Over the past eight days, we’ve seen one word begin to overtake the general narrative: Toonami. With the block’s launch in just three days, it’s become the center of any anime conversation, eclipsing the regular murmurs that tend to come about in the anime industry. Corporate shake-ups, labor disputes, even this week’s releases of Dragon Age and Arrietty went unnoticed in general conversation, as people eagerly chattered about the knowns and unknowns of Adult Swim’s new-old block.
In this day and age, it’s rare to see such conversations around good news. Much of the narrative focuses on humanity’s tendency to focus on the negative of a situation. Stories like the recent unpaid overtime lawsuit against Studio Easter and the stepping down of Kaze founder Cedric Littardi would have the spotlights shown on them, as people ponder ceaselessly about the ethics of the anime industry, or the health of the European market. We’d hear speculation of corporate futures and frantic (or cynical) discourse about the present, as people try to figure out just what went wrong.
And, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t bad.
The overwhelming dialogue about Toonami points to an excited market. People are so eager to get their hands on what Adult Swim is offering, that they’re willing to predict, plan, and discuss the night that Toonami finally does launch. We all know it’s not a major departure from the current offering. We all are aware that there are but two new programs in a sea of repeats. However, that doesn’t matter. However, Toonami today represents, more than anything, the fact that the customer’s voice matters. It matters little whether or not the decision was made months before, or if the Bring Back Toonami campaign was more than an advertising gimmick. It doesn’t matter that the lineup is familiar or that the schedule still loops at 3:00. At the moment, Toonami stands for an ideal.
Toonami today is a manifestation of the idea that the customer is right. It’s the affirmation that can-do spirit and positive reinforcement can potentially sway faceless entities, and that entire schedules can change in mere weeks, if the market demands it.
Toonami embodies and embraces the very idea that the customer is the king.
As the sun begins its descent on Saturday evening, I expect the chatter to increase steadily, as the premiere grows closer. I wouldn’t even be surprised if some Toonami-related hashtag trends for its initial duration. Subsequent weeks will be interesting to monitor indeed, as I doubt the initial ratings burst will be matched in subsequent weeks. However, on this opening night, many viewers will breathe a silent sigh of victory. Saturday night will be theirs. It will be the night where they reclaim their titles as true ruler of the market.