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Toonami Co-Creator on Why Anime Programming Schedules Get Delayed

If you're wondering why there are delays to Adult Swim's Toonami programming schedule, co-creator Jason DeMarco offers some great insight.

While there are more than enough things to complain about when it comes to social media, we've been digging this trend lately of important people taking the time to either push back on the trolls or clarify confusion out there before it ends up becoming yet another "Grand Conspiracy Theory." We've seen it from James Gunn, Gail Simone, Neil Gaiman, and many more out on their accounts trying to make the pop culture landscape a wee bit better. And we've had Jason DeMarco, SVP, anime, action series & long-form for Adult Swim and Warner Bros Animation, as well as co-creator of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim late-night anime programming block, Toonami, on that list, too. And on Thursday, we got another reminder as DeMarco took anime fans behind the scenes of the reality of putting together an anime line-up.

Image: Adult Swim Screencap

In response to an individual on Twitter who was questioning why it took so long for Toonami to announce a confirmed new programming schedule, DeMarco broke down the long process involved with having the rights holders needing to approve every programming move before a schedule can be announced. It's definitely worth a read, and more than explains why some schedules may not be able to go live until close to their debut dates:

Here's what's unique about our block: all the anime. All licensed anime releases have to be approved by the rights holders in Japan. So when we want to announce a new season of, say, My Hero… the licensor has to GET PERMISSION from the rights holder in Japan.

So sometimes we have to wait. And wait. And wait. For someone in Japan at whatever company owns the rights to the show (frequently a giant manga publisher) to grant us permission. This is not a thing in any other sector of media. But it IS a big thing in Japanese business.

Announcing w/o permission could get our licensors in trouble with their rights holders. They can't afford that and neither can we. A function of the archaic way some elements of Japanese business culture work.
That's about 85% of most of our schedule delays.

The rest are internal network/company things that are a fact of the way giant megacorps run. And this actually does happen to other networks, it's just that Toonami is lucky enough to have a passionate fan base who CARES about schedule changes. Most other networks don't!

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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