“Why don’t people watch Toonami?”
In the 90s and early 00’s, Toonami was a block on Cartoon Network. It was responsible for bringing anime into the mainstream in the United States. Popular show like Yu Yu Hakusho, Dragonball Z, and Gundam Wing ran on it until its demise in 2008. That happened on my birthday. It was revitalized and retooled into a late Saturday night block for Adult Swim in May 2012.
My brother watches the new Toonami every week. He came up to me a bit miffed last week. Toonami‘s time had been cut in half. Now it was only three and a half hours. He wanted to know why people rallied on Twitter to bring it back but didn’t seem to be watching. It was going to die again! He even pointed a finger at me. He said that I was an avid fan of all things Dragonball (except GT). I had numerous action figures and video games. I had watched the series multiple times. Yet I do not watch Dragonball Kai on Toonami.
Here’s the answer I couldn’t give you before; Nostalgia only goes so far.
Like you said, I’ve seen Dragonball Z in its entirety (291 episodes!!!) many times. Why would I go out of my way once a week to watch it again? I’m certain other people have that exact same feelings. They are not starved for the content like they were when they were children. When the internet was younger, Toonami thrived on bringing foreign animation to the masses. Tape trading was around, but not everyone knew someone who could get them anime.
So Toonami used to be the place to get your anime fix. But times are different. The internet is faster. If you’re a huge Dragonball fan, you’ve bought all the DVDs or used illicit methods to get the content. It’s nice to tune in every once in a while to remember those old times when Goku and Freeza fought for five minutes in three episode, but beyond that I don’t have much interest.
What Toonami needs to not die isn’t to dig up the past or appeal to nostalgia. They have new shows, but they need more. They to evolve. You evolve or die.
Kill La Kill‘s English dub just came on . It ended in Japan slightly under a year ago. Anime fans are not patient nor reasonable people. Not many people will wait a year . I know the process of dubbing is long and takes money. But If Toonami is to thrive, the dub has to be out quicker. The best way to drive interest is to have exclusive content that people can only get from you.
In an ideal situation, the dub is out the next Saturday after the Japanese airing. A killer original show would do worlds for them. If Toonami could fund and air an animation on par with Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead, they’d be beating off viewers with a stick.
So there you go, bro. My answer.