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With all the recent news coming out surrounding Crunchyroll, the AT&T-Time Warner merger, the Toei Animation-Toonami announcement and much more, we decided we would reach out to Jason DeMarco, Co-Creator of Toonami, Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Adult Swim On-Air and Gill Austin, Co-Creative Director of Toonami and Creative Director of Adult Swim Sponsor Promotions for an interview. This was originally intended to be a video interview, however the guys were busy traveling on business so we were only able to do an Email Q&A at this time. And while we weren’t able to get all of our questions answered check out the Q&A below to see what we talked about!
Phantom: What would you say is the Current state of Toonami?
Jason and Gill: We are doing great. It remains a priority for the network, we have several original series in development or production, and long term, our partnership with Crunchyroll and new position as a part of Warner Brothers is going to open up exciting possibilities for us.
Sam C.: How do you think Toonami’s been faring these past few years and what are some areas do you want to see improved?
Jason and Gill: Overall the market has clearly become more challenging with the rise of streaming, and a much shorter window for anime between release in Japan and in the U.S. We have been outbid for several series by various streaming sites, and the money they are flooding into the anime market has created a gold rush that makes every purchase more important. We’d like to see Toonami broaden our variety of show selections and move away from being a pure shonen/seinen block.
Sam C.: Last year Toonami moved into Primetime for a brief time making the block the longest it’s ever been. Considering it was cut short for a number of reasons, one of which was not a lot of new content being shown, is it possible for primetime Toonami to come back at some point in the future? Maybe with the five hour lineup you guys currently have?
Jason and Gill: It’s always possible that could come back, but we are happy with our present length and position on Saturday nights.
Sam C.: I know you keep teasing some big plans for this year and one of them is the brand new Total Immersion Event The Forge. Is there anything you can tease right now about the upcoming TIE?
Jason and Gill: The Forge will see several major changes to our Toonami characters and environments. It will be the last TIE we do for some time to come, so we plan on doing it up big! We hope to show some teasers at upcoming cons to be announced.
Josh: How did the Anthem Game Advertisement come about if you are able to talk about it?
Jason and Gill: The game creators were fans of Toonami and offered to let us take a crack at the game and make something about it, so we did. It was fun!
TOM and Sara are psyched for the upcoming release of @BioWare‘s new online action RPG, @AnthemGame. TOM and Sara are still holding out hope for a Toonami Armor DLC so that TOM can finally get that upgrade. Check out their thoughts, Anthem launches tonight! #Anthem #Toonami @EA pic.twitter.com/UhlmR6wPbm
— Toonami Squad (@ToonamiSquad) February 22, 2019
Sam C.: Last year Adult Swim has partnered up with Crunchyroll. Was this a plan that was in motion for months or did this come about when AT&T fully acquired Otter media? Also when acquiring shows from Crunchyroll like say Mob Psycho 100 Season one was it like making any deal with other distributors or were their more steps involved?
Jason and Gill: AS was planning on trying to work with Crunchy for a while, since Crunchyroll became an AT&T property, if not before. It just makes sense to partner with who I feel is the best anime streaming service.
Sam C.: Alongside that I know you can’t talk much about future shows but how will your current partnership with Crunchyroll benefit Toonami and them?
Jason and Gill: Crunchyroll and Toonami partnering up will mean more chances to make original programming, more chances to acquire shows before our competition, and generally puts us both in a much stronger position to compete with other anime services.
Josh: Can you tell us or tease anything about what might be replacing Megalo Box?
Jason and Gill: By the time you get these answers, you should know very soon! ;)
Josh: It was announced in Global Magazine that Toonami and Toei were partnering together for Dragon Ball Z's 30th anniversary to do a giveaway, can tell us or tease anything about it?
Jason and Gill: It's still not 100% decided what we will be giving away, but it should be a nice little pile of stuff we think fans will dig.
Josh: Will you be going to any cons this year?
Jason and Gill: Yes, we will likely attend Momocon and perhaps a few others.
Josh: What has been some of your personal favorite series that you guys have aired currently or in the past?
JASON: FLCL, Gundam Wing, Gurren Lagann, Lupin
GILL: Bebop, Outlaw Star, Yu Yu Hakusho
@MegaDanX: What's a show you'd love to see on the block, but you know it might not do well?
Jason: FIST OF THE NORTH STAR.
@MirandaEvaKH: What kind of anime would you like to see on Toonami in the future?
Jason and Gill: We hope to see all kinds of genres making their way into the block, if viewers will have them. Isekai, shoujo, sports, slice of life, you name it.
@MegaDanX: With the relative success of Outlaw Star on Toonami, is there a chance we could see other older anime on there? Like Escaflowne?
Jason and Gill: It's possible we would air some remastered older anime for nostalgia's sake, but that would be few and far between the newer series.
@MrsR0114: Any chances we might see movies back on Toonami in anyway?
Jason and Gill: Yes, possibly. With movies, it's just a matter of the cost being low enough that one or two plays is worth not spending that money on a series.
Josh: Any chances the Toonami Stream can come back in the future?
Jason and Gill: Possibly!
@KnoxRobert16: Is it possible to see a full retro one night special of Toonami shows in the future?
Jason and Gill: We don't think that will be happening, but you never know.
@KnoxRobert16: Is it possible for Toonami to expand beyond Saturday nights? For example a 1hr weeknight midnight run?
Jason and Gill: Anything is possible, but that's unlikely.
@MrsR0114: Are we going to get anymore pep talks/speeches from TOM?
Jason and Gill: Yes! We are just having a hard time avoiding repetition of the same subjects. But we plan to keep making them.
[Anonymous]: Will we see any more planets or new destinations in the future with TOM and his crew?
Jason and Gill: Mmmmmmaybe ;)
[Anonymous]: In your opinion what is TOM's greatest weakness and greatest strength?
Jason and Gill: His greatest weakness is probably a bit of laziness and some mild arrogance. His greatest strengths are his heart and his loyalty, both to viewers and his friends.
[Anonymous]: Are Toonami fans allowed to print and/or upload 3D Printed Designs online of Toonami artwork or designs as long as they are free?
Jason and Gill: Of course. Just don't sell them, please!
Sam C.: I'm a huge fan of the Adult Swim Singles program for a while now and I know a few years ago you stopped doing downloads due to more people streaming the music rather than using the download link. I understand and respect that decision made but is there any chance for some of these tracks that are exclusive to Adult Swim to be posted on Spotify or Soundcloud? If not could there be any plans for an Adult Swim Music app for the App Store and Google Play?
Jason and Gill: Well, thanks for being a fan! All of the Singles tracks are posted on the Adult Swim Soundcloud every week, and as for Spotify, that may happen at some point. There are no plans for an AS music app at present.
Listen to exclusive (and free) albums and singles from only Adult Swim approved artists.
Josh: Did you feel FLCL Progressive/Alternative was received well during its run on Toonami? Do you feel one was received better than other?
Jason and Gill: We would say the reception was mixed, which is what we expected. It seems clear Alternative was received better than Progressive, which honestly didn't surprise any of us. We're very happy to see that both shows did make some new fans, and so proud of the work the many artists who came on board did, and the direction they took FLCL in.
Josh: Do you have a personal favorite episode of FLCL Progressive and/or Alternative?
Jason and Gill: Our favorite episode of FLC Progressive is "Freebie Honey."
Jason and Gill: Our favorite episode of FLCL Alternative is "Full Flat."
Sam C.: I know you answered this fairly recently but thought I'd ask is there any date at the moment for the subs for FLCL Progressive or Alternative? If so do you know where they'll be streamed? And is a Home Video release still up in the air at this time, if so any chances that might change anytime soon?
Jason and Gill: We don't have a release date yet but we will hopefully be announcing one soon, as well as where they will be streaming. There are no plans for a home video release at this time.
(All 3 seasons of the English Dub of FLCL are currently available to watch on AdultSwim.com for free. https://www.adultswim.com/videos/flcl )
Josh: Where do you see Toonami going from here?
Jason and Gill: While the TV landscape is more challenging than ever, Toonami continues to offer something no one else does, and combined with the power of Crunchyroll, you will see more new shows, more originals, and a healthier Toonami than ever. The future looks bright!
Special thanks to Wendy Gardner, Sr. Director of Public Relations for Adult Swim, for helping coordinate this interview with Jason DeMarco and Gill Austin. We also want to give a special shoutout to
@MegaDanX, @MirandaEvaKH, @MrsR0114, and @KnoxRobert16 who also submitted questions for this interview.