Toonami launched atop a wave of support and elation. In the days leading to its launch, we saw anime viewers, websites, and organizations chatting up the block. Reminders to tune in and watch could be found on scores of forums and blogs, as the days continued to tick down. On the big day, the #Toonami hash-tag trended on Twitter, as thousands happily chatted about Casshern, Deadman Wonderland, and Bleach. After the launch, though, we began to see fatigue set in amongst viewers. Each passing week saw ratings decling further, as fewer and fewer viewrs began to turn to the network.

While we were able to make a few projections in our previous analysis, it was difficult to make definitive projections. One month of data works well for sampling, but it may not always allow for accurate tracking of trends. Tonight, we’ll be revisiting this topic, with the benefit of two more weeks’ worth of data (via Sons of the Bronx) with the intent of obtaining a more definite analysis of Toonami’s market performance.

For tonight’s analysis, I’ll present two charts: the first (Figure 1), is the viewership data as presented in our previous analysis.

Title Air Time Rank: 5/27 Rank: 6/3 Rank: 6/10 Rank: 6/17
Bleach 12:00AM – 12:30AM 90 61 84 87
Deadman Wonderland 12:30AM – 1:00AM 129 122 137 123
Casshern: Sins 1:00AM – 1:30AM 137 122 144 142
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 1:30AM – 2:00AM 142 138 146 145
Ghost in the Shell: Second Gig 2:00AM – 2:30AM 143 141 148 146
Cowboy Bebop 2:30AM – 3:00AM 145 139 149 149
Bleach 3:00AM – 3:30AM 147 142 147 147
Deadman Wonderland 3:30AM – 4:00AM 149 146 150 150
Casshern: Sins 4:00AM – 4:30AM 150 148 151 151
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 4:30AM – 5:00AM 151 150 152 152
Ghost in the Shell: Second Gig 5:00AM – 5:30AM 152 151 153 154
Cowboy Bebop 5:30AM – 6:00AM 153 153 154 153

The latter (Figure 2) will be new data for the previous two weeks.

Title Air Time Rank: 6/24 Rank: 7/1
Bleach 12:00AM – 12:30AM 90 103
Deadman Wonderland 12:30AM – 1:00AM 112 119
Casshern: Sins 1:00AM – 1:30AM 136 135
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 1:30AM – 2:00AM 142 133
Ghost in the Shell: Second Gig 2:00AM – 2:30AM 143 134
Cowboy Bebop 2:30AM – 3:00AM 144 138
Bleach 3:00AM – 3:30AM 145 136
Deadman Wonderland 3:30AM – 4:00AM 146 139
Casshern: Sins 4:00AM – 4:30AM 147 141
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 4:30AM – 5:00AM 148 142
Ghost in the Shell: Second Gig 5:00AM – 5:30AM 150 143
Cowboy Bebop 5:30AM – 6:00AM 149 144

While it may seem like we saw major leaps in overall positioning, the numbers in this case are a bit misleading. Many titles were pushed up by default, as other shows, such as Loiter Squad were pulled from the lineup. Relatively speaking, many of the titles saw zero real movement, as a result. For the sake of accuracy, the total items ranked by Nielson for these periods were as follows;

  • Week Ending 6/24: 150
  • Week Ending 7/1: 144

So, with this in mind, we can safely state the following:

  • For the past six weeks, anime has consumed six or more of the bottom ten shows were taken by anime.
  • The majority of the bottom ten spots were specifically held by the post-3:00 Toonami re-airings
  • There is little movement between shows from week-to-week. Much of the general movement is a temporary “shuffling” between similarly-ranked shows.
  • Viewers drop off in a linear progression: As the time from midnight increases, viewership decreases.

The trend that we previously predicted shows no signs of deviations. We can confirm that the ratings collapse in week three can be attributed to the market settling to its natural performance pattern, where equilibrium between demand and performance is met.

“And? What does that have to do with anything?”

Dear reader, this is important, as it shows that there is little increased demand for Toonami over the previous anime block. To be fair, this isn’t even entirely accurate to say. Viewers hunger for newer, less stale content. This is is evidenced by the strong performance of new shows Deadman Wonderland and Casshern, as well as the fact that Bleach still manages to consistently nail an above-105 rank every week.

And, there is of course, the element of time. As the hours tick by, more and more people find themselves seeking the refuge of a warm bed, so a drop-off is indeed expected. However, as I’ve previously mentioned, this is somewhat of a poor excuse, as we see re-runs of other programs in the same blocks on non-peak nights pulling in top-50 rankings.

So, discounting this excuse, we can argue that Toonami’s plight amounts to growing disinterest. Viewers are consuming the fresh content, but drop off after they are finished. there is still a hunger for these new products, as a consistent audience gathers week over week. this audience isn’t excited, though – we’re seeing few gains in the shows that do perform, which indicates that new viewers aren’t tuning in, or that new viewers are merely replacing those that drop off.

While it would be fantastic to say that this would become some form of Cinderella story, the truth of the matter is that it won’t. Until we see a break from the very tethers that pull the block down, it will be doomed to linger in the bottom of the charts until its inevitable cancellation from the network.

At this point, Adult Swim can gain or lose with Toonami. However, with its lower funding and unclear expectations, it’s difficult to say whether they’ll be able to make the changes needed to kick general performance up another notch.