Toonami Asia signs off at the end of the month
Turner Asia Pacific has announced that their Toonami Asia television channel will shut down at the end of March:
NOTICE: Please be advised that the Toonami channel in Southeast Asia will cease transmission at the end of March 2018. Thank you to all our fans for watching and all of your amazing support. For more great kids entertainment, check out Cartoon Network APAC and Boomerang
A spinoff of the iconic U.S. Cartoon Network block of the same name, the Asian channel originally launched in 2012. Drawing inspiration from the original child-oriented version of Toonami, the SEA channel aired various DC Comics animated shows, as well as anime series like Gaist Crusher, Beast Saga, BeyWarriors Cyborg and its own specific English versions of Dragon Ball Super and Yo-Kai Watch.
The brand was previously used as a block on the Phillipino versions of Cartoon Network. For the 24/7 version, the crew at Turner Asia designed their own counterpart to animated host TOM. NAMI received her own series of shorts explaining her backstory:
Unfortunately, the channel’s demise isn’t a surprise. The current landscape for children’s television isn’t hot on serialized action-heavy content. There is just a single DC Comics cartoon TV series currently in production and it’s the comedy Teen Titans Go. A channel really can’t get away with airing reruns of Justice League Unlimited forever. Not having a constantly refreshed well of new shows to pull from required them to look elsewhere – which, to their credit, Turner Asia attempted. The channel shifted focus to more anime, but the same thing keeping new serialized action cartoons from getting made kept a lot of those anime series from getting English dubs. That meant the channel had to pay for dubs themselves, which can be a costly proposition if you’re a niche channel.
The signs of a shutdown were there. The official website and Toonami Asia social media feeds went dormant for long periods of time. While they made a big splash becoming the first English language licensee of Dragon Ball Super, that was their last new program addition. That was announced in 2015 and began airing in 2016. Even more concerning was word that production on the channel’s dub (handled by Bang Zoom Entertainment in Los Angeles) of the show had ceased after 26 episodes when Toonami Asia had ordered 52 episodes from Toei.
While the sun is setting on Toonami in South East Asia, the [adult swim] block remains strong in the United States. Channels in France and South Africa also appear to show no signs of shutting down.