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Adult Swim Just Went On An Anime Killing Spree

Cartoon Network's late night Adult Swim block is predominately divided between two genres: bizarro comedy and anime. In the programming block's history, the former category has included mainstream hits like "Rick and Morty" and "Family Guy," in addition to near-dadaist original series like "12 oz. Mouse" and PFFR's "Xavier: Renegade Angel." Anime, meanwhile, is largely relegated to Saturday nights, which nowadays is branded as Toonami, in a throwback to Cartoon Network's anime-oriented programming from decades past. Some landmark anime series broadcast on Adult Swim over the years include "Cowboy Bebop," "Neon Genesis Evangelion," and "Fullmetal Alchemist," among others.

Adult Swim has even begun producing original anime series with increasing frequency. For example, "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" aired on Adult Swim and Crunchyroll simultaneously as new episodes premiered in 2021. The upcoming "Housing Complex C" will likewise air on Adult Swim as a network original in October of 2022 (via Crunchyroll).

That said, Adult Swim's parent company Warner Bros. Discovery notoriously began cutting and restructuring many of its brands in the immediate aftermath of the corporate merger between the two companies that make up its name. As it turns out, Adult Swim's anime catalog is likewise taking a hit amidst this ongoing Warner Bros. Discovery nightmare of sorts.

A few original Adult Swim anime series are leaving the network

On September 27, 2022, Adult Swim Senior Vice President Jason DeMarco retweeted an account with the display name CN News/Schedules that tracks notable changes to Cartoon Network's broadcast schedule. This account noted that five original Adult Swim series were removed from the brand's official website, including the anime "Blade Runner: Black Lotus," "Fena: Pirate Princess," and "Shenmue: The Animation." The other two affected shows are "Lazor Wulf" and "Tigtone."

DeMarco's retweet reads, "Sorry guys. This happened. You can still watch all of the anime on Crunchyroll and it will still be available as digital downloads. And yes, it's looking like no S2 of Shenmue, even though sadly- it did well enough that we were gearing up for S2. Maybe one day..."

In a reply to a question he received in response to this news, DeMarco specified that the scrubbing of these shows shouldn't affect the production of upcoming anime. He also mentioned that, in their current state, these shows can only be released by Adult Swim on home video moving forward.

While fans of the impacted series can still watch them on digital platforms, this move nevertheless seems like a blow to Adult Swim's growing involvement in the production of new, original anime.