Ever since Toonami re-emerged on April Fool’s Day and speculation began about its possible return, everyone with access to a keyboard began rhyming off lists of shows that should be on the block. Sometimes the suggestions aren’t so bad. Pretty much everyone has suggested Tiger & Bunny, which is probably the best new thing the block could get. But some suggestions have been less than good. I’m not going to look, but I’m sure some asshole somewhere seriously thinks Adult Swim should stick uncut PokeMon on Toonami. The big problem here is that people are only recommending what they want to see, or shows they think are good. This isn’t a good way to go about it, and I’ll use Madoka Magica to illustrate.
Madoka Magica would be an incredibly terrible choice for Toonami, and it’s easy to see why: little girls in frilly dresses. And yes I know Mami gets her head bitten off in episode 3 and it’s super dark and mature and stuff. But none of that matters. What matters is the package all the super dark and mature stuff comes in. And that package is a bunch of wideface moe girls in frilly dresses. This new Toonami is basically a re-skinned Adult Swim, and wideface moe girls in frilly dresses are not what the Adult Swim crowd wants to see.
The Adult Swim crowd is an audience that watches Cowboy Bebop enough week to week to keep it airing for more than a decade. They are not an audience that is going to watch Madoka Magica, no matter how many girls get their heads bitten off. The series might have had a chance on the old weekday afternoon Toonami since that crowd was willing to watch Sailor Moon, but the 18-34 male demographic that typically watches Adult Swim will simply see a magical girl series and stop watching.
People’s reason for suggesting Madoka Magica for the block is usually because they think it’s the bees knees and obviously since it’s the bees knees it’d be a great fit for the block. Stop doing that. That’s dumb. You’re making the mistake of thinking that Adult Swim is in the business of airing shows that are good. This is wrong. They are in the business of airing shows that their demographic thinks are good. I think Deadman Wonderland is kind of shit, but it’s a great choice for the new Toonami. It’s a violent, gory action series which could easily appeal to the Adult Swim crowd. I also think Casshern Sins is kind of shit, but it has an eye-catching visual style and also sort of has some decent action I guess and could work well for the block.
Madoka Magica might be the pretty great as far as you’re concerned, but it doesn’t have anything that would make it appealing to the new Toonami’s audience. So if you’re going to suggest something for Toonami, think for a second if you could conceivably see someone whose only anime is Cowboy Bebop actually sitting through an episode of it.
And honestly, if you’re really into moe, like really into it, like “hnnngg uguu desu desu” into it, don’t bother making any recommendations. You’re not part of Adult Swim’s audience, and you probably don’t know their audience very well.