Hey Otakus, I thought I’d Break away from video games and talk about something even better, Anime. I’ m gonna talk about the one thing that truly enlightened everyone in America to Japanese Cartoons.
In 1997, Cartoon Network replaced it’s old 2 hour block of shows with a new one entitled Toonami. It was hosted by the cartoon character Moltar, of Space Ghost fame. When It began, there was little Anime, but that would soon change. In 1998 was when actual Anime like Robotech and Sailor Moon started airing. The next year, Toonami would get a new look and host. This is the Toonami everyone remembers. The Host’s name was Tom, and everything takes place on a giant ship called the Absolution. Toonami would have Tom introducing the next show in the Absolution, and then you get your Anime action. Tom was a small robot who was tasked with transmitting Toonami to kids all over America. Toonami had many little specials like the Toonami Midnight Run, which would show unedited Anime at, of course, Midnight. Toonami’s golden age was great.
For a minute, I want to talk about the evolution of Tom.
As I said before, he began as a small blue and white robot aboard the Absolution. In 2000, Tom became a star in miniseries’ you could watch on tv, or on the internet. They were called Total Immersion Events. The first event, called The Intruder, featured two important storyline additions to Toonami as a whole. One, it introduced SARA, the AI matrix in charge of the Absolution, and two, TOM DIES! Kind of. The titular Intruder, a big red blob, destroys the original Tom unit, so SARA transfers Tom’s data to a new and improved Tom 2.0, a sleeker, darker looking model. A few years later Tom got another upgrade, an even more mature, tall and dark suit. Sadly, the more mature Toonami and Tom didn’t last long. Cartoon Network was worried that “mature” Anime was on at a time younger kids could watch them, so Toonami was pushed until later at night, and the 4 hour time slot of Toonami was replaced with Miguzi, which was really, really bad. As for Toonami,they replaced the good shows with younger aimed shows for “kids my age”, but I’m sure everyone liked the older aimed version better. I mean what kid my age wants to watch Bo-Bo-Bo-BoBoBo, Zatch Bell,Prince of Tennis, Blue Dragon, Noir, and the 4kids dub of One Piece that I despise with a passion! Oh 4kids, I’LL GET TO YOU LATER!! So anyway, Tom was turned into a mix of Thomas the Train and a Gundam with a dopey expression on his face. After the change in Toonami, all the good Anime was moved to Adult Swim… Anime being shown on Adult Swim usually was and still is rated TVPG!
Toonami didn’t just have Total Immersion Events,or TIEs, and The Midnight Run. They had crazy sneak peeks into upcoming shows, music videos, and Anime montages. The narrator for some montages was even Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime (No I don’t mean from the horrible movie)! They later even did Game Reviews! Some you can tell are totally biased though (Super Mario Sunshine 10 out of 10). Toonami was great! Why am I speaking about it in past tense now you ask? Well…
The truth is, licensing Anime can be expensive, and if ratings aren’t high enough, networks will stop showing them. Adult Swim stopped airing Family Guy on Saturdays and just aired Anime all night. Ratings TANKED! That was the point where Cartoon Network held back on it’s Anime. They just didn’t see the profit in it. Still trying the waters, Cartoon Network did something truly genius on Toonami in March 2006. Month of Miazaki. Toonami aired an entire month of films by the acclaimed Anime director, Hayao Miyazaki, the master of Anime movies. This really helped establish Toonami as the go-to place for Anime. Toonami Jetstream also started that year, giving you Anime online, but sadly, it seemed to be too little, too late. Slowly but surely, Toonami began to strip away. Going from a 4 hour block at 2pm to a 2 hour block at 9pm. On Saturday September 20, 2008, Cartoon Network canceled Toonami and replaced it with CN Real (LAME!!!!!). Toonami Jetstream lasted until January 2009. At the end of Toonami’s final airing, Tom left the Absolution with one final monologue. “Well, this is the end beautiful friends. After more than eleven 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 who’ve made this journey with us. 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.”
I’ll miss you Tom.
Hey, I think I’m Forgetting something. Let me think… Oh! I think it has something to do with this.