A Look Back at Toonami.
April 18, 2012 2 Comments
Remember back in the day before Youtube, streaming and filesharing were the main thing? All you had was to view your TV guide and wait patiently for your favorite shows to air. Think back about a dozen years before you had your high tech; computers, media players and smart phones, How would you find the shows you wanted to watch for your pleasurable viewing? Especially Anime shows when fansubbers were very underground during the 1990’s and early 2000’s and buying anime in stores were a bit more pricey. Well back in the day, you had something called Toonami. What is Toonami for those who don’t know, Toonami is an airblock on the Cartoon Network Channel that aired some of the greatest action cartoons and anime.
You probably wonder why it is highly praised and remarkable by a large crowd? Why the 90’s generation praise it as a great past time? Toonami brought more variety to the Cartoon Network time frame, Shows with more concepts, action and was meant to be CN’s primary action block. Toonami’s motto was always “Building you a better Cartoon show” and pleasing it’s audience. When they first started in 1997 with, Thundercats, Voltron, and Real Adventures of Johnny Quest. These cartoons had new appeal and style, and people loved it. The demand for new exotic shows increased the year after. Toonami aired Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and Robotech in its cast. It was probably considered one of the best Animes and starting points for people growing up during that time. One of Toonami’s big successes was airing imported dubbed shows to foreign audience and exploiting them to anime. Without the influence of Anime, why would I be typing this article besides nostalgia? Ever since the late 90’s Toonami have broadcasted mostly Anime on their airblock and viewers always referred to it as it’s one stop Anime.
Kids growing up with cable back in the days probably remembered coming home, tuning on CN and seeing their favorite host Tom. Who was Tom, you say? The one and only show’s personality host, that lovable little robot with a bad ass voice by the famous well known Steven Blum. An airblock wouldn’t be anything without personality, attitude and a host! T.O.M (Toonami Operations Module) took over Toonami from Moltar the previous host of Toonami in June 10, 1999. His mission was to venture into the future, bringing your entertainment and Toonami to be on top. Aboard his Intergalactic broadcast ship, the Absolution, alongside with Tom, was his sidekick A.I., Sara. Tom’s first voice and message and introduction on his appearance:
“So it’s a brand new Toonami but the mission objectives remains the same. My name is TOM. I’m the new Moltar. Welcome aboard the Ghost Planet spaceship Absolution, Cartoon Network’s first and only broadcast & exploration vehicle but I’ll give you the tour later. From this day forward, she’s responsible for all Toonami transmissions. I’m taking you guys into the new millennium. No big changes now, same show, same attitude, new place to do it , new guy to do it with. I’m not going to waste anymore time, let’s get back into it. Later.”‘
Tom was the iconic figure of Toonami and the voice to the whole world for all his viewers. He had the longest host run for 10 years and his legacy was remembered by many. Waiting for your shows was never so boring and always worth waiting just to see Tom. As viewers grew up, Toonami grew up alongside their viewers in Total immersion events of Tom and Sara adventures as a mini series. If you were a veteran of watching Toonami, you might have remembered watching the Intruder and Lockdown as part of Toonami’s immersion events.
For the past 10 years of the Absolution Crew, Toonami faithfully interacted with their viewers with music. The sexy ambient hip-hop tune in the background from Deep Space Bass. A series of artists were featured on Toonami like Gorrilaz, Daft Punk, Linkin Park, The White Stripes and Beck. They had chance of showing your submitted fan art of your favorite Toonami shows on live broadcast. Tom always did a series of video game reviews in between shows of games such as .Hack, Final Fantasy X, Morrowind, Starcraft, and much more. It was more than just an airblock, It was also providing present day Youth’s Culture.
On September 20th, 2008; Cartoon Network announces an end too Toonami and fans around the world were left in tears. This was the last message left from Tom.
“Well, this is the end, beautiful friends. After more than 11 years, this is Toonami’s final broadcast. It’s been a lot of fun, and we’d like to thank each and every one of you. Toonami wouldn’t have been anything without you. Hopefully we’ve left you with some good memories. So, until we meet again, stay gold, Bang.”
About 4 years later, on April 1st, 2012 Cartoon Network and Adult Swim decided to play a tempted joke of recasting Toonami for an all nighter. With all your favorite Anime.
When the whole world witnessed this, it had gone viral. Many people asked if this was a cruel joke or were they intentionally trying to promote something? A small hint message from Adult Swim’s Twitter teasing the fans, “How badly do you wanted it?” This Global campaign sparked many social networks the message and brought an outrage. Many fans sent messages to Adult Swim with a hashtag #BringBackToonami, in hopes of their voices being heard. This also got the attentions of Steve Blum the voice of Tom to join in the cause and other famous voice actors in the industry like Yuri Lowenthal to participate too.
This campaign has been going on ever since the April fool’s cast. Can Toonami be really brought back? If it were to be brought back will it help the Anime Industry or not? Can we succeed to put Toonami back on the air? It may be possible. I believe in it and hope for the return of Toonami. Stay tuned on our site for another part to my “A Look Back at Toonami” articles! Leave a message below about your memories of Toonami for discussion!