Earlier today, Toonami announced that December will see a return of “Movie Month” for the block. The scheduled lineup is as follows:
- 12/6/2014: Hellsing Ultimate Episode 9 & Summer Wars
- 12/13/2014: Hellsing Ultimate Episode 10 and Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos
- 12/20/2014: Dragonball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan & Akira
- 12/27/2014: Evangelion 1.11 and Evangelion 2.22
At a glance, the scheduled lineup is simply wonderful. Summer Wars and Akira are essentials to any anime fan, and to close off the year with Evangelion is a simply divine decision. The list spans the old and the new, with something for every flavor of anime fan.
What’s most important, though, is the inclusion of Hellsing Ultimate on the list. It was previously reported that the final two episodes would not run on Toonami, due to a non-receipt of materials. At the time, I saw this as a setback, to say lightly. Previous episodes of Hellsing Ultimate brought in about 750,000 viewers per airing, and the series itself served as a wonderful addition to the block’s overall landscape.
To see it go was disappointing, really. It was a loss on all sides, with FUNimation losing a broadcast payment, Adult Swim losing a lucrative slot to sell commercials, and fans missing out on the conclusion to a truly fantastic OVA.
Hellsing Ultimate’s return to Toonami, in this light, is a fantastic thing to see. The early placement in the schedule ensures that the series will be noticed by viewers, while setting up the tone for the evening as a whole. Viewers that were upset by the show’s removal will be satisfied, and the network will benefit from a combination of consumer goodwill, and a newly opened, high-ratings ad block.
This announcement presents a fantastic turn of events, that few expected to see. It’s a remarkable opportunity for Toonami to really delight viewers, and build a reputation for being loyal to customers. How this will affect the network in the long run has yet to be seen. However, it’s difficult to really envision a scenario where this doesn’t provide a net gain, both in revenues and consumer goodwill.