A little before Adult Swim had its usual April Fool’s Day joke air, I commented that it’d be pretty funny if Toonami had aired instead of the usual airing of the movie “The Room.” Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened! Toonami aired the entire night through. Some classics were shown (such as Dragon Ball Z, Outlaw Star, Yu Yu Hakusho and even Blue Submarine No. 6), while some others that hadn’t aired before were shown (such as Trigun and Tenchi Muyo OVA 3). The night also featured a new game review, along with promo bumps all voiced by Steven Blum as TOM. Twitter had erupted with Tweets about Toonami airing. Later on, Adult Swim asked if it was something the fans wanted to see return.
A month later, we got our answer; Toonami was coming back. However, there was a catch. Due to the small budget that Cartoon Network had given them, they were only able to secure two new shows, while the rest were standard Adult Swim programming that had already aired (along with a new episode of Bleach). The two new series’ are Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins. Deadman Wonderland is premiering for the first time in English in any manner, as it’s currently not available on home video in North America as of yet. Casshern Sins has been available for quite some time and is viewable on Netflix. However, both series’ have never appeared on cable television. While not big name shows many people have asked for, they’re welcome additions to the Toonami block. Unfortunately, many people have complained about the lack of any other shows, whether new or from the original Toonami lineups, being added on. It’s understandable that Adult Swim couldn’t afford to bring some of the older shows back, as some have either become unlicensed or the companies involved want too much money. In some cases, some shows are being aired by the competition (namely Naruto and Dragon Ball Z).
Due to all of this, Toonami’s got a long way to go to become the old, successful block it was. In order to afford more shows, it’s going to need to pull in a lot of viewers. However, I ultimately lay the blame on Cartoon Network for making this a difficult process. Let’s think back about this. Back around 2004, Toonami had only been airing Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z during its weekday run. Having two series’ run the block wouldn’t cut it. Especially when both series’ had finished their runs. CN had removed Toonami from weekdays, replacing it with Miguzi. Toonami was then put on Saturdays. It regained its spark of life with the addition of shows such as Teen Titans, Megas XLR, Justice League, Naruto and even the 4Kids dub of One Piece, which was more successful on Toonami than it was on 4Kids’ own Saturday morning block. Three years later, Toonami was suddenly cancelled. Many wondered why this happened, but here’s the sad truth: CN ran it to the ground, as they did when it aired on weekdays.
Around the time of Toonami’s end, CN had cancelled One Piece weeks before, was airing only two new premieres in the form of Naruto episodes while airing reruns of Dragon Ball Z, Samurai Jack, Blue Dragon and Bakugan. CN felt Toonami was no longer worth keeping around and ended it. In its place, it aired live-action movies. Eventually, the network would begin to air original, live-action programming, distancing itself from the “all cartoon” channel image it intended to be. Cutting around to today, we’re seeing the same uncaring attitude from the network again. Nickelodeon’s begun to give the channel a run for its money with its Nicktoons Network, along with Disney XD and newcomer The Hub. So one would think that trying to bring back a previously successful block back would bring in not only the old crowd, but a new one as well. It worked for Teen Nick with “The ’90s Are All That.”
Unfortunately, CN chose to place more money in getting shows such as a live-action, sketch comedy show featuring Nick Cannon and an animated version of Annoying Orange. On top of this, they’ve also gotten a second season for Level Up, another live-action sketch comedy, and a fifth season for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. If CN has the money to support shows like this, why oh why did they not give the same treatment to Toonami? Just how long can you drag The Clone Wars, anyway? The answer may simply be that Cartoon Network just sucks and is appealing to one of the worst generations of children out there.
I’ll still watch Toonami come this Saturday. I’ll support it for as long as it airs. It’s just a crying shame how poorly it’s been treated, even to this day, despite how badly the folks at Adult Swim want it to succeed.