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“It is done. He will never hurt anyone ever again.”
– Jack, Samurai Jack (Season 5, Ep. 10)
This week’s Toonami Trending Rundown is a doublefeature for the weeks of May 20-21, 2017 as well as the Memorial Day weekend of May 27-28, 2017 as Toonami celebrated the long awaited finale of Samurai Jack. May 20 would be a night to remember as after a 13 long year hiatus and 10 great episodes, the journey of Jack’s quest to defeat Aku and return to the past has come to a close. And no doubt this would be a night to remember as Jack and Aku finally settle things once and for all, while Ymir holds off the Titan assault in Titan form, and Kaneki and Touka try to save Hinami from becoming Amon and Mado’s next victims, among other great moments.
And the fans would make their voices heard, as on Twitter, every show would successfully trend in the US, most notably Samurai Jack for a duration of over 9 hours. Meanwhile on Tumblr, Samurai Jack would also trend, as would Attack on Titan and Tokyo Ghoul as well.
Spoiler Alert for those that haven’t seen the finale yet: Samurai Jack’s buzz also created a character trend in Ashii (with two I’s for some reason), as Jack helps Ashi break free from Aku’s spell, and creates a time portal back to the moment when Aku originally sent Jack to the future, which Jack proceeds to finish Aku off once and for all. Unfortunately, Aku’s death caused a time travel paradox that would lead to Ashi’s disappearance from the face of the Earth, however for some reason she managed to stay through her marriage with Jack. A Gurren Lagann-esque bittersweet ending, as some have called it.
Finally, Samurai Jack would finish things with a bang as the finale’s buzz would get the show to make the list of Nielsen Social’s top 5 most talked about shows on Twitter and Facebook, making it to the #2 spot, only being beaten out by the SNL season finale. This is the 22th time a Toonami show has made it onto this list since we started recording this feat, the third week in a row for Samurai Jack, and the 7th for the show overall this season.
For Memorial Day weekend on May 27th, Toonami opted to take the night off the regular schedule to give Samurai Jack an encore marathon of all 10 episodes of Season 5. While there wasn’t much trending as many Toonami fans took the night off due to the marathon, #SamuraiJack did trend briefly on Twitter as the East Coast run came to an end and the west coast run began, in addition to Toonami trending on tumblr.
Little programming note regarding Lupin: During MomoCon on Memorial Day Weekend Toonami released the promo for the return of Lupin the Third, set for release on June 17th. However, Toonami decided to change its airing time from 1:30am to 2:00am, meaning that Hunter x Hunter will get to stay at its current slot at least for the time being.
Many people who grew up watching Cartoon Network in the 90’s and 2000’s have been big fans, or at least had at least some fondness of Gennedy Tartakosvy’s works, including Dexter’s Lab, the 2003 version of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Sym-Bionic Titan, and of course, Samurai Jack. Samurai Jack in particular was one of Toonami and Cartoon Network’s classics back in the early 2000’s, gaining many awards and a big cult following over the years. But ever since Samurai Jack ended season 4 back in 2004, there has always been talk among fans and even the creators of whether a finale could be realized. Over the years, there was talks of a animated movie on the big screen to finish the story, but for some reason it never got to the production phase.
Since Toonami’s revival, the block showcased two Gennedy directed shows from the CN library. In 2013, as Toonami expanded to the 12-6am “Midnight Run”, among its other acquisitions, the block showcased Sym-Bionic Titan, Gennedy’s last work with CN before moving to Sony Pictures to eventually create the Hotel Transylvania films. While the show was well received, and there were hopes that a revival of that show could happen one day, unfortunately, Sym-Bionic Titan was put on turnaround due to budget cuts within the network in 2014. A month later, however, Toonami would be able to get Samurai Jack for a rerun in February 1, 2014, airing weekly until January 25, 2015, when the block’s shortening made Toonami unable to showcase the final few episodes. While many felt a revival was all but a dream at this point, this run might’ve reignited talks of a potential revival, especially in the eyes of Gennedy and everyone at Adult Swim.
After he was finished with the sequel to Hotel Transylvania, Gennedy called Adult Swim head Mike Lazzo to discuss a potential 5th season. Two weeks later, the series was greenlit for production. While Gennedy hoped to release the new season sometime in 2016, production issues would force a delay until 2017. The wait would be worth it, as on March 11, 2017, the long awaited final season premiered on Toonami to much fanfare. Gennedy and the crew did not disappoint as we continued Jack’s storyline 50 years on, as Jack trying to regain hope of one day being able to defeat Aku, while Aku tries to regain motivation to finish Jack off himself, and Ashi being seen the light from the darkness that is Aku. 10 weeks later (the April Fools Rick and Morty premiere aside), and now we can finally say that Samurai Jack is now in the history books.
During the 10 week run of Season 5, the hashtag #SamuraiJack successfully trended in the US on Twitter during all 10 weeks of its run including during the Memorial Weekend marathon. During the first 4 weeks and during the week of the finale, the show also trended worldwide. #SamuraiJack would also trend in 2 occasions during the run up to Jack’s premiere. In addition, the show’s buzz would also produce 3 different character trends, Aku, Ashi in 2 occasions, as well as the Scotsman. In addition, #SamuraiJack would also trend on tumblr on every week of its run except during week 9. And as previously mentioned, Samurai Jack’s buzz would get the show on Nielsen Social’s top 5 most talked about shows on Twitter and Facebook for 7 out of the shows 10 premiere weeks.
As Jack’s story finally comes to a close, the question amongst Toonami fans now is that could we be seeing more original productions down the line? According to Jason DeMarco during MomoCon, network executives have been very satisfied with Samurai Jack’s results in regards to ratings and overall buzz, and the network has been looking into creating more Toonami original productions down the line, which will be very helpful for the growth of Toonami and both anime and action cartoons in the west. Of course, we do have another original co-production coming down the pipe with FLCL season 2 scheduled to premiere sometime later this year or next year. In the meantime, Samurai Jack will be given an encore run at 11pm Eastern for the time being for those late to the party or who want to rewatch the final season again.
So on behalf of the Toonami Faithful, thanks for the memories, Jack. It was a fun ride.
It’s been 5 years since Toonami returned to the air, and we’ve gotten to see many amazing things happen over the duration. From the big hits to the underrated gems and everything in between, as well as TOM and SARA’s continued adventures through space, Toonami has given fans much to enjoy since the revival. With the show’s resillance through all these years, and the perseverance of the fans to one day see the end, Samurai Jack season 5 may well be Toonami’s greatest accomplishment since its revival so far. A moment in television which seemed all but impossible a few years ago, the fact that this happened at all is a testament to the will of not just the creators, but the entire the Samurai Jack fanbase and the support of the entire Toonami community. Something tells me that there’s a lot more great things and surprises like this to come in the years ahead and hopefully, Jack’s success will be the start of something special.
Tune in next week (or as of this writing due to several delays, tonight) as Gundam Unicorn showcases its penultimate episode, among other great moments. Until then, we wish everyone a Happy (late) Memorial Day, a blessed Ramadan to all celebrating, and stay gold as always.
Legend: The shows listed are ordered based on their appearance on the schedule. Show trends are listed in bold. The number next to the listed trend represents the highest it trended on the list (not counting the promoted trend), judging only by the images placed in the rundown. For the Twitter tweet counts, the listed number of tweets are also sorely based on the highest number shown based on the images on the rundown.
May 20-21, 2017 Trends
United States Trends:
- Toonami/#Toonami [#]
- #SamuraiJack (Also during the West Coast airing) [#1]
- Ashii (From Samurai Jack) [#1]
- #DragonBallSuper [#4]
- #DBZKai [#5]
- #AttackOnTitan [#6]
- #TokyoGhoul [#5]
- #HunterXHunter [#5]
- #GundamUnicorn [#4]
- #Shippuden [#5]
- #GhostInTheShell [#4]
- #SamuraiJack [#1]
- Ashii (From Samurai Jack) [#2]
- #Toonami [5,632 tweets]
- #SamuraiJack [29.6k tweets]
- Samurai Jack [13.7k tweets]
- #DragonBallSuper [4,013 tweets]
- #DBZKai [1,216 tweets]
- #AttackOnTitan [4,348 tweets]
- #TokyoGhoul [2,347 tweets]
- #HunterXHunter [2,358 tweets]
- #samurai jack
- #attack on titan
- #tokyo ghoul
Notes and Other Statistics:
- #SamuraiJack: @WhoTrendedIT reported that @RossButler and @tarastrong started the trend in the US.
- #DragonBallSuper: @WhoTrendedIT reported that @MikeMcFarlandVA and @Mike_Daniels76 started the trend in the US.
- #HunterXHunter: @WhoTrendedIT reported that @tsunderica started the trend in the US.
May 27-28, 2017 Trends
United States Trends:
- Toonami/#Toonami [#6]
- #SamuraiJack [#5]
- #Toonami [2,331 tweets]
- #SamuraiJack [5,814 tweets]
Notes and Other Statistics:
- #Toonami: @WhoTrendedIT reported that @blumspew and @FUNimation started the trend in the US.
Only Toonami on [adult swim] on Cartoon Network.
Special thanks to @animesavior for giving us permission to post the Toonami Trending Rundown here