On October 5, 2005, Toonami aired its first, and so far only, original anime series. It was a mech racing series called IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix. The series ran for two seasons and was shown in both the United States and Japan.
On the September 19 episode of Toonami Pre-Flight, producers Maki Terashima-Furuta and Jason DeMarco talked about the collaboration process between Toonami and Production I.G. and why they felt the show wasn't as successful as it could have been.
IGPX had a lot of promise. It had a sports-like feel to it with a premise where teams of three raced mechs, and the visuals were rather impressive for the time. This isn't too big of a surprise given that this was a collaboration with Production I.G., a studio with prior works that include the likes of FLCL and Ghost in the Shell. The CGI work is a bit dated, but as a whole, the animation still holds up relatively well and it stood out at the time of its premiere.
Another thing that the show had going for it was its start-studded English voice cast. The three main characters that formed Team Satomi, Takeshi, Liz and Amy, were voiced by Haley Joel Osment, Michelle Rodriguez and Hynden Walch, respectively. The show also featured many veteran voice actors such as Steve Blum, Peter Cullen, Mark Hamill and Tom Kenny, among others. All of these voice actors did an exceptional job with the English dub of the series. Given that a lot of money, work and talent went into this series, it seemed unlikely that it would fail. But it did.
IGPX aired for two seasons over the course over almost one year, but it didn't re-air on Toonami until eight years after its initial run. Unfortunately, it wasn't all that popular in either the United States or Japan. According to DeMarco and Terashima-Furuta, the reason is that they tried too hard to appeal to both the American and Japanese markets and the show didn't end up fully clicking with either. The mech genre, while not unpopular in America, really thrives in Japan. However, this show was more Americanized in its delivery and turned the mechs into racing machines, which seemed like a promising idea, but it underwhelmed both sides of the globe.
Even though IGPX wasn't a commercial success, both DeMarco and Terashima-Furuta looked back fondly on the series. They said it was a lot of fun to create and to this day, there are still fans of the show. While it may have flopped while it was on the air, there is still an appreciation for the work that went into the series. Unfortunately, Toonami has not been able to venture into making another series and the commercial failure of IGPX didn't help with that. However, stranger things have happened. If there is another Toonami original in the future, here's hoping it'll have more success.