The Big Picture

  • Cartoon Network is launching Toonami Rewind to showcase classic anime like
    Sailor Moon
    Dragon Ball Z Kai
    , and
    at an earlier time.
  • Toonami introduced Western viewers to anime classics and has continued to air newer series like
    My Hero Academia
    Attack on Titan
    and acclaimed originals.
  • The future of Toonami looks promising with anticipated projects like the adaptation of Junji Ito’s
    and Shinichirō Watanabe’s new anime

Toonami is bringing back several of the anime classics that helped its rise to prominence. Cartoon Network announced that, beginning on May 31, it will start airing a new programming block called Toonami Rewind dedicated to showcasing two hours of throwback anime at an earlier time than the standard Adult Swim schedule. Its first batch of shows will include the original Sailor Moon airing at 5 p.m. ET, followed by two episodes of Dragon Ball Z Kai starting at 5:30 p.m. ET and finally Naruto at 6:30 p.m. ET. It’s unclear what if any other classic anime will be featured in the future.

Beginning in 1997, Toonami is largely responsible for introducing an entire generation of Western viewers to the medium of anime by sharing the biggest shows to cross over from Japan. Although the animation block featured more than just anime, with ThunderCats and Samurai Jack among the other programs to air, it is most remembered for the action-oriented Japanese favorites it introduced, from Sailor Moon and the original Dragon Ball Z to other stone-cold classics like Yu Yu Hakusho, Inuyasha, and One Piece. This new block looks to celebrate the history of the storied anime broadcast and give it a more regular presence ahead of Adult Swim.

Adult Swim has since kept Toonami going strong as its late Saturday night home for anime. Although it was briefly taken off the air from 2008 through 2012, it currently runs from 12:00 a.m to 3:30 a.m. with episodes of newer anime like My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan as well as original series like FLCL: Shoegaze and Blade Runner: Black Lotus. Its most recent success was its action series Ninja Kamuy, which debuted to solid reviews earlier this year on February 10.

What Does the Future Hold for Toonami?

While the Toonami Rewind slate will showcase the sparkling past of the pivotal anime block, the future looks bright as well. One of the most anticipated Adult Swim-produced projects coming to Toonami is an adaptation of Japanese horror master Junji Ito‘s magnum opus, Uzumaki. Originally announced back in 2019, the series was delayed indefinitely back in 2022, with Adult Swim’s Jason DeMarco commenting that the anime will be released when it’s ready.

Early clips and images have been extremely promising, however, creating high expectations for the project after the underwhelming releases of Junji Ito Collection and Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre. Also on the docket is Lazarus, the upcoming new anime project of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo director Shinichirō Watanabe with John Wick‘s Chad Stahelski attached to plot out its action sequences.

Toonami Rewind begins airing on Cartoon Network starting at 5 p.m. on May 31. To get ready for the trio of classic anime series, check out the trailer for Sailor Moon Season 1 below.


Sailor Moon (1992)

A group of schoolgirls discover they are incarnations of super-powered alien princesses, and use their abilities to defend the earth.

Release Date
September 11, 1995

Kotono Mitsuishi , Aya Hisakawa , Michie Tomizawa , Emi Shinohara , Rica Fukami , Tôru Furuya , Keiko Han , Johnny Yong Bosch


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