So... Toonami just released their latest schedule revision and it includes some very... questionable changes.

For reference, this is the current schedule, as of June 28th:

10:30pm - My Hero Academia
11:00pm - Dragon Ball Super
11:30pm - Attack on Titan Season 3, Part 2
Midnight - The Promised Neverland
12:30am - Sword Art Online: Alicization
1:00am - Lupin the 3rd Part V
1:30am - Black Clover
2:00am - Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
2:30am - Naruto Shippuden
3:00am - Hunter x Hunter

Now, Hunter x Hunter ended last week (this week is a rerun) and Promised Neverland ends this week. With the condensed hours Toonami has, they’ve been weaning off of reruns at the end of the block and instead bringing in new shows. That remains the same here, as Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin and Food Wars are coming in to replace The Promised Neverland and Hunter x Hunter. Now, you figure one of them would take Promised Neverland’s slot while the other would slot in between Lupin and Black Clover.

Except that’s not what the folks behind Toonami decided to do. Well, not entirely. Here is the schedule come July 6th:

11:00pm - Dragon Ball Super
11:30pm - Attack on Titan Season 3, Part 2
Midnight - Sword Art Online: Alicization
12:30am - Lupin the 3rd Part V
1:00am - Food Wars
1:30am - Black Clover
2:00am - Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
2:30am - Naruto Shippuden
3:00am - Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin - Advent of the Red Comet
3:30am - My Hero Academia

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I’m sure you can see the problem right away. Why the hell are Gundam: The Origin and My Hero Academia now ending the block?

Now, I can understand Toonami losing the 10:30pm slot. They’ve tried multiple times to expand before 11:00pm, but Family Guy ratings are just too high for non-Dragon Ball shows to take over. Given that Dragon Ball Super and My Hero Academia have formed a nice power hour for the past year or so, it makes little sense to break them up so late in the game. I could understand if My Hero was in reruns and they were just buying time for Season 4 (much like they did with Attack on Titan with the break between Season 3 Parts 1 and 2), but Season 3 still has a few months worth of new episodes and the show does get pretty good ratings compared to the rest of the block. Most Toonami shows get under 400,000 viewers a week, while My Hero averages over 450,000, with last week getting over 550,000 viewers, so bad ratings aren’t the problem. Moreover, Sword Art Online Alicization, which doesn’t get as much ratings as My Hero, actually moves up a slot despite it ending BEFORE Academia does.

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That’s not even getting into what they’re doing to Gundam: The Origin. Now, I get why it’s getting shuttered to the second half of the block. Gundam shows on the revived Toonami have been doing OK, but not great, though Iron-Blooded Orphans did a lot better than Gundam Unicorn Re:0096 did. But premiering it at 3:00am? Especially for such a dark show? I supposed you could argue that’s why My Hero is back there, to force the loyal viewers to watch Gundam if they want Academia, but given that the end of the block rarely breaks 300,000 viewers, I doubt this will boost the ratings that high. And honestly, as much as I love the Naruto franchise, Shippuden should not be premiering in front of a brand new show and another super popular show, especially THAT late at night.

Honestly, here’s what I would do with the schedule with Gundam: The Origin starting up:

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11:00pm - Dragon Ball Super
11:30pm - My Hero Academia
Midnight - Attack on Titan Season 3, Part 2
12:30am - Sword Art Online Alicization
1:00am - Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin - Advent of the Red Comet
1:30am - Lupin the 3rd Part V
2:00am - Black Clover
2:30am - Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
3:00am - Naruto Shippuden
3:30am - The Promised Neverland rerun

I would pair up Gundam right after Sword Art since it’s a fairly serious show and wouldn’t fit very well being between Lupin and Black Clover. I’d also rerun Promised Neverland at the end to give the fans a second chance to watch the dub and see if they can see some of the hints and call forwards upon a rewatch.

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Once Sword Art Online ends, I’d modify the schedule a bit more on July 20th by adding Food Wars:

11:00pm - Dragon Ball Super
11:30pm - My Hero Academia
Midnight - Attack on Titan Season 3, Part 2
12:30am - Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin - Advent of the Red Comet
1:00am - Food Wars
1:30am - Lupin the 3rd Part V
2:00am - Black Clover
2:30am - Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
3:00am - Naruto Shippuden
3:30am - The Promised Neverland

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This keeps the serious shows together, while Food Wars serves as the transition to the lighter shows on the block. I doubt Toonami would have acquired Food Wars if Sentai wasn’t doing a Season 3 (and eventual Season 4) dub, so that show will likely be on the block for the long haul and be a semi-replacement for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in terms of block placement, so having it be the lock for the second half of the block works, especially since the show will likely move up in the block anyway once My Hero ends in August.

This would also give Gundam: The Origin a fighter’s chance at getting an audience rather than having to wait until the early morning. I legitimately do not understand why Toonami would even acquire the series if they’re going to premiere it so late. Is there a mandate that Sword Art Online must air before 1:00am and they didn’t want to move Lupin back? If they had so little confidence that Origin wouldn’t do well (especially based on how the last OAV recut series, Unicorn Re:0096, performed), then why bother at all? Especially since there’s been much more demand for Mob Psycho 100 II and One-Punch Man Season 2.

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Toonami’s always had some weird quirks with their schedules, but it seems like ever since the expansion to 9pm crashed and burned a while back, the block has been in a bit of flux. The block still has some big stuff on the docket, including their latest miniseries The Forge and the Blade Runner anime premiering later this year, but with many of the stalwarts of the block either ended or about to end this year (I’m betting Toonami would REALLY like it if Toei would announce that Dragon Ball Super sequel/continuation real soon), it just seems like they are beginning to struggle a bit, which is something I don’t want to see. Though that may be a byproduct of Adult Swim itself trying to brace itself for when they lose Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers (and possibly Seasons 1-11 of American Dad) in a few years.

Now, Toonami’s made last-minute schedule changes before. A few months ago they sent JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure to the end of the block and the MASSIVE fan backlash got it moved back up a few days later. Hopefully history repeats itself with My Hero and Origin, because those shows really deserve more respect than what the upcoming schedule is showing them.

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EDIT: After writing this post, it came out that the guys at Toonami were not the ones who made the decision to dump My Hero Academia down in the last slot, it was done by management. It was apparently a panic move after the weekend of June 22nd saw ratings crater across the board (with My Hero, Dragon Ball Super, and Attack on Titan being the only shows to go over 300,000 viewers). Still doesn’t explain why the sudden shift or panic since, as I explained earlier, the ratings were climbing before the 22nd. As of this edit, the June 28th ratings have not been published.