Hey guys, it’s me: Dragonpiece. You may know me from Twitter, Facebook, Toonzone or many other forums and sites around the web. Anime, regardless if you have heard the word or not, you know about it. You have watched Pokémon as a kid, you have played your fair share of Yu-Gi-Oh! duels, and you remember when Tai and the others first witnessed the creatures known as Digimon. Everyone has had their experiences with it, and it has been embedded into their hearts as childhood nostalgia. But is that all it will ever be in America?
Let me just start by flat-out saying this, because no post about anime in the United States can ever be said without it: Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. You have heard these words before I am sure, so why would you possibly care to see me talk about them? Because I need these words to make an overall point: Most people say anime is starting to fail in America due to Toonami being canceled. But no. From where I’m standing, it was the actually the success of anime that killed Toonami. The action block started strong with a lineup of fresh shows that could get anyone in, with anime like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. The more these shows aired, the more fans came in and excitement filled the air: it really was a great time in the 90’s.
Obviously, the higher the ratings for anime, the more anime would start coming, until became a driving focus on the block.Now before I continue, let me note this: back in the late 90’s, Toonami had a great lineup. The shows were great because they were lined up perfectly. They did not consider any show a good one or a bad one: they gave each and every one respect and time to grow. Then it happened. As if it was all set in place, in 2005, Naruto arrived. You see, I have no hate against this show. I liked the first series and all, but the thing is: pretty much everyone else in the United States liked it too. It pretty much annihilated the ratings every night it premiered. While that was good for the show, since it could continue and what not, it pretty much ruined the success of other shows that would have aired and had aired on the channel.
The more Naruto would air on the channel, the less time Toonami had to air other series. Basically what happened was, on Saturday nights, the only show most kids would watch would be Naruto. They would skip One Piece, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo and other shows that aired afterwards which meant an automatic canning on them. Eventually, in 2008, Toonami had to say goodbye because all it was reduced to was new episodes of Naruto, and reruns of Ben 10: Alien Force and Samurai Jack.
So now what? Will anime become just a memory in the United States? Will it just be known in our hearts as simple nostalgia? …….No. Anime is still big in its native home of Japan, with over 15 new anime appearing each season in Japan: exciting shows like Durarara!!, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, and Fairy Tail. And anime isn’t dead in America yet either: we still have Cartoon Network airing popular toyetic anime like Pokémon and Bakugan, and we have a whole racket of new contenders! Disney 😄 has been airing Naruto: Shippuden for the past year, with the second season starting late October. Nicktoons is airing Dragon Ball Z Kai, which is now one of their highest-rated shows. Finally, The Hub will be airing an anime called Deltora Quest the day they launch.
What I am trying to say here is this: the bursting heart for anime will never die. People will always want it, and it will always be there. We are the ones who have the torch, though: we decide how well it does. Watching it illegally is the same as not watching it at all: if we don’t support it legally, anime will just die off. We have to show anime companies, television networks, and manga companies that we love anime. And we don’t want it going anywhere. And you know how you can help keep anime afloat? By just watching anime legally, of course! Just head over to Funimation Video, Crunchyroll, or The Anime Network, find a good anime show, and just watch it! Just doing little things like watching a video from these and other legal sites could do so much in the long run. Just a remember: while Tom may have said “Bang” when he ended, that doesn’t mean anime did.