When I was a kid, all the major networks used to show cartoons Saturday morning. Actually, there used to be cartoons in the afternoon after school all the way until about 5 PM. Then it would switch over to shows for adults, or the news. Saturday mornings were all about cartoons as well. Nowadays things have changed, and finding cartoon content on major networks is pretty tough.
The last big block of Saturday morning animation was on Kids WB, which is now the CW. Again, when I was younger, this was the place to see Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Freakazoid and others. Eventually this petered out, as one man in charge at WB didn't like the kids lineup, so he had almost all the cartoons cancelled. It was that move that kind of stomped out Saturday morning cartoons as we know them.
Thankfully, the CW is hanging in there. They're trying to revive the Saturday morning cartoon approach. Most major networks today show a few educational shows very early on Saturday, and then it switches over to fluff news programs. CW has decided to move away from that and take on kids programming again, this time through a partnership with 4Kids entertainment. What we get is a block of programming that is completely anime focused.
This new block of kids shows is called 'Toonzai', which immediately brings back memories of Toonami. Of course, there's no chance in hell that Toonzai is going to measure up to what Cartoon Network did with Toonami, but that's besides the point. Toonzai is an anime-focused lineup with some new shows, but anchored by some anime staples. You can see the Saturday morning lineup via the image above.
This is a pretty big deal for anime, if you ask me. This is a major TV network dedicating their whole morning to anime content. It may not be the best anime content you can find, but certainly there are some fun and engaging shows. I really think a move like this is important for making headway with anime. While this is just a kids' morning programming block, I really hope that one network is brave enough to someday try anime in primetime.
Have you guys and gals checked out anything in the Toonzai block? What do you think of the lineup? Is this collecton of shows going to find an audience, or is the content just not that engaging enough?