Editorial

Why Toonami needs to bring in episode promos for all their new shows


Toonami is a pretty cool TV block and I dare say that it’s the best block out there. It’s done a really great job of getting its brand out there. When something is on Toonami you know it. The channel has great bumpers, an actual ongoing story with TOM and manages to always have a pretty great lineup. Just having a place for anime to get aired nowadays is really cool since there aren’t many alternatives aside from watching online. At times the channel may make some questionable decisions (Super’s frame rate. There’s a bit of a blame game here with everyone deflecting, but ultimately it seemed to be on the channel not double checking their tapes) (The TV ratings for shows don’t always make sense. I believe channel ratings are up to the discretion of the channel so it could be more of a CN decision, but I imagine Toonami would have some input) but it’s still a top notch block. The channel has been through a lot, but there is one change I’m not too fond of. For a while the block always had 30 second promos for the top shows. Now they’re down to 15 per show and a lot of big titles don’t even get them.

To be fair, Toonami has never made it a practice to give every new show episode promos. I’m assuming this is due to budget concerns and not getting the content quick enough. Even so, I’m here to make the case that all new shows should have consistent episode promos of around 30 seconds. I really don’t think this would have a huge impact on the budget. Editing is no joke, but it’s something that they could certainly have staffers do. One way to get around the time involved would be to make episode promos based on the sub versions. You could just grab the entire thing, but of course this would be more of a last resort. Ideally I’d like to have 30 second dub promos for it the way they used to. For the purposes of this editorial when I say “new” shows I’m talking about anything that is airing on Toonami for the first time. For example something like My Hero Academia which is already available online is still on Toonami for the first time so that should get dub promos. Likewise if Sailor Moon Crystal were to air, I’d want that to get promos as well since it’s on Tooami for the first time. So…why are episode promos important?

1. They are your first glance at a show

Toonami has four kinds of promos. They have the motivational speeches every once in a while, the monthly lineup change promo, episode promos, and new series introduction promos. I’m mainly focusing on the third kind, but the fourth one has some overlap. Every new show does get an intro promo so Toonami does a good job with that. Typically this promo is a minute long and it’s a great way to set up a show for new viewers. To date the best series promo by far was the Sword Art Online Alicization one.

Despite there not being a whole lot of action in the premiere they used amazing editing and a rock solid music choice to get you hyped. I’ve seen that promo at least 50 times since it first aired. It’s just perfect and it’s an example of a show I could see myself checking out without knowing anything else other than the promo. It’s just that good. Episode promos can have the same effect.

Put it this way, the series premiere promo only shows up for 2-3 weeks. After that it’s gone so if you turn on the TV at a random time odds are that most of the shows airing won’t have any promos. That’s where an episode promo comes in. Lets say you turn on the TV and you get the Samurai Jack episode 3 promo below.

You have no idea what this show is, but all you care about is when the episode is going to air. You’ll tune in and now there is a chance that you’ll pick up the show. You’re much more likely to take a chance that way after seeing something rather than blindly tuning in at the time and checking it out. A good episode promo goes a long way to letting you see if you’ll like the show or not. Actual footage goes a long way.

2. They get you hyped for the next episode

An obvious benefit of episode promos is they get you ready for what will come next. Especially as most of the Toonami shows are action ones. A solid promo builds up the hype and anticipation for next week. Lets take this Titan promo for example. We’re finally going to see Eren’s rematch against the titan from episode one. This is an event that viewers looked forward to for several years so just having that scene in the promo really gets you amped up. It’s just not the same with no promo or even with a 15 second one. They’re just way too short for you to do anything with them. We need consistent episode promos and all of the new shows deserve them, not just the top 2-3 each season.

3. A good promo may make you jump on board a show even if the first few episodes didn’t look so good.

This is similar to the first option, but a little different. Lets say you’ve got a show where the beginning looks boring? Say you turned on Dragon Ball Super and you saw the early Beerus stuff. You figure “I’ve already seen this as a movie” so you turn it off and don’t watch again. About a year later you turn on the TV and the following promo shows up. Now you’re thinking “Wait a minute, this looks hype!” and you scramble to watch the next episode. An episode promo like this shows you what you’re missing and may incentivize you to re-start the show. After all, you’re more inclined to do so if you know there is going to be some big payoff like this rather than watching something you’re not a fan of and hoping it’ll get better. A lot of shows have slow beginnings and for some they may never get better while for others they hit that next gear and never look back. Promos are perfect for this.

So, those are 3 reasons why I think Toonami should reconsider their current approach and begin airing 30 second promos for all of their premieres. It would really go a long way towards getting more and more people excited about their current shows. The biggest benefit will be for more casual viewers, but I just love promos even if I’m already watching the shows and am hyped for next week. Promos are just amazing and I’ve always enjoyed watching them a bunch. A good one just goes a really long way and also helps when trying to recommend a show to someone. Well, with or without this change, Toonami has definitely been a great way for us all to experience new titles. Without Toonami I doubt anime would be quite as mainstream as it is today.

3 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Samurai Jack (2017) Review


Samurai Jack is one of the best American cartoons out there. If we don’t count super hero shows like Justice League then it takes the title quite easily. The show had awesome fights and episodes that were nonstop action the entire time. It may have ended rather suddenly with no real ending, but that’s fine since you could always imagine your own ending. Still, everyone was rather hyped when they announced that the series would finally be getting a conclusion. Everyone…except me. From the start this was promoted as a far darker, grittier, more violent take on the classic show to fit in with the modern times. I had a bad feeling that this show was not just going to be bad, but terrible. Unfortunately…my fears turned out to be correct.

This new season was fairly misleading as the first episode was actually really good. We got a nice fight scene and it was against a robot so there wasn’t any blood or anything. I felt like things would maybe be okay. Right after that is where the show went downhill and never recovered. Episodes 2-3 are the most action packed and intense episodes of the show, but are also overflowing with over the top violence. Jack also ends up murdering a few of his opponents who were brainwashed girls who were raised to despise him. The fact that they are rather young is there to increase the grit factor.

Episode 4 was more like a classic Jack episode. It still couldn’t be bothered to avoid some animal violence, but was a big step up from the last two episodes. Episode 5 was the final episode before the show lost its focus. We see the Scotsman have a very pointless return as he gets one shotted by Aku and Jack is tricked into thinking that he murdered a bunch of kids. Honestly, I thought they were dead too so props to the show for not going down that rabbit hole.

Episode 6 is about cameos as Ashi meets up with a bunch of old allies. You can say that it’s filler as it’s just a homage for old fans, but the good news is that this means we didn’t have to see any unnecessary grit. I think this may be the episode with a pretty wince worthy line, but more on that later. Episode 7 leads us back to grit as it’s one of the most violent episodes. Ashi murders a bunch of villains and you’ll just want to fast forward to the next one.

Episode 8 is one of the worst episodes. This time it’s because of the very forced romance and the fact that it doesn’t work at all. Jack’s wayyyyyyy older than Ashi and as people had been pointing out on the sub reddit for weeks, it couldn’t work. The show surely wouldn’t go down that path right? Well, they did even though everyone was hoping for a more father-daughter bond which would have made more sense. Episode 9 still has some of this plot to deal with, but luckily the second half is better as Aku steps in. Episode 10 is extremely rushed with a rather lackluster ending and one of the more anticlimactic final fights. The season ended as it ran….a disappointing and unnecessary final season.

Lets look at the negatives more generally now. First off is obviously the violence. Samurai Jack was originally a kid’s show, but this season decided to get extremely violent and dark. You could barely go a single episode without some kind of animal violence. Whether it be a bird getting stabbed, a dog being slashed to the verge of death, or random bugs squashed there was something always happening here. Animal violence is always a big no-no and having it show up over and over again certainly doesn’t help the show’s case. Naturally, the human fight scenes were just as bad. It gets to the point where you actively hope for an episode with no action and that’s where the show goes to the other extreme of having an episode that’s all about walking and talking. The only good fights are the one against Aku and robots, but those are typically quite brief.

To make the show a little more dark as well, Jack destroys the brainwashed daughters of Aku as I mentioned earlier. They were only added to the show so that Jack could justify his choice to destroy them and so he could stop being such a dramatic hero who saved everyone in his path. This was their only purpose which meant that the writers didn’t even care about their power levels. They started out as being incredibly strong and much quicker than Jack, but ultimately turned into light weights that Jack could defeat with ease.

The show’s writing also drops down quite a few levels. Just to keep up the edge factor the show has Scaramouche use a p word to describe someone’s head and it felt so out of place and unnecessary. It was about as forced as Wolverine’s catchphrase in virtually every X-Men film. The whole romance angle was also written quite poorly. Jack’s sudden lack of confidence and debates with his inner self were just as hard to watch. Aku was really the only character who stayed in character during this season. He was great and definitely a highlight here. Without him, I wonder how the show would have fared.

To expand on why Jack isn’t a good character here, he has to compromise on his ideals far too often and doesn’t seem to have a shred of will power left. He decides to commit suicide after not being able to save a bunch of kids, but all that will do is doom even more people. He decides not to help a village that is being destroyed because he’s tired of being a hero. By the time he changes his mind and goes there, everyone is already dead. Jack even got a bunch of clever nicknames on Youtube as a result since he certainly seems to have gotten more ruthless over the years. His new (pretty bad) design didn’t help matters either. They really dropped the ball on this.

While Jack may have been butchered as a character, he still got some pretty good lines during the season. “It always seems bad at first, but then I find a way” or “I will give you a new choice. Turn back now or stay and face your destiny.” Those may not be word for word, but they were pretty intense. The latter especially as it comes from the preview for one of the first episodes. It was the most exciting preview and easily one of the best Toonami previews of all time. The music for that one was also pretty awesome and it will make you wish for some good tunes in the actual show.

Ashi is the main heroine and she’s a pretty decent character. She gets the short end of the stick on this show, but it was nice to finally have another supporting character who could fight. It’s a shame that we then had to throw romance into the picture and that we couldn’t see Ashi’s true form appear more. She was a good character and probably the best member in the series. She’s as brutal as Jack thanks to her origin and also mows everyone down during the course of the series. She got significantly weaker after turning good, but that’s to be expected. I like the concept of her character more than the execution, but she definitely wasn’t bad.

Scaramouche was great in the first episode. He made for a really good villain and his tuning fork is a potent weapon. That being said, his character was wasted in the rest of his appearances. The show just didn’t know what to do with him. His voice really helped to sell the character if you ask me. I already talked about how great Aku was so I don’t really need to go into it. He was just on point and while the show made him a little too powerful, (Jack can only win with plot hax) it made for an interesting dynamic. Aku is evil, but he doesn’t seem like a mean guy compared to the other villains. It’s something that I wouldn’t mind more titles playing around with. To an extent, Fairy Tail did this with Zeref for a while, but then he suddenly became full psychotic while trying to convince people that he was a nice guy.

The animation is basically the same as the old Jack show. It’s a little more streamlined and modern as the colors are sharper and the contrast works well. That being said, it’s still not my kind of animation and I wish they’d switch it to something more modern. The show looks very dated and I’ve seen 90’s shows that look a lot sharper. Just check out DBZ or Pokemon. The fight scenes are also a big step down from the old series. That one could have fights that lasted the entire episode and they happened multiple times. All of the fights in the 2nd half of the series are short and the first half felt long and intricate but also super violent and bloody.

There isn’t really much of a soundtrack here. The classic Jack end theme is still around for most of the episodes which was pretty cool. I’m not really a fan of the theme song either. I typically don’t care for narration in my openings as it should just be illustrated through the lyrics and animation. If the show can’t do that, then it just needs to try again until it can pull this off.

The show is only 10 episodes so you’ll be able to get through it in a breeze. I can’t say that there is any real replay value to be found here at all. It may help convince you to re watch the old series again though so that would definitely be a good side effect of watching this one. At the very least, Samurai Jack serves as a cautionary tale to other old cartoons that fans want to get a new season. Odds are that the new season won’t be able to live up to the original episodes and it’ll just throw mud onto your cherished memories.

Before ending this review I should at least come up with one positive fro the show. It’s not a 0 so it’s not as if the show had 0 potential. What it did do well was establish a pretty apocalyptic atmosphere. It’s clear that Aku has won the war when the season picks up. Everything that I say here refers to the first 3 episodes by the way. The rest of the season became a complete trainwreck. The episode with Ashi and Jack teaming up in the factory was the final episode to try and salvage itself. Still, the first 3 episodes were pretty hype. There was a nice level of intensity and flare to each episode and the fights had real stakes. While the daughters of Aku were nerfed, they still felt like a nice threat. Seeing Jack use a variety of weapons instead of his sword was also interesting since he is a master in virtually every form of combat. If the episodes had been handled in the same vein as the original show, I think that these three episodes could have easily reached a solid 9. It wasn’t to be, but at least Jack never got boring during this trilogy. It really should have come out as some kind of 70 minute movie.

To address the ending, I can safely say that it wasn’t satisfying. As mentioned earlier, I wanted a big final fight. Even if we ignore the fact that we got cheated out of that, it’s just pretty mean spirited to Jack. The show basically just got him a companion just so they could take her away at the end so he could die alone. Jack also got over it a little too quickly in that last butterfly scene. I would have much preferred it if Jack had simply gone to the past, defeated Jack in a very long drawn out fight, and then became King. It would have been so much more effective and concise. That or have a big team up with Aku against a new villain, but I somehow feel like fans wouldn’t like that option very much.

Overall, Samurai Jack deserved another season, but it didn’t need one. This season could have had a lot of potential since you can always make another story arc for Jack since he is immortal and the world is extremely large. Unfortunately this season couldn’t even decide what it wanted to do and half of the season felt like filler. The show could have ended on a more epic note after the first 3 episodes. It would have been a pretty conclusive ending. It even could have adapted episode 10 just without Ashi. Make no mistake, the show wouldn’t have gotten a positive score or anything since that would fix nothing, but you wouldn’t be missing out on anything by cutting the other 6 episodes out. The poorly constructed romance and pointless cameo of the Scotsman could have been left on the shelf. Next time you think about watching this show…don’t.

Overall 3/10

6 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Samurai Jack Review

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Samurai Jack is a retro show that a lot of people like. It’s known as a classic and it probably rivals famous action cartoons like the Powerpuff Girls back in its prime. Unfortunately, it infamously ends with nothing actually being resolved so it can be a pretty disappointing way to end the series. It’s a good title, but the problem lies in the fact that most episodes are filler. Because of that, some episodes are really good and some are downright bad. It’s good to check out, but you’ll probably want to skip some of the filler episodes that couldn’t stack up to the rest.

The plot of the show is that a demon by the name of Aku has enslaved the planet. Samurai Jack’s parents (and effectively the whole planet as collateral) were taken from him by Aku and he has trained his whole life so that he can get some payback. Just when he was about to defeat Aku, Jack is sent to the future. Aku’s reign is now absolute and defeating him will be difficult. Still, Jack shall never give up and he will find a way to stop Aku! Even if it takes a lifetime.

The show made it through 4 seasons, but that doesn’t help its case as much as you would expect from the average show because of the fact that over 90% of the series is filler. There are good episodes and then there are bad ones. The final 3 episodes of the series are all pretty bad for example while you may have random ones in season 3 that are very good. It’s something that you have to take on a day by day basis and it can get pretty tricky. It’s why I don’t recommend such a format for any show.

It is intriguing to see just how big the planet is though. Jack comes across countries from all sorts of different time periods. A lot of them just don’t make sense when compared to others and that’s one of the things that makes the planet so much fun. One corner may still be in the 40’s while another one has tech from the year 3000+. It’s too bad that everyone doesn’t unite to stop Aku, but I have a feeling that it could have happened if the show ever got an ending. It was practically leading up to that as Jack went around the world helping people.

Samurai Jack is a pretty good protagonist. You could even say that he is great although he doesn’t always look as good as you would expect depending on the episode. He is tricked into losing his memory at one point and he does tend to let his guard down around female villains. Jack is an honorable swordsman so he never actually lets romance get to him, but he doesn’t try as hard to escape it as he should. His swordsmanship skills are top notch and Jack has been shown to take on whole armies in the past. It’s rare that he ever loses a fight and Jack always gives the match his best effort. It’s hard not to like such a fighter and the show likely wouldn’t be half as good without him. Once in a while, an episode won’t be from his point of view so it’s always fun to see how he looks from an antagonistic standpoint. There are at least 2 episodes where he is the main villain and those are always sad since the “heroes” usually have some kind of reason as to why they need to defeat him. Of course, they’re doomed so it is always for naught.

Aku is the main villain of the show and he is the kind of villain who isn’t for everyone, but will certainly get some fans. I am not a big fan of the villain. Aku can be pretty funny considering that he rules the planet with an iron grip, but that’s about it for qualities that I like. His goals are pretty generic and his “invincible” abilities never actually seem that great. It’s a little hard to see how he managed to defeat all of the heroes on the planet. Depending on the episode, he can be a cruel tyrant or a misunderstood anti-hero. He just doesn’t take anything seriously which is why his attitude tends to shift a lot, but the heroes can’t forgive his actions. He is still a villain no mater how heroic he may seem at times.

The Scotsman is really the only recurring member of the supporting cast in the show and I believe that he only appears in 3 episodes. It’s possible that it’s more like 4-5. Out of 52 that’s not bad….I suppose. He is Jack’s rival and a nice ally to have. He’s definitely not as powerful as Samurai Jack, but he gets by pretty well on his own. He has a machine gun and he’s a very physical fighter. His accent makes him easy to identify in a crowd. The Scotsman is very charismatic and it was fun having him in the show. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing more of him.

One factor that does hurt the show quite a bit is the animation. I really don’t care for the style that is used here and it makes the show appear to be decades older than it actually is. You can basically see most of the animation shortcuts that are used without any effort. Considering that this was airing back during the good ole days of Pokemon, we know that the animation could have been significantly better. As it stands, the fight scenes were very good at their height, but we know that they would have been even better with the proper animation techniques behind them. It’s the main reason why this show wasn’t a 7 and who knows, an 8 may not have been out of the question with better animation although it would have been a bit of a stretch.

Due to its episodic nature, the series falls into many holes. Aside from the romance one, we also have the animal violence tropes that we always try to avoid. This happens in quite a few episodes and animals are enslaved in another. It’s the kind of thing that you never want to see in a show, but it typically pops up as a show gets more episodes. Whenever that happened it would be pretty sad and I would just hope that the show would get better next time.

On the bright side, there are many great episodes to counter those. Typically, the duel episodes are the best one. There are probably around 10 or so of those where the fight gets to last for nearly the whole episode. The train duel and the battle against the guardian of the portal come to mind, but there are many others. Even Jack’s battles against Aku and the Cyborgs tend to be pretty long. There are also heist episodes like one where Jack has to stop a James Bond figure from looting a pyramid before him.

Once again, that’s why having every episode be a stand alone with the occasional two parter is super risky. The quality of each episode really varies and ultimately this helps to keep it from the elusive 7. There are enough episodes that simply aren’t very good, which is enough to keep it from that spot. At it’s best, Samurai Jack is 8 star worthy and at its worst it’s probably a 3-4. I certainly would have liked more of an ongoing plot here.

The soundtrack really varies and it’s probably one of the most diverse ones that I’ve ever heard. It definitely gets a 5 star rating there since it’s usually pretty enjoyable. The themes tend to fit the episodes and they also help with the fights. The show is definitely more dramatic than your average cartoon and the fights can get really intense. The musical themes that accompany them help to solidify this image and it really helps the show.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about the show. It’s a good action show and it tries its hand at many different kinds of stories. It tends to feel pretty high quality and that’s always a good thing. It’s too bad that we never got a real ending, but there’s always a chance that we will get something at some point. We just have to keep on waiting and hope that they do come through with a new film or give us the ending via the comics.
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Overall, Samurai Jack is a pretty fun show that really gets hurt by the amount of filler in it. It’s made that way though so you could also just not think of them as filler episodes and just consider the series as a bunch of short stories. There’s not necessarily much of a timeframe to be noted so the stories can take place at any time. It’s a show that feels like it’s not meant to ever end and you just get to see Jack go on all kinds of adventures. Some are good and some are not. If you’re looking for a good action show then I definitely recommend checking this one out. The fight scenes can definitely be really good and it has a good soundtrack. Updating the animation would certainly help its case a lot though. We’ll see if you like Samurai Jack as a character as much as I did.

Overall 6/10

Battles, Naruto Battles, Samurai Jack Battles

Samurai Jack vs Naruto


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Samurai Jack has taken on many machines in the past, but he’s never fought a powerful ninja like Naruto before. Naruto doesn’t need to face Samurai Jack directly, as he can just blow up the country that Samurai Jack is in. Naruto can use his speed to evade Samurai Jack’s attacks and launch his counters with ease. Samurai Jack just won’t be able to stop Naruto. Naruto wins.