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The Toonami brand name was subsequently used in the United Kingdom as the name of an action-oriented animation channel replacing a former Cartoon Network owned channel CNX, which had been a Toonami/live-action hybrid network. It has been hosted by two CGI hosts.
HistoryEditToonami was Cartoon Network's primary action-animation block. The block, which made its world premiere on Monday, March 17, 1997, initially replaced Power Zone, Cartoon Network's most recent incarnation of the Super Adventures block which had been a staple on the network since October 1, 1992. Toonami was originally a weekday afternoon cartoon and anime block hosted by Space Ghost villain-turned-producer Moltar at the Ghost Planet Industries building from 1997 to July 9, 1999.
On Saturday, July 10, 1999, Cartoon Network relaunched Toonami with a new environment, the Ghost Planet Spaceship Absolution, and a new host named TOM. The night also introduced the Toonami Midnight Run late night block which was originally a five-hour Saturday night block (technically Sunday) at midnight EST until March 2000, when it moved to weeknights in an hour-long format until January 2003.
On Saturday, January 10, 2004, Toonami has aired for six hours at 6 PM EST/PST to 11 PM EST/PST. Beginning April 17, 2004, it now aired for four hours at 7 PM EST/PST. On April 19, 2004, Toonami's weekday afternoon lineup is now taken up by Miguzi.
On Saturday, April 17, 2004, Toonami was moved from weekday afternoons to a Saturday evening slot, where it aired for four hours starting at 7 PM EST/PST. Beginning October 27, 2007, it aired for 2 Hours starting at 9 PM EST/PST. On September 20, 2008 Toonami ended, with its final broadcast that same day.
Originally, Moltar, of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, was the host of Toonami. Eventually, TOM took over. It was during this run that we were introduced to the computer of the ship through several online games that tied into an ongoing storyline aboard the ship. The mention of the ship is only because the death of the original TOM in one of these story lines, and the arrival of TOM 2, a dark and sleeker model of the host. When Toonami finally landed in the late night spot on Saturdays, the ship was eventually replaced with a number of exploring robots and their counterparts.
Starting in September 2000, Toonami presented special interactive events known Total Immersion Events or TIEs. These TIEs took place both on-air during Toonami and online at the official site, Toonami.com, and always occured the week that the block's most popular series, Dragon Ball Z, returned for a new season. The very first TIE was The Intruder, which introduced TOM's companion, an AI matrix known as SARA, who played an integral part in the rebirth of TOM, upgraded from a short Bomberman-esque character (voiced by Sonny Strait) to a taller, stronger, darker, deeper-voiced incarnation temporarily dubbed as TOM 2.0 (voiced by Steven Blum), though it was the same TOM who still hosted the block.
The TIE in September 2003 was a diversion from the TOM and SARA adventures and introduced a new, 2D universe, Immortal Grand Prix (IGPX), created by Toonami producers Sean Akins and Jason DeMarco and produced by anime studio Production I.G, aired in five short installments and served as a pilot for the second Toonami original series, which premiered in November 2005 (a brief note: although Megas XLR was the first original American-made franchise to actually debut on the block, it was initially a Cartoon Network original that was planned to air on Friday nights; other Cartoon Network action properties, namely Samurai Jack, Teen Titans, and Justice League, aired on Toonami but weren't exclusive to the block until their final seasons).
The Intruder and Lockdown aired in the UK, but didn't achieve the same amount of success as their American airings.
The Midnight Run was once a Toonami block that ran from 1999-2003. It ran daily at 12 AM ET/PT. It consisted of anime such as Sailor Moon, Voltron, Robotech, Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, G Gundam, Gundam 08th MS Team, and Outlaw Star. Midnight Run tended to have slightly more blood and violence than its day-time counterpart. It at one point ran an uncut version of Gundam Wing. It sometimes had a special edition. They had one special edition on Friday, August 31, 2001 at midnight, which aired music videos from Gorillaz, including "Clint Eastwood", Kenna's "Hellbent", and from Daft Punk's Interstella 5555. Another event was Dragon Ball Z taking over the Midnight Run for a week starting on March 26, 2001 to March 30, 2001; the time was 12-1 AM for 5 days.
A Saturday morning incarnation, Toonami Rising Sun typically ran from 9:00 A.M. to noon. This block was somewhat hamstrung to avoid competing with sister network Kids' WB. However, the Garlic Junior Saga of Dragon Ball Z fame did premiere in this block. This block lasted between 2000-2001.
Kids' WB's ToonamiEdit
From July 30, 2001 until June 30, 2002, Kids' WB aired a Toonami block that was, more or less, the Kids' WB lineup with the Toonami name. It was critically panned by industry observers who noticed the action branding of the block didn't translate content wise, which had added shows like Scooby-Doo and a live-action series created by Goosebumps author R.L. Stine, The Nightmare Room. In spring 2002, Kids' WB announced that they would drop the Toonami name from their weekday lineup, once again making the Toonami brand exclusive to Cartoon Network.
Giant Robot WeekEdit
In the last week of February 2003, Cartoon Network aired on Toonami Giant Robot Week, a five-day special based on mecha series, which were licensed by A.D. Vision. The series shown were Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gigantor, Robotech, Martian Successor Nadesico and Dai-Guard. In the evening of the final day, the channel aired The Iron Giant.
Toonami Rules Saturday NightsEdit
On April 17, 2004, Cartoon Network moved Toonami from weekday afternoons to Saturday evenings with a new demographic of preteen and teen audiences while adding a new lighter-toned action franchise, Miguzi, to weekdays in its place.
Toonami also replaced the block known as Saturday Video Entertainment System or SVES. One big reason for the move from weekdays to Saturday nights was because some of the shows on the weekday lineup (such as YuYu Hakusho, Cyborg 009, and Rurouni Kenshin) became too violent for a weekday broadcast on the network (although reruns of the TV-PG-rated Naruto aired throughout early 2007 on weekday afternoons at 5:30 PM E/P, though CN stopped all Miguzi promos before the show started). The new Toonami line-up showcased anime like Naruto, Rave Master, Duel Masters, Gundam SEED, One Piece, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Zatch Bell, and Pokémon Chronicles, as well as premiered North American productions like Teen Titans, Megas XLR, Justice League Unlimited, and IGPX, Toonami's first and only original production co-produced by Production I.G. and Bandai Entertainment.
Beginning in late October 2007, Toonami was cut from a four hour block to a two hour block on Saturday nights. Instead of action shows or some anime, many CN comedy cartoons air from 7PM to 9PM. At the time of its cancellation on September 2008, the Saturday lineup consisted of Naruto at 9PM and 9:30PM, Dragon Ball Z at 10PM, and Samurai Jack at 10:30PM. But on September 20, 2008 at 11:00PM, Toonami shut down for good, ending it. Some speculate that the reason for the 2 hour block instead of the previous 4 hour block was Cartoon Network preparing to close down Toonami.
A Month of MiyazakiEdit
On Saturday, March 18, 2006, in honor of the block's ninth anniversary, Toonami began airing A Month of Miyazaki, a four-week celebration of the works of acclaimed anime director Hayao Miyazaki. Like sibling station TMC's similiar marathon in January 2006, Toonami aired a different movie every week between Toonami anniversaries (the marathon began on the weekend of the ninth anniversary of the block and ended the week before the second anniversary of the block's move to Saturday nights). The films scheduled for A Month of Miyazaki (which all aired uncut and unedited as per Miyazaki's policy not to have his films altered). However, there were many complaints due to the large number of commercial interruptions during the films, with commercial breaks cutting in about every 20 minutes. The movies were as follows:
- Spirited Away
- Princess Mononoke
- Castle in the Sky
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
3.17.07 (Toonami's 10th Anniversary)Edit
On January 27, 2007, a teaser commercial aired during the Xiaolin Showdown marathon on Cartoon Network featuring close up shots of larger Clydes (the remote robot explorers that have been a fixture of Toonami since the beginning) along with the date 3/17/07 and TOM's chest emblem glowing blue.
On March 17, 2007, Toonami celebrated its tenth anniversary with a new packaging and numerous montages celebrating the block. TOM was revamped into a shorter robot who was a commander of a jungle control room with a trio of new robots.
The montages included a look at past hosts, former logos, and a decade's worth of clips and voiceovers from shows that aired on Toonami. There were a total of 4 montages, all of them having different clips. Three of them were one minute long.
As part of the anniversary (and to coincide with Cartoon Network's March Movie Madness event), Toonami planned another month of movies:
March 3 - The Invincible Iron Man
March 10 - Mosaic
March 17 - Hellboy: Blood and Iron
March 24 - Stan Lee Presents: The Condor
March 31 - Spirited Away and Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo
On Saturday, September 20, 2008, Cartoon Network ended Toonami. Employees who worked on the block moved to other parts of the channel. Anime was mostly handled by Adult Swim, and a new block "CN Real" replaced Toonami on Saturday nights afterwards. Toonami Jetstream remained with the Toonami name until January 30, 2009. At the end of Toonami's final airing, the host, voiced by Steven Blum, ended the block with a brief, final monologue:
"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."
April Fools 2012Edit
On April 1, 2012, as an April Fools prank, Adult Swim replaced its midnight lineup with an airing of Toonami, starting with the opening scene of the 2003 film The Room. Suddenly, the scene changed to TOM 3 in the Absolution and TOM 3 greeted viewers by telling them that it was April Fools' Day.
On May 16, 2012 it was anounced on Twitter by adult swim that Toonami would return on May 26 2012.. Later it was revealed that 2 new shows will premiere.
In December 2002, Toonami premiered on Cartoon Network Latin America, replacing a similarity-themed block, Talisman. Toonami aired shows that were already on the lineup such as Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, and Pokémon as well as served as the home of Inuyasha. Over the years, Toonami added shows like YuYu Hakusho and Saint Seiya, as well as the revamped versions of Cyborg 009 and Astro Boy. However, the block had to move to the late-night slots on CN Latin America due to protests of violent scenes on the block. Mexico moved Toonami to midnight in October 2003 while the rest of Latin America moved the block in November 2004.
In 2005, Toonami had short-lived weekend schedules, which were later replaced by the premiere of Adult Swim in Latin America.
In March 2006, Toonami revamped their lineup to include more adult-oriented series, such as Love Hina, taking advantage of the schedule and the refusal of anime on Adult Swim, as well as to compete against the anime channel Animax for new anime series. In June 2006, Toonami premiered anime movies in two monthly variations: Dragon Ball Theatricals (which had 17 different Dragon Ball movies), and Toonami Movies (general animated action movies).
In January 2007, Cartoon Network encased Toonami with four extra hours of anime series with two hours before and after the block. However, from March 26 (in the same year), the channel stopped airing the block, eventually its hosted series were being removed, from Saint Seiya and YuYu Hakusho to Ranma ½ (late April, when the series ended), Zatch Bell (from July) and Naruto (only Mexico and Argentina). The movies were no longer aired, save those of Dragon Ball Z. After its cancellation in Latin America, the anime programming of the channel gradually vanished, currently the only anime which air on CN LA are Naruto, Pokémon, The Powerpuff Girls Z, Bakugan. As of January 2010, The block Animaction was created that's transmitting on Wednesday evenings that passes action programming and anime programming.
Music and games on ToonamiEdit
Toonami always proven a haven for techo/electronica music throughout its history, using original composistions; first by skater/artist Tommy Guerrero from 1997 to 1999, and then by Atlanta-based composer Joe Boyd Vigil from 1999 to 2002, many of which were compiled in the CD Toonami: Deep Space Bass in 2001, which is now out of print. His webpage can be found here. In 2003, DJ Clarknova took Toonami's beats (both old and new) and mixed them with sound bites from recent Toonami and Adult Swim shows. This resulted in an hour-long complication of Toonami remixes called the Toonami: Black Hole Megamix, but for unknown reasons was never published. However, the Megamix recently was hosted by Toonami Digital Arsenal, a popular unofficial Toonami multimedia site.
From 2003 through 2008, Toonami relied on original and library tracks from various artists from publisher Ninja Tune. On rare occasions, videos from musicians such as Daft Punk, Linkin Park, The White Stripes, and Gorillaz aired on the block.
Infrequently, Toonami aired reviews of video games. The reviews, delivered by TOM and occasionally SARA, were fairly short and ran during commercial breaks. The hosts scored games on a 1 - 10 system: 10 signifying an excellent game, 1 signifying a very poor game. (The score system was originslly 1 - 5 until 2001.)
Reviews became more common when TOM 2 began hosting. Games such as Beach Spikers and Mister Mosquito recieved a 6/10, while Super Mario Sunshine got a perfect 10/10. Toonami reviewed many games since the beginning and mostly gave a 9/10 or an 8/10. TOM 4 did not give many reviews, as his assistant T performed those duties.
One game recieved a "?" rating: Dropship: United Peace Force for the PlayStation 2. TOM explained that he had no idea what to rate the game because he couldn't get past the sixth level, accompanied by repeating footage of TOM losing. The synopisis on Toonami Digital Arsenal reads "A robot is [sic] loses his mind over a video game. Hilarity ensues."
Online video servicesEdit
On March 26, 2001, Cartoon Network launched Toonami Reactor, their first online streaming video service. The three-month service featured streaming episodes from Dragon Ball Z and Star Blazers, the latter of which was an online-exclusive series. Editorial content wa provided by the now-defunct Animerica Magazine, published by VIZ Media. After the three-month "trial run" was over, Cartoon Network took it offline and completely revamped it.
On November 14, 2001, Cartoon Network relaunched Toonami Reactor with all online-exclusive programs such as Star Blazer, Patlabor, The Harlock Saga, and Record of Lodoss as well as videos from Daft Punk and Toonami-themed games. In the summer of 2002, Toonami Reactor was revamped again under the Adult Swim aegis and, with a joint venture with VIZ's Weekly Shonen Jump, programmed it as "Adult Swim Pipeline."
On April 25, 2006, a little over five years since the launch of the now-defunct Toonami Reactor, Cartoon Network and VIZ Media announced plans to launch Toonami Jetstream, a new ad-supported streaming video service featuring Toonami series like Naruto, Samurai Jack, Megas XLR, and IGPX and the internet webcast premieres of Hikaru no Go, MÄR, Eyeshield 21, The Prince of Tennis, MegaMan Star Force, Kiba, MegaMan NT Warriors, and Zoids: Genesis, the latter two of which have't premiered as of June 2008.
Toonami Jetstream launched on July 17, 2006 (after a brief unofficial sneak preview that began July 14), and offered episodes of Naruto, Hikaru no Go, MÄR, Zatch Bell!, Pokémon, Blue Dragon, Samurai Jack, Kiba, Storm Hawks, and Transformers: Animated.
On January 30, 2009, Toonami Jetstream ended its run. Since then, many of the shows aired until cancellation now currently air on Cartoon Network Video on its main web site.
Toonami series and moviesEdit
Main article: List of programs broadcast by Toonami
- ThunderCats (TV-Y7-FV)
- Cartoon Roulette (composed of Space Ghost, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, The Herculoids, Mightor, Shazzan, Teen Force, The Impossibles, and the 1940's Superman) (TV-Y7)
- Voltron (TV-Y7-FV)
- The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (TV-Y7)
- Robotech (TV-Y7-FV)
- Beast Wars: Transformers (TV-Y7-FV)
- Sailor Moon (TV-Y7-FV)
- Dragon Ball Z (TV-Y7-FV) and (TV-PG-V)
- Superfriends (TV-Y7)
- G-Force: Guardians of Space (TV-Y7-FV)
- Gundam Wing (TV-Y7-FV)
- Tenchi Muyo! (TV-Y7-FV)
- Tenchi Universe (TV-Y7-FV)
- Tenchi in Tokyo (TV-Y7-FV)
- Batman: The Animated Series (TV-Y7-FV)
- Blue Submarine No. 6 (TV-Y7-FV)
- Superman: The Animated Series (TV-Y7-FV)
- Outlaw Star (TV-Y7-FV)
- The Big O (TV-Y7-FV)
- Cardcaptors (TV-Y7-FV)
- Mobile Suit Gundam (TV-Y7-FV)
- Gundam 08th MS Team (TV-Y7-FV)
- Dragon Ball (TV-Y7-FV)
- Batman Beyond (TV-Y7-FV)
- Zoids (TV-Y7-FV)
- Gundam 0080 (TV-Y7-FV)
- Hamtaro (TV-Y) and (TV-G)
- Classic Zoids (TV-Y7-FV)
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (TV-Y7-FV)
- G Gundam (TV-Y7-FV)
- Transformers: Armada (TV-Y7-FV)
- G.I. Joe (TV-Y7-FV)
- Samurai Jack (TV-Y7-FV)
- .hack//SIGN (TV-Y7-FV)
- Martian Successor Nadesico (TV-Y7-FV)
- Gigantor (TV-Y7-FV)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV-Y7-FV)
- Dai-Guard (TV-Y7-FV)
- YuYu Hakusho (TV-Y7-FV)
- Rurouni Kenshin (TV-Y7-FV)
- Justice League (TV-Y7-FV)
- Cyborg 009 (TV-Y7-FV)
- Superior Defender Gundam Force (TV-Y7-FV)
- IGPX: Micro Series (TV-Y7-FV)
- Dragon Ball GT (TV-Y7-FV)
- Star Wars: Clone Wars (TV-Y7-FV)
- Duel Masters (TV-Y7-FV)
- Astro Boy (TV-Y7-FV)
- Transformers: Energon (TV-Y7-FV)
- Jackie Chan Adventures (TV-Y7-FV)
- Gundam SEED (TV-Y7-FV) and (TV-PG)
- Megas XLR (TV-Y7-FV)
- Rave Master (TV-Y7-FV)
- Teen Titans (TV-Y7-FV)
- Justice League Unlimited (TV-Y7-FV)
- D.I.C.E. (TV-Y7-FV)
- Zatch Bell! (TV-Y7-FV)
- The Batman (TV-Y7-FV)
- One Piece (TV-Y7-FV) and (TV-PG-V)
- Transformers: Cybertron (TV-Y7-FV)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! (TV-Y7-FV)
- Naruto (TV-PG-V,D)
- Bobobo-bo-Bo-bobo (TV-Y7-FV) and (TV-PG-D)
- IGPX (TV-Y7-FV) and (TV-PG-L)
- Wulin Warriors (TV-Y7-FV)
- Pokémon Chronicles (TV-Y7-FV)
- Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes (TV-Y7-FV)
- Pokémon: Battle Frontier (TV-Y7-FV)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (TV-Y7-FV)
- MÄR (TV-PG-V)
- The Prince of Tennis (TV-PG)
- Storm Hawks (TV-Y7-FV)
- Mega Man Star Force (TV-Y7-FV)
- Bakugan Battle Brawlers (TV-Y7-FV)
- Blue Dragon (TV-Y7-FV)
- Ben 10: Alien Force (TV-Y7-FV)
- Absolution NeXt - A database of Toonami US programming past and present.
- Toonami Infolink - US Toonami news and forums.
- Toonami Digital Arsenal - Downloads of US Toonami promos, intros, interstitials, and music.
- The X Bridge's TICA Base - The US Toonami history and opinions section of one of the internet's oldest Toonami fansites.
- Toonami Fan - Thought site featuring articles and commentary from editors and readers.