10 best anime that aired on Toonami

One Piece is one of many great TV shows associated with this programming block (Image via Toei Animation)
One Piece is one of many great TV shows associated with this programming block (Image via Toei Animation)

For many Americans, Toonami was the main reason they got into anime. The content Toonami featured wasn't popular on other programming blocks, but Toonami made them accessible. Anime used to be seen as childish back then — at least far more compared to their perception today — yet many of the greatest shows on this programming block were surprisingly mature.

It doesn't matter if one grew up with Toonami in the 90s or recently saw it again in the past few years; there are plenty of legendary shows that became fan favorites worldwide. There is an absurd number of shows that aired on Toonami, so this list will only highlight the best ones.


10 amazing anime that people got to see on Toonami, including My Hero Academia

1) Attack on Titan

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Attack on Titan has seen seven separate runs on Toonami from 2014 all the way to 2022. Considering the series is widely regarded as one of the best anime series of all time, it would be absurd not to include it on this type of list. It's also a prime example of a more mature anime, making it a stark contrast to the cartoons one would see on Cartoon Network several hours before its air time.


2) Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo

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This utterly absurd anime is wild to watch regardless of whether one is a kid or an adult. Still, it's a charming show featuring the lovable Bobobo who fights against people trying to shave others' hair, and his allies are also quite strange. It's not nearly as famous as many other heavy hitters on the block, but it's a fun show to watch nonetheless.


3) JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

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Several different seasons of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure have aired on Toonami before, such as:

  • The original
  • Diamond is Unbreakable
  • Golden Wind
  • Stardust Crusaders

Unfortunately, the block could not air Stone Ocean due to Netflix acquiring that season. Still, that's plenty of great episodes that people were able to see from 2016 to 2020.


4) My Hero Academia

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Although Toonami got My Hero Academia late compared to other networks, the fact of the matter is that this beloved programming block still aired this great show for several years. Anime fans were able to watch several great seasons of yet another huge modern sensation, although it did air quite late compared to what people could see on other streaming services.

Past that, My Hero Academia is undoubtedly one of the best anime out there right now and is something younger fans might have seen on this programming block.


5) Naruto

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Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden are from the same legendary anime series that fans know and love. Boruto is also on Toonami, but it's more divisive by comparison and is arguably much worse to watch. To stay on track, it's worth mentioning that Naruto was first on this programming block in 2005 and still airs episodes into 2022, a feat showing off its amazing longevity.


6) Cowboy Bepop

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Many older anime fans will likely remember watching Cowboy Bepop on Adult Swim back in 2001. It was actually the first anime to be shown on Adult Swim, which makes it very relevant to people who grew up still loving the medium several decades later.

However, it only started to air on Toonami in 2012, and it's had several runs since then. There are only 26 episodes, so it isn't anywhere near as long as something like Naruto, but its legacy has kept it relevant to this day (questionable live-action aside).


7) One Piece

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It's highly unlikely that any half-serious anime fan doesn't know what One Piece is. Like Naruto, it's aired on Toonami since 2005 and still airs episodes into 2022. Considering its enormous popularity, it shouldn't even be surprising that it aired outside of this programming block onto other similar ones like Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.

Many Americans who grew up with it in the 2000s would likely remember the 4Kids version, which is quite infamous for its censorship and localization at times.


8) Sailor Moon

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The third anime to ever air on the block was unquestionably one of the most famous ones. Shōjo shows don't tend to get as much recognition as Shōnen ones, leaving Sailor Moon to be one of the few notable shows that casuals can think of when it comes to the former category.

Having a female lead and a completely different presentation compared to other shows around the same time made it very unique in terms of the audience it attracted. It even had a few movies on Toonami, although its more recent Sailor Moon Crystal did not air on this program.


9) YuYu Hakusho

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Sometimes, the dub is significantly better than the sub. YuYu Hakusho is a perfect example of that, and many Americans got to see Yusuke and the gang have terrific fight scenes back in the early 2000s. It first aired on Adult Swim in 2002 before moving onto Toonami in 2003, where it continued to air episodes up until early 2005.

The creator of this series also went on to create Hunter X Hunter, another popular show that did end up on this programming block too. That show is more recent, so modern anime fans would be more likely to recognize it since YuYu Hakusho hasn't gotten much content in the past decade.


10) Dragon Ball Z

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Dragon Ball Z is quite possibly the most influential anime of all time, especially when it comes to a westerner's perspective of what the medium is all about. Several different seasons ranging from the original Dragon Ball to Dragon Ball Z Kai have aired on Toonami. That's not even mentioning the eleven movies that have also aired here.

Out of all the different variations, Dragon Ball Z is arguably the most recognizable one. It aired on this programming block back on August 31, 1998, and has gone on since then to leave a cultural legacy that no other show could realistically ever reach. It was one of the first animes on Toonami, and it's no surprise that many people grew up loving it.

Seriously, there are many great TV shows that the block had that couldn't end up on this list. Modern hits like Demon Slayer or more niche classics like Tenchi Muyo deserve an honorable mention but placing all of the great shows would make an already long list absurdly longer.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.