Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


From March 17, 1997, until September 20, 2008, Cartoon Network had a program called Toonami. Any kid in America worth his salt watched Toonami. We all remember where we were and how old we were when we first watched it. We also remember the first show that left us hooked. Mine was Dragonball Z. Now Toonami went through many incarnations, but it was at its best from '99 until probably about '04. Although a lot of people will say the golden years ended in '01. 

From left to right: T.O.M. 1.0, T.O.M. 2.0, T.O.M 3.0, & T.O.M. 4.0
Toonami was hosted by two characters. The first was Moltar, a former Space Ghost character, and he served during the first two years of the show. When Moltar retired Toonami was given a new look and a new host. On July 10, 1999, the program re-launched with the Ghost Planet spaceship Absolution and the pilot of the ship, T.O.M. 

T.O.M. was originally voiced by Sonny Strait and he used to look very short and fat. It wasn't until T.O.M. got a makeover and a new voice did he really come to be born in the hearts of many kids. We call the new T.O.M. by the moniker of T.O.M. 2.0. 

The new voice actor was Steve Blum, known for being the voice Spike Spiegel on the American dub of Cowboy Bebop and Roger Smith on the American dub on Big O. And, until the end of Toonami and the ultimate humiliation of the T.O.M. 4.0 form courtesy of Cartoon Network, Steve Blum was the voice of T.O.M. 

Throughout his various forms, T.O.M. had three goals: to entertain kids and introduce them to new animated shows, to help them learn something more about life, and to keep them off the streets. T.O.M. succeeded at all of these things. The video below is a good example of what I'm talking about. It's more than just entertainment. It's the message. 

The cartoon shows on today do not teach kids anything. I know because I watch them every now and then. Cartoon Network has become a joke and shell of its former self. They play crummy live-action shows, crummy Cartoon Network originals, and terrible movies like Son of the Mask (a week after the cancellation of Toonami Cartoon Network really played this piece of shit movie. The punchline is that Cartoon Network said they cancelled Toonami because of low ratings. What a load of pure bullshit and a piss in the face of the Toonami faithful! Son of the Mask was a box office dud! They'll play that, but not Toonami?!). There's no heart in Cartoon Network anymore. Not since, in true wolf in sheep's clothing style, Cartoon Network belittled Toonami in the last few years by creating T.O.M. 4.0 and cutting the program block until it was just two hours on a Saturday instead of a six day a week block like it used to be. And I think there might have been only one anime show on when it was cancelled. 

But T.O.M. was a hero to many of us. He brought the population of American kids anime. He introduced us to a new culture. He expanded our minds. What did he get in return? An ax in the back.

Recently, Adult Swim (the late night programming on Cartoon Network that took the place of Toonami Midnight Run) played Toonami late Saturday night as an April Fool's Joke. Only one show from the current Saturday night line-up of Adult Swim made it into the Toonami revival but pretty much all of the rest were Toonami shows back when it was the classic Toonami. T.O.M. was back in T.O.M. 3.0 form and he was once again voiced by Steve Blum. This joke, while so cruel after many years of crying for Toonami to be back on, was also a welcome sight. For just a short time, Toonami was back.

Since then a movement has started on the internet to revive Toonami and breathe new life into T.O.M. Steve Blum is behind it all the way and I've done everything I possibly could to make my voice heard. Adult Swim, to their credit, told everyone to tweet #BringBackToonami. Petitions and Facebook pages have been made. They were around before, but this brief revival has brought new hope and new blood to the movement. Adult Swim recently responded in cryptic fashion "#BringBackToonami We've heard you. Thank you for your passion and interest - stay tuned." I don't know if that means they will bring it back or not. Or in what fashion they'll bring it back. If it's just a Saturday thing from now on then I can live with it. I'll stay up to four in the morning on Saturday like I used to when the good shows were still on. We anime fans are tough. We have to be. The lengths we have to go to to get some damn entertainment is ridiculous.

I think the best way to do it would be the way they used to. Have a segment with edited shows come on during the weekdays just after school for the younger people and then have the uncut shows on at night. And they've got to have some premieres, too. Shows they haven't played before like School Days shows that are still going on Adult Swim like Bleach. And if they could play a few American shows like Duckman or The Tick. But the bulk of the programming should be anime. If Nickelodeon could bring back their 90's shows (late at night on TeenNick, of course) then can't Cartoon Network bring Toonami come back?

This was T.O.M.'s last broadcast before the show was cancelled: "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."

T.O.M. was indeed a superhero to so many people because he symbolizes the best memories and intentions of childhood. He's the voice of the few who are tired of being pushed around and left in the dark. He had no super powers. He was just an ordinary pilot who wanted some kids to learn something while they were entertained by quality entertainment! I hope Cartoon Network remembers that and stops playing bullshit shows like Level Up. Let's bring Toonami back and show these new kids who don't know anything about quality how to do it right. I don't care if I go red-eyed from lack of sleep for the rest of my life. I just want my anime. 

Edited to add - Okay, this is the current Saturday night Adult Swim anime line-up (all times are Central):
Bleach 11:00
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood 11:30
Durarara 12:00
Kekkaishi 12:30
Fooly Cooly 1:00
Cowboy Bebop 1:30
Big O 2:00
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig 2:30
Bleach (repeat of earlier showing) 3:00
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood (repeat of earlier showing) 3:30
Durarara (repeat of earlier showing) 4:00
Inuyasha 4:30

Okay, I must ask just what kind of nutjob thought of this schedule. I love Fooly Cooly, Cowboy Bebop, and Big O (consequently all the shows I just listed had Steve Blum in it, may he forgive me) as much as the next guy but I've seen all the episodes a lot of times and there aren't that many episodes of each show. And what's with the repeated viewings? Anyone who wants to watch Inuyasha is fucked. And never mind the fact that Adult Swim plays anywhere between one to three episodes of Family Guy, American Dad, and King of the Hill every single night. I love Family Guy but it is on pretty much all the time. Look up the show on your guide and tell me I'm wrong. And this is the only time anime is on TV at all unless you count Pokemon, Dragonball GT, Dragonball Z Kai, or Yu-Gi-Oh! But those shows aren't exactly classics. Again, I don't mind being red-eyed, but I expect some seriously damn good anime for my trouble and no repeat crap. 

Anyway, there you have it. I'm done ranting.

Stay Gold.

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