There was much rejoicing when we shared the news that Toonami was back. People were excited about the possibilities, but without a schedule, I think "cautious optimism" was the best response. Now that Adult Swim's online schedule has advanced far enough, we know for sure what the new Toonami's first night of programming on May 26 (a.k.a. the morning of May 27) will be. As we hoped, it's a mixture of old and new series.
Bleach will continue airing at midnight, followed by two new series: Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins. They're not the first series that would jump to my mind, but they're both solid picks that will probably do well. From 1:30 onwards are reruns of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG, and for the millionth time, Cowboy Bebop. The block then repeats from 3-6AM.
Those looking for more classic Toonami shows may come away disappointed that the schedule is featuring previous Adult Swim shows (though Fullmetal Alchemist fits pretty well). Unfortunately, you shouldn't expect to see certain series return. ANN has dug up several tweets from Jason DeMarco, former Toonami producer and current vice president of strategic marketing and promotions for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, and they reveal several hints as to the future direction of the block.
For now, Toonami won't air Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, or similar series because "the rights to those shows are owned by our competition or are out of our price range." That's a real shame, because I bet a good group of people were looking forward to catching some episodes of Dragon Ball Z late at night. Admittedly, it would take forever to get anywhere, but if Toonami could get the rights to Dragon Ball Z Kai, I'm sure it would make fans happy.
That doesn't mean Toonami won't be looking to get some shonen anime on the block. DeMarco clarified the press release's claim that there would be "original anime programming" developed, saying that they weren't originals like Toonami's IGPX miniseries but simply new acquisitions. One Piece, Fairy Tail, and InuYasha: The Final Act were among the shonen anime DeMarco mentioned as potential series. He also name-dropped Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and a rerun of Gundam Wing as possible shows. All anime will retain their original openings, as is customary on Adult Swim, but they'll still get one of Toonami's "pre-intros" that stood in for the original openings back in the day.
As for the Toonami block itself, DeMarco confirmed that Steven Blum would naturally voice an "updated hi-res version" of T.O.M. 3.0, the beefed-up version that was brought back for April Fool's Day. He'll be piloting an almost-identical version of the Absolution from that era as well. However, Sara, the on-board A.I., won't be returning for now because she costs to much to make, though she could return in the future. Similarly, Peter Cullen, the voice of Toonami's promos, also won't be back, due to his busy work schedule.
The new Toonami is off to a good start. They've got three new shows and three high-quality reruns. Besides seeing more new acquisitions, what I think I'd like Toonami to work on most is picking up one or two classic series to air, not just taking some of Adult Swim's reruns. Obviously Dragon Ball Z is a problem for now, but if you're interested in Gundam Wing, get that on there uncut. Maybe Big O, Outlaw Star, Rurouni Kenshin, or Yu Yu Hakusho would be cool? And if the block does well, consider devoting some of Adult Swim's past-midnight schedule to reruns or long-running series during the week. It'll be just like the old days, but with more swearing, more blood, and less of my mom yelling at me to come to dinner.
[Via Adult Swim]