Toonami: An Important Part Of My Childhood, Reborn. Plus A History.

For those who are unfamiliar with Toonami (primarily those from overseas), Toonami is a daily*/weekly programming block consisting of action cartoons, primarily consisting of Anime (japanese cartoons). I think I got it down right, anyways let’s begin. It began in 1997,

hosted by Moltar from Space Ghost fame. At first the programming consisted of American action cartoons, shows like Johhny Quest and Thundercats to be specific. The shows were fine and all, I like my dose of Thundercats.

You remember Moltar right? Space Ghost anyone?

But it wasn’t until 1998 that the programming block started to take off with it’s bold approach of including anime in it’s schedule. It was only 2 shows at the time, the girl centric show Sailor Moon.. previously aired via DIC, and (at the time) the recently cancelled Dragon Ball Z. This in turn gave the program lots of viewers, and in turn gave Toonami more money to acquire rights to other shows.Some other notable shows aired such as Transformers Beast wars and Robotech.

What a contrast of styles. I didn’t mind Sailor Moon, but DBZ is so beast that it pales in comparison.

It was then that some people decided to axe Moltar, and gave birth to one of the coolest hosts ever: TOM. Tom 1 (voiced by Sonny Strait (who you will remember as the voice of Krillin from Dragon Ball Z)) is a robot on a ship called ABSOLUTION, totally replacing any remnants of the old Toonami, in other words.. make it more awesome. So now in 1999, this is when Toonami really started to rock the house, before this Toonami was airing re-runs of DBZ when it was on FOX Saturday cartoons (via Saban), but now they decide to air BRAND NEW episodes dubbed by Funimation instead of the Canadian voice dubbing company Ocean Group, and it pulled in a ton of viewers via word of mouth. They also added Gundam,  Batman The Animated Series, a Canadian show called Reboot!, and Tenchi Muyo! Then it even extended itself into 5 hours on Saturday nights via Midnight. Unholy it was. This lasted until March 2000, and then it happened again in 2003.

Then time passes, Tom 2 comes in (now voiced by Steve Blum). From 2000-2001, it aired Batman Beyond,Outlaw Star,Big O, Cardcaptors, and the prequel to DBZ: Dragon Ball, that is one of the best shows ever. It wasn’t until 2002 when they started to take chances with it’s programming (at least in my opinion) with airing shows such as Hamtaro and Transformers: Armada. Hamtaro in particular is a very interesting choice, and from what I understand it is butchered from it’s original cut, but that is besides the point.. you are airing a show with a cute hamster and his crew having misadventures.. could’ve found something better. But it made some good choices too with it’s inclusion of Samurai Jack, a kick ass show about a Samurai on his journeys to fight Haiku and his evil minions. Then Toonami made it’s first failed attempt to branch out it’s popularity by inserting itself in The Kids WB in 2001, it didn’t work out so well.. it aired Pokemon, and Goosebumps. It was bold, but it just didn’t panned out.

One of The best shows to ever grace Toonami.

But in my opinion, the glory age started in 2003 where it had it’s strongest lineup. It had shows like YuYu Hakusho, Rurouni Kenshin, G Gundam, Cyborg 009, .Hack//Sign, and hell even Dragon Ball GT was on there. They also had the micro series Stars Wars: Clone Wars. It also had the oldies such as Dragon Ball Z. It was an epic lineup. This is the period where I remember most of my memories with Toonami. It’s presence shaped the person that I am today. Toonami is my past, present, and future.

Tell me a better lineup than this, I dare you!

Before I continue on, it wasn’t just the programming that made Toonami memorable, it was the in-between bumps before and after the shows. The whole thing is a techno scifi trip, armed with kickass techno songs and equipped with Tom’s epic speeches. I only slightly remember his speeches, but from what I do remember they were cool. At one point he started to review games and stuff.

So, what the hell happened with Toonami? If it was so great and powerful, why did it eventually get cancelled? That question has so many variables it’s not even funny. But here is my theory. One, the shows were getting more and more expensive to keep, so slowly the shows such as DBZ and YUYU Hakusho were disappearing. Another thing, they started expanding their catalog with Canadian shows and old shows. Now this was fine and all in 1999, but most of it’s viewers weren’t there until 2000, so they started to bitch about the programming. Another thing is.. too many reruns. Back then in good ol 2003, nostalgia wasn’t even a word, it was “give me new shit, fuck that old shit. NEW EPISODES AND PROGRAMMING NOW.”. I guess another reason is that diehards who were there from day 1 started to get pissed that their shows such as G Gundam and DBZ were gone because the younger crew wanted new programming. Then here’s the million dollar answer, and it’s two pronged: Naruto and change of ownership in Cartoon Network. When Naruto first aired, everybody was in ecstasy with it.. it was the best thing since sliced bread. But then it hit a dry spell, it wasn’t showing new episodes for a period of time, and when it did came back.. it came back with episodes from the filler era of the first part of the series. Yeah.. that really sucked. In 2007, a change of management came about for some stupid reason I don’t feel like talking about. Let’s just say that it spelled doom for the network. A year later, Toonami was cancelled.

BELIEVE IT! WE CANCELLED YO’ ASSES!

4 years later though, from a stroke of genius Adult Swim decided to prank us with Toonami as their annual April Fools joke. The internet soon exploded with #bringbackToonami, and the kind folks at Adult Swim decided to do that. Brought back Toonami that they did (Kenshin mannerism). Now, here’s the snag with it: it’s lineup is less than impressive. But that can all change with people doing their part by watching it for now, and maybe after 3-4 months it’s schedule will change and improve. It’s not the Toonami I grew up with as of now, and I’m not much of a anime fan now, but I’m glad it’s back and I will be there every step of the way of it’s rebirth.

Welcome Back Tom. Now let’s kick some ass again!
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About beyondthetape

Hi everybody, I am an amateur Artist/moviecritic/writer/entertainer. You don't know me, at least not yet. I also review Video Games. Soon I will post podcasts and Video Reviews.

Posted on May 30, 2012, in adult swim, anime, articles, blogs, blogs to read, cartoon network, cartoons, interests, toonami, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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