It’s about damn time! Adult Swim announced today that Toonami is coming back to their programming block, starting Saturday, May 26th!
For those who are confused by the celebration, Toonami is a block of programming on Cartoon Network that featured primarily anime (it later featured other action cartoons). Initially started in 1997 to host their afternoon shows, it was relaunched in 1999 for the ‘Toonami Midnight Run’, a 5-hour block of some of the most iconic Anime to ever hit the states. Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Voltron, Outlaw Star, Trigun, even friggin Cowboy Bebop. There was even a ‘Miyazaki Month’ where they broadcasted classics like Nausicaa, Spirited Away, and Castle in the Sky. I know many people who were drawn into Anime via Toonami.
The Midnight Run introduced the spaceship Absolution, its computer S.A.R.A., and a new host named T.O.M. (initially voiced by Sonny Strait and later by the iconic Steve Blum).
Toonami kept its viewers involved with original content like the ‘Total Immersion Events’. These events tied in short segments on the broadcast to games and giveaways on the Toonami website. These events actually paved the way for Toonami to partner up with Production I.G. to create ‘Immortal Grand Prix’, a original series about a tournament between teams of gun-wielding mechs.
Aside from anime, Toonami showcased music videos alongside several of Cartoon Network’s other series, such as Samurai Jack, Teen Titans, and Justice League.
Over it’s 11-year run, Toonami went through a few phases (Rising Sun, Giant Robot Week, even a brief stint on the WB) but its fans loved that Toonami always brought something different to the table. On Saturday, Sept. 20th, 2008, Cartoon Network ended Toonami (man, that was a horrible birthday). At the end of its final airing, Toonami’s host, T.O.M., said the following:
“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 who 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.”
And with that, Toonami went dark…
…until April 1st 2012. Just after midnight, Adult Swim began to play ‘The Room’ (a standard for AS’ april fools programming), which suddenly switched to T.O.M. (in his third incarnation) aboard the Absolution, greeting the viewers while commenting that it is April Fools’ Day, before introducing that week’s scheduled episode of Bleach. News spread insanely fast over the net that Toonami was back. As the classics were played back to back, T.O.M. appeared in several clips throughout the night, even hosting a review of Mass Effect 3.
The next day, Adult Swim posted on its Twitter account: ”Want it back? Let us know. #BringBackToonami” For the next month, fans kept re-tweeting this message, demanding their favorite programming block to return. Voice Actor Steve Blum spearheaded the charge, rallying the fans every week during Adult Swim’s time slot.
Today, we finally got the message we’ve been waiting for…