate towards all the shows, and flame wars caused by warring members ignoring what the other guy said in favor of calling them a goddamn hypocrite. And then there are arguments over things as simple was the block staff’s decision to not rerun a show. It’s really fucking tiring and I guess it’s made me more weary to watch the block in recent years. Of course, I feel that its quality has been on the downswing, but that’s entirely due to the staff not wanting new bumps to air as often, as well as playing more original music videos on the block. This opinion is highly subjective and you might not feel the same way.

Now, probably the biggest issue I have with them, the fanbase, is an obsession towards ratings. And look, I get that making sure the shows did nicely would lead to the block’s expansion… but it’s been five years since then. Toonami fans have turned the block’s ratings into a fetish, and I really wish it would go away. At no other point was this more apparent than when Samurai Jack finished its first run only to immediately start a rerun at the top of the block. I don’t like this decision either, obviously, but people were so goddamn annoying when it came to this. They thought it’d be like when Attack on Titan reran at the top back in 2014, which lead to an infamously sluggish period which caused half of the block to be removed and replaced with [as] comedy reruns.

But you know what? Those were reruns anyway, I wasn’t able to stay up late enough to watch them, and the Toonami staff has since admitted that they like a shorter timeslot because the fewer amount of spaces means it’s easier for them to program things. And come on now: 2014 wasn’t a very highly-rated year for Toonami in general. Attack on Titan S1 never got the numbers it should have because [as] wanted to try variety in the pre-Toonami slots. This included Black Dynamite, a show somewhat acclaimed by critics, but not viewers, so it floundered. It became apparent when Family Guy started to lead into Toonami that it was the better show (mind you, other “black” programs like The Boondocks and The Cleveland Show were always the lead-in since it came back in 2012). And then you had the attempt to replicate the “month of movies” from the previous year despite having nowhere near the budget left to make it work, plus sudden schedule changes due to write-offs and mismanaged contracts which confused people, and there you go.

But Samurai Jack S5 still at 11:00 is really the only blemish here. Toonami has a good (merely good, and even that wasn’t until a new show premiered last weekend) schedule and people should be happy with it. Yes, I know this sounds a bit fatalistic, but really… Jason DeMarco (a.k.a. the guy who only talks about how the Democratic Party has failed anymore) has stressed that people don’t look into the ratings because they don’t know how it works. It’s misplaced anger, plain and simple. And with how fucking crazy the world is right now, anger is a precious commodity. It should only be used whenever someone is looking for a righteous result. And complaining about TV ratings on an anime block which less than a million people watch every week is not righteous. It makes you look like an asshole. Overall, I would be completely happy if the ratings weren’t published anymore. Higher-ups in the fan community seem to agree that having this data creates misconceptions, and with them, problems. Excellent Christian dude Sketch1984 in particular wrote a great article over three years ago that goes into ratings conceptions in great depth, and it’s a must-read if you agree with at least remotely anything I said.

Now, the other main issue I have with the Toonami community is just how much of an asshole people can be. I will not name names, but everything I’ll mention here was committed by a real person. Basically, Sentai Filmworks did a random post about Esdeath, who is from a former Toonami show (Akame Ga Kill!), and then a dude posted a very rude message to their account about getting another Sentai show on Toonami (again, people care about these things). They actually responded to it in grace by asking what show people wanted to see go on Toonami, and I commend them for that. But at the same time, that kind of attention seeking doesn’t deserve a kind reply. They could have just as easily told him to fuck off, which is what I would have done. Like, Sentai got two shows on Toonami rather quickly, and then they took a break, but it’s about who has the shows it wants to air. You’d rather contact the block directly than ask the distributor about it, because that’s who they are. And if you respond to either of those people in the form of a battle cry, that’s just awful form. Develop some fucking chivalry, you dolt.

And then there’s that the people who run the prominent Toonami communities don’t function right. I had a mutual friend tweet how a specific show (a sequel to one that was on Toonami) sucked and shouldn’t be on the block, and then he got blocked by one of the higher-ups in the community. Another one who works for the same site will block anyone (including me) who makes a joke about Sword Art Online, itself a lightning rod for controversy around here, and yet he’s still doing the job he was asked to back in the early days of the site, at the cost of having virtually no friends. It doesn’t help that his sense of humor is one of the worst I’ve ever seen: Half the time, he just said that “Ooh, [character X] shares a voice with this other character from a different show! How amazing that nobody else has thought of this.” Hence why I’ve come to hate most referential jokes. But wait, there’s more! He also dry-humps SAO on a daily basis (and I have to assume he still is) and criticizes everyone who believes otherwise. It’s so grand. It really makes you wonder why the hell we place so much weight on these communities, especially when the prominent podcast in the fandom is making jokes about their employees being slaves and are subject to kinky torture that’s only slightly serious.

In the end, Toonami is meant to be escapist entertainment. So much of it is necessary right now. But the community can make watching the shows so much of a drag. Many of these people are attention whores who get upset for trivial reasons, and they undermine the purpose of what they watch and want to love. We must treat ourselves to loving pop culture as a means to remain vigilant for everything else. And, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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