Does Toonami Need DC?

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Let it be known on the day that this was written that Young Justice Season 3 has been confirmed, but no word on when or where it will air. Which is rather peculiar, however, I’m fairly confident of where Young Justice is heading, Netflix.

Which is a shame since Young Justice along with many other DC animated series has probably been on Toonami’s radar for years, but because of complications with Warner Brothers it seems rather bleak that any past shows like Beware The Batman will ever air on the block. Which brings me to the question I ask today does Toonami need DC in order to stay fresh with it’s line up? Well the short answer many will say is no. The block is currently stable in ratings and it’s not like action cartoons ever made Toonami in the first place. Which in some aspects I will agree with. Toonami’s main goal back in the day and even now is to expose an audience to anime.

However, in some cases they’re the only ones on TV who are willing to show action cartoons given that Cartoon Network, Nick, and Disney no longer show or barely show them at all. Granted a lot of the action cartoons they picked up were mainly reruns (Sym Bionic Titan, Thundercats (2011), Samurai Jack (2001-2004), and Star Wars: The Clone Wars). The only action cartoon they grabbed which was a premiere was Beware the Batman, but even that was Warner’s answer to fans who wanted to see the rest of the series, and they had to stay up very late on a Saturday night. Which for many probably wasn’t ideal or stable enough for them.  

So it really begs the question does Toonami need DC shows? In the past, ratings for action cartoons weren’t really high up there at least compared to other shows that were airing on the block which to be fair most of the action cartoons that aired were on early but after their run was up they moved to later slots (Sym Bionic Titan/Thundercats) or aired late at night that only a select audience will stay up and watch (Samurai Jack, Star Wars The Clone Wars, and Beware The Batman). None of these series did bad in their respective timeslots but they certainly weren’t the reason why people tuned into the block every week. Yet action cartoons have always been apart of Toonami even from the very beginning. Was the focus always on to anime? Of course but they manage to air a good chunk of action cartoons, hell Adult Swim is paying for this new season of Samurai Jack and they could’ve easily said no to it. So it’s pretty clear the people who run the block do want action cartoons to be apart of it in some way shape or form. However, with this recent news it doesn’t seem rather likely that’ll be the case.

So to wrap this up does Toonami need DC? Well no, they don’t need DC in order to still be on. In fact they seem to be doing well for themselves even with them absent on the block currently. Toonami doesn’t need DC nor do they really need action cartoons on the block to remain successful. However, if Samurai Jack (2017) is the last action cartoon on the block well then that’s the end of action cartoons on TV. Which as a guy who grew up watching these shows on TV it’ll be a sad day when they are gone from the realm of television.


Senior Editorial Writer for Toonami Squad and former writer for Swim Squad. Host for Toonami Squad Sessions Podcast.